Adam Tihany knows the inside of his suitcase better than the inside of his Manhattan apartment. The hotel and restaurant designer travels constantly for work, for pleasure, and to discover new places to eat. Fortunately, some of his latest projects—Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental London; the One&Only Cape Town resort, in South Africa—happen to be in top dining destinations. “Because I’m so inundated with design, I’m drawn to restaurants where I don’t have to be critical of my surroundings and can just focus on the food,” he says. Here, Tihany shares his favorite finds.
When Tihany was growing up in Israel, he recalls, “there was barely anything to eat at all.” Now, thanks to a booming dot-com industry and a worldly attitude, Tel Aviv is “the sexiest, the most interesting, the most progressive place on the planet. If you think Copacabana is hot, you haven’t been to Tel Aviv.” A typical night out starts at Cantina (dinner for two $80), an Italian restaurant that’s “the best place for people-watching: actors, Russian oligarchs, models.” For drinks, Tihany heads to Radio E.P.G.B. (7 Shadal at Yehuda Halevi St.; 972-3/560-3636; drinks for two $20), an Israeli take on New York’s late, lamented rock club CBGB, or Taxidermy (33 HaHashmal; drinks for two $19), a dark boîte whose walls are mounted with stag heads and stuffed pheasants. Or he’ll begin at Otto Bar (76 Ibn Gvirol; no phone; cocktails for two $18), directly across from Rabin Square. There’s no real door at the entrance, so just look for the crates of beer stacked in the corridor. Once you’re inside, the attractive bartenders serve an impressive array of beer, wine, and cocktails. He ends the night at Tel Aviv’s buzzing bistro Brasserie M&R (70 Ibn Gvirol St.; 972-3/696-7111; dinner for two $100) for “a steak at three a.m. and the latest gossip.”