Tag Archives: Jaffa

Copycats – Fleamarket

8 Sep

We might have mentioned this before, but as tourists in Tel Aviv, you must not miss a night (a day as well, but nevertheless) in Jaffa Flea Market. The restaurant and bar scene at the “authentic” location not far away from Jaffa Port is becoming trendier as the time passes. Dozens of locations spread along the market area making it livelier at night than at day, and a great reason to visit. It is no surprising that the oh-so-2011 market-restaurants will arrive to the flea market. The name didn’t surprise as well – the Fleamarket.

Jaffa Flea Market @ Night

Jaffa Flea Market @ Night

Well, unsurprising is probably what you’ll think all along your dinner (at least if you had some dinners in Tel Aviv). Yes, the location is great – the vibe coming from this area is quite laid back, almost like visiting the beach towns of Turkey or Greece. The vast amount of street tables is really fun and gives you the feeling of the old market coming to life. With that sort of pre-conditions, you would expect the food to match.

Andalusian Gazpacho soup

Andalusian Gazpacho soup

But it was so predictable. The same owners of the La Shuk restaurant from Dizingoff (which is itself a copy of Machne Yehuda restaurant from Jerusalem) brought to the Fleamarket the exact same type of food, with the same paper-menus-retro-metal-chairs, well, you get the point.

Tuna fish Nicoise Salad

Tuna fish Nicoise Salad

And it wasn’t that the food was bad – a dish of Andalusian Gazpacho soup was OK, though not thrilling. Another starter of fresh Tuna fish Nicoise Salad was also not bad at all – it had some very classic taste achieved by a nice sauce. Even though, its pricing was somewhat high.

 Black & White Grilled Calamari

Black & White Grilled Calamari

The main courses kept the same spirit – tasty yet boring. The black & white grilled Calamari with goat yogurt was well executed, but we had the same dish in more than a dozen restaurants around town. The now-so-popular grilled sweetbreads had also some classic tastes in it, and it was rather the grilled Artichokes, Fennel and Beet that gave the bit-more-special variety to the dish.

Grilled Sweetbreads

Grilled Sweetbreads

Along with some Cabarne Franc white wine that was recommended to us, we have decided that market restaurants have finally lost their excitement in Tel Aviv restaurant scene. Though it doesn’t mean it will be easy for you to find a table in the Fleamarket, don’t expect it to surprise you in any way.

The Check Please (2 people)

Red Tuna Nicoise – 69 NIS
Andalusian Gazpacho – 28 NIS
Sweetbreads – 69 NIS
Black & White Calamari – 49 NIS
Cabarne Franc (by the glass) X2 – 78 NIS

All in all: 283 NIS

Summary

Food: Market Food
Price: Medium-Expensive
Location: Jaffa Flea Market

The Cizer Kobrinsky Scale

3 Forks

 

Contact details: Fleamarket

Address: 8 Rabbi Yohanan St. Jaffa | Phone: 036202262

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The Jaffa Escape – Yona

9 Apr

Some things seem simply inevitable. The sun will rise up in the morning; Messi will score in the next Barca match; A new restaurant with a lot of buzz, a predictable name and a perfect location will succeed. At least it was our assumption when we headed at another Thursday night to the new hot name at the vibrant Jaffa Port area – Yona (or Jonah).

Yona

Yona

Yona’s atmosphere is pretty cool. The combination between wooden furniture, high ceiling and the open kitchen creates a setting which you can’t ignore – some kind of urban-yet-welcoming feeling. Even though, we felt it a bit too processed and trying too hard to impress. But hey – it wasn’t as bad as the food.

Taboun Grilled Tomato salad & Haloumi Terracota

Taboun Grilled Tomato salad & Haloumi Terracota

The starter we took was at least an attempt to create an original dish. The tomato salad Terracota and melting Halloumi cheese (cooked in the Taboun) isn’t something you’d normally see in a restaurant’s menu, but it lacked any real soul in it. The tomato salad was nothing more than a few chopped tomatoes without any kicking flavor. Too bad for the Halloumi, which definitely saw some better dishes next to it.

Bouillabaisse soup

Bouillabaisse soup

The two main courses we took were a different story altogether – some kind of a horror story. Bouillabaisse soup is one of our all-time favorite sea food dishes. When the chef knows what he is doing, it can be marvelous (we recommend the neighboring Container for this one).  Unfortunately this one was lousy. The soup was served separated from the seafood (why? It is best to cook them together), which made the soup itself simply tasteless. The mediocre fish, as well as the mussels and the shrimps seemed as they don’t understand what had been poured on them as Inbar combined the two.

