Tag Archives: jerusalem

Turning 30 at Skyline Restaurant

 

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20160623_194119June is a month of birthday’s in my family. All three of us have birthday’s in the same week! So we decided to dress up, go to Jerusalem and check out the well talked about restaurant, Skyline. Skyline, is one of the only gourmet chef’s restaurants that is mehadrin, in Jerusalem. Located on the top floor of the Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, you can enjoy a view of most of the city. Before I get to the food, I have to tell you about the ambiance, the restaurant is super clean, the waiters wear white gloves, and uniforms and the entire staff what delightful.

20160623_194945So lets move on the food. We started off with homemade bread and 3 dips,and boy I could eat that bread all day long! Glancing at the menu everything looked so good! From the salad, to the pâté, we had no clue what to order. So we asked the waiter what was good, and said that the pasta was hand made so we went with the pappardelle and the tortellini. The pappardelle comes with rib eye strips, garlic confit, roasted cherry tomatoes and chili, and the tortellini are filled with ground steak and is  accompanied with chicken broth and root vegetables. The results were
20160623_195749very good, and the portions were huge for an appetizer. Two heaping portions of food came to us and the presentation was awesome. The tortellini comes dry and the waitress pours hot chicken broth on the tortellini and really makes the dish impressive (I have the video on my instagram feed here). Both dishes were very good and pretty filling. Then the chef sent out a plate of pate on a bruschetta with a balsamic reduction and a fig. The pate was so smooth and delicious, and the figs only complimented the delicious pate.

20160623_202544Moving on to the main course, for those who know me know I love steak! So I ordered myself the 400g rib eye medium rare, with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables and my wife ordered the duck leg confit, with bok choy, apricots in a duck stock. So the waitress made a mistake and brought me a steak that was medium well and not what i ordered so she took it back without hesitation and brought me a new one. It came in two steaks, but it was cooked to a perfect medium rare. Tender and juicy, the way I like my steak.

T20160623_201015he duck legs were a huge portion, it came with two duck legs that were just sweet enough and with all the sides it was a perfect dish. On a side note, the mashed potatoes were some of the best I ever had! My wife really doesn’t like mashed potatoes, but these she liked.

At this stage we were already stuffed, but because it was, my wife’s birthday they offered us dessert on the house which was super nice. So we ordered the cookie ice cream sandwich and my wife ordered the mango sorbet. When they brought out the desserts they all sang happy 20160623_205334birthday, which was super nice and the dessert was really nice too! The ice cream came with 3 chocolate sauces, but weren’t needed because the ice cream sandwich was really good. The cookie melted in my mouth and the vanilla ice cream was super smooth. The mango sorbet was missing a bit of acidity and sweetness, but was very refreshing.

All in all it was a great experience, the service, ambiance, the food, even when I met the chef who was a mensch, it was a great dining experience. I think I’m going to head back and try some of the other great looking dishes on the menu.


 

 

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My Anniversary Dinner at the new Alumah Restaurant

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20160509_191934Last night my wife and I celebrated 6 wonderful years of marriage together! Our anniversary is really on the 10th but this year it comes out on Yom Hazikaron, so we wouldn’t have been able to celebrate properly. After sharing a bit about why we went, let’s get to the food!

About the place, it is a fine dining establishment: white tablecloths, comfortable chairs and really good service thanks to Gavriel, who was shadowing and teaching the waiters how to work in a fine dining establishment. We asked him what was good, and after that ordered20160509_192659 appetizers. My in-laws, who joined us(Happy Birthday DAD!) ordered the cured trout gravlax style, on beetroot carppacio with a light horseradish cream, my wife ordered the green leaf salad with poached pears and roasted seeds and nuts, and I ordered the salmon and garden peas risotto. Before we started with the appetizers, they started us off with fresh bread made in-house with three dips: A beetroot dip, pesto and an egg based dip. The bread was delicious, and the dips were a hit. the star was definitely the beetroot dip, which we asked for more a couple of times!20160509_192830

The cured trout looked and tasted very fresh and delicious, especially the beet carpaccio, a great addition. The leafy salad was a bit bitter but the poached pears were a very nice balance. The risotto was creamy and smooth and cooked perfectly, the salmon was fresh and the peas were a nice addition as well. After enjoying a slew of delicious appetizers we enjoyed a bottle of 2012 Shiraz from the Dalton winery. For a guy who is getting into wine, it was a delightful wine. Full of flavor with a sweet 20160509_200134and smoky finish with great tannins. I highly recommend it any time you are going to enjoy a nice meat meal!

