There's something new in the neighbourhood…and it sure looks good. About 6 months ago, on the corner of Herzl and Florentine streets in the heart of south Tel Aviv's Florentine neighbourhood, City Coffee Break opened its floor to ceiling windowed doors.
The gentrification of Florentine has been anticipated and pondered on for the last 15 year at least, but with the arrival of more upscale bars and restaurants in the last couple, not the mention the continual sound of construction, it seems like this may actually be happening for real. And if a shiny new urban-style coffee shop with industrial reading lamps, computer plugs in every corner and a scattering of laptop banging hipsters isn't a sign that gentrification is on its way, I don't know what is.
City is a coffee shop in every sense of the word (read: American-style coffee shop, NOT European-style café.) A white and yellow taxi-cab colour scheme and urban block-font logo welcome you into a large high-ceilinged space plastered with stylish bilingual 'Self-service' signs.
After placing our order for 2 cappuccinos, a siniya sandwich (the house specialty), a healthy whole wheat avocado sandwich and a halva pastry, we scooted off to find a table while we waited for our number to be called. Before we could count to 10, the coffee was ready, and the sandwiches well on their way. City isn't kidding with their 'Coffee Break' sub-title – even if I only had half an hour for lunch, I wouldn't be stressed.
The coffee, as promised to us by manager Guy, was of high quality and totally delicious. The siniya sandwich (named after a traditional Arab dish of similar content) was slathered with tehina, stuffed full of ground beef and lamb, and topped with tomato and fresh parsley. The avocado, a healthier sandwich, was served on a brown roll, instead of the siniya's fluffy white one (all bread is fresh baked), and along with the expected avocado salad, black olive tapenade, and slices of hard boiled egg dressed things up.
But the real treat was the halvah pastry, which were pleased to note was sweet, but not cloyingly so. Baked on site, this wondrous cross between croissant pastry and yeast pastry was steaming hot, rich and fluffy. The only problem was that we now most certainly needed more coffee, so I marched back up to the till and ordered up a short and a long espresso macchiato. I liked how they served the steamed milk on the side, so we could decide just how 'marked' we wanted our espresso.
In addition to sandwiches and an assortment of fresh pastries, City also offers salads, mini sandwiches and breakfast until 11am.
With Florentine being marked as the new 'centre' of Tel Aviv, it seems I have no choice but to pitch up at City one of these days, select an eggplant coloured swivel chair and happily pound away at my laptop with the rest of the cool kids.
79 Herzl, corner of Florentine Street, Tel Aviv.
Opening Hours: Sun-Wed 6am – midnight, Fri and Sat 6am – 1am.