May Foodie Roundup

Each month when I come to prepare this newsletter I am always surprised at how much news there is. There seem to be some interesting openings this month, especially among kosher restaurants. As always, I would love to hear your feedback and if you want to get ongoing updates, please follow me on Facebook and Instagram.

Kosher

The Jerusalem shuk might be full of bars but most of them are no longer places that people over 30 want to hang out. So I am particularly excited by the opening of Samantha Jones Jerusalem and I hope it will provide a welcome alternative. Named after a character in Sex & the City – the concept is meant to be a bar run by women, with a kitchen that offers female chefs a comfortable place to work, but when I dropped in last week, the chef on duty was a man.  They still have a test menu with a variety of incredibly predictable dishes like beef carpaccio, burger and steak, so I hope that the food is good or that they will develop some more unique dishes soon.

Another potentially exciting addition to the Jerusalem kosher dining scene is Andalucia Cocktail Bar in Kikar Hamusica. It is being advertised as a tapas bar but the dishes are a mixture of Spanish and Middle Eastern and not traditional tapas dishes. For now, the menu is only available in Hebrew and all dishes are NIS 55.

Tel Aviv is also gaining a new Spanish kosher restaurant called Carmen. The owners are North African Jews who moved to Israel from Toulouse and the menu embraces dishes with Spanish, French and North African influences. The chef Maurice Avitan previously worked at Par Derriere and Idelson 10. Starters include grilled spleen and goose liver, while some of the main dishes on offer are Toulouse-style sausages with goose confit and a grilled Rossini burger with a slice of foie gras and wine sauce.

A new Georgian bar has opened in Be’er Sheva named after the Georgian national drink, Chacha. The menu includes various Georgian Hachpuri pastries such as the popular Acheroli filled with melted cheese, egg and butter; Lobio soup and of course lots of alcohol. The bar is Kosher with no hechsher.

Caphé Hanoi has opened a gluten-free and vegan café next door called Bowl & Juice. All dishes are NIS 45 and include hot Vietnamese and Chinese dishes, as well as Buddha bowls, acai bowls, vegan desserts, shakes and cold press juices.

Purple Rain for a Monday 💜

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The Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv has once again opened Veranda bar by Kyoto restaurant. The terrace overlooking the sea is open Wednesday and Thursday evenings and Friday and Saturday from 12pm until late.

Table for 3 please! 🍸🍹 For reservations follow the link in bio 🥃

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Chef Meir Adoni has opened a second branch of his street food restaurant Dunya, in central Tel Aviv on Ben Yehuda. Traditional dishes include shawarma, arais, kubeh, sabich, burger and malabi.

Not Kosher

A new uber-cool restaurant has opened in Florentine called Kirkas.  The names of the dishes are all strange play on words but the food itself seems pretty mainstream, like fish ceviche, sweetbread salad and Jerusalem artichoke tortellini.

R2M Group (Brasserie, Coffee Bar and Hotel Montefiore) has opened Disco Tokyo in the Herzl 16 compound in Tel Aviv. The concept is not so much a traditional Japanese restaurant, rather a fun restaurant with a Japanese style, as well as many Korean dishes. Menu items include bao buns, beef in Agadashi sauce and Korean dumplings.

Captain Burger (originally from Jerusalem) has opened two new branches. The first is in Tel Aviv on Ibn Gvirol, where Wolfnights used to be, and the second in Hadera.

Café Popular recently opened in Jacob Samuel Hotel in north Tel Aviv, spread over two floors. As of now, only a bar with a dining menu is open on the lower floor, the bistro will open at a later stage and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant is owned by four Tel Aviv restaurateurs and the kitchen is run by Chef Avi Bitton, former chef of Adora.

We’re speechless 😶

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Asia in the Yaffo flea market closed at the end of May, as did Ad Haetzem in Herzliya Pituach after 30 years of business. Ad Haetzem Express branches across Israel will remain in business, including a kosher branch in Raanana and the 12th branch will open in Herzliya Pituach, in place of the restaurant. This seems to be a trend with the move from old-school restaurants, in favor of high-end street food.

Other News and Events

Tel Aviv Cocktail Week takes place 27 May – 2 June 2018. Over 30 bars are taking part including The Norman, Imperial Craft Cocktail Bar, La Otra, Double Standard, and Tailor Made.

Eat TLV will be held in Charles Clore Park in Tel Aviv 29-31 May 2018. The event features food stands from some of Tel Aviv’s best restaurants and all dishes are up to NIS 35.

There will also be a Tel Aviv Cocktail Festival at Hatachana 6-7 June, 2018. Tickets are NIS 80 each and include 3 cocktails.

