With its “Tel Aviv ‘Wallpaper’ City Guide,” Phaidon Press admits the young Jewish city into the old boy’s club of international metropolitan travel destinations. And although the guide praises Tel Aviv’s modernity, it reveals in its introduction a surprise at the city’s sophistication, a theme that resurfaces constantly throughout the book. The city is measured against its taller brothers in the west — London, Rome, Paris and New York — and the writers never forget to mark the city short. (Tel Aviv is the only Israeli city featured in the “Wallpaper City Guide” series.)
The guide does a great job, however, of employing selectivity, rather than succumbing to the wide lens of traditional guidebooks. It highlights, with an eye unblinkingly focused on design, only the most worthy locations. Each section — including the most innovative, “24 Hours,” which suggests a time-sensitive sightseeing plan — is handily tabbed for easy access. And each location is color coded, placing it in one of the eight “hot ’hoods” of the city. All in all, the guide, nearly as small as a passport, is just as indispensable for the chic-seeking tourist — if he or she can tolerate the condescension.