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Like the rest of Israel, the Tel Aviv of old used to be a gastronomic desert.
A taxi driver I once asked where to find good Middle Eastern cuisine thought for a moment, then suggested: "Beirut? A new generation of chefs is teaching people that there is more to eating out than bolting down felafel, humus and matzo balls from the innumerable, and generally reliable, street stalls.
Joggers and skaters weave through the throng heading for the beach, past an exuberant samba band and a string quartet of young women in bikinis busking Mozart.
Although people from Jerusalem would never agree, Tel Aviv has taken over as Israel's cultural capital.Among them is Joey's on Allenby Street, an American-style place with rock music from the Sixties onwards. Jazz and blues sets at Logos, in the Carmel district, and the Terminal on Gordon Street are packed each night.Most bars serve excellent local beer and should be able to rustle up Israeli wine.Cars that stray into the ultra-orthodox areas may run the gauntlet of a volley of stones.But Tel Aviv is a secular and cosmopolitan city, and shabbat is celebrated with a boisterous Mediterranean joie de vivre.
The range of museums, galleries, theatres and concert halls can be a bit overwhelming for visitors with limited time, but the Friday issue of the Jerusalem Post contains by far the best guide to what's on.