The Ultimate Guide To Florentine

Florentine... it might take a while to understand and accept this place. Always crowded, with a mixed smell of spices, weed and garbage, and all that buzzing noise of a busy street... At first, all this really irritates you. But as soon as you stop judging and catch the vibes of this crazy area you might find it kinda cool. You will start noticing people sitting in groups around tiny tables, with dogs at their feet and bicycles parked right behind their backs; you will discover the kiosk with custom-made cocktails at Levinsky 41 and cute cafes with authentic design. This place is a total "balagan". But that's how Tel Aviv itself is - young, messy, and completely irresistible.

Levinsky Market

While Carmel market is one of the most touristic places in Tel Aviv, Levinsky is more for the locals. It's smaller, but cleaner and more organised. Salesmen know many clients by name. Fruits and veggies seem to be of better quality and the prices are lower. It is a good place to shop for spices, nuts, and dry fruits.
Levinski 41 is a little kiosk with a van parked next to it. People come here for custom-made refreshments: non-alcoholic cocktails made with ingredients of your choice (soda, fruits, berries, mint, syrups etc.). They also have nice cakes and cookies. Grab your order and sit in their van (good way to make new acquaintances).

Right next door, you'll find one of the most hippsterish places in the city - cafe-bar Tony ve Esther. This place is perfect for observing a typical tel avivian crowd: guys with beards in Ray Bay glasses, girls in vintage clothes, nerds with laptops, and people from the neighbourhood (probably wearing the same clothing they slept in that night).

Florentine Street

David Florentine was the owner of a big Greek construction company. In 1917, as a result of a fire in Thessaloniki, majority of its Jewish population was left without home. David Florentine was sent then to Palestine with a mission to buy a piece of land near the already existing Jewish settlements (Ahuzat Bait and Neve Tsedek).

Rapidly the district of Florentine became the industrial center of the area. People came here to buy furniture, paintings, and mirrors in heavy frames. Even nowadays, there are dozens of carpentries and furniture stores. Their walls are covered with modern graffiti - another thing that brought fame to Florentine. You can even book a guided tour to learn more about the local street art.

Graffiti tours:
www.streetwisehebrew.com/graffiti.html
http://grafitiyul.co.il/tours/?lang=en

Ink Donkey Tattoo Salon

Ink Donkey is one of the biggest tattoo salons in Tel Aviv. They have seven artists, each one works in his/her own style. So whatever idea you have you'll find the right person to get it in your skin here. The place is very popular so you need to book an appointment one month in advanced. Prices depend on the artists, mostly it's about $170 for the first hour and then $110-140. Address: 4 Yedidia Frenkel.

Bars In Florentine

On Thursday night, Florentine becomes one big street party. With all kinds of bars standing here side by side, Florentine is a perfect place for pub crawls. Many places here have live music, stand up shows, and other sorts of entertainment. People here are young, creative, and friendly. Most of them are from the neighbourhood.

Exactly this kind of guys, three friends from the neighbourhood, opened a bar that later became a legend. They used to go to the same bar for years and one day they saw it was closed. For good. Losing favourite place made them think of opening their own bar. They took a loan, redecorated the place, and opened the bar called Hoodna.

A year later the place burnt down. But I guess those guys really liked challenges since they decided to build it again from scratch. They organised a big party to collect money for rebuilding the bar. And they succeed! The bar is still there, on Abarbanel 13.

All this might be just another urban legend but I like to think of it while drinking my beer at Hoodna. Plus, they have nice live concerts there.
Hoodna, Tel Aviv
However, that's not the only legendary place in Florentine. Long before Hoodna's existence, about 20 years ago, a guy called Oded opened the first whisky bar in Tel Aviv - Satchmo. He went to Europe to buy there good booze and brought it to his bar. At Satchmo, you can try 60 sorts of whisky. The bar has cool old-school atmosphere with music by John Lennon, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Louis Armstrong, whose nickname became the name of the bar. Address: Chaim Vital 2.
Another favourite of mine is Shuffle Bar. If you are vegan/vegetarian you must try their vegan burgers with sweet potato and chestnuts! Add to this honey-flavored beer Barbar and table games they have and your evening will be perfect. Address: Florentine 19.

If you are more into wine or cocktails, beautiful decor and tasty starters go to Pimpinella. This bar has an original design with a huge window frame in the center and brick walls making it look industrial and elegant at the same time. Anis-based drinks are the specialty of the place ("Pimpinella anisum" is the Latin name of this plant). People come here for a good shot of arak, ouzo or sambuka to begin their night out. What goes well with those drinks: carpaccio, fish and chips, herring with chips, and Israeli classics - baked cauliflower with tahini. Address: Matalon 40.

Feeling hungry? Try one of the two best pizza places in Florentine - Giuseppe or Bazilikum.
Don't forget to visit Beit Romano - the venue that often holds cool events like live shows, concerts, design markets etc. Plus, another popular pizza place is located here. Teder.FM - a bar and radio station - belongs to one of the Tel Aviv's top chefs Eyal Shani. Located in an open-air gallery, it has big tables, big pizzas and beers in jugs, which makes it the perfect place for friends meet ups. And if you are into something more classy you can always go upstairs to Eyal Shani's famous restaurant with a daily changing menu - Salon Romano.
Florentine's Map