Tel Aviv – Jaffa – good places to eat and drink

Our best meals were in Tel Aviv itself (see coming posts) but we did have a few good culinary experiences in Jaffa (map here).

As breakfast doesn’t usually come with an AirBnB, we booked a place opposite this 24 hour bakery…

Said el Abu Lafia & Sons Pita Bakery aka Abouelafia Bakery (Intermediate B), Yefet Street, always open

Tel Aviv’s oldest bakery. It’s so famous there was even a TV crew there one day, filming the oven at work.

You can ask the staff to put your purchases in the oven to warm them up. I tried a new pastry for breakfast every day. My favourite was the Spinach & Cheese Bureka (A) at the bottom of the picture.

Originally of Ottoman origin, Israeli burekas are made from either filo dough or puff pastry and stuffed with various fillings, salty cheese being the most popular. The plain, triangular plain Cheese Bureka scored lower though (C). At the top of the picture is a Potato Sambusak, which is the local Samosa (C).

I also tried the Almond Croissant (pictured below) which was really nice (B), as was the Sweet Cheese ‘Croissant’ (B). You can also get another ancestor of the Viennese croissant, the Rugelach, which was brought to Israel by Polish Jews.

They also make veg burekas, bagels, pitas, bread, and a whole host of other cakes and pastries. They have a coffee machine too but the coffee isn’t great (C-).

Probably the best area for restaurants in Jaffa is around the Bapishpishim flea market (aka Shuk Ha Pishpishim). There are heaps of interesting hipster bars and restaurants on the side streets around the market but this place has been around for quite a while…

Dr Shakshuka (Low Intermediate B), 3 Beit Eshel Street,

We had our first meal in Jaffa at this well-known restaurant which features in many guides. It’s a big old place that must be able to seat 100+ people, mainly in the big yard out back. The restaurant has three or four different set meals (there’s no à la carte) which all have the same starters, so these will land on the table as soon as you arrive. They will probably try to push the biggest, most expensive set on you but you can ask for the smaller ‘business’ menu.

Shakshuka is a dish of eggs, bell peppers and spicy tomato sauce baked in a cast iron pan. Originally from North Africa it has become particularly popular in Israel, especially for breakfast. The version here is okay (I’ve had better here), as are the salads (all B), but I was disappointed with the Merguez sausages (C-) which were nothing like the longer, spicier ones I’d had in Algerian restaurants in France.

Dr Shakshuka is worth a visit but I’m sure there are better places. They also sell Shwarma and Libyan couscous but I can’t comment on those. The homemade lemonade is good though (B).

Italkiya Bapishpishim (Intermediate B), 16 Olei Zion Street

Mark and I came here for an Italian fix and a change of flavours. I enjoyed the Bianca Funghi Pizza topped with king oyster and portobello mushrooms and truffle oil. Their Pannacotta and Tiramisu are good too (B). However, the Chianti Ruffino was… a bit rough (C).

It’s party central around Bapishpishim at the weekend, especially Friday and Saturday night after Shabat (the Sabbath). Hard core ravers should check out Shaffa Bar where they didn’t stop for at least two days while we were in town.

Another hotspot for restaurants and bars is around Jaffa Old Port. The port is now a marina for fishing boats and private vessels. Four or five of the quayside buildings have been converted to be bars and restaurants. The Container is a live music menu which is a good spot for a few Goldstar beers (B).

Another place with a good rep (from guides and personal recommendations) down in the port is The Old Man and the Sea restaurant. It was high on our hitlist but unfortunately we didn’t have time to go. There’s a fish and chip shop too.

And near our AirBnB on Yefet Street…

Haj Kahil (Elementary B+), 12 Nahum Goldmann Street,

According to some, this takeaway is the best place in Jaffa to eat Shawarma (doner kebab). Mark and I trundled down the short distance from our flat after a 14km hike when we weren’t capable of walking anywhere else!

The lamb schwarma was very good as were the fluffy pitas (B+). The salads were okay (B) but I left the stone cold chips (C). It’s a takeaway so there are a few seats but they have a proper sit down restaurant over the road (although they don’t have shawarma there).

Exploring Tel Aviv next!

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