Expert recommendations for the best places to eat in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)
Best-known Old City hummus, popular with Palestinians, Israelis, and visitors. Lunch only. Cash. Muslim Quarter, 63 Al Wad Road; tel. 972 (0) 2 627 1538.
Local meeting place attracts everyone from students to members of parliament for food and conversation. Hot dishes include homemade tangy bean soup, meatballs in gravy, stuffed vine leaves, and moussaka. Closed Friday night and Saturday. Cash only. 3 Shamai Street; tel. 972 (0) 2 561 9265.
Veteran proletarian restaurant famous for meurav Yerushalmi, a mixed Jerusalem grill of chicken livers, hearts, slivers of lamb, and chopped onion served in pita bread. Closed Friday night and Saturday lunch. 82 Agrippas Street, tel. 972 (0) 2 623 3002.
Dairy restaurant housed in the yard of the rustic home-turned-museum of artist Anna Ticho. Calm oasis in the center of town features live music Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights. Closed Friday night and Saturday lunch. 9 Harav Kook Street, tel. 972 (0) 2 624 4186. www.go-out.com/ticho
“Cozy bar-restaurant with Jerusalem home-style Sephardic (aromatic Jewish cuisine originating in Spain and Portugal) cooking.”—Mouli Azrieli, former owner, Fink’s bar. Occasional live music. Closed Sunday. 31 Jaffa Road, Feingold Courtyard, tel. 972 (0) 2 625 9081.
Popular bar/restaurant housed in a renovated train station compound. Attracts university professors and physicians at lunch, young funky crowd at night. Varied local Middle Eastern menu includes poultry, fish, and meat dishes. “The best gazpacho I ever ate.”—Dita Kohl-Roman, publisher, Eretz Magazine. 7 Derech Bet Lechem, tel. 972 (0) 2 672 9955.
Named “mother” for its original cook/proprietor, serves traditional Middle Eastern and Kurdish dishes. Try stuffed vegetables and ample kibbe soup with meat dumplings. Closed Friday night and Saturday. 189 Agrippas Street, tel. 972 (0) 2 624 6860. www.dinnersite.co.il/jerusalem/ima.htm
“Extraordinary Georgian food.”—Sherry Ansky, author, Eating in Jerusalem. Home-cooked meals prepared in a tiny kitchen; menu typically includes salads with bean and eggplant, mutton soup with rice, mint-flavor stew, filled pastries. 7 Nachalat Shiva Street; tel. 972 (0) 2 625 0618.
Bookstore café named after the classic novel by Nobel prize laureate S.Y. Agnon; regularly scheduled author readings; lively crowd of students, intellectuals, and journalists; soups, salads, and sandwiches. Closed Friday night and Saturday lunch. 5 Solomon Street; tel. 972 (0) 2 623 2758. www.tmol-shilshom.co.il
Gourmet kosher meat restaurant housed in a tastefully renovated 1868 building. “Classic Jerusalem feel.”—Michael Kohn, coordinating author, Lonely Planet Israel—the Palestinian Territories. Sophisticated French-style menu gets mixed reviews, but doting service earns universal praise. Tucked away off the street across from the David Citadel Hotel. Closed Friday and Saturday. 10 King David Street, tel. 972 (0) 2 622 2312.
“Chef Ilan Garusi serves Mediterranean Italian cuisine using fresh market produce and lots of herbs.”—Dita Kohl-Roman. Creative “Land” and “Sea” menu options range from spicy central Asian meat stews to fish kabobs in coriander; daily specials and desserts including ice cream with tahini, honey, and pine nuts. Live jazz on Thursdays. 18 Shlomzion Hamalka Street; 972 (0) 2 625 2733.
“A good ethnic experience.”—Michael Kohn. Rich Moroccan menu includes classic dishes such as harira soup and pastry stuffed with Cornish hen, almonds, sugar, and cinnamon. Golden brocade cushions, mosaic tile tables, stained glass windows, and a courtyard fountain enhance the authentic north African atmosphere. Closed Friday night and Saturday lunch. 3 Horkanos Street; tel. 972 (0) 2 624 5406. www.darna.co.il
Considered the best seafood restaurant in Jerusalem; clean, calm decor in a historic building. Family-run for decades. Order grilled or fried fish with a choice of sauce such as lemon and mint or tahini with lemon and garlic. Excellent mezze (appetizers). 9 Ben Shetach Street; tel. 972 (0) 2 623 2272.
“Owner Eli Mizrachi and his (Cordon Bleu-trained) daughter can take Mediterranean eggplant and give it finesse.”—Dita Kohl-Roman. Kosher, French-Mediterranean menu changes daily; recipes feature fresh produce from neighboring market stalls; watch chefs at work in the open kitchen. Closed Friday night and Saturday. Mahane Yehuda market; tel. 972 (0) 2 623 4916.
“French fare with a Jerusalem flare.”—Mouli Azrieli. Unpretentious French/Mediterranean cuisine from chef Ezra Kedem ranges from saffron-scented seafood soup to slow-cooked lamb stew with turnips, Jerusalem artichokes, and bulgur wheat; considered one of Israel’s top restaurants; extensive wine list highlights Israeli wineries. Closed Sunday. 10 Agrippas Street; tel. 972 (0) 2 624 9138.
Luxury over local character. Modern polished decor with baby grand piano, chandelier, and sleek bar draws an upscale crowd. Closed Friday night and Saturday lunch. 8 Shlomzion Hamalka Street; tel. 972 (0) 2 622 2293.
Intimate, nine-table restaurant. Chef Didi Ben Arush adds Mediterranean flavor to modern and traditional French cuisine such as veal carpaccio and salmon filet. Stone floors. 1 Ben Sira Street; tel. 972 (0) 2 624 2945.
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