John and I traveled to Jerusalem in January 2013.
You can read about our time in The Old City HERE.
When we make plans to travel to a new place, we try to research restaurants as much as we can before we leave home.
It’s not always easy to find the best local places to eat, but we’ve found that we can avoid most of the tourist traps if we just do a little online reading.
Sometimes we ask the staff at our hotel, and that’s exactly what we did the night we checked into the Harmony Hotel.
We were more than ready for something to eat besides airport/airplane food, and the staff at Harmony pointed us to Focaccia Bar.
The outdoor patio garden was beautifully landscaped and packed with lively local families.
We both ordered the focaccia and a couple of cold beers.
I ordered one with fresh garlic and three dips: pesto, sun-dried tomato, and an olive tapenade.
John’s focaccia was topped with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh garlic.
Focaccia Bar is casual and alive and the food was exactly what we were looking for. It was the perfect place to unwind after a long day of flying.
Harmony Hotel is located off of Yo’el Moshe Salomon Street in Jerusalem’s Nahalat Shiva neighborhood.
There is a cute market across from the hotel where you can pickup bottled water, freshly squeezed juice, beer, snacks, etc.
On the same road is Tmol-Shilshom, a unique bookstore-cafe.
The food at Tmol-Shilshom isn’t the only reason to go.
The atmosphere is cozy, the people are intriguing, and the events are worth attending.
Many nights they will have well-known writers reading from their works. We were lucky to show up just in time for a play.
I tried to capture some of it on video:
Please, if you are ever in Jerusalem, look for this sign.
You’ll eat homemade soup, perfectly cooked salmon, and warm brownies in a trendy, unique atmosphere while being entertained. Tmol-Shilshom was one of our favorite finds!
Ben Yehuda Street is a couple of blocks from the Harmony Hotel.
It is a pedestrian mall between King George Street and Jaffa Road.
This is where we found Hamarosh:
Shawarma is a meat preparation where the meat is placed on a rotating spit and grilled for as long as a day.
Shawarma also refers to this:
It’s a pita (or wrap) stuffed with shawarma meat and topped with as much or as little as you want. We went with fully loaded.
Toppings can include cucumber, onion, tomato, lettuce, eggplant, parsley, pickled turnips, pickles, cabbage, tahini, hummus, and french fries.
First shawarma, check!
The next day I ordered a shawarma at a touristy restaurant in the Old City.
Let’s just say the lemonade and view were excellent!
Moshiko is also on Ben Yehuda Street.
I read this was the place to go for a falafel, so that’s exactly what we did!
And like the shawarma, we ordered it fully loaded.
First falafel, check!
Ticho House was one of the first houses in Jerusalem built outside the old city walls.
It’s tucked away in a beautiful setting with a gorgeous outdoor garden area if you visit during the summer months.
Since we were there in January, we sat inside.
The French Onion Soup is served in a bread bowl and lived up to its reputation (sorry, no picture).
Our entrees came with a salad of fresh greens piled high with vegetables and topped with a light homemade dressing.
We both ordered fish:
And both were fresh and perfectly seasoned.
Another restaurant that was highly recommended on Trip Advisor and by several food bloggers is Adom.
When we were there, they were located in Feingold Courtyard in Nahalat Shiva. They are now in the new First Station at the Old Train Station Plaza.
We loved everything about our dinner.
John ordered beef filet medallions, bone marrow, pears & ginger served with red wine sauce. This is what was left of it when he was finished.
I don’t remember what I ordered for dinner but I remember my dessert!
Poached pear inside a kadaif nest with vanilla ice cream and pistachio cream.
John’s dessert was pretty fantastic, too.
Chocolate soufflé and vanilla ice cream with espresso whipped cream.
If you’ve been reading my travel posts you know that I am a huge fan of large outdoor food markets.
Mahane Yehuda Market, also known as “The Shuk”, is a partially covered market with more than 250 vendors.
The Shuk covers two streets, Eitz Chaim Street (the covered market) and Mahane Yehuda Street (the open-air market).
The market has it all.
Fruit, vegetables, baked goods, fish, meat, cheeses, nuts, seeds, spices, and cafes.
We made friends with one store owner who was selling various nuts, spices, and interesting mixtures.
He offered up many samples and we ended up buying several things for our pantry at home.
I highly recommend all of the restaurants we ate at during our short visit in Jerusalem.
Well, except for that one touristy place in the Old City. Just go there for lemonade and photos.
If we ever make it back to Jerusalem, my first stop will be for a shawarma… fully loaded.