Many in Israel remember the famous White Pergula in Jaffa. It was a beautiful, quiet restaurant located on a green hilltop with a direct beach access. Its famous desserts and black coffee were served inside a tent posted on the beach. 5 years ago it was moved to its current location in north Tel Aviv port. In its current location it's still very close to the shoreline, only bigger. Its better part is in the open air, adjacent to a pier.
You can see the White Pergula's white sunshades when you approach the port, and they might remind you a little of European restaurants. During hot summer days, the breeze coming in from the sea makes all the difference. Of course, sunsets are beautiful from this spot.
My partner and I, like most diners on this sunny afternoon, choose our seats outside. A waiter presents us with the menus and quickly shows up again carrying soft drinks and no less than 14 different kinds of salads, as well as a basket of freshly home-baked pita bread and hyssop.
We use the pita bread to taste everything: eggplant salad, red cabbage salad, rich fish soup and many more. These salads are part of a business deal; their price is embodied in the price of the main dishes. Other than salads, you can order appetizers such as shrimp tartare wrapped in salmon or chicken liver terrine with onion confiture.
After a short rest, we are greeted by a pile of rice, inside which shrimps, basil, peppers and ginger are hidden. We discover a wonderful combination of tastes rooted in the sweet peppers and spicy ginger and shrimps. The pita bread leftovers help us wipe our plates.
After the table is cleared, we get a large tagine filled with root vegetables, calamari, shrimps and mussels. It's hard finishing this one, as tempting as the aroma is.
The White Pergula is a family restaurant. The owners and managers are all members of one family, and the kitchen staff goes back to Jaffa. One of the owners is a fisherman and a fish marketer, and I'm sure the best goods are reserved for the restaurant.
The location is perfect for a romantic dinner, and private events are held here every night (up to 200 guests), accept for weekends – then it's best to make reservations a while ahead.
We let the waiter know that we're ready for our desserts, and soon enough get a traditional home-made crème brulee and chocolate soufflé with strawberry ice-cream and nut flakes. The minor change from the usual vanilla ice-cream is refreshingly interesting.
To wrap things up we have some black coffee poured from a traditional pot into two small glasses. We thank our waiter for the welcoming hospitality and go for a walk in the port.