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Top Popular Restaurants in Jerusalem

Everyone knows that, culinarily speaking, Jerusalem has long been much more than falafel downtown and hummus at the legendary “Pinati Café”. Nowadays Jerusalem offers a wide variety of world-class restaurants serving delicacies from cuisines around the world – Japan, Italy, Morocco, Libya, France and more. Most of the restaurants are kosher (some are not) and all guarantee an otherworldly culinary experience.

Take all this and add the city’s unique scenery – The famous arches, the ubiquitous Jerusalem stone and the calm background sounds – and you get a heavenly experience that is not to be missed. To our delight, the fine dining options in Jerusalem have increased considerably In recent years. Not only are their more restaurants, there are more places offering unique and fascinating menus, such as those combining the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean traditions with modern culinary trends. Among the many culinary flavors you will find many restaurants using fresh organic produce. For despite the conservative palates of some older eaters, more and more diners have become aware of the importance of a healthy diet, but at the same time seek new adventures for their taste buds.

To help you find your way through the gastronomic maze of the new Jerusalem food scene, we’ve prepared a short list of the most popular, recommended and surprising eateries in town:

Kinor bakikar (“Violin at the square”)

Photo: Kinor BaKikar

Photo: Kinor BaKikar

Kinor BaKikar is one of the best chef restaurants in town. You’ll feel this establishment’s unique atmosphere as soon as you set foot in the Music Square in which it’s located, which is reminiscent of a pastoral Italian piazza. The square is adorned by a glorious fountain and chairs set in front of the stage, so you can enjoy the delicious foods and the acts performed on stage at the same time. The atmosphere in the restaurant is relaxed, dynamic, and suitable for the entire family.

The menu is based on fine grilled meat cuts, fresh fish, a wide variety of salads and warm bread baked for each diner individually in the kitchen’s traditional taboon oven. Among the restaurant’s most recommended dishes are the veal sirloin roast beef pizza, the grilled fillet of sea breem, served with whipped potatoes, spinach and roast peppers, and the goose breast skewers in a date-honey and pear sauce.

Where: 8 Ma’avar Beit Haknesset, Kikar HaMusika, Jerusalem

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TOURO

Photo: Touro Restaurant

Photo: Touro Restaurant

Touro is a Mediterranean chef restaurant helmed by Chef Benny Ashkenazi, which prides itself on a kosher meat menu. The restaurant is located in the heart of the historic Mishkanot Sha’ananim neighborhood, overlooking a breathtaking view of the Old City walls and the Tower of David. The restaurant occupies an old Jerusalem-style building, at the foot of the neighborhood’s historic mill, close to the famous Mishkanot guesthouse, which is popular with artists and intellectuals. In terms of design, you can enjoy an external balcony with gorgeous views of the pastoral neighborhood views, along with an interior space boasting the ambience of an ancient structure in the modern age. The soothing atmosphere but an opening note to the real experience offered by this establishment – the food. In Touro’s meny you will find meticulous, rich dishes alongside a variety of options suited for vegetarian and vegan diners. The menu is based exclusively on the cuisine of the Mediterranean, with touches of Asian influences, including unique cooking techniques and an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients. Among the chef’s recommendations you will find an impressive variety of fish, grilled chicken tenders with roast pumpkin, pan-seared onions, garlic confit and citrus caramel, a cocktail menu, and one of the richest wine menus in the entire country, with a selection of bottles from local wineries, as well as aged vintages from the restaurant’s own cellar.

Where: 2 S.A. Nachon Street, Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Jerusalem

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Hachatzer (the courtyard)

Photo: Hachatzer Restaurant

Photo: Hachatzer Restaurant

Another chef restaurant that needs to be on your list is The Courtyard (HaChatzer), located on Bethlehem Road, a few minutes’ walk from The First Station Complex, Emek Refaim, and Yes Planet. The restaurant specializes in grilled meats, stews, and fish dishes by the famed Chef Moti Ohana from “Medita”. Ohana is a graduate of the Cordon Bleu school and prides itself on combining the qualities of French cuisine and the spicy Mediterranean culinary worlds.

From the moment you enter the restaurant, you’ll feel the warm, pleasant, home-like atmosphere that suffuses the place. The service is courteous and attentive, and the food is made with the finest local  (and we mean local) produce and meticulous selection of top quality ingredients. With two distinct levels, a bar and an open kitchen, there’s something to love for anyone. Among the signature dishes are veal tonsils with charred tomatoes, Jerusalem Mix with stir-fried sea fish, a selection of juicy steaks, veal asado in BBQ sauce, and a sampler platter piled high with the best the kitchen has to offer. Oh, and the desserts will knock you off your feet.

Please note that The Courtyard’s menu is truly seasonal, so each time you come back you’ll find new and amazing surprises!

