Jerusalem. This over 3,000 year old religious nexus is one of the most sacred and coveted cities in the world. Each year, millions of visitors flock to Jerusalem, some are tourists wanting to soak in it’s history, some are on a pilgrimage. Sure, unlike the much younger Tel Aviv, Jerusalem is a place where you go to look back and reflect, not necessarily to explore any burgeoning scene, especially for food and drink. But as you work up a serious appetite schlepping through all of those ancient sites be sure to check out these places for some memorable bites.
Considered by many to be the best hummus in town, this no frills restaurant in the Christian Quarter of the old city is the perfect place to go for a fast and savory lunch. But it’s not just the smooth flavorful hummus that keeps people coming back to Lina. Make sure to try the airy pita and perfectly crunch falafels — I honestly was not a fan of falafels until I had these. Located off of Via Dolorosa, it’s a perfect pit-stop while touring the old city.
Al Khanka Street | Old City, Jerusalem
Machne Yehuda Market
Foodie or not, you can not visit Jerusalem without going to the Machne Yehuda market. From delicious halva from Halva Kingdom, fruits, vegetables, spices, and countless tahini varieties, here is where you’ll catch a glimpse of Israeli daily life. If you’re anything like me and prefer to eat your way through cities, grab a Market Bites Card: for 99 sheqels, around 25 USD you get a voucher for 6 stands in the market with a variety of foods, including my favorite stand, the famed health drink stand of Uzi Eli. This family run stand is now branching out to several locations in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Uzi-Eli Hezi, a third generation healer, is known as the Etrog Man, one of the many ingredients in his healthy and beneficial concoctions. While there, be sure to try the quat, a leaf said to have a euphoric stimulant effect, extremely popular in Yemen. I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to bring it back to the US, but after a whirlwind tour of Jerusalem, this was exactly what I needed!
Mahane Yehuda St | Jerusalem
Morduch Kurdish Restaurant
Nearby the Machne Yehuda market is the legendary Kurdish restaurant, Morduch, operating since 1982. This is the quintessential Iraqi/Kurdish lunchtime joint and a haven for delectable Middle Eastern bites like kubeh, mouthwatering dumplings stuffed with spiced ground beef, adom, a delicious beet, tomato and carrot soup, moussaka and so much more. While I’m hard-pressed to pick a favorite, this could be it. I just haven’t found a place in New York quite like it!
Kanfei Nesharim Street 3 | Jerusalem
Brasserie Ein Kerem Restaurant
So you’ve had your fill of street food for the day and you want to splurge a little bit at a lovely restaurant? Take a short ride up to Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem village and dine at Brasserie Ein Kerem. Nestled in the hills surrounding the city, this scenic village is adjacent to Mary’s Well Pilgrimage destination (but, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, you really can’t take a step in this place without being in a site of immense historical / religious significance). The menu is Mediterranean inspired with the ceviche, sweetbread burekas and goose shank confit being among my favorites. We sampled almost everything and to tell you the truth, it was all delicious!
15 Hamaayan Street | Jerusalem
If you have a extra day while there, check out Seltzer’s Goat Farm. Nestled in the mountains of Judea, that’s an experience not to be missed!