A local Neighborhood favorite in Malcha: Cafe Avichail

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Cafe Avichail

20161027_120956In almost every sitcom you will find the hero’s of the show sitting down somewhere in a local coffee shop or restaurant that the show focuses on. On this occasion, there is no sitcom, but a great neighborhood cafe (Kosher Rabbanute Mehadrin Jerusalem). Cafe Avichayil is located in the center of the Malcha neighborhood (not where the mall is, it’s located in the actual neighborhood) and it has caught the attention of other Jerusalemites and not only the local neighbors.

20161027_122428With that said, there is plenty of parking around the corner, and the place is pretty big. We happened to have noticed that they set up an area for families to eat, with a chalk wall and toys for the kids to play with, very original. We sat down and had a look at the menu, and I liked the way the menu was laid out, every dish had the right category and there was no BS. There were a couple of dishes that caught my eye, for example the Arancini on a roza sauce. I’m an arancini freak, so I ordered that for our appetizer to share. Then in the main courses section, there was an Italian section, salads and fish. What intrigued me was the radiator pasta, I didn’t even know a shape of pasta like 20161027_123341that existed, so we ordered that and then in the fish section we wanted to try the salmon burger, but they were sold out, so we went with the Asian haloumi salad.

The arancini came out piping hot with the steam still coming off the crispy outside, that was golden brown. To cool it off split one of my aranchini in half and the cheese started oozing out, a great sign for a perfectly cooked risotto ball. Once it cooled down and we tasted it,  it was just as delicious as it looked.

Moving on to the main course, the shape of the pasta was awesome. I forget to mention that all the pasta was handmade and it makes all the difference. The sauce needed a bit of salt otherwise it was cooked perfectly al dente and was a great dish. The salad came out hot with a lot going on in one bowl; sweet potatoes, lettuce, peanuts, sprouts, 20161027_123236cheese. A very busy salad, but once you took a bite, every component complimented the next.  It was a great salad that was just as it described, sweetish. We were so full we didn’t get dessert, but the pastries they offered, looked amazing.

All in all, it was a great experience, great food, great service and a great view. So If you are looking for somewhere quiet for a date or a nice dairy meal, make your way to the Malcha neighborhood and give Cafe Avichail a try.

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A Middle priced gem in Jerusalem: Medita

thumbs_meditaA lot of people ask me all the time, where can I go out to eat and not have to spend a fortune? Where can I go and take a family of 5 without spending 300 shekels a person?20161026_193217

So this is what I tell everyone who asks; you have 2 options: 1. Go to any shupudia (an Israeli Steakhouse) where you can order 2 skewers with perfectly grilled meat,  fresh salads and fresh bread. The ambiance leans toward the fast food and not fine dining but you get what you pay for. By the way, I highly recommend many of these shipudias, whether it’s Grill Bar or Tzidkiyahu, because you get your value for the money. But when a family is looking for a place with a nice ambience, great 20161026_193320food and restaurant service, I recommend Medita.

Medita is the brainchild of chef Motti Ochana owner and operator of the gourmet restaurant Hechatzer(one of my favorite kosher restaurants in Israel) Chef Motti decided to open up a second location a bigger location, but with more affordable prices without compromising the quality and level that the chef brings. Nothing on the menu looks 20161026_193326cheap and is definitely not fast food. We went two couples so we ordered 2 starters and the house bread. One of the starters was a sabich salad, and the other was the pate mix with the cherry tomato jam on toast.

In a very non Israeli manner, all of the apps came out at the same time! We started with the bread and the dips, the bread was super fresh and crunchy, and had no clue what some of the dips were but they were a delight. The sabich salad was very nice with little pieces 20161026_195545of toast to accompany the boiled egg and eggplant tehini sauce mixture. There was some chili in there as well and that gave the dish a nice kick and a great way to finish it off! The pate was out of bounds, I’ve had it before in Hechatzer and it was just as good; smooth texture, sweet and savory with a perfect crunch from the toast.

For the main course I ordered a medium rare steak with a baked potato and my wife ordered the “hechatzer “short ribs. Again, all the dishes came out 20161026_195433the same time and definitely a highlight of the night. My steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare with the right amount of seasoning to make it complete. I didn’t really care for the baked potato because there was nothing special about it, no toppings or a dipping sauce to accompany it (it had a roasted cherry tomato on top, whoo hoo). The asado (short ribs) had a nice topping by adding pomegranate with scallions, it was a very very filling dish. Perfectly sweet, it’s a very heavy dish to eat alone, but it is so good!

A great location, great service, delicious food, all in all, Medita is a great middle range meat restaurant that fills out all the criteria of fine dining without making a hole in your pocket.