Kassandra Grunewald is the Co-Founder of TasteTLV. TasteTLV is the ultimate culinary guide for dining in Tel Aviv.

Yoezer Wine Bar


For a real out of the city experience, Yoezer Wine Bar will transport you to the Ottoman Empire, and has been doing so for over 13 years. Converted from a 19th century wine cellar complete with dark old stone arches and dreary lighting by dripping candelabras, the environment alone provides an unforgettable experience. The first time your eyes feast on the vaulted roof, uneven floors, lumbering tables and random ancient dining chairs, you will think you have stumbled into the wrong place. Soon a staff member will greet you and lead you to a corner of the cave, as your eyes adjust to the dark. The Provençal French menu was constructed by one Israel's best-known gourmets, Shaul Evron. The food menu focuses on simplicity and excellence, while using fresh quality ingredients to make classic French and Italian dishes.

The prices do not run cheap, but it is most worthwhile. If you are not up for one of the legendary streaks or the "40 eggs-yolks Pasta", which is served with Botardo (a Turkish delicacy of dried fish roe), perhaps try the Crodo, a mouthwatering serving of veal tartar with fresh truffles. Even so, the restaurant is most well known for its excellent selection of wines from all over the globe. Yoezer is said to have one of the most extensive and finest wine menus in Israel and includes a selection from Burgundy, imported exclusively for Yoezer. I was fortunate enough to be taken on a birthday date there for a romantic and intriguing surprise. The waitstaff was well educated on the menu, and patiently guided us in our choices for the evening. Something about watching the candles flicker amongst the cellar walls, blackened by the soot from years of burning wax, while sipping on a captivating glass of wine that leaves a lovely imprint for years to come.

Tip: on Fridays and Saturdays visitors can enjoy a 110 NIS brunch.

Frame of mind: romantic, celebratory

2 Ish-Habira St. Jaffa (near the Clock's Square)
(03) 683-9115
Sun-Thu 12:30-1:00, Fri-Sat 11:00-1:00

Juno Wine Bar 

This garden in a city experience provides a romantic yet spirited experience. The scenery mixes green vines and potted plants with dripping candles propped in old bottles of port wine. The wait staff is friendly, however the place can really go from sedimentary to bustling in a moments notice. Juno has a relatively large selection of local and international wines. The food menu provides a nice selection of accompaniments, for both date and large party guests. Owner Eyal Dobinsky explains why he opened the wine bar: “People in restaurants usually charge a lot of money for wine and this really annoyed me. I think it's more important to make wine easily accessible to people.” I completely agree with his point that expensive wine does not equal good wine! A good wine is simply a wine you like! On Friday's, Juno offers a buffet of salads and appetizers for 10 NIS. A perfect way to sit and enjoy your company for as long as you like. Lucky for me, Juno is right around the corner and I frequently enjoy long weekend day drinking and conversation in this comfortable not-your-typical-showy-wine-bar. During most weekend evenings the wine bar becomes more trendy as a crowd gathers outside.


Tip: make reservations for evenings & linger in on Friday afternoon.

Frame of Mind: comfortable, relaxed

Quote from: “Ask the Barman: Taking tips from the Greek god of wine.” By YONI COHEN (Jpost-06/28/2011 14:41)

1 De Has St. (Milano Square)
(03) 544-6620, (050) 208-2083
Sun-Thu 17:00-01:00, Fri 12:00-01:00, Sat 17:00-01:00

Jajo Vino

Jajo Vino provides the never over-rated street scenery of Neve Tzedek. When you’re in the mood to spend some valuable time at a wine bar, you are most definitely up for a stroll down the cobblestone streets of Tel Aviv’s oldest neighborhood. That’s why Jajo Vino is always a sure bet, though the place only fits about 18 people, the journey to Neve Tzedek is a valuable experience in itself. Jajo Vino is a sister of Jajo (across the street) and the focus is on the wine. If you’re looking for a late night date spot, Jajo Vino provides intimate seating with a romantic view of the famous Shabazi street. The sheer size of the place makes it feel important in its own way. You could linger here for hours, chatting to friends you came with, or even meet new friends at the bar. The wine list here is surprisingly extensive, mostly imports from France and Spain. The longer you sit in the shades of black and red lighting, the more adventurous you tend to become in regards to your choice of wines. I am a sucker for functional design, and I could just stare at the wall proudly boasting a large selection of wine bottles from floor to ceiling. The music creates a more unique wine bar experience, as rock music provides a riveting touch. To further indulge, try the French-style toasted bread with various toppings. As the place doubles as a wine store, be prepared to grab a few bottles to take home with you at the end of your stay.

