NOTHING BEATS TRAVEL WHEN YOUR JOURNEY IS ACCOMPANIED BY GREAT FOOD AND MUSIC FLOWING FROM EVERY CORNER. READ ON TO DISCOVER THE BEATS AND EATS OF TEL AVIV…
Nothing beats travel when your journey is accompanied by great food and music flowing from every corner. New songs, familiar tracks, local bands - my battery dies from Shazamming faster than from using Google Maps. And in Tel Aviv, the music comes served with amazing food (and vice versa). Here’s a snapshot of my trip - read on for a taste of the city and its sounds, and listen to them all on Spotify here!
Jumping into a taxi at Ben Gurion airport on a Friday night, we ride into the city with the local radio on and ‘70s star Ruti Navon singing ‘בין האצבעות’. Probably something for our parents, but a nice track; no idea what it’s about (maybe for the best).
We check into boutique Hotel Nordoy with Stealers Wheel playing the background. ‘Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right - here are I am stuck in the middle with you’ - is there a better song to get checked-in to? The hotel's very central, and its staff attentive (and they listen to good music).
The next morning, we have chakchouka at Hamitbahon next to Carmel market – highly recommended - and stroll around the World Heritage-listed White City. It’s sunny and warm, and laid-back music pours out from open windows onto the small streets below: You by Mosh Ben Ari (a love song by a local popstar?) and Medina Ktana by Kaveret - apparently the most famous local folk rock from the '70s. Then something more familiar - Out On The Weekend by Neil Young. Harvest was of my favourite teenage CDs - my sister brought it for me from the US in the mid-90s.
In the evening, Oasis’ Champagne Supernova catches my ear as we head for dinner. At Goocha, one of the city’s coolest seafood joints, we sit at the bar and watch chefs in the open-plan kitchen work their magic, Phoenix’s Lisztomania and Arcade Fire’s Everything Now in the background. Isn’t it always fun to hear the songs you like in a restaurant (instead of Ed Sheeran!) as you slice your octopus? Cool Kids by Echosmith follows, a slice of dreamy pop much to my liking.
We stroll to The Prince, an atmospheric run-down bar next to our hotel, for a nightcap. The cocktails are fine, but the music is even better: classics like Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street (which I haven’t heard in years) and The Bangles’ Walk Like an Egyptian and new favourites: dancey Best Friend by Sofi Tukker and A Gira by Trio Ternura remixed by Mr Mendel - a brilliant ‘70s track from Brazil.
The next afternoon, we head to Miznon for the best Tel Aviv street food, munching on pita served with minute steak, eggs, vegetables and falafel - simply delicious. So are Allah-Las, their songs Recurring and Had It All pumping, followed by Tame Impala (The Less I Know the Better).
Dining at Claro, we’re welcomed by Please Pardon Me from Rufus and Chaka Khan and fantastic seafood like seared calamari with grilled lettuce.
Fast-forward to our final dinner at Shila, which is as trendy as its beats - like O Magico by Skeewiff and Lucky by Tommy Genesis. The raw fish tartar wrapped in avocado is amazing (I still wonder how it was technically possible).
We get up early the last morning for a final walk by the beach. Beck’s Morning playing in a beach cafe couldn’t reflect our mood better as we watch the waves and enjoy the strong sunlight, sad about our departure to rainy London.
We have a melancholic breakfast at Cafe Sheleg as Lou Reed starts Underneath the Bottle. Patrick Cowley cheers us up with the apt I Wanna Take You Home. We’re now a bit uplifted, listening to King Nawahi’s Black Boy Blues. Lenny Welch delivers the final line ‘I will return, yes I will return. I’ll come back for the honey and you’ from A Taste of Honey.
With just a couple of hours to spare, we walk through the Neve Tzedek neighbourhood, hearing ‘60s-inspired bluesy instrumental The Man Who Took My Sunglasses by Khruangbin, and Sherut Atzmi, another nice song by local 70s rock band Kaveret.
In the taxi back to the airport, the Lightning Seeds’ You Showed Me sets the mood: ‘You showed me how to do, exactly what you do how I fell in love with you’. Oh, it’s true, Tel Aviv. We will return.
LISTEN TO THE SOUNDS OF TEL AVIV WITH NASH'S TEL AVIV PLAYLIST: