February 9, 2012
Spice up your Jerusalem experience
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A stroll down the Shlom Zion HaMalka corridor is a slice of city chic leading to the stellar Mamilla Mall. At Canela, a fine-dining fusion of French, Italian and Israeli cuisine reigns supreme. Its glass-cased wine cellar, baby grand piano and a contemporary decor create an inviting backdrop for the warming spices of a classic regional dish with a new twist. Grilled eggplant is adorned with grilled pepper, tahini drizzle and ground beef filet spiced with a not-so-secret ingredient: pickled lemon. This dish satisfies cravings for Middle Eastern flavors, complex without being complicated, and pairs surprisingly well with either the spicy 2007 Binyamina Reserve Shiraz, available by the glass, or the clean, crisp Israeli boutique beer, Alexander Blonde.
8 Shlomzion HaMalka St. (02) 622-2293. canela.rest-e.co.il. ($$$)
Named for the year of its construction, 1868 is housed in the first modern stone building outside Jerusalem’s Old City. Its elegant cuisine represents chef/owner Jacob Turjeman’s contemporary twist on fine dining. Employing classic French methods to create a refined aesthetic, each dish, from the tiny amuse-bouche to full-on entrees, is beautifully presented. The textures are intriguing: a pumpkin veloute topped with Madagascar vanilla, manuka honey and ginger foam or a stew of morel mushrooms and a hanger’s cut of beef. For a comforting winter meal, the half duck, served two ways in one dish — with cuts of light Earl Grey-infused breast and slow-cooked thigh confit — is served with delicious carrot cream, caramelized carrot, sautéed baby spinach and date sauce.
10 King David St. (02) 622-2312. 1868.co.il. ($$$)
A culinary tour through the Bible is par for the course at Eucalyptus. Dinner comes complete with quotations from the ancient sages, the Bible and more. It’s all the brainchild of chef/owner Moshe Basson, who visits tables bearing relevant, entertaining tidbits and a fresh herbal bouquet — yours for the tasting. Order a la carte or indulge in the extensive Song of Songs tasting menu. The grand finale, the Oven-Baked Lamb Pot Pie, is served beneath a whole-wheat pastry shell that your waiter cracks open tableside. For starters, the sautéed purslane appetizer topped with tahini and, in closing, the dessert sampler of semolina cake, liquid halvah and wine-poached pear with almond cream are definitely swoon-worthy. But whatever you do, don’t skip a l’chaim with the house Araq.
4 Hativat Yerushalayim St. (02) 624-4331. the-eucalyptus.com. ($$$).
In the rough-cut compound of Jerusalem’s Old Railway Station, a surprisingly refined option is chef/owner Moti Ohana’s HaChazer (The Courtyard). Here, amid a contemporary decor, this veteran graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu school of culinary arts specializes in creative Mediterranean cuisine with an Israeli influence. The menu boasts everything from red tuna sashimi with seasonal fruit, chili and ginger caramel to crispy filets of striped bass in a hot Asian vinaigrette with mirin, ginger, garlic, chili and arugula sprouts. The star of the show is undoubtedly the indulgent “home stews.” Our selection, juicy veal asado, was slow-cooked for six hours and served with sides. Even vegetarians will enjoy the fabulous whipped mashed potatoes and green beans smothered with a sweet and spicy orange-ginger barbecue sauce.
7 Derech Beit Lechem (Bethlehem Road). (02) 671-9922. 2eat.co.il/eng/hachazer. ($$$).
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