Tip: for wine connoisseurs, check out the blackboard for wine specials and don’t be afraid to inquire with the helpful staff.

Frame of Mind: late night date night or get to know a fun co-worker

44 Shabazi Street (Neve Tzedek)
(03) 510-0620
Sun-Thu 8:00 - 00:00, Fri 10:00 - 20:00, Sat 12:00 - 00:00

Par Derriere 

Truly a gem in the rough, Par Derriere is completely a hidden away oasis in the center of Tel Aviv. Your eyes will seem to deceive, when you leave the black cement street and enter into a lush green secret garden with enchanting nooks and cranny's as far as the eye can see. This, not-so-small, very romantic wine bar is commonly referred to as the secret garden off of King George. I thoroughly enjoy places that are filled with nooks, so every time I go I can gain a different perspective of the place. Lumber bars, wine barrels, and walls studded with glimmering bottles of wine, take you to wine country. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming as well as open year round, and enjoyable in every season. Once you find an open cranny and settle in, your ears will pull in the jazz/lounge/Bossa Nova music, and your eyes will feast on the ever growing foliage that surround you. The dynamic wine list displays a large variety of Israeli and world wines, served both by the glass and 500 ml decanters. I particularly enjoy Israeli wine, and Par Derriere packs an amazing selection from both boutique wineries and large popular Israeli wineries. From the kitchen stream various tapas, cheese, and meat plates, all derived from the fresh ingredients of the Carmel Market. They have a great tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad, however you may be content munching on the endless bowl of Israeli olives. Overall I suggest indulging in one of the cheeses plates, as they offer cheddar and other European cheeses that we don't come across very often. Small salads and light snacks are also cultivated to accompany the wine, as even a simple Bruschetta is a perfect accompaniment to a glass of your choice.

Tip: good for large groups, up to 50, but reserve a place.

Frame of Mind: lovely, easy-going

4 King George Street (Behind the red door) (03) 629-2111 Daily 19:00-02:00


Alkalay 

An all together different experience, Alkalay sits in the perhaps pretentious Basel square, however discreetly hides itself behind the clinic of MADA. My favorite part about Alkalay is that it is known as a Cafe, but to me is both a wine and a dried tea bar. Yes, you heard me right, though they have walls adorned with bottles of wine from around the world, they also have an enormous space dedicated to various mixes of dried teas. In the summer they offer a perfected, fresh homemade iced tea. The first time I wandered into this mysterious place they were playing a disc of Amadou & Miriam (a blind duet & couple from Mali), so I immediately fell in love. They do play lovely and interesting tracks from around the globe. From a street view, it appears to be two separate places, but you will soon see the staff slipping from one archway to the other. The decor is a casual, but sultry design featuring the display of wine and tea. The bathrooms are unbelievable miniature and at the top of a tiny staircase, which I simply cannot fathom having to venture up after a few glasses. I also love places that change according to the situation, and Alkalay does just that, on the weekends the outdoor seating spreads out to the sidewalks of the neighboring shops. On an ordinary visit you will see couples and small groups of all ages, drinking wine an beer, however a unique crowd from the usual Basel cafe-tenders. They have smoked salmon that they serve with creamed cheese on a variety of breads, but I usually force myself to toggle from the cheese plate to the meat plate every other time. The food menu offers a wide variety of choices, but I don’t suggest going there to fill up on food. The wine menu is extensive, and they some wonderful choices from Australia, that come highly recommended. The prices are not expensive, and the staff is friendly and welcoming.

Tip: go for the wine, but try some tea as well.

Frame of Mind: casual, relaxed

1 Alkalay (Basel Square)
(03) 604-1260
Sun-Thu 7:00-00:30, Fri 7:00-19:00, Sat 10:00-00:30

Kassandra Grunewald is a co-founder of TasteTLV.com. She has been an avid foodie since she can remember making meals out of dandelion leaves and sand in the backyard for her guests.

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