It’s July, that point in the summer when it’s fine heading to the beach — except for the jellyfish — but too deep into the hot weather to justify cooking a meal or packing yet another picnic of sandwiches, carrot sticks and sliced watermelon. What’s needed is the perfect cool-down spot, preferably near the water, where cool breezes and sustenance can be attained in the same place.
This week, the top five spots for eating — and drinking — by the water.
1) If you want to enjoy some fresh produce without getting your heels stuck in the sand, head to Shuk Hanamal in the Tel Aviv port, at the northern end of the city. Situated by the expansive boardwalk running the length of the formerly active port, the market offers a bountiful selection of fresh produce, meats, cheeses and breads. You can’t bargain, but the relatively high prices — NIS 10 for a kilogram of organic cucumbers or a glass of orange juice — are worth it if you don’t want flies around your food and are willing to fill up on free samples of bread. If you are looking for a drink, the Port Wine Shop has options for almost any price range, with a bottle of wine ranging from NIS 29 for a bottle of Chenin Blanc to NIS 449 for a bottle of 2007 Guado al Tasso. For those who don’t like wine, there is also beer on tap. Grab your fruit, cheese and bottle of vino, head outside and watch the waves crash into the wooden port without any worries of wet feet. Shuk Hanamal, Hangar 12, open 9 am-9 pm, Monday-Thursday; 7 am-5 pm, Friday; 9 am-5 pm, Saturday.
2) For those too lazy or underdressed to make the trek to Jaffa, head to Beit Abulafia, the ‘northern’ outpost of this famed Jaffa bakery, near the Shlomo Lahat Promenade. If you are willing to put up with the parade of teens in swimsuits, then this historical bakery is the perfect outpost for picking up something cheap and quick to bring back to the beach. For NIS 15 or less, there are personal-sized pizzas, a mozzarella-and-cheese calzone or flat bread with za’atar. You can also build your own sandwich using a mix of spreads and salads. Abulafia, 6 Mifratz Shlomo Street, Tel Aviv.
3) If you seek the air of an active port with its very own fishing harbor, head for the Jaffa Port, with its chic, renovated warehouses overlooking spectacular Mediterranean views, the perfect chill-out location. The new Jaffa Port market, located in Warehouse 1, is small, stylish and the perfect location to entice your inner foodie on a tight budget. Head toward the east entrance and hit up The Larder, where you can stock up on spices and dried fruit starting at NIS 5.50 for 100 grams, or 1 cup. Make your way to the heart of the market, where you’ll find Rockach Yam, a sit-down restaurant and tapas bar overlooking the marina. Try the roasted hot peppers starter for NIS 12, and grab a cold one at the Beer Market, where connoisseurs can choose from over 90 brands of Israeli-made beer. Mix and match any brands you want, buy a six-pack for NIS 88, sit outside and enjoy what Jaffa Port has to offer. Jaffa Port market, Warehouse 1, open Monday-Saturday, 10 am-10 pm.
4) There’s no seaside dining in Jerusalem, but there are pools and poolside bars, and one of the newest options is the Grill on the Terrace at the Inbal Hotel. Head over there on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when patrons can dine poolside with a live jazz band serving up smooth tunes all night long. The menu is a fusion of Middle Eastern dishes with a European twist, priced at NIS 32-52 for starters and NIS 75-125 for the main course. Be sure to try the mixed greens salad with pita cubes and peanuts followed by the pricey, NIS 115 beef fillet in pepper cream sauce, potatoes and garlic. Grill on the Terrace, Inbal Hotel, Sunday-Thursday, 6-11 pm.
5) Speaking of medusas, or jellyfish, if there’s the desire to sit by the sea without coming across one of those sea creatures, consider visiting the Bell Bar, the friendliest of beachside bars, in Herzliya. With ample seating on the beach, on wide settees and rattan chairs, or along the circular bar situated on the boardwalk, the bar, which is really more of a cafe, is great for a quiet chat or a more raucous family gathering that includes kids, large and small. The menu includes your typical cafe fare, including the requisite French fries, hummus, and beer — including a selection of beers on tap — and the ice chest is always stocked full with the latest in popsicle selections, all oh-so-perfect for the beach. Oh, and they’ll even fill up iced drink cups with water and ice, including the cover and the straw, for free. Bell Bar, Dan Accadia Beach, Herzliya, south of the elevator tower. Open 7 am-until the last customer.
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