Where: 7 Bethlehem Road, Jerusalem

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La Padella

Photo: Alex Yampolsky

Photo: Alex Yampolsky

The colorful and vibrant Machane Yehuda market has always been a hub for the finest eateries Jerusalem has to offer, and La Padella has become one of the hottest spots in the market with its served-in-the-skillet specialties and Mediterranean-Israeli menu influenced by global dairy cuisine and the upscale street-food scene. La Padella’s calling card are its unique shakshukas – the Israeli national breakfast dish, a quick and delicious stew of tomatoes, peppers and eggs. At La Padella, you’ll find thrilling variations and extra goodies to this basic winning formula. In addition, you’ll find creative pasta dishes, piping-hot pizzas, special salads and many other surprises, all made with the freshest produce from the neighboring market stalls. Night owls can enjoy an after-dark menu, as the restaurant morphs into a hopping bar, with a row of beer taps, an impressive selection of wines, vodkas, liqueurs and special cocktails, which are bound to help you have a very pleasant night, well into the wee hours.

Where: HaShezif 10 St., Jerusalem

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Lechem Basar (Meat and Eat)

Photo: Meat and Eat Restaurant

Photo: Meat and Eat Restaurant

Simple, elegant, and exceptionally tasty – those are the guidelines for Lechem Basar, a kosher, contemporary carnivore’s restaurant which emphasizes the nexus of those too beloved foodstuffs. The restaurant is located in the legendary First Station Complex in Jerusalem, offering an urban atmosphere mixing old and new. With meticulous, luxurious décor and intimate, comfortable seating, you can enjoy not just a quality meal, but a fabulous night out. The restaurant combines small group seating, mixed tables near the bar and intimate nooks and crannies.

The restaurant boasts a limited menu of uncompromising quality, with an emphasis on freshness, availability, and a quality treat for the taste buds, all at a remarkably affordable price. The aged meat cuts are not to be missed, as are the poultry dishes, served with light salads and superb breads. The restaurant boasts a taboon for fresh baking and an aging fridge for its exquisite meats, which guarantee a multi-sensory culinary experience, which can be completed only with a fine glass of wine.

Where: 4 David Remez St., The First Station Complex, Jerusalem

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Dolphin Yam (Sea Dolphin)

Photo: Sea Dolphin restaurant

Photo: Sea Dolphin restaurant

Israelis (Mostly those from Tel Aviv) love to rib Jerusalemites about having no beach. For the past 45 years, Dolphin Yam restaurant has stood in elegant defiance of that particular talking point. It has become a brand name in seafood cuisine, serving Jerusalemites, Israelis from all over and the most discriminating diners from around the world, who return again and again whenever they’re in town. The professional chefs employed at the famed establishment and their meticulous approach to the culinary arts have produced a reputation that few in the country can compare to. The restaurant resides in a historical old Jerusalemite building which bestows a magical ambience upon your meal.

The menu, as may be gathered from the name and the above, specializes in the bounty of the sea, with an eye-opening array of fish and seafood dishes. Non-pescatarians will not be disappointed either, as their needs will be served with meat dishes, homemade pastas with surprising sauces, and dishes suited for kiddie palates as well. Some of the Dolphin’s best-known entrees include the seabass fillet in crab and pine-nut sauce, the rib mix, the lamb mini-kebobs, and a mouth-watering variety of seafood, from shrimps to calamari, scallops and crab.

Where: 9 Shimon Ben Shetach St., Jerusalem

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Tommy’s

Photo: Alex Yampolsky

Photo: Alex Yampolsky

Tommy’s, the new chef restaurant by Tomer Reuveni (formerly of 1868 and Eucalyptus), brings the chef-directed, gourmet diner food trend straight to the Jerusalem foodie scene. Tommy’s is a quality meat restaurant located in the heart of the central, charming Rechavia neighborhood. The restaurant offers street food with a gourmet touch, fabulous hamburgers and sandwiches packed with goodness. There’s a wide varieties of appetizers to nosh, soft drinks and beers.

Where: 21 HaKeren HaKayemet St., Jerusalem

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Machneyuda

Photo: Katia Shepeliavaya

Photo: Katia Shepeliavaya

The essence of the legendary Machneyuda restaurant can be glimpsed in its very name – the use of the “street”, low-brow way of saying the name of Jerusalem’s fabled marketplace, as a title for brilliant culinary chops that are anything but common. The restaurant is the love-child of three Jerusalem-born chefs: Yossi Elad, Uri Navon and Assaf Granit – who have since taken England by storm with London’s “Palomar” and “The Barbary”. The unique synergy between the three chefs, each with his own impressive resume, brings the culinary creativity to new heights. Each of the chefs finds his own avenues of expression, creating a complex, yet simple reflection of the international flavors of Jerusalem, the “City of Nations.” Each entrée is one of the three band members doing a jaw-dropping solo.

The restaurant is designed so that each table offers a different view, a different ambience, a different dining experience. You can sit at the small bar and have a front-row view of the kitchen at work, settle around one of the wooden tables or choose the low-sitting bar. The second floor offers still more seating options, low and high, including a small bar from which you can look down at the ground floor.

Where: 10 Beit Yaakov St., Machne Yehuda Marketplace, Jerusalem

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