Throughout the years of touring, I’ve a list of restaurants in modern Jerusalem, which I’ve visited with the various groups. What restaurant I visit depends totally on the type of group (young, old, religious, nationalistic, standard tourists, gem-tours, etc). Here is the list of those restaurants followed with a short description.
One warning for this list. If you are looking for low-budget restaurants, this is NOT the place.
Big Apple 13 Dorot Rishonim St, 94625 Tel (02) 625 6252, Map.
In the pedestrian zone just off Ben Yehuda St, this pizzeria serves New York-style thin-crust pizzas and is especially popular with Orthodox Jewish teenagers from New York who are in Jerusalem to take intensive religious studies courses. The restaurant is open until late and also offers a takeaway service.
Burgers Bar 20 Emeq Refaim St, German Colony, 93105 Tel (02) 561 2333. Map.
Acclaimed by many Jerusalem old-timers as having the city’s best hamburgers, this popular place also serves up other types of reasonably priced meat dishes. It is situated about 1 km (half a mile) south of the King David Hotel in the atmospheric German Colony, in the heart of a strip of popular cafés and restaurants.
Pinati 13 King George St, 94229 Tel (02) 625 4540, Map.
Situated at the spot where Ben Hillel St meets King George St at an oblique angle (hence the name, which means “on the corner”), this popular eatery has long been regarded by many local connoisseurs as the source of the city’s most delicious humus– creamy, delicately seasoned, never too heavy.
Rahmo 5 Eshkol St, Mahane Yehuda, 94322 Tel (02) 623 4595, Map.
A Jerusalem institution, Rahmo serves Israeli and Aleppo-style cuisine as well as authentic Jerusalem humus prepared according to a secret recipe from the owner’s mother. Situated on one of the tiny pedestrianized alleyways in the colorful Mahane Yehuda market, which is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.
Agas ve-Tapuach ba-Kikar 6 Safra Square, 94141 Tel (02) 623 0280, Map.
Known in Italian as Pera e Mela in Piazza (The Pear and the Apple on the Square), this venerable Italian restaurant has been serving home-style Italian cuisine, made with recipes from the owner’s grandparents, since 1978. Dishes come from both northern and southern Italy and include antipasti, foccacia, bruschetta and, of course, pasta.
Barood 31 Jaffa St, 94221 Tel (02) 625 9081, Map.
Just off Jaffa St on Feingold Courtyard, this laid-back, stone-built place is known for its Spanioli (Sepharadi) cuisine, as well as its juicy steaks and heavenly chocolate soufflé. The bar is decorated with a surprising collection of bottle openers and offers a wide selection of alcoholic beverages. Hosts art exhibits and live concerts of mellow music.
Focaccia Bar 4 Rabi Akiva St, 94582 Tel (02) 624 2273, Map.
Situated on a quaint courtyard, this romantic place, built entirely of stone, is evocative of the early 1900s. Specialties include meat dishes, pasta, seafood, salads and, naturally, focaccia. Situated in the heart of West Jerusalem, two blocks south of Ben Yehuda St and just off Hillel St.
HaShipudia 5 HaArmonim St, Mahane Yehuda, 94322 Tel (02) 625 4036, Map.
In the heart of the Mahane Yehuda market, this good-value eatery serves a range of excellent local dishes, including soups, stuffed vegetables, humus and grilled meats. Situated just one block west of the main street of Jerusalem’s largest fruit and vegetable market. For dessert, try one of the nearby pastry shops.
Kan Zaman Nablus Rd, 97200 Tel (02) 628 3282, Map.
Situated in a 19th-century house just north of Damascus Gate, this is the restaurant of the Jerusalem Hotel. The vaulted ceilings, shaded terrace and Oriental decor create a typically Arab atmosphere. The Palestinian cuisine is carefully prepared. There are often live concerts of Arab music on Friday from 8pm.
Link 3 HaMaalot St, 94263 Tel (02) 625 3446, Map.
Housed in a century-old Jerusalem-style building, this café-bistro is known for its superb spicy chicken wings, made with soy sauce and honey, its juicy steaks and, for vegetarians, the soy-and-honey tofu salad. Link has a generously shaded terrace and a congenial atmosphere. It is situated just off King George St, across from Independence Park.
Mona 12 Shmuel HaNagid St, 94592 Tel (02) 622 2283, Map.
Housed in the historic, stone-built home of the century-old Bezalel Art School, with its high ceilings and fanciful crenelations, this café-restaurant combines great food with a magical, arty Jerusalem atmosphere and exhibits of contemporary and historic Israeli art. The cuisine is international and includes salads, soups, antipasti and meat dishes.
Shanti 4 Nahalat Shiva St, 94240 Tel (02) 624 3434, Map.
On a tiny alleyway in the 19th-century Nahalat Yitzhak quarter, this pub-restaurant is popular with young and old alike. Served in a warm and authentic Jerusalem atmosphere, the salads are huge, as are the steaks. The chicken wings prepared with soy sauce, honey and ginger are delicious. Open only in the evening, from 7pm to 3am.
Shonka 1 HaSoreg St, 94145 Tel (02) 625 7033. Map.
Highlights at this elegant, Italian bar-restaurant include fish, hamburgers and various Mediterranean-style dishes. The lunch specials are particularly good value. The venue becomes a dance bar on weekends. Situated around the corner from where Shlomtzion Hamalka St joins Jaffa Road, just south of the Russian Compound. Permanently closed! Maybe this amazing restaurant might reopen! Check it out before you go.
Te’enim 12 Emile Botta St, 94109 Tel (02) 625 1967, Map.