A new restaurant is opening in Kibbutz Ramat Rachel in Jerusalem called Ben Hamataim. It will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it looks like it will be a coffee shop and a chef restaurant.

Recent Posts

  1. Hotel Review: A charming oasis in the heart of Haifa
  2. Debbest: Cafés and Diners open in Jerusalem on Shabbat
  3. YTK – 24 New Kosher Restaurant Updates from Israel – Q1 2018

To read previous monthly roundups, click here.

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Debbest: Cafés and Diners open in Jerusalem on Shabbat

It is a myth that there are not great places open to eat on Saturday / Shabbat in Jerusalem, you just have to know where to find them.  The order of this list is based purely on my personal preference and is by no means all-inclusive but I would happy to hear your feedback.

Click here to read an earlier post about takeaway and fast food places open on Shabbat.

  1. Zuni

A cross between a diner and a brasserie, Zuni is probably Jerusalem’s only 24/7 restaurant with such a varied menu that there really is something for everyone.  Great for family meals, drinks with friends or sitting alone at the bar.  The menu includes traditional dishes like schnitzel, burgers and various sandwiches and salads but my favorite dishes are the Mac n Cheese and the Croque Madame with mushrooms (melted Emmental cheese sandwich, topped with fried eggs and parmesan). It is a fun option during the day and at night and Zuni delivers but orders are by phone only, full English menu on the website.

Zuni, 15 Yo’el Moshe Salomon Street, 02 625 7776

  1. R&R Diner

As with many places in Jerusalem, the hype is normally better than the reality.  The concept of an American diner in the center of Jerusalem is a good one and although it is nicely decorated, for me the restaurant lacks much atmosphere.  It is neither a diner or a bar.  The menu has a bit of everything and the quality of the food is good but nothing wowed me and all the dishes seem to lack something, so they are not fully authentic. If you are craving a Reuben or Philly Steak Sandwich, Mac & Cheese balls or southern fried chicken then give it a try. They also serve good coffee and the service is friendly and pretty attentive.

R&R Diner, 33 Yafo Street, 02 625 3435

  1. Menza

Although Menza is popular in the evening, I personally prefer the daytime menu including classic dishes like Eggs Benedict for breakfast and Milanesa Veal Schnitzel and Corned Beef Sandwich for lunch.

The bistro-style menu offers a pleasant balance of Mediterranean-inspired and continental crowd-pleasers executed at a gourmet level and creative concoctions that you’d expect at a high-end chef restaurant, as well as original and classic cocktails and wines for every budget.

Menza, 10 Bezalel Street, 02 625 5222

  1. Focaccia Bar

Somewhat of an institution among locals and tourists alike, Focaccia Bar is normally busy both Friday night and Saturday afternoon. The restaurant has an interesting layout with a large covered courtyard. The menu is varied with a number of traditional European and American dishes, as well as various middle-eastern options.

Focaccia Bar, 4 Rabbi Akiva Street, 02 625 6428 – full English menu

פוקצ'ה בצהריים.

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  1. Link

At one time Link was one of the few places open on Shabbat in Jerusalem and has stood up to a number of Haredi protests.  As with many bistros in Israel, the menu tries to offer something for everyone and is family friendly during the day, while offering a lively ambiance at night. The peaceful courtyard is a perfect place to hang out with friends and family and the inside sitting is nice for a more intimate option.

Link, 3 Ma’alot Street, 053 809 4510 – full English menu

Cocktails Time! #cocktails

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  1. Bolinat

Bolinat differs from many of the other places on this list as you will hear mostly Hebrew being spoken. I suspect that tourists and expats don’t know about it so I hope I am not exposing a local secret!

This wonderful pavement café is busy throughout the week, but especially at the weekend and is open 24/7. The young Israeli staff is friendly and helpful and the bar menu has a surprisingly great choice of snacks and main dishes.

Bolinat, 6 Dorot Rishonim Street, 02 624 9733

  1. Café Bezalel

During the week this tiny café is filled with students from the nearby Bezalel art school and at the weekend it is a popular café for locals to while away the day. The limited menu offers traditional Israel breakfast and shakshuka, as well as more unusual breakfast option like a croissant filled with Gouda and Croque Madame (served with smoked goose instead of bacon). The coffee is also really nice and strong!

Cafe Bezalel, 8 Bezalel Street, 02 625 9164

  1. Etz Café

Finding authentic French toast and pancakes is not an easy task in Jerusalem so it is not surprising that people go to Etz Café especially for those items. They even serve brunch options such as pancakes with poached eggs! The Gouda toast with coleslaw is also pretty good. Open 10am-5pm on Friday and 10am-7pm on Saturday.

