Jaffa, Tel Aviv
Concierge.com's insider take:
One of the oldest cities in the world, Jaffa was reputed to be the port from which Jonah set sail for his fateful meeting with a whale. It has since been incorporated into Tel Aviv proper, and gives visitors a feel for the East-West mix that dominates modern Israeli culture. A walk through the antiquated alleys of Jaffa's historic district is better than a semester of Ancient Studies, thanks to the Ottoman-era architecture, hidden alleyways, and historic domed mosques. The Ilana Goor Museum, housed in a massive mansion built by wealthy Turks more than 100 years ago, is home to the world's best collection of work by the noted sculptor and furniture maker (4 Mazal Dagim St., 972-3-683-7676; www.ilanagoor.com). Visit the flea market, filled with colorful clothing, pottery, and bric-a-brac, and grab a lunch of tomato salad with tahini and couscous at Puah, a café and restaurant at the market's heart; it's attached to a charming store that sells custom-made crafts from Israel and Asia (8 Yochanan St., 972-3-682-3821). If you're visiting later in the day, reserve a table at Charcuterie, the first high-end restaurant located directly in the flea market itself (3 Rehov Rabbi Chadian; 011- 972-3-682-8843). Rustic and cozy, this split-level bistro specializes in all things meaty—from house-made sausages (pork!) to thick steaks and the European standards (including melt-in-your-mouth braised veal cheeks) that were the staples of Swiss chef Vince Mustar's youth.