Want to know the best tips for exploring buzzing Tel Aviv and its glorious food scene? There’s no better way than to ask a local.
We check in with Tel Aviv-based Natalie Seeff (or Natty for short), a passionate foodie and the founder of Natflat Supper Club who shares here her love of the city (as well as a few tips).
A lawyer in her other life, the supper club was born of a desire to provide a touch of home to those on the road. As well as connecting visitors with locals to share delicious food, the supper club also offers care packages and supports local soup kitchens and charities.
Read on to discover a city of 24-hour shakshuka, sky bars, sunset yoga, and (!) speedo-clad beach lifeguards.
INTERVIEW WITH NATALIE SEEFF
Hi Natty! Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Natalie Seeff (or Natty). I grew up in Paris and London but moved to Tel Aviv in May 2009. I was working as a lawyer in London and my firm sent me to Tel Aviv on a client secondment for one month. At the end of the second week, the client offered me a permanent job and the lure of Tel Aviv, its glistening ocean, bustling cosmopolitan atmosphere, Mediterranean cuisine, happening nightlife and tapestry of cultures, was something that I simply could not refuse.
Fast forward 9 years and I founded Natflat Supper Club. I’ve always loved travelling, food, cooking, meeting new people, connecting people, showing and telling visitors about the best Israel has to offer and entertaining guests. In fact, I constantly have so many visitors that my friends here always said I was in the wrong job and should work for the tourism ministry! So this is why I recently combined all those loves and started the supper club.
I host tourist, local and business visitor groups of up to 15 people for tasty and unique dinners in my home in central Tel Aviv, a stone’s throw from the beach. I do the cooking and am sometimes joined by local chefs too (such as the talented Zurit Sabag) who each add their flare and specific culinary expertise. I work with a lovely winery in the Galilee (Dalton Winery) and serve its fine wines with the food.
We’ve even had some celebs dine at the Natflat including two-time Grammy winner Marlow Rosado and the Backstreet Boys. Leftovers from the dinners are personally delivered by me to a local soup kitchen in Jaffa (La Sova soup kitchen and homeless shelters) and to homeless people in the street.
Separately, I also deliver care packages to people with fresh meals that can be frozen (for example, new mothers or those who are sick and in need of some TLC).
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Where do you live?
I live in central Tel Aviv a couple of blocks from the seashore.
I’m visiting for the day, where do we go for coffee?
The Little Prince Bookshop and courtyard is a magical place for a quiet coffee in the heart of the city and Origem Café on trendy Dizengoff Street is also a coffee lover’s must.
Favourite place to escape and watch the world go by?
I love watching the world go by on a Friday afternoon at Faruk Ba Shuk in Jaffa.
There’s live music and people just feel compelled to have a little boogie in the street. I also love going to the Tel Aviv port (‘Namal’) at the northern end of the beach strip, wandering through the indoor food market there or just sitting on the wooden boardwalk and watching the crashing waves of the sea and all the people going by.
My favourite ‘escape’ moment of the week is doing Sunset Yoga on a Saturday evening by the Tel Aviv Marina. It’s open air and you’re just a couple of metres from the sea – sooooooo relaxing and unique. For shopping, head to trendy Sheinkin Street as well as the crafts market at Nahalat Binyamin St (on a Tues and Thurs)- these won’t fail you and your wallet will definitely be a little lighter after a wander there as you’re bound to pick up something fabulous.
Where’s your favourite place for a trip into the countryside?
Goats With the Wind, an organic cheese farm and restaurant up in the Galilee region.
What’s the prettiest spot in Tel Aviv?
Without a doubt, Neve Tsedek neighbourhood (one of the oldest neighbourhoods) with its artsy feel, fabulous architecture, tiny little roads, boutiques, cute little wine bars, bistros and restaurants and the Suzanne Delal cultural centre.
The best view of Tel Aviv is from . . . Mifrats Shlomo Promenade in old Jaffa and Haiku Skybar at the Lighthouse Hotel.
Tough question as this place is all about food!! But definite MUSTS include dinner at Natflat Supper Club of course! And . . . :
- Hummus and falafel (try going to Abu Hassan in Jaffa- one of the oldest and most famous hummus joints, or Hakosem)
- Shakshuka (try Benedict where you can have breakfast 24/7!)
- Schnitzel (try Café Noir for the best in town)
- Dinner at Thai House or Yakimono on Rothschild Ave (5) lunch at the Old Man and the Sea in Jaffa port, or celebrity chef Eyal Shani’s HaSalon– the most amazing farm to table experience and such a lively and fun night out (fine dining, an open kitchen so you can watch the chefs at work and a great DJ and people end up dancing on the tables!) a super special place
- Fresh Medjool dates from the market or a spice or fruiterer shop, Bissli (barbeque flavour) and Bamba (peanut flavour) snacks from any kiosk, supermarket or newsagent shop
- Absolutely everything in the ‘shuk’ Carmel Market!
- Not in Tel Aviv but an absolutely unmissable experience, the 3-hour multi-dish tasting menu at Mahneyuda restaurant in Jerusalem
The best thing to drink in Tel Aviv is . . .
The award-winning cocktails at Bellboy and Imperial Craft Bar are out of this world and will leave you sorry you never made it to Tel Aviv sooner! For something a little more casual yet unusual in every respect, head to Gugys Public House at 14 Rambam St right by the market or head to Bicicletta Garden Bar on Nahalat Binyamin St.
May or September before or after the intense heat and humidity of summer and the peak tourist season (but if coming in September, double check that the Jewish festivals period does not coincide as that is also a busy period).
I don’t have to venture far to Gordon Beach in the heart of the city by the main hotel strip and 2 minutes’ walk from home. It’s very lively and has a vibrant atmosphere. The beach attracts tourists and locals alike, young and old. The beach bar there – LaLa Land – is fantastic especially at sunset and with a day or just a few hours spent at Gordon you’re sure to soak up some sunny rays, catch some waves (or swim nearby at Gordon open-air seawater pool, watch or join those playing ‘matkot’ (bat and ball) or beach volleyball, join in the regular open-air swing and dance sessions and hear the unique sound of those speedo-clad Israeli lifeguards over the loudspeakers to really make you remember that you’re in the Mediterranean but you’re also in the Middle East.
Is there a local charity or cause that you’d love visitors to know about?
I work with Lasova by delivering leftover food from the Natflat Supper Club to them which they usually distribute in their soup kitchen or in their homeless shelters. I’ve also spent a couple of mornings volunteering at the soup kitchen at 18 Chelnov Street – certainly an eye-opener- and definitely a very worthy charity!
Thanks to Natty for sharing her side of Tel Aviv. I highly recommend checking out the supper club if you’re in town.
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