The we ordered the mains. My wife ordered the grey mullet with swiss chard, mushroom ragout and warm tehini sauce, me and my father in law ordered the rib eye steak with a hollandaise sauce and my mother in law ordered the lamb chops with gnocchi and ratatouille.

The food came out very quickly which was very nice and it did not 20160509_200144disappoint. lets start with the steak. Cooked to a perfect medium rare topped with a gravy with shallots. The steak was grilled to perfection and was so tender it melted in my mouth. It was lacking a bit of salt, but I feel that was a personal preference. The green beans and potatoes were a nice side but the steak was the star of the show.

The fish was presented beautifully but was a bit overcooked. So my wife was a bit dissapointed, but the flavors were definitely brought to the dish. Then the lamb chops. A bit on the fatty side but again cooked to 20160509_200210perfection, and the gnocchi, I can’t stop praising it enough. So light and smooth, melted in my mouth, and to round it all out, the ratatouille was fresh with a lot of basil and was a great compliment to the dish.

After almost filling up we decided to order desserts. they were very interesting and different. like my wife and mother in-law ordered the tapioca and mango with mint, a crepe madlen with vanilla sauce and orange blossom and my father in-law went with the chocolate espresso mousse. The chef sent out an extra dessert for our anniversary which 20160509_203957was a pineapple crumble with banana and date honey ice cream.

This is where the mixed reviews started coming in. First came out the fresh pineapple crumble and ice cream. I Have to say that the banana ice cream was one of the most delicious parve ice creams i have ever tasted and I hate bananas! The crumble was too sweet, but the ice cream stole the show. Then came the tapioca and mango dessert. If you like tapioca anything, this dessert is for you. the mango foam was very refreshing but I’m not a tapioca fan and my wife didn’t like it. on the 20160509_204104other hand my mother in law wiped hers out! It was very pretty and refreshing after such a heavy meal.

The crepe that I ordered also came with a berry ice cream and boy was it needed. The crepes looked amazing, but was overwhelming with orange, and that really hid the taste of the vanilla cream in the crepe. The berry ice cream really broke that orange flavor and again, another amazing parve ice cream. The chocolate espresso mouse was very good. it came with a ball of chocolate ice cream, again the star of the dish. The 20160509_204112mousse was nice and airy, the espresso was very weak which was good because it didn’t take over the whole dish. So the desserts were a bit disappointing but that shouldn’t take away from the rest my dinner experience.

Price wise, it is very decent for a fine dining establishment. For me and my wife it came out about 400 shekels(my in-laws covered for the wine and tip) which in my  opinion is very reasonable.

20160509_204050All in all, they are a restaurant in the beginning of their way, and I hope when I return, I will have a great experience like I had last night!

 

 

Bandora Shawarma is Really onto Something!

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Bandora Shwarma

Who would have thought that someone could reinvent the shwarma? Well the owners of Bandora shwarma did. Bandora (Badatz beit Yosef) is a new shwarma chain that has been around for less than a year and has really made an impact in the fast food world of Israel. The concept of theirs is to cook the shwarma open a horizontal fire pit. Just like in south american BBQ style. Over an open spit slowly rotating and letting the fat drip so the smoke really penetrates the meat and enhances the flavor of the meat. Unlike your standing shwarma joints who all do the same thing, they really have a winner here.

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Every Bandora shwarma is franchised with guidance from the home office so wherever you go it will taste the same, and I can tell you, that is absolutely true. I have eaten their shwarma in Kiryat Gat in the south and in Jerusalem as well, Everything is the same. The layout, flavors, service all the same.  So far I have tried two of the ways they prepare the shwarma. One is right off the spit into a pita or laffa bread, the other is where they cut it off the spit and give it a real nice kick with some heat.

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Let me explain a little more about the shwarma, the meat has a real nice smoke flavor to it, the laffa bread is very durable and is able to hold the generous portion that they give each customer. The condiments are made in-house, not the hummus though, but the schug, tehini and all the sides are prepared in-house. The pickles have a great crunch, the cabbage is sweet with a touch of vinegar and the fries are industrial, but no ones perfect right.

