Tell me what you eat and I will tell you where to go in Jerusalem
15 November, 2016
You want to eat local produce? Head for the Mahane Yehuda market, where you will find all the locally sourced commodities: fresh, sweet, fleshy dates, grains, seeds, spices, nuts, heaps of dried fruit, olives of all kinds, tahini (a paste made from toasted, ground sesame seeds – go to the specialists at the Halva Kingdom stall), local craft beer (in the Beer Bazaar), confectionery… You will come across over 250 quaint stalls in this market, also known as “The Shuk”. And, like any Middle Eastern market, it greets visitors with a blast of aromas, colours and an unusual, amusing chaos which we’re very fond of. Mahane Yehuda Street.
You want to eat hummus? No Israeli table can afford to be without this dish, based on mashed chickpeas, just like tahini. And, when you taste it, you will succumb to its intense flavour and eminently smooth, creamy and compelling texture. One of the most popular hummus dishes can be had at Rahmo, a traditional-cuisine, self-service eatery which, more than vintage, might be described as shabby. But, as is often the case in such traditional spots, their homemade cuisine is marvellous. Their hummus, based on a secret recipe which requires days of careful preparation, is served with a generous layer of virgin olive oil and large helpings of pita bread which you will never stop dipping. At Rahmo you could also try the kubbeh hamusta soup (ox meat and semolina cooked in a vegetable and lemon broth), and a variation with beetroot, both great local specialities. 5 Ha-Eshkol.
You want international cuisine? Menza, one of the prettiest and most modern eateries in Jerusalem, offers great contemporary cuisine with a nod to the world at large. It is located in a pleasant pedestrian precinct, adjoining the Fine Arts faculty, given over to a craft street market and buskers which liven up a sojourn on their terrace, where you can enjoy lunch or brunch. The inside features warm interior design, in line with contemporary taste. Their menu boasts the international dishes currently in vogue, including ceviche, tartare and kebab, prepared using locally sourced ingredients. 10 Bezalel.
You want an ice-cream? We can safely say that Mousseline is possibly one of the best ice-cream parlours in the world. A small establishment, the only thing it can boast about are its exquisite sorbets and ice-creams, which truly taste of the flavours they are advertised as. The options are highly varied and include both classic and unusual flavours – masala chai, saffron, cream cheese and red fruit, dark chocolate, almonds, rose water… We recommend the coffee and the vanilla ice-creams, as well as the lemon and mint sorbet. 6Ha-Eshkol Street.
You want to have pita bread or challah? According to those in the know, the best pita bread and challah – a traditional braided bread eaten on the Sabbath – is baked in Nechama’s Bakery. Opened in 1910, the bakery also churns out pastries, buns and different types of bread almost incessantly in full view of their customers. It is located in the Mea Shearim district and the aroma that wafts out of the oven is mouth-watering. Haside Pinsk-Karlin.
You want a typical breakfast? Modish Israelis have been seized by brunch fever. So, why not keep up with the times and indulge in this ritual? At Kadosh, with its ultra-cool air, which has remained open since 1967, you will find a broad variety of international dishes and confectionery. Above all, though, you will be able to taste their shakshuka. This traditional dish consists of fried eggs cooked over a slow fire in sautéed tomato and assorted vegetables. It is served with bread, varied salads and – needless to say – the ever-present hummus and tahini. Ideal for a brunch on their very cute terrace. 6 Queen Shlomziyon Street.
You want a falafel? The star of national street food, it is made of chickpeas, garlic, parsley, spices, olive oil, onion, cilantro and yeast. At Moshiko Falafel, a take-away establishment, you can savour one of the best falafels in Jerusalem – or in all Israel, according to die-hard devotees – served in pita bread and laced with yoghurt or tahini, gherkins and crudités. They are rich enough to sit in your stomach throughout a long stroll across the city and its cultural and historical sites. 5 Ben Yehuda.
Don’t miss out on Jerusalem’s delicious culinary offerings – book your Vueling to Tel Aviv here.
Text and photos by Laia Zieger of Gastronomistas.com
15 November, 2016