Hanger Steak Medallions

Hanger Steak Medallions

The other main course could have been a rescue for the dinner. The Hanger Steak medallions we ordered felt they had taken care of by someone who understands how to pick beef. Unfortunately, the dish, served along some tired Chard leaves, was simply cold. After asking for another round of heating for the beef we got it again. Cold. At this point there was no hope for the beef after taken out twice out of the pan. While waiting for it, at least we had some very successful oven potatoes that kept us from starving.

Oven Baked Potatoes - Kept us from starving

Oven Baked Potatoes - Kept us from starving

After that experience, we have decided we will act as the Hebrew prophet and flee outside to the beautiful Jaffa Port. Though it seems the restaurant is a success in terms of occupancy, it should definitely have deep thoughts about its chefs.

The Check Please (2 people)

Taboun Grilled Tomato salad & Haloumi Terracota – 32 NIS
Bouillabaisse soup – 99 NIS
Hanger Steak Medallions – 79 NIS
Oven Baked Potatoes – 14 NIS
Guinness 1/3 lt – 22 NIS
Weinsteffen 1/3 lt – 22 NIS
Perrier – 8 NIS

All in all: 276 NIS

Summary:

Food: Seafood & Taboun grilled food
Price: Medium-Expensive
Location: Jaffa Port

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

1.5 Forks

Contact Details: Yona (Jonah)
Address:  Hangar 1, Jaffa Port, Jaffa| Phone: 03-7742222 |
Daily 12:00-24:00
http://www.yona.be/en/

The King’s Wife – Vashti

16 Jan

Bread with dips

For a while the word on the street said there is a new place in Jaffa that worth a visit. It was 8 PM at a cold Thursday evening when we have decided we should go out to eat. Luckily, our first try to find a place was successful with seats on the bar at Vashti. Vashti is one of trendy restaurants that were opened in the last year and represent the new Israeli kitchen – market goods in small plates.

Cured Rump Cuts with Mini Pita

As appetizers we were served nice bread served with Pepper Aioli, Balsamic & Olive oil (in a deep bowl which made the balsamic inaccessible) and non-spicy green Skhug. The first dish we ordered was the home made cured rump cuts that was served with mini pita bread and some mezzets to fill-in the small pita. The idea was nice, but they should have supply some more pita in order to take the “make-your-own-meal” experience to extreme.

Sweetbreads

The second appetizer we ordered was Sweetbreads on celery cream and bacon & king oyster mushroom. The cream fitted perfectly to the sweetbreads that were cooked to the right point and were tender without too much fat. Alongside, the mushroom added an interesting twist to the whole dish as it had an unexpected texture.

Sea food platter

We shared the main dish – Sea food platter that contained crab, mussels, shrimps, calamari, tomatoes and Kalamata olives. The shrimps were big (Tiger), the crab digging was fun, the sauce was tasty but we finished the dish with the feeling that a lot was missing. For 120 NIS we would expect a little bigger dish.

With that dish we decided to end the evening and skip the dessert. The dinner at Vashti was good as the word on street said. We just can’t figure out why Ahasuerus replaced Vashti for Esther.

The check please (2 people)

Cured Rump Cuts – 32 NIS
Sweetbreads – 45NIS
Sea Food Platter – 120NIS
Sangria – 34 NIS
San Miguel 20 NIS

All in all: 251 NIS

Summary:
Food: New Israeli Kitchen; Market
Price: High
Location: Jaffa

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3.5 Forks

 

Contact details: Vashti
Address:  8 Ha’Aliya Hashniya (The Clock Square), Jaffa | Phone: 057942867 |
Opening Hours:  Monday to Saturday, 18:00 to 24:00|
http://vashti.rest-e.co.il/

New House, Old Food – Casa Nova

3 Dec

Rainy Friday noon in Jaffa in amazing arched building – we set a brunch in a ceviche place named Casa Nova, or as the sign say “Cevicheria”. The place tells about itself that their specialty is new Latin food.  Sounds premising in theory, but in practice… well, read this post and decide for yourself.