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I have to declare that Bandora shwarma is definitely one of my top 5 shwarma joints in the city of Jerusalem. Every Bandora around Israel is Kosher! Everything is just great there from the way they present the food, to the take away even. It is a bit on the pricier side on the shwarma circuit, but it’s definitely worth the money. So if you find yourself in the area with a branch and are looking for a fast bite, I highly recommend it!

A carnivores dream sandwich at Carne

wpid-wp-1434487103200   Carne Carne is a fun place for foodie who enjoy two things: a great sandwich, and really good beef. Carne has been able to create this match made in heaven. The only competition that I see that they really is Just Meat on the Ben Yehudah Midrachov, but I feel that they are very different in approach and in price. Carne (rabbanut Yerushalayim) is run by two young guys who like to make sandwiches, and make sure the customers are happy. For the full experience you need to let them build you the sandwich, let the artists do their work. Located in an alley between Ben Sira street and Ben Shatach street, the restaurant is very small, not to many places to sit, but you can either sit on one of the 2 tables outside, or on the bar. The menu there is pretty simple: Entricote, chicken, homemade sausages and for those who for some reason don’t eat meat, they have a grilled portobello sandwich as well. The regular sides of fries, potato wedges and onion rings, but they didn’t have onion rings available the day I went. 20150615_122528 I met a foodie friend from my Israeli Foodies group group Neil Gillman who also has a blog, and a great perspective on food and life. We decided to order 2 sandwiches and try the: Entricote and the homemade sausages with a side of fries and potato wedges. I feel that any time a restaurant offers something made in-house like potato wedges, they will always be better than something frozen or processed. We also asked the owner to make the sandwiches with the whatever he thinks is best. 20150615_122250So, how good can a sandwich be? Um, amazing! Well the entricote was amazing. The meat was full of flavor and cooked really nicely, the gepata bun with a nice crunch on the outside, the fresh vegetables and really nice sauces to compliment it all. The homemade sausages had very nice texture but the sandwich itself was lacking. It was missing that kick you get from spice in the sausage, and he didn’t put in mustard. Once we added a bit of heat it took it to a much higher level. Sometimes all a sandwich needs, is a nice kick in the taste buds! The fries were generic but the wedges were very nice. Oh , and the gherkins(the really small pickles) were a delightful compliment to the sandwich as well. The prices weren’t bad as well. To get a very fulfilling and satisfying meal for 60 shekel in my opinion is very reasonable. In my opinion, Carne offers a really great sandwich for those who are looking for some really great street food!20150615_122535

The Middle Eastern Hot Pocket at Ishtabach

20150608_123041Machane Yehuda market. What a place. So many places to eat! So many new restaurants, new concepts and original dishes offered, only if I had a bigger budget to try them all out! So I found myself at Istabach(Hashikma 3, kosher badatz) this week my companions having lunch. Istabach sells one item, a Shamborac. What is a shamborac? A middle eastern, hand made hot pocket! Originated on the border of Syria and Kurdistan, this meat pocket traveled a long way to find itself in the shuk.   Each filling for the meat pocket is very different and packed with lots of  flavors and very cool textures as well. 20150608_122923After talking to the manager and asking whats good, we needed interpretation for some of the fillings like the siske. Siske is the chuck that has been cooked down until melt in your mouth texture. They have even adapted the fillings to attract a wider audience of food adventurists, like pastrami and brisket slow cooked in beer. All of the fillings looked amazing. So we ordered 3 types; Iraqi kabob, the siske and the brisket. While waiting for the shamborac to be ready, because the bake every order on the spot, all the meat fillings are prepared earlier on in the day. While we waited for the shamborac they served us 6 types of salads: watermelon and basil with radishes, beet tabuleh, eggplant, tehini, carrots and garlic and beets salad.20150608_123417 The watermelon was a refreshing idea, the tabuleh was nice, same as the rest of the salads, but I really got a kick out of the watermelon. It takes a couple of minutes for the pastry to bake but it’s worth every minute. Rated from my favorite to the least, I LOVED the brisket! Before I talk about how amazing the brisket was I need to comment on the herb and pepper mixture that was put on top of each shamborac. It adds another layer of flavor and another unique twist to this meat pocket.  20150608_12472220150608_124726 20150608_124729   Each one tasted different from the next. Let’s start with the brisket, slowly braised in beer to give it that melt in the mouth texture. Then I moved on to the siske, also slowly braised in a beef stock that melted in my mouth. Lastly the Irqaqi kabob which was very nice and also melt in your mouth as well.But the real star was the dough, man it was crispy and baked to have a really nice crunch on the outside without getting a soggy texture. I was really impressed with the whole meal. One of these meat pockets with all of the salads on the side really fills you up and a really great meal outside of the shuk. So next time you find yourself in the shuk, you have to try this place!

