Here in Israel, there is a slower pace to life; specifically in the restaurant industry. You come in, you sit down, you chat. Maybe 15 minutes will go by before someone brings you a menu; maybe they’ll give it to you right away. After receiving the menu, you might have your order taken somewhere in the 5 to 20 minute range. It depends. It’s after the food arrives where the magic happens. The restaurant staff just leave you alone after you’ve ordered. You could be in the biggest rush to get the check and leave, or want to sit there for the next 48 hours, it doesn’t matter. You are left alone.
This “live and let live” attitude on the waitstaff’ behalf is infuriating when you have plans after dinner and need to get on your way. But, for people like me who love the idea of going to a cafe and sitting all day long and getting stuff done, it’s ideal. No one pressures you to order more, your waitress doesn’t harass you for her tip because her shift is ending, no one is hovering around you like a vulture waiting to turn the table over. You are left in peace to do or not do whatever you like.
In the spirit of going to cafes to get stuff done, here is my short list of the five best cafes in Tel Aviv to just sit and do work. Hope you enjoy!
This is an all-around enjoyable experience. The staff is friendly and there is a comprehensive menu in English including breakfasts, sandwiches, desserts, and coffee.It goes without saying that you can sit here for hours, doing work and be left alone (otherwise it would not have made it on the list). Some points to be aware of are that there are almost no outlets available save for one at a huge round table meant for 6+, or one next to a sofa. While the seats, booths, and sofas are very comfortable,the tables are at awkward heights for extended working time (either too low or too high). Otherwise, try the Belgian Waffle! It’s HUGE and comes with every gourmet fixing you could imagine indulging in. Of course, there is free WIFI, as well.
If you are looking for a place where the waitstaff is young and hip, and the coffee drinks are blendy and icey cool, this is the cafe for you. With ample indoor and outdoor seating, this cafe is always busy no matter what day of the week it is. One thing to be aware of though is that this seems to be the occasional gathering place for large groups of middle school girls. They can get loud and overwhelming, but the waitstaff generally do a good job of controlling the chaos. the WIFI is password protected, but the password is easily obtained. I highly recommend the “Vanilla Cookies” Non-Coffee drink. The blended ice coffees in this country can sometimes leave you feeling as though you are having a heart attack from the amount of espresso they spike their blended drinks with. The Vanilla Cookies is a caffeine-free, delicious refreshing cookies n’ cream treat, for people like me who is very sensitive to caffeine.
This cafe has the best food, but is generally very busy. Ample indoor and outdoor seating is available, however outlets are only available inside. You may not feel so comfortable sitting here for hours on end because of the constant coming and going of people, but the waitstaff is happy to forget you are sitting in the corner and leave you alone. Try the chicken/avocado sandwich. Everything comes with a deicious green salad and the sandwiches are quite large so come hungry for brain food!
Cafe Hillel holds a special place in my heart as the cafe where I have written countless papers for graduate school, and until recently occupied the number 1 slot in best study cafes for me. On one hand, Cafe Hillel has this fabulous work space in the back that is a round table with easy chairs, reading lamps, and personal outlets. On the other, the waitstaff is so disorganized that it is a crap shoot of what your experience will be every time you go. You may be asked 40 times if you would like to order food, or you may never be asked. You may be bothered about not ordering for four hours, you may not be. You may be asked for your name to put on your bill, or you may not be. One never knows at Cafe Hillel. This cafe offers one of the best and simplest cafe sandwiches I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. My recommendation for Cafe Hillel is the Goat Cheese Sandwich: a simple combination of goat cheese, crisp lettuce, red onion, and roasted red pepper spread all on fresh delicious bread. Amazing. And truth be told, Cafe Hillel occupied my number one slot of best places to do school work until very recently when I discovered…
If I were to open a cafe, I would conceptualize and hope for this cafe. Not only is the location ideal and centrally located and the food fresh and delicious, but this is half cafe/ half laundromat. Brilliant! Come, do your laundry, drink a cup of coffee, and get work done! It’s a one-stop shop for the busy graduate student just trying to maximize her time. But, wait! There’s more! Dizi also offers laptop rentals for 20NIS/hr, DVD rentals, and book rentals. The music is hippyish and retro, the crowd seems to be slightly more intellectual, and with high ceilings, live plants, and lively colors, this cafe feels so open and welcoming. The extra-long, super-comfy couch that sits against the glass wall separating the laundromat from the cafe, practically screams “come! enjoy your whole day here!” The icing on the cake is that there are plenty of outlets to go around and you can sit basically anywhere inside and also be able to comfortably plug-in. Dizi makes their own iced-tea, which is a far cry from the sugary nestea everyone else carries. And when you order a water, they remember to bring it you. As long as you aren’t calling out for attention, the staff leaves you alone to work, blog, or study in peace. Dizi is the ideal study cafe.