Etz Cafe, 3 Yannai Street, 054 248 9178

  1. Karma

If you are looking for a change of scenery on Shabbat, then Ein Kerem is the perfect option. Be warned that all the places are very busy at the weekend so either book in advance or be prepared to wait.  Parking is also limited and parking fines are issued on Shabbat in Ein Kerem. There are a number of places to choose from but Karma always seems to be the most consistent both day and night. The menu is incredibly diverse and the castle-like building has a great terrace with a view over the scenic village.

Karma, 74 Ein Kerem Street, 02 643 6643

  1. Landwer Café, First Station

Although it is a chain, the food at Landwer Cafe is slightly better than most of the chains and the First Station branch is also a convenient option on Shabbat. The service is normally very good and they are also incredibly children friendly. As well as several menu options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, they also have a good salad and snack menu, which is perfect if you want to get out the house, but don’t want a heavy meal.

Landwer Cafe – David Remez 4, First Station, 02 587 7988

There are lots of other places all over the city including many in the Old City and East Jerusalem eg Austrian Hospice, Borderline & Pasha. Perhaps that will be a future post!

I am working on some other posts about where to eat in Jerusalem on Shabbat, but for now here are the current posts:

Don’t forget to follow this blog to receive automatic updates.

YTK – 24 New Kosher Restaurant Updates from Israel – Q1 2018

My debut article for Yeah That’s Kosher, features 24 New Kosher Restaurant Updates from Israel for Q1 2018. Click here to read the full article.

Look out for more updates in the months ahead.

Fillet Steak At 5th Avenue Eilat

April Foodie Roundup

I started a new job last month so I have not had as much time as usual to blog, but between Pesach and work events, I have still managed to eat some great meals. To see more photos from my culinary adventures, follow me on Instagram.

Kosher

Sushi Kebab – east meets west in the Jerusalem shuk. I am not really tempted to try it but it seems to be more kebab in the shape of sushi, than sushi with meat.

Pita Basta opened in April 2018, in place of Fleishman in Sarona Market and the menu has a number of interesting pita options.  I tried the Heavy Pita (NIS 34 – not a typo, their play on words) which was grilled chicken liver, silan, lemon sauce, tahina and other delicious toppings. They also serve a dessert Pita Loti (NIS 10), a crispy grilled pita with nutty chocolate and banana – maybe next time!

Chicho in Sarona Market is now officially kosher. The meatballs always came from a central kosher kitchen but this branch was originally open on Shabbat. They recently decided to close on Shabbat and become certified kosher.

So now there are two great kosher meat options in Sarona Market.

Bastia by Chef Sharon Gabay in the Ra’anana Mall – dishes include freeneh with falafel, arais, and Arab dishes such as freekeh, root vegetables and meat, vegetarian stuffed dishes.

Racha Georgian restaurant is kosher once again.  The original Jerusalem branch was kosher, but it closed in 2016 and reopened in Tel Aviv non-kosher. Less than two years later, they have returned to their kosher status – with a menu, similar to the one they had in Jerusalem, with the addition of some of the dairy dishes, using tofu cheese.  I remember the food to be interesting and tasty, but the service to be temperamental.

Biga in Sarona Market has now become Mehadrin, just like Biga in the Fashion Mall.

Non-Kosher

Chef Raz Rahav of OCD has opened Barvazi Urban Sandwich in central Tel Aviv. Gourmet sandwiches include mac & cheese, baby rib croissant and pineapple and smoked labane.

סנדוויץ׳ – מאק אנד צ׳יז.

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Groneman 8  is a new café in Ramat Aviv with a selection of healthy sandwiches and gourmet pizza.

בוקר טוב עולם, מה שלום כולם? @gronemancaffe

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Other News

Mateh Yehuda Food Festival takes place over three weekends from April 27 to May 20, 2018. This rural food festival has been held for over 10 years and offers unique events to food and wine lovers.  The festival includes events at restaurants, wineries and private homes which are open throughout the year, as well as one-off events that take place only for this festival. All the information can be found in Hebrew on the website.

Recent Posts

 To read previous monthly roundups click here.

Why is this year different from all other years?

Pesach Jerusalem 2018

As Pesach approaches, people are usually focused on where they will be able to eat over Pesach.  I normally write a post about places I recommend, but when I sat down to write it this year, I realized that not only was my list pretty much the same as last year (click here for Pesach 2017) but also with a full week of Chol Hamoed, most places are actually going to be open this year so there is more choice than ever.

