There may be no more colorful character in Tel Aviv's art scene than Dr. Ronald Fuhrer, author, Israeli art expert, and irreverent entertainer. Holding court on the top floor of his Contemporary by Golconda gallery (117 Herzl St.; 972-3/682-2777; contemporary.co.il) and Ravel Museum (officially launching this May), both housed in an old halva factory-cum-printing press on the border of Tel Aviv and Jaffa, Dr. Fuhrer is credited with helping to pioneer the city's latest up-and-coming arts community when he moved his art space from the glitzy Rothschild Boulevard to its current home in the early 2000s. Artists and other gallerists have since flocked to the emerging locale, situated a stone’s throw from the trendy area of Neve Tzedek. When not curating shows of the world-renown artists he represents, including Itzhak Danziger and Lior Modan, you can find him in Tel Aviv’s chicest shops, restaurants, and bars. From the city’s best brunch to the ultimate sunset perch, here Dr. Fuhrer shares his insider's guide to the best of the White City.
Where would you put up friends visiting town? The Norman Hotel (23-25 Nachmani St.; 800-398-8751; thenorman.com), the newest flagship property in town, or Hotel Montefiore (36 Montefiore St.; 972-3/564-6100; hotelmontefiore.co.il), the staple, pioneering boutique property. The Norman makes you feel as if you are transported to the early days of Tel Aviv, with its ornate, eclectic-architecture-style buildings in the heart of the city. Hotel Montefiore is the "it" spot for its incredible restaurant, impeccable service, and an unprecedented local feel in a stunning International architecture-style building.
What is your favorite restaurant to take visitors? Yakimono, Tel Aviv's staple sushi restaurant, which is unwaveringly consistent and offers the freshest Israeli take on sushi. I would take visitors to Yakimono for an intimate dinner undistracted by whoever else is around, and focused only on our conversation and the sushi! (317 Ha-Yarkon St.; 972-3/520-2128; yakimono.co.il.)
What is your go-to after-hours bar? Rothschild12, an energetic local bar with live music adored by just about everyone in town (12 Rothschild Blvd.; 971-3/510-6430; rothschild12.co.il). I'm not much for sweet drinks but I heard the mint julep is divine, and the bar stays open pretty much until last customer.
What is your Sunday morning routine in your neighborhood? Well in Israel, Sunday is the beginning of the week, the "Israeli Monday" if you will. I start each day with a workout on my terrace overlooking the Mediterranean. From there, I have a light breakfast and head to Contemporary by Golconda to meet with clients and the artists we represent, which usually takes up my day until around 5 PM (117 Herzl St.; 972-3/682-2777; contemporary.co.il).
Where is the best brunch? Norman Hotel, with its sun-drenched terrace and healthier breakfast items that leave me feeling light on my feet.
What’s your favorite view in town (that tourists might not know about)? Andromeda, an ancient hill in Jaffa, is elevated overlooking the Jaffa Port and the stunning Mediterranean Sea. A great spot to watch the sunset.
What’s your favorite path or trail to follow on a walk? A walk along the Jaffa port makes you feel like you are transported back in time with fishing boats, small cafes, and ancient structures dotted along the way. Walk south along the coast to the edge of Jaffa, which is absolutely stunning.
What are your favorite off-beat cultural attractions? I am much more interested in the classic culture attractions, but lately, I have been enthused by contemporary Russian culture, which is actually quite commonplace in Tel Aviv. I tend to seek out Russian tastemakers and attractions in the city so that I might practice speaking and perfect my conversational tongue.
What’s your favorite shop or boutique? The Sarona market is a worthwhile stop for travelers, especially the indoor food market (3 Aluf Kalman Magen St.; 972-3/624-2424; saronamarket.co.il). For shopping or boutique items, I head to Hibino, a Japanese design concept store, and Story, the top carrier of international men's fashion brands in Tel Aviv.
What’s the ultimate souvenir from your town—something you can only get there? Art, of course. Israeli artists are beyond talented, and have been gaining in notoriety in the major markets of Paris, New York, and London. But some Israeli art has yet to be discovered, and art enthusiasts should peep around some of the galleries in town and acquire inspiring works that will likely gain in value over the next few years.
What’s the best-kept local secret? Tel Aviv is the safest city in the world and home to a growing number of art galleries. I predict that the Israeli art scene will emerge amongst the hottest art destinations of 2016, hopefully a secret that will be exposed over time!
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Photo Credits: Rothschild12; Dana Friedman; Hotel Montefiore