Culinary Jewels that Shine in Jerusalem
BY Lee Saunders DATE 20/01/2020
“The view of Jerusalem is the history of the world; it is more, it is the history of earth and of heaven,” said the former 19th century British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli. And heaven is exactly how many would describe the food on offer across the country. Nowhere is this more true than in Jerusalem’s high-quality restaurants, serving up a variety of dishes suited for every type of meal and every type of budget. Here, we take a culinary wander through 10 of the city’s favorites.
One of the most iconic food markets in the country is the vibrant Mahane Yehuda market, where you will find the lively Machneyuda, one of Jerusalem’s most well-known restaurants. Watch acclaimed local chefs Assaf Granit, Yossi Elad and Uri Navon while they prepare a menu of tasty modern Israeli and Mediterranean dishes, including sea bass with fresh market vegetables and signature dishes like the creamy Polenta with fresh mushrooms, hand grated parmesan and truffle oil.
One of the best chefs in Jerusalem, David Biton has, together with his team, been taking La Régence to new heights since taking the reins over the past decade. Located in the landmark King David Jerusalem Hotel, every dish is an exquisite and kosher masterpiece, a classic example of fine dining at its best that makes your stay in Jerusalem both mouthwatering and memorable. Do not leave without swinging by the King’s Garden Restaurant, above the hotel’s gardens, to sample the menu of traditional Israeli main courses and homemade sweets and pastries.
One block away, the fancy kosher meat restaurant, Angelica offers guests fresh and colorful dishes of prime meat, fish and succulent, followed by hand-crafted desserts, precisely designed by chef Marcus Gershkowitz and his team.
If it is desserts you are after, the small, warm and homely Georgian dairy restaurant, Hachapuria inside the Mahane Yehuda Market specializes in Georgian pastries such as Khachapuri and other mouthwatering cheesy, carb-filled dishes, while the divine Kadosh Café Patisserie is a wonderful stopping point for outrageous pastries made on the premises and an all-day breakfast. Reminiscent of a Paris patisserie, the sweet and salty pastries, éclairs and tartlets make this the ultimate foodie heaven. Their Sufganiyot (Israeli styled donuts) are not to be missed, filled with creamy, gooey, finger-licking goodness and don’t miss the Cronuts that come around just once a year!. Call ahead, it is well worth the wait!
Of course, Jerusalem exemplifies history arguably more than any other city around the world, and you can combine this with tremendous food at the Anna Italian Cafe, located inside the historic Ticho House, part of the Israel Museum, one of the first homes built outside the Old City in the 1860s. This kosher restaurant dishes up classic Italian dishes, including the to die-for gnocchi, topped with cream, asparagus and cherry tomatoes. Interestingly, Anna works closely with the Dualis foundation and the Jerusalem municipality to employ at-risk youth.
Also dotted around the Old City is the kosher restaurant, The Eucalyptus, nestled in an ancient stone building with a huge scenic balcony opposite the Old City’s walls in the Artists’ Quarter. Chef Moshe Basson offers his own modern interpretation of biblical cuisine, bringing back recipes, spices and herbs that were once part of the traditional cuisine. With the fish falafel and eggplant steak among an extensive vegetarian menu, you can also enjoy elaborate and generously sized tasting menus, including the Queen of Sheba, Shir Hashirim and King Solomon Feasts.
In central Jerusalem, Kikar Hamusica or Music Square is home to the elegant Kinor Bakikar and Andalucia. While the former combines Kosher gourmet meat plates, live music and a lovely outdoor courtyard, the latter provides guests with a Spanish ambiance, stirring music and a magnificent view of the Old City. Enjoy a long list of unique homemade cocktails and excellent Kosher tapas dishes, based on fresh fish and juicy meats.
Jerusalem may be the history of heaven and earth, and its restaurants prove it.
Written by Lee Saunders