Guide to: Tel Aviv

Israel’s big hitter is a modernist marvel full of arty locals and a thriving restaurant scene

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Travellers used to come to Tel Aviv seeking hedonism. Now they come for veganism – or, indeed, any kind of food. Food is the life force flowing through the boulevards and backstreets of this vibrant, forward-looking young city. (‘They tried to kill us. We survived. Let’s eat!’ – goes the joke about Jewish holidays.) Israeli cuisine is so new that there are no rules because nobody has made any yet. Dynamic young chefs, unfettered by the past, mash up a hundred cuisines and cultures, influences and techniques, setting up lo-fi restaurants in unlikely settings, vibrant with live music and lively conversation, from the first coffee of the day to the last cocktail of the night.

For all its futuristic tech and start-up successes, the city is still shabbier than you might expect, and it can be hard to navigate. But don’t sweat it – following your nose is half the fun, discovering gems in every nook and alley, and the reward is something like a shot of pure energy, revitalising and uplifting, a contagious optimism on the sea breeze, the sense that anything is possible.

Laura Fowler is a travel writer and contributing editor for Condé Nast Traveller, The Telegraph and Cereal magazine. She lived in Tel Aviv once and has been banging on about it ever since

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