The only problem that leaves is where can to eat hametz on Thursday night! If you are uber organized like me, then you have booked a table at one of the few nice dairy restaurants that will be closed for Pesach like Anna, or at Cafe de Paris which is closing for good on Thursday.

If however, you have not yet booked something, here is a guide to places that will be open into the night on Thursday, for people to get their last fix of bread!

  • Ishtabach

Shamburak, the Kurdish Syrian pastry filled with meat and vegetables, baked in a stone oven and served with various homemade sauces and salads.  Fillings include Asian chicken (NIS 41), asado (NIS 45) and tongue (NIS 54) and there is also a vegetarian option and some salads on the menu.

Ishtabach (Mehadrin), 1 HaShikma Street, 02 623 2997 – English menu.

  • Hatch

What could be a better way to start Pesach than with a gourmet hot dog and craft beer? They have even created a special dish called “What Hillel Made”.

Hatch (Mehadrin), 28 HaEgoz Street, 02 679 6222.

  • Jachnun Bar

Whether you get a Shakshukalawach, Pizzalawach, chocolate filled Malawach or something else, Jachnun is the ultimate hametz indulgence.

Jachnun Bar (Kosher), 30 HaEgoz Street, 02 566 1919.

  • Pizzeria Flora

Delicious authentic Italian pizza with a crispy base, doughy crust and high-quality ingredients.  Toppings include fresh mozzarella, Italian tomato sauce, rocket/arugula, parmesan, artichoke, egg and zucchini and prices start from NIS 44.  They also serve a great Blue Cheese Salad (NIS 33) with a tangy citrus vinaigrette.

Pizzeria Flora (Dairy – No Hechsher), 2 HaDekel Street, 02 622 2216.

זה החיים שלנו @preismansfoodphotography

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  • Falafel Mullah

Everyone has their favorite falafel place, but my favorite is Falafel Mullah. As soon as you approach the stall, the friendly staff offer a fresh falafel to taste and if you just want a snack, there is always the option for half a pita.  The falafel is Gluten Free but the bread isn’t. Falafel in pita is NIS 15 and in laffa is NIS 18.

Falafel Mullah (Kosher), 82 Agripas Street (corner of Beit Yaacov), 052 843 6476.

Pepito’s will also be open Thursday night with arepas and Latin American sandwiches.

Random Other Pesach News

  • Pasta Basta will be opening for Pesach for the first time, with gluten-free, pesach pasta – with kitniyot. They will be closed all of Thursday and Friday.
  • Scala restaurant in The David Citadel Hotel is Mehadrin for Pesach – full review here.
  • Yonita Cafe in Nahalat Binyamin will be kosher for Pesach
  • If you are in Eilat for Pesach you have to go to 5th Avenue by Chef Aviv Moshe which serves delicious food and has a very cool vibe with a live DJ after 11pm. Karibu by Tel Aviv’s David Ve Yossef in the Queen of Sheba hotel has opened in place of Chicago. Both are kosher for Pesach with kitniyot.

February Foodie Roundup

There are lots of updates this month so I will keep the intro short. I have changed the format to Kosher vs Not Kosher – please let me know in the comments below if this is helpful or if you prefer it to be ordered by location.

Kosher

There has been a lot of movement on Emek Refaim in Jerusalem recently.  Hayouka BaPita by Chef Aviram Hayouka opened in early December. Waffle Bar has officially closed down. Bagel Café (Mehadrin) has temporarily moved a few doors down while they renovate.  They are also due to open a branch in Kanyon Hadar. Aldo has moved from the small store next to Bagel Café – to the doomed corner of Rachel Imenu.

Netanya has had an explosion of new kosher restaurants.  A few months ago Chef Uri Arnold (owner/chef of Arnold’s) opened a meat Greek Tavern on the beach called Souvlaki. Now, Chef Moshe Segev has opened a second branch of his kosher restaurant called Moshe Segev.  This restaurant follows the opening of Segev’s first kosher restaurant in Beer Sheva a few months ago. The menu is only available in Hebrew.

Chocolate and gold # kosher שוקולד וזהב …

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Chef Meir Adoni has opened a new chain of Middle Eastern fast food restaurants, called Dunya.  The first branch opened in Ramat Hachayal in mid-February and eventually, Adoni aims to bring his food to the whole of Israel, including Nazareth and Rahat. The prices will be higher than most fast-food chains but all the dishes are designed by Adoni himself, using high-quality ingredients.

תכף פותחים בע"ה

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Atmosphera (Kosher) is a new grill restaurant in Ashdod.  The menu includes a selection of small tapas dishes, Mediterranean style starters, as well as fish and meat main courses, such as baby grouper, green seabass, asado on the bone, a burger with a selection of toppings and various steaks, here is the full English menu.

