Eat Early – Tel Aviv

Chow down on shakshuka and pastries layered with honey and pistachio at these brilliant spots for brunch and lunch

Alena at The Norman

So you’re not staying at The Norman, the best hotel in Tel Aviv and possibly the entire Middle East? It could be worse, as your grandmother might have said – it could always be worse. Treat yourself to breakfast there instead. If there is a more resplendent breakfast buffet anywhere in the world, let’s hear about it. In its deco-mirrored Alena restaurant or on the smart terrace, billion-shekel deals are done over Le Creuset panlets of shakshuka and a multitude of home-baked, home-preserved, locally-picked wondrousness. Staff are intuitive and all-knowing, whether you’re asking about the providence of the pickled herring or the best beach bar for sundowners. Can’t get a table for breakfast? Book lunch or dinner instead – a triumphant coming together of European, Mediterranean and Galilean cuisines using the region’s superb produce.

Alena at The Norman, 23-25 Nachmani Street; thenorman.com 

The Old Man and The Sea

The quayside warehouses in Jaffa Port have been regenerated in recent years, and turned into restaurants, bars and cultural addresses. One of the best for brunch beside the fishing boats is The Old Man and The Sea, which bears little relation to the Hemingway novel except in name – you won’t go hungry and you won’t have to catch your own fish. Rather, waiters will bring it to you grilled, alongside small plates of seafood and a zillion zingy salads. For a quieter, less touristy version, the original outpost is up the hill in Jaffa.

The Old Man and The Sea, Hangar 1, Jaffa Port; theoldmanandthesea.rest.co.il

Carmel Market

Between stalls heaped high and bright with the region’s extraordinary produce, an increasing number of excellent places to eat and drink are opening up in Carmel Market. For cheap eats on-the-go, try the pastries layered with honey and pistachio, or white cheese and spinach bureka. Or sit down at the butchery counter at M25, where accomplished chefs serve chargrilled spice-laced lamb and tahini in pitta, smoked shawarma and beef tartare. 

Carmel Market, M25, 30 HaCarmel Street, Nachalat Binyamin; m25meat.co.il (open for lunch Mon – Fri, dinner Mon – Thurs)

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