America may have its Cola Wars, but Israelis pay no attention to a conflict so banal. Israelis, by virtue of history and geography, have been thrust into an epic, years-long conflict with no end in sight, passions flaring, tempers exploding, steely-eyed, intractable foes digging in for a long, long battle. Israelis, you see, have the Hummus Wars.
Every Israeli has his favorite hole-in-the-wall hummus place, and he will fight you for disagreeing. The US and Soviet Union of Jerusalem's hummus cold war are Ta'ami and Pinati, essentially identical restaurants that inspire fierce loyalty among their adherents.
Pinati, located on King George Street, is always crowded with both locals and tourists to the point that if you're not a respected regular, you will be almost physically rushed out the door when you finish your food. This is not the kind of place for a leisurely, meditative lunch. But the hummus, as well as the other Middle Eastern specialties, is excellent, and that's what's important. Just try not to get into a fight with a Ta'ami person over it.
Sunday to Thursday, 8:00 to 16:00; Friday 8:00 to the afternoon
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