Babam (Kosher), Ashdod – the trend of smoked meat is spreading around the country and Ashdod is the latest city to open a smoked meat restaurant by Chef Eran Hessel. Items on the menu include hot smoked pastrami, asado, smoke entrecote, goose breast, smoked bone goulash soup and a smoked hamburger.

The Croladin is back for good.  Roladin’s version of the Cronut, is now going to be permanently on the menu and not just for Hanukah.  Fillings include coffee amaretto, pistachio, chocolate, crème patisserie and white chocolate.

ועכשיו בגרסה האפויה #קרולדין

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Chiripom by Chef Avi Levy has closed in Tel Aviv.  He has decided to focus all his time on his Jerusalem restaurant, Hamotzi.

Chef Aviv Moshe of Messa and Quattro has launched a kosher vegan catering service called Berry Fields. For more information, call 09 955 9544.

Luciana has opened a new branch in Modiin.  The decor looks beautiful, but I hope that the food and service are more like the original Emek Refaim branch than the Mamilla branch.

יופי זה לא הכל בחיים אבל מי מאיתנו יתנגד

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Eilat has two new kosher restaurants: 5th Avenue by Chef Aviv Moshe is newly kosher and Karibu by Tel Aviv’s David Ve Yossef has opened in the Queen of Sheba hotel, in place of Chicago.

Click here to read my full review of the new Scala restaurant in The David Citadel Hotel.

Not Kosher

After 16 years in business, Argentinian Chef Victor Gloger recently closed Chloelys restaurant in Ramat Gan and has now opened Hola Brasserie (Not Kosher) in the Dan Tel Aviv, where Rafael used to be.  The concept of the new modern European brasserie is to offer a less formal and less expensive menu. The menu features dishes like Tuna Tataki (NIS 56), Pizza Beets & Blue Cheese (NIS 69), Seafood Paella for two (NIS 195). There is also a smoking bar called Barola, with an extensive wine and cocktail menu and bar food. The kosher branch of Chloelys (Kosher) in the Hilton Tel Aviv will remain open.

Chef Omer Miller, the owner of the popular burger chain Susu & Sons (Not Kosher), has opened a pizzeria on Rothschild in Tel Aviv, called Sabba & 300 Rabbits (Not Kosher). Unusual pizza toppings include carrot, pumpkin, pasta, pancetta, osso buco, jalapeno and shredded short rib. They also have a number of sweet toppings for dessert pizzas.

Coming Soon

Since Liliyot closed for renovations a few months ago, we have been waiting to hear what the big update will be, well it is even more exciting than expected.  The new Liliyot restaurant will be Chef Eyal Shani’s first kosher restaurant in Israel.  Shani is one of Israel’s celebrity chefs, whose restaurants include, Port Said, North Abraxass, HaSalon and Romano (Not Kosher) in Tel Aviv and Miznon branches in Tel Aviv, Vienna, Melbourne, New York and a kosher branch in Paris.  Shani is most famous for his whole roasted cauliflower and his love of tomatoes. The restaurant will continue to hire at-risk youth and is due to open in early March.

Kosher restaurants by celebrity chefs are becoming a trend in Israel.  Chef Yoram Nitzan will be opening a new kosher restaurant in the David Intercontinental hotel.  Nitzan spent 20 years as the chef of Mul Yam specializing in seafood, until it burnt down in July 2015.  He was also the chef of Bindella Osteria which closed last year.

Recent Posts

  1. A Weekend Getaway in Haifa
  2. Scala Offers Authentic Jerusalem Food in a Hotel Surrounding
  3. Press Exposure for Restaurant Club Jerusalem and Israel
  4. Debbest: Shabbat in Jerusalem – Fast Food

 To read previous monthly roundups, click here.

Scala Offers Authentic Jerusalem Food in a Hotel Surrounding

The Scala restaurant in The David Citadel Hotel recently re-opened, having been closed for the last two years. The restaurant is off the hotel lounge, on the fourth floor of the hotel and the décor is similar to the overall style of the hotel. The previous restaurant was a fine-dining concept but the new restaurant serves traditional, Jerusalem food using modern techniques.  The hotel chef, Avi Turjeman, designed the menu to be simple and fresh, while offering authentic local food.

We started the meal with a small bowl of deliciously rich and flavorful meat and vegetable soup, which is a winter chef-special, complimentary to all diners.  Next, we ordered the mezze appetizers which are NIS 48 per platter and one platter was more than enough for three of us. The beautifully presented platter, included Warm Lupin Beans with Black Cumin, Smoked Eggplant, Tabouleh, Creamy Hummus with Warm Chickpeas, Crushed Tomato Dip with Green Chili, Tahina, Amba, Schug and wonderfully crispy Green Falafel.  My favorite part of the platter was the bread which was a light and fluffy, savory pancake-like flatbread with a similar texture to an English crumpet.  The bread worked perfectly dipped in the various sauces and wrapped around the falafel.

