UPDATE: On a recent visit to Container (June 2014), we found it very disappointing (terrible service, so-so food, expensive for what you get) and cannot recommend it anymore.
The Container is one of the newest restaurants to appear on the Tel Aviv dining scene. It is located in Jaffa Port in a cavernous warehouse that incorporates an art gallery and a bar. The interiors of the restaurant retain the rough, unpolished look and feel of a scruffy port building which contrasts well with the trendy backlit bar area, and the sophisticated cuisine of the place. The Container is the latest restaurant of Vince Muster, who owns the fabulous Charcuterie (a restaurant specializing in meat dishes also located in Jaffa, but on a side street off the flea market).
The Container’s menu consists of an eclectic mix of North African, Middle Eastern and Italian dishes, with fresh seafood as the centrepiece, and vegetables prepared in an innovative way. On the evening that we dined there, we had:
- Jerusalem artichokes with enoki mushrooms and truffles: a light and savoury starter, highly recommended;
- Ceviche: tangy fresh fish with lots of lime;
- Gnudi with butter and sage: the gnudi melts in your mouth and the butter-sage sauce is balanced and delicious;
- Fish chraime: a Moroccan dish consisting of fish in a spicy, tangy sauce of tomatoes, onions, paprikas, garlic and coriander – my favorite; and
- Malabi, a Middle Eastern dessert similar to panna cotta.
Since it was a beautiful warm evening, we sat outside in front of the fishing boats, enjoying the gentle sea breeze.
Jaffa Port does not have the crowds or the liveliness of the Tel Aviv port, but this will change soon. The town of Jaffa is undergoing massive gentrification, with luxury hotels and apartment buildings sprouting up wherever there is an empty lot or a historic building to upgrade. Already Jaffa is home to many of Tel Aviv’s most trendy restaurants such as Charcuterie and the recently opened, innovative Shakuf.
Old Jaffa Port, Warehouse No. 2
Tel Aviv, Israel