Most fish restaurants in Israel offer a standard deal of a starter selection + main course for the price of the main course. I cannot remember when this trend started, and why it took hold of fish restaurants specifically, but it makes a lot of patrons happy.
I took my eldest daughter for a Jaffa dinner in The Old Man and the Sea restaurant (hazaken vehayam) which offers a particularly good deal. For NIS 99 you can get a complete meal: starter selection, a main course of sea food, fish, fillet steak or lamb chops, cold lemonade, and coffee.
By the time we got to the restaurant's porch, it was full (well, it was almost sunset time, who wouldn't want a first row seat for this show?) so we found our seats at the covered upper level, and got to see the site from there.
People coming to The Old Man and the Sea for the first time really admire the waiters carrying 20 salad plates at once. Impressive sights indeed: a celebration of colors and shapes, each one more tempting than the other. At this point you get to realize, that unless you plan your meal carefully, you will end up not getting to your main course at all. So as tempting as the Laffa bread was (especially those grilled ones with olive oil and garlic or hyssop) it was time to work on my self-control.
Here is a partial list of the offered salads: velvety hummus, white tahini, variety of eggplants, avocado salad, egg salad, carrot salad, Turkish salad, tabouleh, cauliflower in tahini, green fresh hot falafel balls, cabbage salads, corn, and there were many more, trust me. As for the stars: the fennel and celery salad was original, special, fresh and tasteful. The tabouleh was so great I had to make one myself two days after (it actually turned out not so bad). I was also surprised by the minimalist avocado salad, and the cabbage salads that I usually tend to ignore. They were so fresh you could feel the morning dew on the crispy leaves.
We used the lemonade as well as a bottle of Heineken to clear our palate, and to overcome some spicy instances.
While we were waiting for our main courses we took a look around, and enjoyed the variety of people coming in: many families (Jewish from Tel Aviv and Arabic from Jaffa) and tourists from all over. Not so common encounters here in Israel.
We finally got to our main courses and had the entrecote steak and a bowl of crabs in butter and garlic sauce. This is a summit conference of the best sea and land produce – juicy steak, medium done, with strong grilling scents, and a generous amount of crabs. Special bonus: a dip of Laffa bread inside the wonderful butter-garlic sauce. Main courses come with a choice of French fries or oven baked potatoes.
We finished with coffee and Awame – yeast cookies in sugar syrup. Oh, Old Man and the Sea. Too bad Hemingway never got a chance to eat here.