For the main course, I chose Veal Schnitzel (NIS 75), one of my favorite dishes and hard to find in Jerusalem.  It was a very generous portion and the dish was tasty, but I found the meat to be too thin, which meant that there was more coating than meat and the meat was slightly overcooked.  I also prefer for a veal schnitzel to be served in one large piece, rather than several small pieces.

Veal Schnitzel

I tasted both the Aged Beef Entrecote Skewer (NIS 55 per skewer) and the Pargit Skewer (NIS 48) which were both good but the chicken was my favorite of all the mains.  There is the option to order two skewers or to mix and match, but one skewer was enough for us, especially after the delicious starters.

Two skewers of Aged Entrecote and Pargit, with Grilled Vegetables

All the main courses are served with a vegetable salad and a choice of side dishes, which include Wheat Freekeh and Lentil Majadara, Basmati Rice or Potato and Sweet Potato Fries.  We tried one of each and the mixed fries were the winner, as they were well coated and we especially liked the purple potato variety.

We accompanied our meal with a glass of the house red wine, Teperberg Impression Cabernet Sauvignon (NIS 28/glass, NIS 110/bottle) which was light and fruity wine.

To finish the meal, we tried three of the four desserts on the menu, each cost NIS 35.   My favorite was the Safra Semolina and Coconut Cake, covered in a warm spiced syrup and served with lemon sorbet. The cake was not overly sweet, despite the syrup, and the lemon sorbet, topped with lemon rind, provided a perfect sharpness to the dish. 

The Fruit Salad was served with blanched almonds, mini meringues and topped with cassis sorbet.  The sorbet was wonderfully smooth and flavorful and the meringues and almonds provided a crunch to the fruity dessert.  Lastly, we had the Falooda ice cream with a marzipan and pistachio “cigar”.  The Persian ice cream, made from glass noodles and rose sugar, was not to my taste, but the cigar, which was drizzled with a warm spiced honey, was delicious.

When tourists come to Jerusalem, they want to try local food and too many of the good restaurants in Jerusalem serve everything but Israeli food.  It is refreshing to find a restaurant in a hotel that is finally giving tourists what they want. For Jerusalemites, it is also great to have a restaurant for special occasions that offers a three-course meat meal, with a glass of wine, for less than NIS 200/person.

Scala will be open for Pesach and the chef already has the menu planned.  This year, the whole hotel will be Mehadrin for Pesach only.

Scala Restaurant (Kosher), The David Citadel Hotel, 7 King David Street, Jerusalem, 02 621 2030. Full English Menu, Sunday – Thursday, 18:00-22:00. Parking validation included.

Press Exposure for Restaurant Club Jerusalem and Israel

Last week, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Joanna Shebson of Fun In Jerusalem for Bite Size on the Nachum Segal Network. We talked about how and why Restaurant Club Jerusalem was first founded and the subsequent establishment of Restaurant Club Israel.  We discussed some new restaurant openings in Jerusalem and tips on family-friendly kosher eating around Israel.

Special mentions in the interview include Scala at The David Citadel HotelMemphis BurgerJacko’s StreetWaffle FactoryGillis Steak HouseHarvey’s Smokehouse, and Kitchen by Greg, Sarona.

The full interview is available here.

Debbest-Israel-Slider

Following on from that, I was interviewed by Ariel Dominique Hendelman for an article in The Jerusalem Post entitled “Living to Serve”, about restaurant service in Jerusalem and how certain restaurants stand-out for their level of service.  The article mentions the power of social media and the community aspect of Restaurant Club Jerusalem.

Ariel also interviewed Private Chef Bracha Arnold; James Oppenheim, co-owner of Crave; Joel Haber of Fun Joel’s Israel Tours and Chef Yankale Turjeman, owner of 1868, Zuta and JLM Sushi.

Here is a small extract from the article:

‘For Kandel, the best service in Jerusalem is found at Jacko’s Street near the Machane Yehuda market. She is not shy to rave about the kosher steakhouse and recommend it to Jews and non-Jews alike. Kandel admits that at this point, she knows the owners well and receives VIP treatment, but her admiration for them began a couple of years ago when someone posted in her Facebook group that they were unhappy with their experience at Jacko’s. One of the owners saw the poor review and called Kandel to ask her what she thought they should do. He then called the person and offered them a free meal if they would return, which they did. The subsequent experience was a much more positive one.

