Jaffa Flea Market Culinary Culture
The Jaffa Shuk HaPishpashim (flea market) is a vibrant, dynamic area with lots to see and many exciting stores and stalls. In the last few years the area has become not only a fun and unique place to shop and people watch but also a hidden gem for foodies. In among the junk and antiques are several outstanding restaurants some of which are housed in historic buildings and serve both local and international food. Here are just a few of the many Jaffa Flea Market’s finest dining establishments.
Puaa, 8 Rabi YohananThis unique restaurant/café is in the heart of the flea market. It was established in 1999 and is named after the owner. The place is magical, with décor featuring many authentic antiques and memorabilia including the furniture, pictures on the walls and tableware. The menu is unpretentious and the food wholesome and homely yet unique and innovative. There are dishes like broccoli and cashew pasta, spinach with raw tehina and faro and date syrup salad. There is a good selection of Israeli boutique wine. On Tuesday nights you can get amazing fish and seafood cooked on the grill situated on the outside porch and in winter there are live performances on Thursday evenings.
Fleamarket, 7 Rabi YohananThe décor of this restaurant will take your breath away. The eclectic furniture comes from flea markets in Israel and abroad; the ceilings are high and the walls feature exposed brick and dark wood. Fleamarket has a large bar with an open kitchen. The restaurant is managed by top Israeli restaurateurs led by Shy Gurevitch. Fleamarket serves a mainly seafood and Asian menu with several local and European dishes. The restaurant has a breakfast, brunch and evening menu. At Fleamarket they give some classic Israeli dishes a gourmet twist like adding truffle to Israeli shakshuka. They also give an Israeli twist to some International classics like adding mangold to eggs Benedict. The menu reads like a European fine dining establishment with dishes like beef Carpaccio, sea bream tartar and mushroom and truffle risotto. There are kid’s dishes and vegetarian dishes as well as a good selection of alcohol and cocktails.
Sifo, 3 Nachman StreetThis is one of the more recent additions to the Jaffa flea market culinary scene yet it has been attracting the attention of local foodies. It is located down a narrow lane full of character. The restaurant was opened in 2011 and is run by Chef Idan Mezner. As the name implies they specialize in seafood – si (sea) fo (food). The flavors and styles of the dishes are diverse including fusion dishes which blend Middle Eastern flavors with international flavors. Diners have the option of eating from the cold kitchen, hot kitchen or the chef specials and desserts. Popular dishes on the menu include the fish patties with Ethiopian tahina, the red mullet fish in Arak and the kubbeh soup with seafood.
Leimech, 11 Amiad Street, Shuk HaPishpushimIn among the market stalls is this modest street bar. The bar was named after Noah’s father in the Bible who lived to an incredible age of 777; maybe because he took things easy and enjoyed a good drink like this bar’s patrons. The bar serves Thai beer on tap and simple dishes from the Far East and Middle East. The bar often hosts live musical performances.
Yasso-Saloniki, 4 Olei Zion, Shuk HaPishpushimThis Greek restaurant celebrates the Greek culture in every way – from the décor and music to the menu. On the walls are framed photos of the owner and his family plus some celebs that have eaten here.
Onza, 3 Rabbi Hanina Street, Shuk HaPishPushimThe tables of this popular seafood and Greek restaurant spill out onto the cobbled streets of the market. It is always buzzing with people coming here for the food, music and atmosphere. Indoors there is a large bar and a few tables while on an upper level you’ll find an area for large groups. The atmosphere is created by great music, dim lighting and the upbeat vibe. Food is prepared by Chef Yossi Shitrit and on the menu you’ll find fish, seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes. Don’t miss happy hour on Saturdays from 4pm to 6pm.
Charcuterie Restaurant, 3 Rabbi Hanina
You’ll smell the delicious aroma of BBQ meat before you even reach this restaurant. The chairs and tables are spread out over the cobbled stones of a narrow lane as diners wait to sample delicious smoked and barbequed meat as well as handmade sausages. If you’re a confirmed carnivore then this is the place for you. If you prefer fish or pasta you can find some non-meat dishes on the menu as well. The best time to come here is on weekends after 10pm when the music is loud and the crowd turns the place into a street party.