The top five underexposed restaurants in Jerusalem
Those out and about in Jerusalem may have all the goods on the classic mainstays in the city's dining scene, like Canela, Adom and Tmol Shilshom. But beneath the veneer of the established lies a slew of less heralded and less well-known, yet no less delicious or welcoming, dining establishments - places where the crowds are thinner, and the authentic local flavor reigns. We present to you GoJerusalem.com's list of the best underexposed restaurants in Jerusalem.
Ethiopian cuisine is a relative newcomer to Israel's culinary scene, coming on the heels of the massive Ethiopian immigration wave in the 1990s. As the only kosher-certified Ethiopian restaurant in Jerusalem, Ethio-Israel stands out as a haven for gastroventurers and those just in search of some affordable and hearty goodness. The restaurant, hidden away between the Russian Compound and downtown, offers a wide array of stew-based dishes, and yes, these wats are a far cry from your grandmother's goulash.
Talbieh, the leafy Jerusalem neighborhood where power and culture collide is home to Jan's (pronounced "Yan's"), a café under the plaza of the Jerusalem Theatre. But unlike most theater concessionaires around the world, Jan's Middle Eastern/European fusion fare, and tastefully old time bric-à-brac embellishments are worth a trip even if you don't have theater tickets. Make sure to check out the restaurant's specialty teas and coffees too.
The Old City is known for a lot of things, and trendy dining is not one of them. Nonetheless, on the edge of the elusive Armenian Quarter lies the Armenian Tavern, a culinary gateway into the community filled with artifacts from the rich Armenian tradition. Not surprisingly, the food skews heavily toward an Armenian take on Mediterranean fare, like meat pizza and their versions of shishlik and Jerusalem mixed grill.
Like the popular song, many a Jerusalemite may be asking who the expletive is Alice. Well that's just a shame, for the cozy café on Shammai street, formerly called Gulindo, offers everything one could want from a low-key coffee joint: great brews, a good menu and inviting ambiance. Those who know, know that independent Alice is head and shoulders above the chain joints.
This working class hummus joint is a case study on why substance should always win out over style. Considered by some to be the best hummus in town, the low-key hole in the wall has been a mainstay for decades, never straying from its menu of hummus with your choice of what to put on it (foul, falafel, beef and more). A lack of marketing and franchising keeps Ta'ami well under the radar of many, meaning it is truly a hummus Mecca reserved for Jerusalem's true hummus connoisseurs.
Armenian Tavern photo courtesy of Flickr user ChrisYunker via a Creative Commons license.
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