“Jacko’s knows that 50% of their customer base is Anglo,” Kandel says. “There are some places who don’t care about their Anglo customers because maybe the majority is Israeli. The other place that really gets it right is Machneyuda restaurant. The experience begins the minute you walk in the door. If for any reason, you’re kept waiting, they bring you something. It’s seamless. They know that the experience is not just about the food and very few restaurants here understand that.”’

Click here to read the full article.

Living to Serve - Snapshot.png

Debbest: Shabbat in Jerusalem – Fast Food

Where to eat in Jerusalem on Saturday/Shabbat is a commonly asked question, especially for first-time visitors.  Even though most of the city closes down on Friday afternoon, there are still plenty of good places to eat all over Jerusalem, you just have to know where they are.  I have decided to split the recommendations into three categories: fast food/takeaway, nighttime and daytime, as the recommendations for these categories are very different.  I am starting with fast food, as it is the easiest one, and the others will follow.

  1. Hasushia

As the only sushi restaurant in Jerusalem open on Shabbat, Hasushia is a popular option.  The restaurant itself is simple and small, with a stronger emphasis on takeaway and deliveries.  As well as the usual selection of sushi, the menu also includes dim sum, Asian soups, salads, noodles and other cooked foods.  Kids meals available are schnitzel and rice or chicken noodles.

Takeaway orders are ready for collection within 40 minutes and for orders over  NIS 50 there is a delivery charge of NIS 8-16 (depending on your location), deliveries take up to 90 minutes.  Online ordering is only in Hebrew (and I could not find an option to pay online), but telephone orders can usually be made in English. This branch serves seafood, meat and dairy together, but vegetarian and vegan dishes are available.

Hasushia, 12 Hillel Street, 02 633 5050

  1. Chili Pizza

Chili Pizza has been around for a several years and serves a traditional range of toppings to satisfy non-kosher consumers, such as ham and pineapple, pepperoni and cheese, bacon and eggs, and spicy beef and sweetcorn. Ready-made pizzas are available by the slice but the freshly made individual pizzas are much better.

The menu also includes some pasta dishes and desserts.  The full menu is online in English and deliveries can be ordered by phone, 11 am to 5 am, 7 days a week.

Chili Pizza, 28 Hillel Street, 02 625 4040

  1. Iwo’s Burger

Iwo’s Burger is a typical burger restaurant with American diner style booths.  The choice of burgers includes beef, veal, lamb or bacon, and among the more gourmet toppings are Emmental, Roquefort and Parmesan Cheese, Bacon, Goose Liver and Truffle Butter.  They also serve a selection of sandwiches and salads, as well as, sticky chicken wings and tater tops with cheese.

The full English menu is available on their website and there is also the option for ordering deliveries in English. Iwo Burger is open until 3am, 7 days a week.

Iwo’s Burger, 24 Hillel Street, 02 622 2513

  1. Domino’s Pizza

As well as the usual pizza selection, Domino’s Pizza also offers the chef pizzas by Asaf Granit, with gourmet toppings such as asparagus, mushroom, parmesan and truffle oil; spinach, cauliflower and pine nuts with an alfredo sauce; thin sliced beef, parmesan with fresh rocket; broccoli, salami, parmesan and roasted almonds, and more.

There is a choice of alternative pizza bases including whole wheat and gluten-free, as well as the option for vegan cheese.

Online ordering is only in Hebrew but telephone orders can usually be made in English.  Deliveries are normally received within 30 minutes or you can collect from your local branch.

Domino’s Pizza, 122 Herzl Boulevard; 1 Etsel Street; 25 Rivka Street, 1700 70 70 70

  1. Captain Burger

Unlike other burger places open on Shabbat, Captain Burger uses only kosher products and does not serve dairy.  Burger meals start at NIS 46 including a 110g burger and fries.  The burgers are not the best in the city but they still tasty and better than chains like McDonald’s. Online ordering is available in Hebrew.

Captain Burger, 4 David Remez Street, First Station, 02 671 9403

  1. P2

P2 serves real Italian thin-crust pizza in the heart of Jerusalem and they recently started selling gluten-free pizza. Other interesting dishes include Panzanella Salad, Calzone and Gnocchi. They do not have a menu online and do not deliver, but you can pre-order by phone for collection, if you know what you want.

P2, 36 Keren Hayesod, 02 563 5555

  1. Mian Noodles

A simple, authentic Asian noodle restaurant near the Old City, which offers five kinds of noodles: ramen, egg, spinach, carrot and rice noodles, with different types of meat and vegetarian toppings.

