One of the newest, freshest, and most happening places in Tel Aviv right now is the new Sarona complex, right in the heart of the city!
Located just off one of Tel Aviv’s busiest roads, Sarona is a mix of unique Tel Aviv architectural history (the original 37 Templar buildings that were part of the Templar settlement at the same location have been restored), and a unique urban experience that combines culture, entertainment, and leisure.
And believe it or not, amid the superbly restored buildings that now house cute cafes, restaurants, and art galleries, as well as a number of boutique clothing stores, you can also take the kids for some recreational fun with one of the best green areas in Tel Aviv. Seriously, there are some very cute areas to chillout in, whether you’re with the kids or on a date. Paths are tree-lined, ponds are full of lilies, and the contrast with the nearby skyscrapers is stunning!
The parks here are some of the best we’ve ever come across, complete with hi-tech climbing frames and apparatus that will make you want to climb with the kids!
Sarona is still a work in progress but we liked what we saw when we were there a few days ago. Keep an eye out for even more goodies to come, as there are plans for artistic installations, festivals, street theater, open air film screenings, art fairs, a music garden that will host classical music concerts, jazz festivals and open-mic nights, plus other shops and cafes that will join the party over the coming months. One we’re particularly looking forward to is the Sarona Market, which is expected to put Tel Aviv firmly on the gastro market map! The market is NOW OPEN! We’ll post more about it when we’ve seen it up close and personal.
Sarona could well be giving HaTachana (The Station) a run for its money with its range of options and more central location. We’ll definitely be back.
What to see and do in Sarona
There are some great things to see and do in Sarona, whatever your budget or plans…and in case you were wondering, many of the pubs and restaurants are open on Shabbat (Friday evenings/Saturdays).
With the family
You might want to check out the Visitor Center that provides exhibitions that reveal the stories behind Sarona, before moving on to the climbing frames and green areas where you can freely let the kids run wild. Once you’ve worn them out, you could head to somewhere like Picnic, where you can order a pizza and beer, and they’ll even supply you with a picnic basket and blanket, which you can put to good use in the adjoining grassy areas.
There are also FREE guided tours of the Sarona complex in English, every Friday at 11:00, courtesy of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality. The tours, which last up to 2 hours, explore the history and heritage of the site.
Wining and dining
There are some superb places to eat at Sarona, and the pubs that we came across are mighty fine too! You’re going to want to try pretty much ALL the following:
- Restaurants include the much-hyped Branja (Spanish/Mediterranean menu), Claro (Mediterranean kitchen), Piazza Rustico (Italian), Akiko (Sushi), Whilhemina (Mediterranean kitchen), Agvania (Italian), 110 Burger (Burgers ready to go in 110 seconds), and Kampai (street Asian). There’s a large choice of Italian in the corner of Sarona known as Little Italy, which includes Little Italy, Picnic (where you can take a picnic basket and blanket and find your own picnic spot), Vineria, Trattoria, and Carnebirra.
- Cafes include Biga, Cafetery, Roladin (home to some amazing Hanukkah donuts), The Olive Mill, Roy Chocolate, Landwer Cafe, and CafeNeto.
- Ice Cream shops include Anita and Vaniglia (one of Tel Aviv’s best ice-cream joints).
- Pubs include Beer Garden by Paulaner, Jajo Wine Bar, Tasting Room (read our review here), The Whiskey Bar & Museum (read our review here) and Molly Bloom’s (their sister pub on the other side of town was the first Irish bar in Israel, and is quite possibly the best Irish bar in Israel).
Sarona isn’t just for kids and families. If you are looking to impress a date, there are some excellent romantic little corners you could find yourself in. Together with some excellent restaurants (see above), Sarona could become the hot date rendezvous point for Tel Avivians. Personally, the Picnic concept is a winner for me, nothing like a picnic basket, blanket and good conversation to win someone over!
There are some great places to shop at Sarona, including the following (oil up that credit card!):
- Boutique clothing stores such as Andy Ve Eirn, Gal Halfon, Diesel, a flagship Tommy Hillfiger store, Castro, Fred Perry, and other local fashion designers.
- Shoe shops aplenty, including Liebskind Berlin, Shufra, and Coupleof.
- Cosmetics and jewellery stores for the ladies, including Laline, L’Occitane Spa, Forget Me Not, Rebeka, Meyrav Shavit, and Tamar Mani.
- Great home design stores, namely Arbitman’s, Ginger, and Soho.
- Specialty stores, such as Gaya (awesome thinking games and puzzles), iDigital, and Toy Box.
- Sports stores, including Brooks and Adidas.
Sarona Tel Aviv – another one to add to the bucket list in The City That Never Sleeps!