Jacko’s Street: A Winning Combination

Jacko’s has all the right ingredients for a memorable dining experience

If eating at a restaurant was just about the food, then I don’t think the restaurant industry would survive. A dining experience is not just about the food but rather the whole experience, including the service and the ambience. Many restaurants in Israel fail by not considering the experience they offer diners.

Jacko’s Street opened four years ago in Jerusalem and was the first kosher chef restaurant in the Mahaneh Yehuda market area. As the small streets around the shuk started to fill with more and more eating options, the popularity of Jacko’s also grew. In my opinion, the success of Jacko’s Street is due to its understanding that it is important to offer people more than just great food.

Click here for the full review in The Jerusalem Post

Asado Credit Sivan Shuv Ami

Asado Credit Sivan Shuv Ami

Goose Liver Semolina Cake

Beef Fillet Credit: Sivan Shuv Ami

Beef Carpaccio Credit: Sivan Shuv Ami

Fish Bruschetta

Jacko’s Street, +972 (0)2 581 7178, Kosher

Foodie score 9/10, FODMAP friendly score 8/10

Trattoria Haba combines international style with local flavors

IMG_0348The Haba family has been an essential part of the Jerusalem shuk for over 50 years, since they moved to Israel from Iraq. What started as a small bread stand has developed into a baking empire and as the life in Machaneh Yehuda has evolved, so has their business.

While they still have numerous bread stands in and around the shuk, the younger members of the family recognized the need for a more upscale bakery and restaurant – and Trattoria Haba was born.

To help make this idea a reality, the family recruited Michael Katz as executive chef for the Haba group. Katz spent four years as the executive chef of the Adom Group (Adom, Colony, Lavan etc) and was previously the chef and owner of Michael Andrew restaurant, and a teacher at the Cordon Bleu school in London.

_3244Located on Jaffa Street between the entrances to the closed and open shuk, Trattoria Haba is a beacon of modern style in traditional surroundings. At the entrance to the trattoria is a delicatessen, with a large array of fresh breads, pastries, salads and desserts available for takeaway. The restaurant itself includes tables on the ground and first floor, as well as tables out front on Jaffa Street and a small courtyard in the back, overlooking the Georgian section of the main shuk.

We started our meal with a selection of appetizers and salads. The croquettes of brie and pecorino cheese were the perfect balance of crispy and creamy, without being too heavy or rich (NIS 39). We enjoyed the curry-flavored couscous salad (NIS 48), which included a combination of roasted butternut squash, green beans, nuts and a variety of fresh cherry tomatoes, but we found the curry flavor to be a little too subtle.

IMG_0316For main course, we tried the market calzone (NIS 46) filled with pecorino, camembert, tomato sauce, black olives and roasted peppers. The portion was very generous and came with a delicious side salad, but our only criticism was that the tomato sauce made the filling slightly runny. Next, we tried the homemade cheese ravioli (NIS 64) and the ricotta cheese gnocchi (NIS 58). Both dishes were fresh and light, and I could not believe the gnocchi were cheese-based and not potato; this was definitely a dish I would go back for. Finally, we had the sea bream fillet (NIS 98) served with roasted vegetables. This is the most expensive dish on the menu, but the portion was very generous and the fish was perfectly cooked.

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And so to the desserts. We sampled both the pain au chocolate (NIS 15) and cheese Danish pastry (NIS 15), which were both good, but we found the dough a bit heavy. My favorite dessert was the tiramisu (NIS 28). which was perfectly balanced.

The restaurant has an extensive breakfast menu that is served until noon on weekdays and all day on Friday. The house breakfast (NIS 56) is incredible value and as well as the usual choice of eggs, salad, breads and dips, it also includes home cured salmon, fresh juice and a hot drink. They are always happy to make substitutes and special requests like soy milk are not extra. The breakfast for two (NIS 104) also comes with yoghurt with muesli and additional salads and despite trying on numerous occasions; I have never been able to finish it.

The service is very hit and miss and is especially slow when they are busy on a Friday, but the food is always consistent so it keeps people coming back for more!

