Why is this year different from all other years? Because we have a whole week of Hol Hamoed so most restaurants and cafes are open for Pesach to take advantage of the influx of tourists in the Holy City. It also means that things are going to be busier than ever and traffic in Jerusalem will be a nightmare – my advice – avoid driving and make reservations!
Many of my recommendations from last year still stand, so check out my blog from Pesach 2011. There have not been many new restaurants in Jerusalem this year but other places open for Pesach worth mentioning are Lara on Midrochov Ben Shetach (click here for an earlier post) and Modern in the Israel Museum which I still have not tried but I have heard it is great (open all day and kitniyot free).
This year I want focus on the melting pot of cultures that makes Jerusalem so wonderful and the great food that accompanies that culture. For those who eat kitniyot and want a truly authentic unique experience head to the Russian Compound to Darna and/or Racha.
Entering Darna is like an Aladdin’s cave of treasures. All the decor, furniture and dishes are brought in from Morocco and even the waiting staff are in traditional Moroccan dress. Although you cannot eat couscous on Pesach, the menu is still full of delicious Tagines and other aromatic Moroccan dishes. Take a look at the full menu to tempt you.
Just around the corner on Rehov Havazelet is Racha, a family-run authentic Georgian restaurant. It is definitely worth a visit during the year for their homemade bread and cookies but I am sure it will be a great experience over Pesach. Here is a recent post about Racha.
For those who do not eat kitniyot, head over to Emek Refaim to La Boca for a South American feast. They have posted copy of their Pesach menu on their website, click here and you can also get a 15% off coupon here.
Finally, if you are looking for good food with the best view that money can buy, head to the Rooftop restaurant of the Mamilla Hotel. In my opinion, they serve the best Entrecote (Rib-Eye) (129₪) in the city but the Butchers Cut with roasted tomatoes and tahini (91₪) is also very good. The dessert menu changes and will for sure be different on Pesach but they serve the best parev vanilla ice-cream I have had so far in Israel – I could not believe it was not dairy!
For a list of other places open for Pesach with contact numbers, click here.