Whether you love or hate Pesach as a festival, there is no question that living in Israel allows you to eat well throughout the week, especially in Jerusalem.
My friends and family from all over come to spend Pesach in Israel and inevitably they want to know what new restaurants have opened and where they should eat during Hol Hamoed, so here are my recommendations.
If you want a great steak then, without doubt, you should head for Gabriel on Midrohov Ben Shetach. With the option to sit outside, this French style chef restaurant is a Jerusalem favorite. The quality of the food and service is normally excellent, although be warned, they can sometimes get overwhelmed at these busy times and the menu is not ideal for those who don’t eat red meat. If you want a treat, have the Chateaubriand Steak for Two (295₪) or the Tournedos Gabriel (164₪) which is veal fillet medallions with duck, pear in saffron and a Portobello mushroom served in a cherry and red wine sauce.
If you are happy to venture out into Baka then please try the always reliable Hachatzer which you can read about here. Or nearby La Guta which moved from Rehov Rivlin to Derech Bet Lechem nearly 2 years ago and has the most beautiful design and decor and a delicious creative menu.
All of these carnivorous suggestions are kosher for Pesach and have a non-kitniyot menu.
If like me, you are happy to indulge in the full benefits of eating kitniyot at Pesach, then you should head to Sushi Rehavia on Emek Refaim or Rehov Azza. As well as having the best sushi in Jerusalem, they also serve wonderful Asian meat dishes such as Chicken Osaka, teriyaki chicken with stir fried rice with vegetables (49₪) and Niko Don, grilled entrecote (rib-eye steak) on a bed of rice stir-fried with vegetables (53₪). Another delicious kitniyot treat is Black Burger on Shlomtzion Hamalka where the burger buns are made with corn flour and are the closest to real bread, I have ever had.
If you prefer a dairy menu , then head to Luigi (non-kitniyot) or Luciana (non-kitniyot) for some wonderful Pesach pizza and pasta. Caffit on Emek Refaim is always a popular choice on Pesach and the branch in the Botanical Gardens is a beautiful setting both day and night. Caffit does serve kitniyot but the menu is marked with some non-kitniyot items.
For a slightly more original dairy meal, I recommend the Mamilla Café with its beautiful Moroccan style terrace overlooking the old city. It can be accessed from the hotel or the shopping mall. Here the menu includes dishes such as Pumpkin Soup, Caprese Salad, Mashed Potato with Roasted Vegetables and Poached Egg – be warned, the service is not always perfect and the kitchen at the Mamilla Hotel in general is particularly inflexible, but the staff are normally very friendly and the food is delicious.
And as my regular blog followers will know, you will probably find me most nights in my local hang out, Mirror Bar. Their Pesach menu only includes a few items but if it wasn’t a kosher hotel, I would not believe that it was really kosher for Pesach food. The bar has a well stocked wine menu, and is also serving Arak, a selection of Brandy and Limoncello.
My most important piece of advice over Pesach, is to make sure you book a table in advance as without a booking, you are unlikely to enjoy any of the places mentioned here.