Kosher Mehadrin
119 Jaffa Street, Jerusalem
http://www.haba.co.il
(02) 623-3379
Sunday-Thursday 8 a.m. to midnight
Friday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday One hour after Shabbat until midnight

A healthy alternative in Nachlaot

Pumpkin cream ravioli (NIS 62)

Pumpkin cream ravioli (NIS 62)

The choice of restaurants in Jerusalem’s Nachlaot neighborhood has multiplied in the past few years, but although many of them focus on using the fresh ingredients from the nearby Machaneh Yehuda market, most cannot claim to offer healthy options. There is an ever-increasing demand for vegan and gluten-free dishes, so it is wonderful that Nagila can satisfy that demand.

Click here for the full review of Nagila in The Jerusalem Post.

Wine n’ cheese all night long

Update: this restaurant has since closed.

Famous cheese importer’s Basher Resto-Cheese Bar boutique wine bar in the heart of Jerusalem is still going strong.

Basher Resto-Cheese Bar

Basher Resto-Cheese Bar Photo: Courtesy

From its humble beginnings as a wine and cheese stall in Mahaneh Yehuda market, Basher blossomed into a well-known delicacies shop with a wide-ranging, global selection. Since its opening on 2012’s Independence Day, its satellite Basher Resto-Cheese Bar has also become something of a Jerusalem institution.While the capital has come a long way in the past few years in terms of nightlife, especially withthe resurgence of theshuk, there was a need for more upscale venues.Basher, onAgrippas Street in the heart of the capital, has filled that void. First reviewed by The Jerusalem Post last year shortly after its opening, I recently had the pleasure of sampling some of its new goodies.Encased in the building’s original Jerusalem stone, Basher’s intimate upstairs – with seating at the bar or at tables, my favorites being the ones in front of the large picture window – and its romantic, cave-like downstairs both benefit from the muted lighting. Contributing to the elegant hush is the furniture, which is fashioned from beautiful woods.

Click here for the full review of Basher in The Jerusalem Post.

Pesach friendly Nightlife

For the many singles that live in the Holy City and the numerous tourists who descend on it over Pesach, it is perhaps more important to know where they can have a “kosher” drink over Pesach than where they can eat.

Mirror Bar

Mirror Bar

Anyone who has read my previous blog posts knows that in the past my answer was always the same – Mirror Bar – but over the last year, not only have other options opened up, but my taste in bars has also changed.  So while Mirror Bar is still a good option if you want tasty Pesach meat snacks and a good choice of wine and Trump vodka, it is good to know that is no longer the only option for heading out with friends or on a date this Pesach.

I have 2 new favorites that are quite different, so in no particular order, here they are:

Basher

Basher

Basher – located at the beginning of Aggripas, just off King George, this bar/restaurant is popular with the trendier Nachlaot crowd and also attracts many different people for dinner and drinks.   I have loved this place since it opened and was happy to indulge in their gourmet cheese platters accompanied by delicious wine, but it was not always under kashrut supervision.  Now it is Kasher LeMehadrin (the teudah is in the kitchen, but I have seen it for myself) and they will be open for Pesach.  All the wine and cheese is the same as the rest of the year and one of the owners assured me that they have worked hard on making nice Pesach bread and are even trying to perfect a Pesach Gnocchi recipe.

HaSchena

HaSchena – a friend recently described this place as a pocket of Tel Aviv in Jerusalem – for all the right reasons.  Close enough to the shuk to also attract some Nachlaot crew, it is also next to the uber-cool Yudale (tapas bar of famed Machneyuda) and therefore gets passing trade from people hanging out there.  Again, until recently it was kosher but with no supervision, they now have a Teudat Kashrut and will be open for Pesach serving dairy snack.  There is always a good vibe inside and the outside terrace is small but cosy.  As the weather gets warmer, people start spilling out onto the street and it also seems to be gaining popularity.

So three very different options of kosher places to head out to over Pesach for a good time with your friends and the possibility of meeting some new ones!  חג שמח