In a city where it seems like all people do all day is sit at cafes working on their laptop computers, it’s important to know where they serve the best coffee, make the best sandwiches and have the coolest atmosphere.
This small chain has a few branches, but it’s worth heading down to the boutique one that’s located next door to the beautiful new, white home of the Bursa Stock Exchange. There, you’ll find Mae in an old building that was restored and turned into a boutique hotel. It serves up high quality coffee from a range of beans imported from Costa Rica and roasted in various ways, then ground in tiny quantities right before the drink is made. You can stretch out on the dark leather sofas as you sip on the premium coffee that’s been specially crafted to suit your taste. Mae also offers dairy sandwiches and cookies for those who won’t go without.
16 Montefiore St, Tel Aviv. Also at 15 Tuval St, Ramat Gan and 98 Ibn Gabirol St, Tel Aviv.
Every morning at Rothschild 12, you can find fresh baked goods — both sweet and savory (which come from the group’s bakery, called Bakery, located in Kikar Habima) — as well as modestly priced, snack-sized sandwiches. On the weekends, this café serves rich brunches that are worth every shekel. For lunch and dinner, we recommend the schnitzel with a side of lettuce drizzled in champagne vinaigrette and bacon. Either that or the hamburger. If you’re more in the mood for fish, try the fresh ceviche or shrimps. But whatever you do, don’t miss the roast beef bruschetta or Rothschild 12’s classic desserts. Cocktails are served here at amicable prices, especially in the morning and early evening.
12 Rotschild Blvd, Tel Aviv
This veteran café, located in Jaffa, has been around for more than 20 years and still imports high quality coffee from all over the world, roasts it in-house and grinds it in small quantities. At Paul’s, you’ll also find tea leaves imported from Germany, succulent sandwiches with roast beef, pastrami and pecorino, tabouli or fattoush salads, shakshuka, and even vegan pizza. The dessert that most satisfied our sweet tooth was the bold truffles.
142 Yefet St, Jaffa
This café comprises two spaces that sit side by side. The first and older space is noisy, smoky and dim, whereas the second space has a quiet and relaxed seating area that feels more like an urban workspace than a café. Yet, you can still treat yourself here to a bitter iced coffee, toast, sandwiches or a creative salad. Lunch deals are available that, while simple, offer good value for money. Speaking of which, you can also get alcohol here at any time of the day for relatively low prices. The service at Nehama Vahetzi is slow but generous.
144 Ahad Ha'Am St, Tel Aviv
This small café chain, which was among the first to serve organic coffee, continues to impress with great drinks and a local and precise food menu overflowing with vegetables, tahini and Israeli cheeses. At the Jaffa Port branch of Loveat, you can sit back lazily on iron chairs designed for recumbence, as you watch the boats come and go, while at the Habima branch, you’ll find a quiet yard that sits beneath one of Tel Aviv’s best-kept secrets: Gan Yaakov.
4 Tarsat Blvd, Tel Aviv. Also at 1 Barzilai Street (corner Mikve Yisrael St), Tel Aviv, 3 Nahalat Binyamin, Tel Aviv, 232 Dizengoff St, Tel Aviv and the Jaffa Port (shed no.1).
Tel Aviv is quietly being taken over by a coffee revolution, as high-end roasters sprout up and the locals increasingly take to drinking slow-drip cold coffee. Nahat Café has the best of both worlds: a relaxing ambiance augmented by Ethiopian music and French chill-out tunes, together with concoctions of coffee from around the world that are roasted in-house and ground in tiny portions. In the display cabinet are lush sandwiches and croissants filled with cold cuts and cheeses, as well as homemade cookies.
1 Reines St, Tel Aviv
The Jaffa branch of this small chain is also where the coffee is roasted. Here you’ll find a variety of beans that Cafelix imports from the best regions in the world — like Guatemala, Rwanda, Kenya and Cuba. But of all its branches, we particularly took to the one in the Levinsky Market. This tiny, intimate space, located down a quiet alleyway, gets a particularly magical vibe toward sunset. The coffee here is super fresh and the blends are diverse and intriguing.
6 Merkhavya St, Tel Aviv
The owner of Café Xoho has operated successful cafes in London and Australia. Everything here is made in-house every day, including the ketchup, hamburger rolls and even the desserts — and the results are impressive. It gets its coffee, however, from the aforementioned Café Mae. We’ll forgive them for that. Here you can find creative blends of homemade iced teas, like hibiscus, mint and orange, and homemade soft drinks, like lemon and rose or apricot, ginger and red pepper. We were also delighted to find Vietnamese iced coffee, matcha latte, and matcha shakes that include tahini, bananas, halva, honey and coconut.
17 Gordon St, Tel Aviv
Behind the Tel Aviv Museum and adjoined to the restaurant Toto is Café Toto, which is in fact the collection point for food made by chef Yaron Shalev’s eatery. Aside from a divine sunny courtyard and great coffee, this café has some of the best sandwiches in Tel Aviv, made of delicious bread or chubby rolls and filled with egg salad, cheeses, fine salmon, tender chicken, salami, roast beef and more. Whether in the salads or the sandwiches, the ingredients at Café Toto are of superior quality.
4 Berkovitch St, Tel Aviv
This Swedish patisserie may be located in the center of Tel Aviv, but its metal chairs with vibrant-colored pillows will make you forget for a moment that you’re in the Middle East. The display cabinet at Gerald is full of surprising sweet treats, like folded dough with chocolate, pistachio and red fruits, patisserie cakes with praline cream, vanilla, lemon, chocolate, hazelnut or coffee. You can also find delicious sandwiches in homemade rolls, quiches and vegan-friendly lunches.
36 Ibn Gabirol St, Tel Aviv
And here’s a bonus café, just because our list wouldn’t be complete without it:
Alongside great coffee, this place is known for its line of breads. Lachmanina serves small sandwiches in rolls that are made in-house (try the salmon in beetroot roll), savory pastries overflowing with spinach and aromatic focaccias alongside hot, vegetarian-friendly dishes. Be sure to try the “Nelson” bread.
14 Kremenetski St, Tel Aviv