Mian Noodles, 22 King Solomon Street, 02 994 4333

Our special salad 🍲😋👌🏼

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  1. Aroma

The Hillel branch of Aroma is open 24/7, with a large seating area and free WiFi. The menu is similar to the kosher branches, but also includes a limited amount of meat dishes such as roast beef and chicken sandwiches and chicken salad. The full menu in English is available here and there is also a small branch of Aroma in Yes Planet, which is open on Shabbat.

Aroma, 18 Hillel Street, 02 625 5365; 4 Naomi Street, Yes Planet, 02 656 7787

Decisions decisions…

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  1. Jachnun Bar

For those who are not familiar with Yemenite food, Jachnun is a roll of Malawach pastry (fried flaky bread), which is traditionally cooked on a low heat and eaten on Shabbat morning by Yemenite Jews, with fresh tomato sauce, hard-boiled eggs and schug (spicy pepper and coriander paste).

Jachnun Bar also serves a variety Malawach options filled with salads and dips.  Stand out items include the Shakshukalawach, Pizzalawach, Malawach filled with shakshuka and chocolate filled Malawach.

All the food in the restaurant is vegetarian but as it is open 24/7, including Shabbat, it is not officially. Here is the full menu in English (page 2), they do not deliver.

Jachnun Bar, 28 Hillel Street, 02 566 1919

  1. Black Burger

Although the quality of the meat at Black Burger is superior to other chains, it is still a chain restaurant and the quality and service can vary greatly. It is, however, a great option for a group dinner but if you are going for a pre-movie meal, allow plenty of time, as this is not typical “fast-food” and they don’t do takeaway.

Deliveries are not available but you can call in advance for collecting takeaways. The menu is only available in Hebrew and they claim that all the meat is kosher but they do serve cheeseburgers and the mashed potato is dairy.

Black Burger, 4 Naomi Street, 02 930 9575

January Foodie Roundup

January has been a pretty wet and miserable month, which often prompts people to stay at home in the warmth, rather than eating out, but there are some exciting developments in the Israeli culinary scene this month.

Jerusalem 

Scala (Kosher) at The David Citadel Hotel has re-opened after many years of closure.  The original restaurant was a formal European style bistro but the new one seems to be a modern take on traditional Israeli food, click here for the menu.

Sweet’n Karem (Kosher) has opened a new kosher coffee shop in Ein Kerem with space for chocolate workshops.  The packaged chocolate has always been kosher, but the shop itself used to be open on Shabbat. The new café is the only kosher option available in Ein Kerem and includes seating in a scenic courtyard.

Sofia Restaurant in the Inbal Hotel has closed until May 2018 and the soup festival ended early, due to renovations in the hotel.

A new kosher Arais place is due to open in early March near the shuk, on Agripas opposite Mordoch.

Tel Aviv & Merkaz

Deli Fleishman (Kosher) has closed inside Sarona Market and is now across the road at 112 Derech Menachem Begin. In its place will be another kosher meat stand called Pita Basta (Kosher), who currently have a branch in Ashdod. Menu items include various meat and vegetarian options and most excitingly a chocolate and grilled banana pita.

Ludens Express (Kosher) vegan restaurant has opened in the Sarona complex.

Whiskey Bar Museum (Hashgacha Pratit) in Sarona has opened a cigar bar called Walter Bar at the back of the restaurant.

Etz Halimon (Mehadrin) is a new dairy restaurant in Hod Hasharon. As well as a traditional Israeli breakfast, menu items include Nicoise salad with seared tuna, burrata, gnocchi with chestnuts, parmesan and truffle and whole sea bass with roasted vegetables.

Greco, the popular Greek restaurant in Tel Aviv, has opened a second branch in Herzliya.

Με όρεξη – בתאבון! #ישגםמשלוחים

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Upcoming Events & Other News

So French So Food French culinary week will take place February 5-8, 2018 for a 6th year. A delegation of 18 French chefs will collaborate with restaurants all over Israel. Notable restaurants taking part in Tel Aviv are Shila, Popina, Oasis, Yaffo Tel Aviv and Olive Leaf (Kosher). Jerusalem restaurants include Cow on the Roof (Kosher), Mona, Mamilla Rooftop (Kosher).  Other restaurants around the country are Oratorio (Kosher) in Zichron Yaakov, Oud in Nazareth and Cramim in Beer Sheva.  Participating restaurants will feature special dishes made with the French chefs, for more information contact the restaurants directly.

A report on the recent A-Sham Arab Food Festival in Haifa – Food Festival Brings Jews And Arabs Together In Haifa.

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To read previous monthly roundups, click here.