At the end of winding streets, situated on a small cliff overlooking the Mediterranean, sits the restaurant lovingly named after Heminway's novel, the Old Man and the Sea. Ellen Hockley and her sister explore their culinary delights.
After a short walk down beautiful winding Jaffa streets, my sister and I hungrily arrived at a fantastic restaurant on the coast, The Old Man and the Sea. As my sister is only visiting a short while, she has not had much of a chance to try some of the wonderful eateries that Tel Aviv has to offer and I thought this was a perfect reason to introduce her to the hospitality of Jaffa.
Upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted by a number of adoring and welcoming waiters. They could not have been more energetic or happy to be serving us. We had barely sat down before our entire table was covered with dozens of little plates filled to the brim with various salads, dips and unknown delicacies. My sister, a lover of “rabbit” food filled with vegetables, fell for the arugula salad. She could not get enough of it. I, on the other hand, was partial to the beet salad and, I must add that both the Hummus and Baba Ganoosh were wonderful. Along with our salads came fresh, warm homemade pita bread that practically melted in your mouth.
Without even asking we even received mint lemonade, which was just the right amount of sweet; I think we went through two or three pitchers throughout our meal. We just could not stop.
While our table was still full of these wonderful and tasty salads we ordered our main dishes. Both of us were wondering how, in fact, we might actually eat all of these salads and a main course. I ordered the grilled Sea Bream and my sister had an Entrecote steak: both were excellent.
The service was outstanding, although I do think that was partially because most of the waiters were quite taken with us. My sister has a striking look: a small and very pale American girl with reddish blond hair and large piercings. She often gets funny looks, however, most of the waiters just thought she was the cutest thing they had ever seen.
After our meal, we sat for a while digesting and taking in the sights and sounds of the restaurant. It is a fairly large space with long, family-style tables where large groups of families and friends sit and enjoy their wonderful meals. I can imagine on a warm afternoon, with all the windows open, the place would be packed. My sister and I were there a little early and missed the dinner crowd, but I understand it is quite a hopping place. The service was fast and friendly, leading us to feel like we were family visiting for the evening. Of course before we left, the evening would not have been complete without a little tea, coffee and dessert. We had these amazing little donuts covered in what my sister called simple syrup: they were incredible.
We had a great time and left stuffed but not overly so. Having thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, I would absolutely go back…although next time I might bring more people to help me eat all of the wonderful salads.