Of all the things to do in Israel, be sure to take a visit to Tel Aviv’s humble little sister who is growing up to be something special. Jaffa (known locally as 'Yafo') is chock-full of authentic, delicious restaurants, local designer boutiques and flea market, and a burgeoning nightlife scene – but, we are here to talk about the food. Although Tel Aviv restaurants are all the rage right now with the blossoming vegan scene and new chef restaurants, Jaffa restaurants are growing quicker than their oranges. Here’s the lowdown on the best places to dine in Jaffa, including where to eat the tastiest specialities, butteriest baked goods, and even where to score the best spices. If you're on a budget or eating on the go, be sure to pick up some of Jaffa's best authentic street food instead.
The top Jaffa Restaurants
No matter where you sit at Cassis, you're surrounded by a breathtaking panoramic view of the seashore and waves crashing in the background. With gorgeous modern design including turquoise-hued and white furniture, lit candle jars set the mood. The menu is composed of fresh treasures from the sea, such as golden paella with mussels, shrimp and calamari, and a symphony of salads and starters. It’s like going to a secluded romantic beach with everything ready and prepared just for you.
Rameses is a burgeoning group of bars stretched all over the revived area of the Greek market in the center of Jaffa. Lively and always happening, these open-air spots let you kick back and take in the Jaffa vibes while observing the striking murals and downing classy cocktails and shared plates.
This burgeoning spot in the Jaffa Flea Market categorizes itself as “food and vibes,” which couldn’t be more accurate. Bursting at the seams with an effervescent and energetic crowd, this is the place to be for a hip evening with vividly fresh ingredients and new, creative twists on comfort food favorites. On the menu are delicacies, such as homemade focaccia, a multitude of salads, shrimp burgers with chipotle aioli and roasted pineapple, lamb cannelloni with yogurt, almonds, and parsley - plus lots of other plates for sharing.
Since branching out to the Jaffa Port, The Old Man and the Sea has become more than a meal, it is a complete theatrical scene. From waiters running around like whirling dervishes, to giant pitchers of fresh squeezed lemonade, and so many vibrant salads you won't even need a main course (though you must try the grilled chicken, fish and kebabs), a weekend brunch at the port is worth braving the long line. Don't fret, it moves fast, and the fare is worth it. While the inside is cool on a hot day, we suggest braving the heat and eating port-side for the full experience. Throw in warm oven baked pita bread, and complimentary coffee/tea and tiny balls of honey-glazed goodness for dessert, and you'll never want to leave
Take in the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean at one of Jaffa’s most beautiful spots as the lively Greek music transports you to the Aegean. The Mediterranean cuisine is livened up with Arab, Greek, Cypriot, Italian and Israeli influences. Inside, the best seats in the house overlook the water; call ahead to book them.
This friendly barbecue joint is your go-to destination for American comfort food. Choose meats by weight or on the bone alongside a slew of tasty side dishes. From chicken wings to juicy brisket, everything is succulently smoked and served with all the trimmings. The best of the comfort foods, include mac & cheese, fluffy cornbread, and extra creamy coleslaw. An ideal spot for sharing plates with friends, especially if you order the decadently addictive crack pie!
Located in the heart of Shuk HaPishpeshim (Jaffa Flea Market) is this charming Italian restaurant with a warm and lively presence. Tables with bright and colorful gingham tablecloths line the cobblestone road outside. Everything is handmade, from the artisan breads and pizzas to the lip-smacking pastas and the melt-in-your mouth gnocchi. Staff provide excellent service, and an extensive wine list with generous options by the glass make this an ideal spot for a comforting lunch, a romantic date, or dinner with friends.
Everything about this place paints a picturesque scene of the sea: the prime archaeological site of the Jaffa cobblestone promenade, the laid-back vibe you get when inhaling the salty scent of the air—and most of all, the Mediterranean menu made of traditional dishes representing the diverse culture of Middle Eastern cuisine. Adjacent to St. Peter’s Church, this 100-year old historic building houses a multi-room restaurant composed of exposed walls and detailed arches richly complemented by sea-blue hues. If you choose to sit inside, follow the bright staircase and choose any of the rooms with their old world charm and traditional decor, or grab a table near the patio and watch people strolling leisurely upon the square. The extensive menu has a little something for everyone, from lavish colorful breakfasts to popular meat dishes such as grilled lamb chops, delectable lamb kebab, or spicy-crusted chicken on the grill.
This restaurant serves authentic Mediterranean food with North African touches using fresh seasonal ingredients and roasted meats on a charcoal grill. A place to savor fresh fish, homemade couscous, or the locally famous grouper.