The Old Man and the Sea
A touristy, but must-visit restaurant.
Just outside of Tel Aviv, located on the old port in Jaffa is a can’t-miss restaurant experience for newcomers to the area, The Old Man & The Sea. Borrowing the name from the Hemingway novel, this family-style restaurant overlooks the Mediterranean and is an ideal spot for tourists looking for a fun, local food experience. You can get there by taking a 30 to 45-minute walk from Tel Aviv along the sea (which I highly recommend) or taking a short taxi ride, but if there is traffic walking could be faster.
The Old Man and the Sea offers a fast, positively chaotic environment that is a unique experience and really one that everyone should experience at least once. The food here is good, but it is the experience that makes it worth the visit.
Just after sitting down, your table is filled with mezze, which translates to an enormous amount of small white plates filled with Mediterranean goodness such as baba ganoush, hummus, tabbouleh, tahini, olives, falafel, and then a ridiculous amount of other small salads that include beets, red cabbage, green cabbage, eggplant and more. All of this is served with a giant pitcher of lemonade and warm oven-baked pita bread. About the time I could eat no more, I was asked what I wanted for my main course. I guess most people order some locally caught fish, but I could barely manage another bite. Only after the very friendly, but convincing waiter pleaded with me, I ordered kebab against my better judgment. The amount of food you are served at this restaurant is obscene, so either don’t eat the mezze or prepare not to have room for the main dish.
The Old Man and the Sea reminds me of a dinner theater with its loud, but fun atmosphere and waiters that are more like performers, quickly stacking and juggling plates from table to table, which is a sight to see. On this specific occasion, my friends told the waiter it was my birthday and this created another theatrical act in which I was serenaded in Arabic, Hebrew, and finally English on my non-birthday dinner. I’m still full as I write this, yet hungry for my next visit.