A Summary of the Best Restaurants to Eat in on Friday Night in Jerusalem.
I am often asked by both locals and visitors for recommendations of which restaurants are open in Jerusalem on Friday night by those who don’t want a hotel Friday night dinner. There happen to be a number of great Friday night restaurants in Jerusalem to choose from. While this post focuses on high-end restaurants, my previous post is about Cafes and Diners Open on Shabbat.
As all these restaurants are usually very busy on a Friday night, I would recommend making a booking well in advance. It is worth noting that not all non-kosher restaurants in Jerusalem are open on Friday night, here is a list of recommendations of Top Ten Non-Kosher Restaurants in Jerusalem.
HaSadna – The Culinary Workshop
HaSadna is the sister restaurant of the famous Machneyuda (closed on Shabbat), with a kitchen that specializes in aged meats. There are also plenty of fish and vegetarian options on the menu for non-meat eaters. Like all restaurants in the Machneyuda group, there is a signature polenta dish and other similarities to its older sister, but the menu holds its own and the restaurant has a completely different ambiance to the others in the group. Sitting at the large U-shaped bar with a view of the kitchen is always my preference, but there are plenty of stand-alone tables for larger groups or those wanting an intimate meal. The restaurant has a varied cocktail menu that compliments the food and the bar staff are always happy to create bespoke cocktails on request. For fellow Gin & Tonic lovers, they have an impressive selection of gins from all over the world and the right tonics and other elements to accompany them.
HaSadna, 28 Derech Hebron, 02 567 2265
Mona is located in The Jerusalem Artist’s House, a historic building that was built as the original Bezalel Art School and now serves as an art gallery. The charming setting adds to the appeal of this restaurant. The menu changes daily, but some popular dishes remain on the menu most of the time, with seasonal tweaks. Some of these popular dishes include Beef Tartare, Tuna Sashimi, Hanger Steak and Chocolate Cremeux. The combination of the beautiful surroundings, attentive service, quality raw ingredients and creative dishes make Mona popular with both locals and visitors alike.
Notre Dame Rooftop
Set on the rooftop of the Notre Dame pilgrim guesthouse, the restaurant offers spectacular views of the entire eastern side of the Old City. Although once just a cheese and wine bar, the menu includes traditional European meat and fish dishes as well but the cheese dishes are still the specialty. There are over 40 imported cheeses to choose from for the Cheese Platters ($28-35) and the Cheese Fondue ($44) is a rich and indulgent treat. They have an impressive international wine list and normally have very good service. The prices are all in US dollars and on the higher side but the view makes it worth it.
Notre Dame Rooftop Restaurant, 3 HaTsanhanim Street, 02 627 9177
One of Jerusalem’s most established restaurants, Chakra is popular with both locals and tourists alike. Early Friday evening, the European style restaurant is busy with families and later it becomes livelier with many people sitting around the bar area. In the summer, there is plenty of outdoor seating, overlooking Jerusalem’s Independence Park. Signature starters include Spicy Tuna Bruschetta, Lemon Garlic Cauliflower and Beef Carpaccio. Recommended mains are Salmon Fillet with Bok Choy, Steak & Fries and Beef Fillet with Marrow and Onion Confit.
Chakra, 41 King George Street, 072 328 1683
Adom has been a popular Friday night venue since the original location opened in 2001. The menu is more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern, but the food is well cooked and there is always a good atmosphere. The menu changes seasonally but some house specialties remain, like Artichoke & Beets Salad, Chestnut Gnocchi in Porcini Butter and Seafood Risotto. The Tahini Ice Cream is a must-try dessert, as well as the Pavlova.
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There is something to be said for a restaurant that has been around for 50 years and survived the difficult periods that caused many places to close. Dolphin Yam is located on a quiet pedestrian street, close to Jerusalem’s city center and was the first restaurant to open in West Jerusalem after the war in 1967. The menu is typical of most Mediterranean fish restaurants, with a wide selection of fresh fish and seafood dishes, as well as some meat and pasta dishes. They also do deliveries and take away.
Dolphin Yam, 9 Shimon Ben Shetach, 02 623-2272
Ein Kerem is full of bars and restaurants that are open on Shabbat and my favorite is Karma for both the food and the setting. The restaurant overlooks the quaint village of Ein Kerem and has a varied bistro-style menu, including salads, pasta, burgers, sandwiches, steak and seafood. It is a great choice for both day and night but be careful if you are driving there, as parking restrictions do apply at the weekend.
Karma,74 Ein Kerem, 02 643 6643
Formally a member of the Machneyuda Group, Talbiye is now run separately but with a similar style and menu. The restaurant is a nice setting for an intimate dinner or Saturday lunch with friends and there are several tables outside.
Talbiye, 5 Chopin Street, 02 581 1927
Rooftop Mamilla (Kosher)
If you are looking for a restaurant on a Friday night but want kosher food, then Rooftop Restaurant, Mamilla Hotel is open, with a special cold Shabbat menu. It is still the ultimate “Jerusalem” setting with an incredible view over the Old City but the menu is very limited, click here for the Rooftop Shabbat menu.
This small vegetarian restaurant/bar serves a selection of Mediterranean tapas dishes and a variety of cocktails, as well as a separate gin and tonic menu. Besides the inside space, there is also an enclosed patio area, with heaters in the winter, and several tables on the pavement in front of the restaurant. It is a great option for those looking for an informal restaurant on a Friday night.
For those looking for more informal restaurant options on a Friday night, here are some other posts about where to eat in Jerusalem on Shabbat:
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