Culinary Treasures of the Old City

Culinary Treasures of the Old City

autor iconBy Spencer Ho , September 5, 2023

With downtown Jerusalem’s contemporary dining scene taking off over the past several years, the traditional local fare of the Old City has fallen out of the spotlight. But we can assure you that some of the best Middle Eastern food can still be found within Old City’s ancient walls. Check it out for yourself…

Top 5 Restaurants in the Old City

Al Nasser Restaurant

For our money, this may be the best shawarma in the country -- crunchy, tender chicken bursting with Middle Eastern flavors and a perfectly balanced mix of super-fresh salads in a delectably soft pita bread or Druz lafa. This is essentially what you come to the Middle East for. Of course, it’s not just about shawarma. Al Nasser also serves up outstanding falafel and a variety of grilled meats, including Arabic kebabs, rotisserie chicken, lamb, steak and much more. 

  • 55 Bet Habad (Khan El-Zeit) Street, Old City, Jerusalem


Jaffar Sweets

The perfect place to swing by after a succulent, savory lunch, Jaffar Sweets is the top spot in the Old City for the traditional Middle Eastern desserts of baklava and knafeh. 

  • Bet Habad (Khan El-Zeit) Street, Old City, Jerusalem


Some of Israel’s Top Hummus Joints

We’ll skip the argument over who has the best hummus in Israel, and just say that the Old City has two major candidates in the running. With over 40 years of hummus-making behind it, Lina is an Old City favorite that serves up an extra creamy, delicately spiced hummus alongside other “in-a-bowl” favorites like Mesabha and Ful (stewed fava beans). Not far away, you’ll find the famous Abu Shukri, which offers an equally tasty albeit different hummus experience with a smooth texture and in-your-face flavor bomb of lemon and spices. Whichever you choose, there’s really no going wrong. 

  • Lina, Al Khanka Street, Old City Jerusalem Abu Shukri, Al Wad Street, Old City Jerusalem (corner of Via Dolorosa)



Yes, it’s a one-trick pony, but Zalatimo executes that trick to perfection. Mutabak is a Middle Eastern pastry filled with goat cheese, baked until golden, and then topped with sugar syrup and powdered sugar. It’s sweet and savory, done to perfection based on a generations-old family recipe. Unfortunately, Zalatimo doesn't have a listed address, but if you walk from Damascus Gate down Beit Habad (Khan El-Zeit) Street to the 9th Station of the Cross, you should be able to find the little hole in the wall or at least ask around.


Abu Ahmad Falafel and Hummus

A seemingly forgettable hole in the wall along the Via Dolorosa between the 6th Station of the Cross and Bet Habad (Khand El-Zeit) Street, Abu Ahmad has perhaps the best falafel in the Old City. It's packed with flavor and deep-fried to crunchy perfection with nary a hint of greasiness. Get it in a pita sandwich or with salads on the side of some hummus topped with unfiltered olive oil.