Tel Aviv has its fair share of malls international brand name stores, but there are also many Israeli designers of both fashion and accessories who make their home base here. You'll find them throughout the city but HaTachana, a former railway station that's been transformed into an outdoor mall, is a great place to start.
There are busier and better-known shopping centers in Tel Aviv, but none is as fun and original as the HaTachana Marketplace. It’s an old (1892) railway station situated between tony Neve Tzedek and the beach, and was re-opened as an outdoor marketplace in 2010. Make that, a beautiful marketplace. Israeli fashion designers for men and women are well-represented here, and there’s even a great bookstore and toy shop. Wonderful al fresco restaurants too, such as the Shushka Shvilli tapas bar.
Eran Bellely's little shop off Allenby St. is a lot of fun. Though nearly 20 years old it retains the aura of a hip, insider shop in New York's East Village. Bellely prints his own line of retro-style T-shirts using patterns he fishes from the sea of American and Israeli pop culture. The casual wear is geared toward guys but the tees are pretty unisex.
He also carries items from David Sassoon (another Israeli designer), often at steep discounts. Don't miss this shop. 1 HaMacabi St. (at Tcherniovsky), tel. 03-5285159.
When it came to natural resources in the Middle East, Israel got the short end of the stick. But when it comes to olive oil in these parts, nobody does it better. LiveO is a beautiful shop that sells artisanal olive oils sourced exclusively from Israeli olive trees. The Barnea variety has a pungent fragrance with a hint of artichoke. Souri has a hint of pepper and honey. Picual is sweet and fruity. Try these and other interesting varieties. 21 Rothschild Blvd., tel. 972-3-560-9999
4. Made in TLV
Calling Made in TLV a souvenir shop would be like saying a Big Mac is just a hamburger. Oh wait, bad comparison. Maybe I was distracted by the seemingly endless array of Tel Aviv-themed notebooks, magnets, lampshades, shirts, clocks, belts, wallets, postcards, art cards, bags, sandals, floor stones and jewelry… one foray here and you’ll be stamping “last minute airport gift” out of your travel vocabulary for good. At the HaTachana marketplace.
If you're a guy and you buy clothes from David Sassoon, there's a very real risk someone somewhere will stop you in the street to ask where you bought them. It’s all about form-fitting fabrics and fearless embrace of colors and patterns that oh-so gently push the masculine fashion envelope. Everything is hand-sewn in Israel. David, fantastic at 40, wouldn’t have it any other way and, if you’ve come this far, neither should you. 170 Dizengoff St., tel. 972-3-529-8536
What? Did you honestly think you could leave Israel without picking up a classy tchotchke for Momma? What chutzpah! Get your tuchas to one of Michal Negrin’s fantastically colorful shops, where there’s no end to vintage-inspired designs that include jewelry, fashion, home décor, and accessories, sometimes with a festive hint of Judaica, more often just festive. And sparkly. She’ll love it. At HaTachana Marketplace and various locations.
7. Inn7Inn7 is the best boutique in Tel Aviv for finding designer ready-to-wear with an emphasis on cutting edge labels. That means you'll have to chase down your Prada and your Polo elsewhere, because here the likes of Raf Simons and Daniele Alessandrini rule the day, and stylin' owner Ofer Tuvyahu wouldn't have it any other way. Walk downstairs one flight to enter this Aladdin's den of snappy schmatas for women and men.
177 Ben Yehuda, 03.620.1022