Beautifully situated at the northern edge of Yemin Moshe, in an old stone building known as Beit HaKonfederatzia, this small place is one of Jerusalem’s oldest, and best, vegetarian restaurants. The decor is modern, with Armenian ceramic highlights. Diners enjoy a superb panorama of the walls of the Old City and Mount Zion.
Village Green 33 Jaffa St, 94221 Tel (02) 625 3065, Map.
In the low-rise,19th-century Nahalat Shiva quarter, this veteran vegetarian restaurant serves up everything from miso soup and Greek salad to quiches, ratatouille, lasagna and tofu dishes. Culinary inspiration comes from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Mediterranean Basin. Dessert options include fresh, healthy, home-made cakes.
Adom 31 Jaffa St, 94221 Tel (02) 624 6242, Map.
On the 19th-century Feingold Courtyard, this restaurant and wine bar serves meat, fish, seafood and vegetable dishes in the traditions of France and Belgium, with light Israeli touches. The daily specials are based on seasonal products fresh from the market. Great selection of wines and beers. Good value business lunch specials.
Anashim 73 Ein Karem St, Ein Karem, 95744 Tel (02) 641 7430, Map.
In the pastoral neighborhood of Ein Karem, on the far western edge of Jerusalem, this rustic, informal restaurant has a great atmosphere and tasty international cuisine, including focaccia baked in a traditional oven. Specialties include shrimps in a butter, wine and lemon sauce and chicken breast stuffed with goat’s cheese.
Arabesque 23 Nablus Rd, 97200 Tel (02) 627 9777, Map.
The elegant house restaurant of the legendary American Colony Hotel serves a fine selection of hearty, traditional Arab dishes, some based on lamb, as well as European cuisine and, often, a few off-beat surprises. The wine cellar is excellent and the Saturday lunch buffet is legendary. Turkish-style courtyard and lovely gardens.
Darna 3 Horkanos St, 94235 Tel (02) 624 5406, Map.
Moorish-inspired decor, Moroccan ceramics and lots of cushions adorn this gourmet Moroccan restaurant, whose name means “our home” in Arabic. Specialties include meze, harira marrakshia (veal and lentil soup made with fresh coriander) and mechoui (roast lamb with almonds). Situated two blocks north of Jaffa St.
Dolphin Yam 9 Shimon Ben Shetah St, 94147 Tel (02) 623 2272, Map.
For some four decades a Jerusalem favorite for fresh fish and seafood, this place, on the edge of Nahalat Shiva, also serves meat dishes and pasta. The decor is understated and informal. Recommended dishes include shrimp in cream sauce and grilled whole calamari. Has a wide selection of fried or grilled fish.
Jacksi 1 Shlomtzion HaMalka St, 94146 Tel (02) 622 2527, Map.
This elegant French restaurant, with a French-trained chef and an extensive international wine list, serves creative, artfully presented dishes in a sleek, modern dining room. Favorites include shrimp sautéed with hot chillis and cream, and lamb in pepper sauce. The fixed price menus offer great value. The soundtrack is classic jazz.
Philadelphia 9 El-Zahra St, 97200 Tel (02) 628 9770, Map.
One of East Jerusalem’s best-known Arab restaurants, Philadelphia is much appreciated for its Palestinian-style stuffed vegetables, spit-roasted meats, fish (including St Peter’s fish) and seafood. The ambience is welcoming, if a little formal. Live music on Friday from 9pm. Three blocks north of the Old City’s Herod’s Gate, which leads to the Muslim Quarter.
Sakura 31 Jaffa St, 94221 Tel (02) 623 5464, Map.
Acclaimed as the city’s best sushi bar and Japanese restaurant, this place has authentic Japanese furnishings. Sushi and sashimi, served on little wooden platters, are classic mainstays but you can also order dishes such as tempura with almonds and chicken yakitori. Drinks include sake and Japanese beers. Situated on the edge of Nahalat Shiva.
Taverna 2 Naomi St, Abu Tor, 93552 Tel (02) 671 9796, Map.
A classy, contemporary restaurant that has rave reviews, Taverna is situated in elegant stone pavilion on the Sherover Promenade. It offers a superb panorama over southeast Jerusalem, towards the Dead Sea and the mountains of Jordan. Food is non-meat and Mediterranean in style; desserts are particularly good. Situated off Hebron Road.
Tmol Shilshom 5 Yoel Moshe Salomon St, 91316 Tel (02) 623 2758, Map.
Hidden at the end of a Nahalat Shiva courtyard in a private house built in the 1870s is this mellow café-restaurant-bookshop. Dining options include superb whole trout, soups, quiches, creative salads, pasta and stuffed mushrooms. Great for a quiet conversation. Has a superb Friday morning buffet (9am to 1pm). Reservations are recommended.
Arcadia 10 Agripas St, 94301 Tel (02) 624 9138, Map.
One of Israel’s most talked-about restaurants, Arcadia is next to Mahane Yehuda market and its super-fresh ingredients. French and Mediterranean traditions are skillfully brought together with dishes from the Jerusalem-Sepharadi tradition and the chef’s family’s native Iraq to produce cuisine that is uniquely Israeli. Reservations advisable.
Cavalier 1 Ben Sira St, 94181 Tel (02) 624 2945, Map.
This up-market French bistro and bar, in Nahalat Shiva, offers classic French cuisine as well as Mediterranean influenced dishes, all made with only the freshest ingredients and presented with supreme elegance. Dishes include entrecote in pepper and cream sauce and chocolate volcano dessert. Good deals between noon and 3:30pm. Permanently closed! Maybe it might reopen again. Please call before you want to visit!