Mixto

Inbar took the Mixto – mix of Fish, Shrimps, Calamari and Mussels in lime, red onion and coriander in chili cream, which was probably the highlight of the meal – a nice and fresh sea salad. Shahar took Escabeche –Fish “a la plancha” in vinegar of onion and pepper served on top of avocado crème. The fish was soaked in vinegar for too long which caused it to be very sour and not so tasty. Adi took Calentado, rice with black beans and tomato sauce topped with egg, sunny side up style, and mullet fish fillet. The rice was undercooked, the egg came in a different plate (they forgot to serve it…) and the fish seemed to come from a different story (although Adi thought it was nicely cooked).

Escabeche - The fish was soaked in vinegar for too long

Calentado - fish from a different story

We have also shared Remolacha & Almojabanas. Remolacha is a beet salad that was served with carrots, coriander seeds and Manchego cheese. The salad wasn’t special but it was good due to the fine cheese that supplied that needed edge.  Almojabanas are scones of corn and cheese that were quite unique and suited the salad.

Remolacha - Beet Salad

Almojabanas - scones of corn and cheese

We were also served a complimentary dish (that was charged by mistake) – Choritos – Mussels and shells with salsa of red onion and tomatoes. The dish was small and the mussels felt as they were taken out of freezer.

Choritos

To sum up the experience – the setting is amazing and you can have some wonderful sea view but the food is somewhat disappointing.  If you’re just looking for an outstanding sea view – go for it, just don’t expect outstanding food.

The Check Please (3 people)

Calentado – 74NIS
Escabeche – 39NIS
Almojabanas – 28NIS
Remolacha – 21NIS
Mixto – 40NIS
Cava Brut – 48NIS
Mineral water – 14NIS
Choritos – 28NIS

All in all: 264NIS

Summary:

Food: Sea food / Latin
Price: High
Location: Jaffa port

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3 Forks

Contact Details: Casa Nova

Address:  Ratzif Haalya Hashnia 48, Jaffa port| Phone: 03-5413636
http://www.casa-nova.co.il

Arabic Style – Haj Kahil

24 Sep

Haj Kahil

The biweekly meeting with Adi & Elad took place in Jaffa, according to Adi’s choice. For a while she was thinking about the Arabic restaurant in the clock square at the border of Tel Aviv and Jaffa. It was Thursday so it was very hard to find a parking space. Once we arrived to the restaurant it was easy to forget Jaffa’s chaotic atmosphere that took place outside of our street view table.

Tabouleh salad

We started with Tabouleh salad that was made mostly out of chopped parsley (as opposed to oriental restaurants that uses mostly Tabouleh and a bit of parsley) which gave it a fresh sense. We also took slices of Sabra fruit with Labaneh scoops, which was a very surpriesing dish that was quickly gone from the plate.

Sabra fruit with Labaneh scoops

For main course Adi and I shared Mansaf which is Lamb Ossobuco served with yogurt and rice on top of Taboon bread. The meat in this dish was amazing, tender and full of tastes you just can’t resist.  The rice, bread and yogurt were left far behind. Elad took Kebab skewer with Mujaddara. The Kebab was tasty but not something to write home about…

Mansaf

For desert we took Kanafeh which is a desert made from kadayıf noodles and goat cheese topped with sugar syrup. The Kanafeh was very good and was perfectly escorted by the black coffee in small glass.
If you are looking for an oriental Arabic restaurant in the heart of Israel, Haj Kahil will definitely do the job.

The check please (3 people)
Tabouleh salad – 20NIS
Sabra fruit – 28NIS
Mansaf – 95NIS
Kebab Skewer – 28NIS
Small Kanafeh – 24NIS
Coke – 10NIS
San Pellegrino  – 22NIS
2 X coffee  16NIS
Tea – 8 NIS

All in all: 251 NIS

Summary:
Food: Arabic
Price: Low – Medium
Location: Jaffa

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

4 Forks

Contact details: Haj Kahil
Address:  18 Raziel st. (clock square), Jaffa| Phone: 03-6831239 |Opening Hours:  Saturday-Thursday 11:00-24:00 | Friday 11:00 – 1:00AM |  http://www.rest.co.il/sites/Default.asp?txtRestID=11694

In-sea-fficient – Sifo

27 Jul

The Flea Market

Let’s start from the end – it’s not that we didn’t like the place – it is just that we expected more of it. It was simply insufficient. This year is the second year in which the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa is conducting the Pishpashuk – opening the flea market late in the evening every Thursday night during the summer. In this event the stores of the market alongside some stands and restaurants are open until midnight.

The Crowded Street

One can imagine that this kind of event will attract a lot of people. As such, we came early to the market (about 8:00 PM – don’t come near with a car later then that!) and we went straight to Sifo – a new seafood place that we have planned to visit thanks to some good reviews.

