Jaffa, or as Israelis pronounce it – Yafo, is where Tel-Aviv emerged from. While Tel-Aviv is a relatively new city (officially 110 years old), Jaffa has been here for thousands of years, and can be traced back to around 2000 BCE. It is an ancient port city, and though municipally associated to Tel-Aviv, it has a very different vibe to it. When the Jewish settlers in Jaffa felt like they had nowhere to expand to (combined with the growing tension between Jews and Arabs in the region) and more people arrived to Israel, they decided to build a new neighborhood in the south of Tel-Aviv, bordering with Jaffa – this neighborhood still exists, and is one of Tel-Aviv’s nicest – Neve Zedek. Unlike Tel-Aviv, which gradually became a modern metropolis, Jaffa has kept a lot of it’s original Features. The old city is characterized by narrow alleys, cobble stone streets and arches. It is also one of the only cities in Israel where Arabs and Jews live alongside each other. And since it has such a magical, unique atmosphere to it, it is definitely a must visit, if you ever happen to be in Israel, and especially if you are in Tel-Aviv.
If you do get to Jaffa and you’re wondering where to find the best coffee shops, I’m here to help with that.
Albert is located in the posh Noga district – an area which is nestled in between Tel-Aviv and Jaffa and is known for its bohemian-socialite crowd, as well as for its authentic Jaffaish architecture. Albert is a neighborly and simple, yet charming cafe. The inside space is cozy and has a rustic vibe to it, with a dark wooden bar, a dark wooden staircase and boxes of fruits/vegetables which will make you feel like you’re in a market place. The decor also has lighter touches, such as a surfboard hanging on the wall, plants, and the place’s logo – Albert the bear, which is a traveler ready to discover new places and experience new adventures. Though the indoor space is cute and welcoming, I would recommend sitting outside, where most of the tables are. Sitting outdoors will allow you to enjoy the lovely cafe’s cobble-stoned alley. The atmosphere of the street will contribute to a laid back and magical experience. Albert has good coffee, some nice pastries and good, fresh salads and breakfasts. I would say this is a pretty perfect way to start a day’s journey in Jaffa.
This neighborly chic 100% Vegan (!) cafe / restaurant is located in a small alley, right near Jerusalem Boulevard (Jaffa’s main street), and unless you know to look for it, you probably won’t find it. However, if you do go there, you are in for a treat. The facade of the cafe is super adorable, with big Venetian wooden windows. You can choose to sit outside, or you can walk in, where you will find a spacious room with beautiful green tiles, Moroccan lamps hanging over the bar, a cozy nook next to a book shelf, and some changing local art displayed on the walls. After finding your preferred spot (it will be hard to choose), you will get a menu with numerous vegan options. Many dishes have a Mediterranean flair to them, but they are often fused with more high end cuisines, which give them a twist. My absolute favorite plate in this place is the Jaffa Breakfast, which offers a super fluffy quinoa omelette, an Israeli salad, homemade bread and appetizers including hummus, tahini, vegan cheese, a mixture of beans and more. Another great dish, though perhaps slightly too sweet, is the tahini balls dessert (topped with chocolate syrup and a caramelized banana). No matter what you choose to order, I’m almost certain you won’t be disappointed, Michaelangelo is highly recommended for either a meal or just coffee (and a vegan muffin). Open daily from 8am-11pm (Fridays till 5pm).
Alma is another very cozy cafe, and though not 100% vegan, it has numerous vegan options. Although it is supposedly part of a chain with several location, each of their coffee shops has a unique vibe, decor and menu to it, which basically makes Alma cafe in Jaffa one of a kind. The seating options here are mostly outdoors, on the sidewalk, where you will be surrounded by tons of greenery. The entire place has a very casual atmosphere to it, and the food is pretty much the same – fresh and straight forward. You can choose between a sandwich, a salad, breakfast, a plate of pasta, or some tofu casserole. The place also offers good coffee and some delicious cakes, many of which are vegan, and are quite a guilty pleasure (like their vegan cheesecake). Staff is friendly, and the place is a nice and cute hangout. For an authentic laid back Jaffa experience, you should definitely go visit Alma Cafe. Open from Sunday – Thursday from 7am-10pm, Fridays from 7am-5pm and Saturdays from 8am-7pm.
Till next time,