100 bottles of beer on the wall

For brew lovers, Stern 2 in Jaffa has a fine and extensive selection – and the food is good.

100 bottles of beer on the wall (photo credit: Courtesy)
100 bottles of beer on the wall
(photo credit: Courtesy)
What do you do when you have a popular bar in a trendy neighborhood of Tel Aviv? Open a new and improved branch in another trendy neighborhood, of course. That is exactly what the owner of Stern 1 in south Tel Aviv’s Florentin neighborhood did when he recently opened Stern 2 in Jaffa’s ever-popular Flea Market.
With three years of success under his belt at Stern 1, owner Hanan Raviv decided it was time he shared the large selection of boutique beers and extensive bar food menu with the Jaffa regulars.
Located on a quiet street a couple of blocks away from most of the other bars and restaurants in the Flea Market, Stern 2 is not the easiest place to find. Both my friend and I, who arrived separately after busy days in the office, nearly walked past it because it wasn’t obvious that we had reached the correct location. Once inside, however, we knew we were in the right place because the trademark beer collection couldn’t be missed, as the taps from all the different breweries took up nearly all the wall behind the long bar.
Our waitress for the evening was friendly and attentive and was patient enough to go through nearly every item on the menu after we bombarded her with questions about the various drinks and food.
Like its older brother all the way in Florentin, Stern 2’s big attraction is the quality beers that it stocks, with a focus on local Israeli beers, both from the barrel and by the bottle. Even though neither I nor my friend are huge beer drinkers, we tasted a number of those that were on offer.
After some extensive tasting, we chose a full glass of the beer that we liked the best and proceeded to order from the food menu. It’s a good thing the beer was flowing and we were enjoying ourselves because the food took longer than expected to arrive, especially as it was relatively early in the evening and the place was less than half full.
To start with, we shared the sirloin steak carpaccio (NIS 42), which was seasoned with the usual mix of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, topped with Parmesan cheese. The meat was of good quality, and the dish was a good opening to the meal.
To go along with the laid-back atmosphere, my friend and I shared our main courses. After reading various positive comments about the hamburger at Stern 1 and how it was voted one of the best burgers in Tel Aviv by the City Mouse guide, we couldn’t resist checking to see what all the fuss was about and whether the burger at Stern 2 was as good. The 200-gram burger (NIS 47), which consisted of ground entrecote with house seasoning and beer served on a bun with the usual toppings, didn’t quite live up to our expectations. For one thing, we ordered it medium-rare but when it came, it was more well done. As my friend and I consider ourselves somewhat gourmet burger experts, we also noted that the bun was of a relatively low standard. All in all, it was a tasty burger and the beer added something special, but it wasn’t among the best in the city.
We also shared the port sausage (NIS 46), which consisted of lamb seasoned with baharat and sumac spices and port wine and plums. While it was a tasty enough sausage, again our expectations were not quite met, as all the interesting flavors didn’t come through.
To accompany our meat, we chose two of the more unique side dishes on offer – chips seasoned with sundried tomatoes, crushed garlic and parsley (NIS 22) and sauerkraut (NIS 14) infused with beer. While the garlic chips didn’t disappoint, the sauerkraut was drowned in beer, and neither of us could finish the relatively large portion.
The decision of whether to order dessert was made easy for us by the fact that there were none available on the menu.
Stern 2 is a must for anyone who likes beer and wants to taste a selection of Israel’s finest in a relaxed and carefree atmosphere.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Stern 2
Not kosher
7 Olei Tzion, Jaffa
(03) 518-9950
Open every day, 5 p.m. until the last customer