Sifo

We started with Fish Tartar that was served with slices of beet. This dish was an example for the whole meal – it was good but something was missing. For example – this dish was made from fresh ingredients but we missed some spiciness in it – adding green paper would have made it better.

Fish Tartar with Beet

We then continued with “Pasta” – served with Artichoke, Crab Beef & Calamari – another dish that sounds good “on the paper” (or should we say “on the menu”). Once again, on the plate it was good – but this time we missed the salt.  The Octopus Salad suffered from a combination of unrelated ingredients such as Tehini.

Pasta

At that point Adi have joined the table and ordered the Fish Ceviche that took lots of time to get to the table and was not different from the other dishes. In the meantime we were still a bit hungry and ordered small plate of Grilled Calamari – that had too much oil in it.

Grilled Calamari

For desert we ordered the chocolate cake which had a good bottom and average top (which was the cake itself).

Chocolate Cake

All in all it the dishes were fine, but none of them shined over the view of the crowded market. Next time we’re going back to Kalamata

The check please (3 people)

Octopus Salad – 45NIS
Pasta – 63NIS
Fish Tartar – 45 NIS
Ceviche – 45 NIS
Grilled Calamari (100 gr)  – 32NIS
Krombacher beer – 18NIS
2 X Bottomless wine glasses – 50NIS
Chocolate Cake – 36NIS

All in all: 384 NIS

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3 Forks

Summary:

Food:  Seafood
Price:  Medium-Expensive
Location: Jaffa’s Flea Market

Contact details: Sifo

Address:  3 Rabbi Nachman St. Corner with 13 Amiad, Jaffa |   03-6038121
Opening Hours:  Saturday-Thursday 12:00PM-Late | Friday 12:00-18:00 | http://www.facebook.com/Sifo.Jaffa (No website)

Beautiful Greek Eyes in Jaffa – Kalamata

11 Jun

In the south west of Greece, at the head of the Messenian Gulf, is where the beach city of Kalamata is located. Well known for its excellent Kalamata olives and olive oil, Kalamata got its name through the Greek phrase Kala Matia – Beautiful Eyes. The exact name suits perfectly to the new restaurant located at the Kdumim Square right on top of the gorgeous Jaffa Port.

View of the Jaffa port

Kalamata restaurant is designed to look like the traditional Greek stone made, whitewashed houses. It also supplies the best possible view of the Jaffa port (we suggest you pre-book the tables by the windows). Sitting there, enjoying the wonderful breeze of a Saturday afternoon, we were just hoping the food will be a match to the setting. And oh, it did.

Roasted Beets Salad

It started off with Roasted Beets Salad. The salad, which combines beets on the “plancha” along with many herbs such as Mint leaves, Basil, Coriander and Parsley, was definitely one of the best we ever had. Its sweet seasoning together with the fresh herbs gave it a super refreshing taste. Roman Style Artichoke dish kept the bar way up high. Grilled Italian artichokes lay on a ceramic bowl together with roasted peppers and cream cheese and were fantastic.

Roman Style Artichoke

Looking at the view from time to time, we continued our happy Mediterranean meal with a dish of Shrimps in Ouzo. Set again in an authentic ceramic plate, the Ouzo was a great alcoholic kick to the well cooked Shrimps. Another delicious dish was Shredded Black Pasta with Mussels, Calamari and Chili. We literally licked our fingers.

Shrimps in Ouzo

After this experience we couldn’t help ourselves but ordering a dessert as well. Though Arabic and not Greek at all, we took the homemade Kanafeh that was tasty as well.

Heading outside to the beautiful square, we really felt abroad. Kalamata is definitely a perfect place to stop and have a meal during your stroll in the Jaffa Port and Boardwalk area.

The check please (2 people)

Roasted Beets Salad – 28 NIS
Roman Artichoke – 28 NIS
Shrimps in Ouzo – 44 NIS
Shredded Black Pasta with Seafood – 68 NIS
Kenafeh – 26 NIS
Coke – 12 NIS
Soda Water – 10 NIS

All in all: 216 NIS

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

4.5 Forks

 Summary:

Food:  Mediterranean
Price:  Medium
Location: Jaffa Old city

Contact details: Kalamata

Address:  10 Kdumim Square, Jaffa | 03-6819998|
Opening Hours:  Monday-Saturday 12:00-01:00 Sunday 18:00-01:00 |
http://www.kalamata.co.il/ (no English)

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