A Review of the Restaurants and Bars in the Machneyuda Group.
Many foodies visiting Jerusalem have Machneyuda at the top of their list of places to eat. But unless you make a reservation months in advance or are willing to go for lunch, it is virtually impossible to get a table, especially at the weekend. Those who are not familiar with the Jerusalem culinary scene don’t always realize that the Machneyuda Group comprises several other restaurants with similar menus but different vibes. All the restaurants in the group serve mouth-watering and inventive food with the added bonus of attentive service and authentic Israeli hospitality. The iconic polenta with mushroom and parmesan can be found at all the restaurants in the group, each with a few small variations to the toppings.
Five of the six restaurants in Jerusalem are located within a 100-meter radius of each other, next to Shuk Machane Yehuda. Even though they are not kosher, these restaurants are all closed on Friday night and Shabbat as the whole Shuk area is not allowed to be open during Shabbat.
Here is my take on the Israel-based restaurants and bars in the Machneyuda Group:
In my opinion, Machneyuda is one of the best restaurants in Israel for someone looking for an interesting Israeli culinary experience. The menu, which combines high-end dining with home-style cooking, changes daily but the style, ambiance and essence stay the same. The tasting menu is the ideal way to immerse yourself in the experience, but you cannot go wrong with any of the food on the menu. If you are dining in a group, I highly recommend the jungle dessert experience.
The loud music and party atmosphere are what attracts many people to this restaurant. Don’t be surprised to see the chefs banging on their pans to the beat of the music and guests dancing on the table by the end of the night.
Machneyuda, 10 Beit Yaakov Street, +972 2 533 3442
For a more intimate meal in a modern setting, Dekel restaurant and bar is a great option. The interior design includes lighting and other design elements from Tom Dixon, the group’s partner in their newest London restaurant, Coal Office. Although the menu is small, all the food is delicious and the bar is well-stocked with a small but interesting cocktail menu. Dekel has a slightly more formal vibe than Machneyuda but later in the night, the music gets louder and it becomes more of a bar than a restaurant.
Dekel, 3 HaDekel Street, +972 2 647 0127
The group’s newest restaurant has a fully vegetarian menu that caters to both vegetarians and ‘kosher-style’ foodies who won’t eat meat in non-kosher restaurants. Tzemah is open all morning for breakfast and reopens for dinner. Some dishes can be found on both the breakfast and dinner menus, such as eggplant brulée and camembert focaccia, which are both delicious. The restaurant also offers a number of vegan dishes for mains and desserts.
Tzemah, 1 HaDekel Street, +972 2 533 3444
Yudale Bar is known as the tapas bar of Machneyuda, although it doesn’t actually serve tapas. All the seating is around the bar and there is a fun bar vibe with a smaller version of the main restaurant’s menu. In the warmer months, the action overflows onto the street and even on some busier colder nights. It is also a popular location for lunch on a Friday.
Yudale Bar, 11 Beit Yaakov Street, +972 2 533 3442
HaSadna (The Culinary Workshop)
The only restaurant in the group that is not located in the same 100-meter radius is HaSadna, which is off Derech Hevron close to the Old City.
The menu focuses on aged meats, although there are always plenty of fish and vegetarian options on the menu for non-meat eaters. The restaurant has a completely different ambiance and decor 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 is always happy to create bespoke cocktails on request. HaSadna is the only restaurant in the group that is open on Friday night and Saturday.
HaSadna, 28 Derech Hebron, +972 2 567 2265
If you don’t have time for a full meal but still want to taste some food from the famous Machneyuda chefs, the new street food restaurant GG Kubala is the perfect solution. The menu includes mostly sandwiches made with Kubala, which is a cross between Yemenite Kubaneh and Challah roll. Fillings include corn beef with pickled cabbage, beef kebab dripping with sour tahina, fried fish with labneh aioli, and charcoal-grilled cabbage and tahina and chimichurri. They also have a dessert kubala covered with toffee sauce, cinnamon and cream cheese. Prices range from NIS 36-46 for a sandwich or NIS 60 for a meal, which includes home-made fries and a drink.
GG Kubala, 1 HaDekel Street, +972 54 343 9332
The final venue that the group owns is simply called Wine Bar. The bar food menu includes a selection of bruschetta, club sandwiches, a cheese platter, a cold meat platter and various nibbles. As well as local Israeli wines, the wine menu includes a variety of wine from France, Italy, Spain, Chile, Austria, Germany and Portugal. Most of the wines are available by the glass or by the bottle. Wine Bar is open for lunch and is a relaxing place for a coffee and sandwich during the day. The food is nice for a local wine bar but is not as creative as the rest of the Machne group.
Wine Bar, 28 Derech Aza, +972 2 966 6472
Machneyuda Group in Europe
- The Palomar, The Barbary and Coal Office in London. I liked the food at The Palomar but I found it lacked atmosphere. The Coal Office menu is incredibly creative, with great service and atmosphere! I highly recommend a visit.
- Balagan and Shabour in Paris.