A Summary of the Best Cafes and Diners to Eat in on Shabbat in Jerusalem.
It is a myth that there are no great places open to eat on Saturday / Shabbat in Jerusalem, you just have to know where to find them. As well as more formal restaurants, there is also a good selection for those who want a cafe or diner in Jerusalem on Shabbat, The order of this list is based purely on my personal preference and is by no means all-inclusive but I would happy to hear your feedback. Here is my choice of cafes open on Shabbat in Jerusalem:
A cross between a diner and a brasserie, Zuni has a varied menu that there really is something for everyone. Great for family meals, drinks with friends, or sitting alone at the bar. The menu includes traditional dishes like schnitzel, burgers, and various sandwiches and salads but my favorite dishes are the Mac n Cheese and the Croque Madame with mushrooms (melted Emmental cheese sandwich, topped with fried eggs and parmesan).
Zuni, 15 Yo’el Moshe Salomon Street, 02 625 7776
Although Menza is popular in the evening, I also like the daytime menu including classic dishes like Croque Madame for breakfast and Milanesa Veal Schnitzel and Corned Beef Sandwich for lunch.
The bistro-style menu offers a pleasant balance of Mediterranean-inspired and continental crowd-pleasers executed at a gourmet level and creative concoctions that you’d expect at a high-end chef restaurant, as well as original and classic cocktails and wines for every budget.
Menza, 10 Bezalel Street, 02 625 5222
Somewhat of an institution among locals and tourists alike, Focaccia Bar is normally busy both Friday night and Saturday afternoon. The restaurant has an interesting layout with a large covered courtyard. The menu is varied with a number of traditional European and American dishes, as well as various Middle Eastern options.
During the week this tiny café is filled with students from the nearby Bezalel art school and at the weekend it is a popular cafe for locals to while away the day. The limited menu offers traditional Israel breakfast and shakshuka, as well as more unusual breakfast options like a croissant filled with Gouda and Croque Madame (served with smoked goose instead of bacon). The coffee is also really nice and strong!
Cafe Bezalel, 8 Bezalel Street, 02 625 9164
If you are looking for a change of scenery on Shabbat, then Ein Kerem is the perfect option. Be warned that all the places are very busy at the weekend so either book in advance or be prepared to wait. Parking is also limited and parking fines are issued on Shabbat in Ein Kerem. There are a number of places to choose from but Karma always seems to be the most consistent both day and night. The menu is incredibly diverse and the castle-like building has a great terrace with a view over the scenic village.
Karma, 74 Ein Kerem Street, 02 643 6643
TABOON WINE BAR
The New Gate complex in the Old City has become a popular destination at the weekend and Taboon Wine Bar is a great place to sit and soak up the ancient surroundings while eating delicious food. The menu includes a selection of Armenian food, as well as focaccia and pizza from the taboon. I recommend trying the Armenian Mante or Lahmajoon, and the Zaatar foccacia.
Taboon Wine Bar – 31 New Gate, 054 927 1066 / 059 858 3017
LANDWER CAFE, FIRST STATION
Although it is a chain, the food at Landwer Cafe is slightly better than most of the chains and the First Station branch is also a convenient option on Shabbat. The service is normally good and they are also incredibly child-friendly. As well as several menu options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, they also have a good salad and snack menu, which is perfect if you want to get out of the house, but don’t want a heavy meal.
Landwer Cafe – 4 David Remez, First Station, 02 587 7988
This small pavement cafe in the city center is always busy on Shabbat with students and other locals. The menu includes a variety of breakfast options, salads, and sandwiches, here is the full Cafe Sira English menu.
Cafe Sira – Ben Sira 1, 02 672 8732
P2 is an Italian cafe serving pizza and pasta, with the option for gluten-free dough and vegan cheese. More details can be found in the P2 English delivery menu and they also offer a DIY pizza kit, which includes three portions of dough and several toppings, allowing people to make fresh pizza at home without having to make the dough themselves.
P2 – 36 Keren Hayesod, 02 563 5555
Opposite Karma in Ein Kerem is Mala Bistro, a small French-style bistro serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Signature dishes include mushroom polenta, chopped lamb shakshuka, entrecote burger, and shrimp in
Mala Bistro – Ha-Ma’ayan St 1, 053 942 4673
Here are some additional places:
- Gelato Variegato is an ice cream store on Azza in Jerusalem by the owners of Talbiye and Flora. Flavors change daily but some creative flavors include lemon tart, beetroot & sumac, and yogurt & zaatar ice cream, and carrot & ginger sorbet. They also sell pastries and pies.
- Patisserie Abu Seir is a small bakery inside the New Gate in the Old City. Ibrahim Abu Seir is originally from Syria and has worked as a pastry chef for a number of years before opening his own shop.
- Wine Bar is a local wine bar in Rehavia that is very popular on Friday nights. The bar food menu includes a selection of salads, paninis, cheese platters, and cold meat platters. Most of the wines are available by the glass or by bottle.
There are lots of other places all over the city including many in the Old City and East Jerusalem eg Austrian Hospice, Borderline & Pasha. Perhaps that will be a future post!
Here are some other posts about where to eat in Jerusalem on Shabbat:
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