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Jerusalem Dining

The gastronomy of Jerusalem is quite varied.  Visitors will delight in the selection of eating venues ranging from quick food stalls to restaurants in old Ottoman mansions.  You should also be aware that in preparation for the Sabbath, most (but not all) places close between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. and re-open Saturday after sundown. 

Middle Eastern Cuisine
Among the most popular places for dining in Jerusalem is Darma.  Its owner is a native of Morocco.  He not only brought the best Moroccan gastronomy to the holy city, but hired decorators to recreate an authentic setting as well.  The spiced barley soup is among the favorites.  Baked lamb and couscous dishes also rank high on the list of most ordered items on the menu. 

Tip:  Don’t miss the Tagines.  These are lamb or chicken meals prepared with cooked dried apples, apricots, plums and raisins. 

Marvad Haksamim is always packed.  It’s very hard to get a table, but always possible if you’re willing to wait.  It’s not elegant and offers no frills except for exceptional cooking when it comes to dining in Jerusalem.  The portions are beyond generous and feature Yemenite traditions.  Among the outstanding dishes are the meats with tomato puree served with large loafs of Salouf bread.  There are goulash and schnitzels to choose from as well.  All these come with an impressive variety of salads, rice or potatoes.

And if you want to try the best and most affordable for dining in Jerusalem, you’ll make a beeline for Abu Shukri.  It’s said to have the best hummus (mashed chick peas flavored with spices and olive oil) in town.  In fact, don’t be surprised if you’ve seen this name in the New York Times.  Remember to ask for the hot pita bread.  Other good selections include spicy kebabs and schwarma.  A cup of mint tea to end the meal is ideal. 

International
Gabriel is a frequented spot among locals.  It serves traditional French fare.  It’s a sophisticated kosher restaurant, well-decorated without being flashy.  Everyone seems to love the foie gras topped with mango sauce or the thick filets boasting aromas of Marsala and spices.  The Kosher style Cordonbleau is a totally new creation made with breast of goose and chicken liver.  Don’t miss the wine list with   excellent vintages from the Golan region.

Canela also stands out among top places for dining in Jerusalem.  It’s Kosher French and upscale.  It emphasizes classic as well as inventive recipes such as seared tuna or roasted eggplant with Tehina and nuts.  The country ragout is said to be a well-liked favorite. 

Seafood
The Sea Dolphin is perfect for dining in Jerusalem and savoring excellent seafood.  It’s moderately priced and inviting and each of the main entrées is served with ten small salads.  Every style fish offered a la carte can be made grilled or fried. 

Pastry
If you have a sweet tooth, you won’t want to miss Jaffar & sons Pastry Café.  It’s the right place for the traditional Kanafeh.  This Middle Eastern specialty is made with cheese and pistachios.  It’s then baked in light honey syrup. 

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