Jerusalem has a reputation for shutting down Friday evening until Saturday night for Shabbat (the Jewish day of rest), so many visitors get a little bit nervous about finding a place to eat during that time.
So if you’re looking for a place to eat on Friday night or Saturday, here are the restaurants where you can’t go wrong…
Where to eat on Shabbat in the City Center
Meejana Restaurant - at the St. George HotelMeejana Restaurant - at the St. George Hotel (Photo: Ahmed Douglas)
Meejana is located on the roof of St. George Hotel, overlooking the old and the new Jerusalem simultaneously. It’s an unbelievable experience for those who want to see the beauty of the city and dwell into the special atmosphere it possesses. But that’s just an opener for what’s expecting you inside – Meejana is defined by a special lounge design, filled with luxury. Here you’ll enjoy meticulous chef dishes, inspired by Jerusalem classic cuisine and Mediterranean food.
The recommended dishes of Meejana include lamb chops on velvety mashed potatoes, chicken rolls, various handmade pasta and ravioli, fresh salads, appetizers including shrimps and fried kibbeh, and a whole menu of sandwiches of all kind. We also recommend to check out the dessert and alcohol menus for the perfect finishing of your meal.
Where: St. George Hotel, Amr Ibn Al A’as St. 6
Working Hours: noon to 11 PM every day of the week
Dolphin YamPhoto: Sea Dolphin restaurant
With nearly five decades of experience, Dolphin Yam restaurant is now a proper Jerusalem food institute specializing in fresh and high quality fish, seafood and meats.
The restaurant is located in a beautiful ancient building which complements the cultural and culinary atmosphere in the place.
On the menu you will find barramundi fillet in tomato & baby shrimp with a hint of cream, homemade lamb kebab on piquant tomato sauce, fried soft shell crabs, and a large variety of shrimps, calamari, and scallops.
The indulgent dishes, exquisite atmosphere and homely service are your recipe for a relaxing Saturday. Don’t forget to try their changing menus of wines and desserts.
Where: 9 Ben Shtach St., Jerusalem
Focaccia BarPhoto: Mushkie Haskelevich
Focaccia Bar is a Friday night and Saturday afternoon hotspot for locals, expats and tourists alike.
The affordable, something-for-everyone menu boasting everything from Italian and Middle Eastern cuisine to Asian, burgers, steaks and more makes it a popular choice for groups and families.
Meanwhile, the lively bar and friendly bartenders attract their fair share of 20-30’s drinkers and diners.
Where: 6 Rabbi Akiva St., Jerusalem
BaroodPhoto: Courtesy of Barood Restaurant
Sure, you have many options for dining out downtown on Shabbat, but you’re not going to find a restaurant with a better combination of delectable cuisine and atmosphere than Barood.
Located in the charming Feingold Courtyard, Barood serves a variety of Middle Eastern, Balkan and Mediterranean dishes alongside a fine selection of Israeli and imported wines.
Grabbing a table in the courtyard for some drinks and a meal during the summer is a popular choice for locals and tourists alike, and in the winter, the warm, intimate restaurant is the perfect place to escape the chilly Jerusalem nights.
Depending on the week, you can also catch a free live concert on Friday and/or Saturday afternoon featuring local musicians playing Jazz, Middle Eastern or Balkan music.
Where: 31 Jaffa St., Feingold Courtyard, Jerusalem
Captain - Hamburger At The First StationThe First Station Complex in Jerusalem is where food and culture meet and become an unforgettably enjoyable culinary experience. A new burger stand has recently opened in the First Station and it soon became one of the most popular food destinations in Jerusalem: The Captain.
The Captain's speciality is well made fresh burgers in sweet and soft buns with crispy onion rings. Bonus: free refills of soft drinks. The best part though is that you get all of that deliciousness for a great price too. The Captain is also vegetarian and vegan friendly.
Where: Captain, 4 David Remez St., The First Station, Jerusalem
CieloPhoto: Mushkie Haskelvich
If you’re an ardent fan of authentic Italian food, then Cielo is the perfect destination for an intimate Friday night dinner or Saturday afternoon lunch.
Don’t expect to find any pizzas here. The menu is strictly authentic pasta, meat, fish and seafood dishes made fresh from only the best ingredients.
The space is rather small and intimate, so you’ll have to make reservations early to get a table during peak dining times.
Where: 18 Ben Sira St., Jerusalem
MonaPhoto: Courtesy of Mona Restaurant
Mona is fine dining cuisine at the highest level -- perfect if you’re looking to impress or treat yourself.
Located in the Jerusalem Artists House building, the interior is exquisite, and the ever-changing menu offers some of the best and most creative fusion cuisine made using only the freshest locally sourced ingredients.
Where: 12 Shmuel Ha-Nagid St., Jerusalem
Notre Dame Rooftop Wine & Cheese RestaurantPhoto: Courtesy of Notre Dame Restaurant
Last but certainly not least, you absolutely must check out the Rooftop Wine & Cheese Restaurant at the Notre Dame Center of Jerusalem, if not for the delectable food, then at least for one of the best views in the city and a lovely atmosphere.
Where: 3 Hatsanhanim St., Jerusalem