A Hamburger that traveled down South

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In searching for the best kosher hamburger in the city I have stumbled on a surprise located on Hillel street. Zesty burger is a hamburger chain located mainly in the north of Israel, have opened up their first Jerusalem location a couple of months back. After seeing a groupon for the place knowing that it’s a new venue, I went to try the hamburger that has come down from the north.

The menu that is offered is pretty straight forward,.burgers wraps or sandwiches, that’s it.

What intrigued me was the variety of burgers they offer: Classic, short ribs, Mergez, Entricote, Goose(??) and many more. The burger toppings are also really cool like they offer: chorizo, goose breast, pineapple and more. They have 3 levels of burgers that define the type of meal you are looking for. They also offer a couples or triplet meals for those who don’t want to spend too much money on going out. While we were debating between each other about what to order, the guy behind the counter was really friendly and patient and we ended up chatting for a while before we even ordered.We took the triple meal (3 burgers, 2 sides, a large bottle of soft drink 109 shekel)and that’s when the dilemma started.

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The menu is packed with so many different burgers that all looked really good so I went on the one I figured would be full of surprises, so I picked the short ribs burger, to be done medium.

My friends took the same as well. Zesty cooks all their burgers on a flat-top which in my opinion is the only way to cook a  hamburger because you get that crust you want on a burger while the inside is cooked to your liking. We also ordered a side of fries and onion rings as well to go with the burger. So when they called us up to put toppings on our burgers, another thing that makes this place really cool are the sauces. The sauces are a bit different from what you would get and much tastier than any other burger chain. For example there is a sauce called Shipkah, which is a crossover of a pesto and chimichuri. Full of flavor and very different.

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So we get our burgers and sides and sit down, and the guy behind the counter gave us an extra side of fries(really cool) with all the sauces Zesty offers. the first thing I notices about the burger was how fresh everything was; the bun, the vegetables and especially the burger. The hamburger  was cooked to a perfect medium and was so tender and full of flavor. What also surprised me were the onion rings, They were full of flavor and really crunchy. The best part were the condiments, because dipping sauces were of the hook!

20150601_133511All in all, For a chain of hamburgers Zesty delivers on all cylinders and is a really, and I mean really good!

Zesty, Hillel 28, Kosher rabbanute yerushalayim.

 

A surprise at Grill Bar

20150326_195227Getting ready for the pesach holiday is every parents nightmare, but we took a break for a couple of minutes as a family to throw a surprise birthday party for my father at the Grill Bar. Why the Grill Bar and not somewhere fancier? Because you really get your value for your money. We where 13 people and paid less than a 1000 shekel in all. They also have a private room that seats 30 in the back as well. The Kashrut is Rav Machpud(there is a big lighted sign next to the door, a new trend in the kosher world) so it fit everyone’s needs.

So about the steakiyah(a steakiyah is an Israeli steakhouse that serves a lot of salads, fresh pita bread and grilled skewered meats), the decor is simplistic but inviting, wooden chairs so you don’t stay that long and has an open kitchen, which I personally like the concept.

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The service was on point and fast. They use Ipads to take your orders and not just scribbled on a piece of paper which is faster, cost efficient and just plain and simple smart. One of my favorites things there was watching a server that during the entire service was refilling the salad plates, non stop, like a machine, very entertaining.

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The menu is composed of a large variety of skewered meats and steaks. I ordered an entricote(rib steak) skewer with a side of rice and beans and a in house made hummus platter. After ordering our waiter barraged us with a large amount of fresh salads and fresh pita bread that were simple and delicious. The hummus was very fresh and creamy, just the way you want it to be.

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Then the meats came out. I asked that mine should be medium rare, and they got it done perfectly, just like everyone elses order. I also tasted other types like the sweet breads and the liver that were cooked perfectly. The sweet breads weren’t chewy and the liver was creamy. Also the pargiyot were just as good. The only downside to any steakiyah is that they use the same blend of spices on every cut of meat so the flavor is the same on all of the meats.

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All in all it is a great place to take a family for a tasty dinner, that won’t break your wallet as well.

Grill bar Hasoreg 1 Jerusalem, Rav Machpud