As my weeks in Jerusalem have increased, the list of cafes I want to try grows longer and longer. Luckily, I’ve had the opportunity to try a couple more cafes in the last few weeks…
First up, I went to Shosh Cafe with a group of friends about two weeks ago. I went with a group of friends from college (oddly, there are a lot of us here in Jerusalem this year)! While the cafe was supposed to be yummy, a big motivating factor for choosing it was the comedic effect that it shared a name with our college Rabbi.
The signature ‘Shosh breakfast’ was quite a sight to behold:
I opted out of the namesake breakfast, however, and instead had a frittata with sweet potatoes, cheese, veggies, and all the typical Israeli breakfast accoutrements (bread, spreads, salad):
Shosh Cafe was delicious and I would definitely go there again. As mentioned previously though, my list of places to try is long enough it might be a while before I’m going on a ‘second round’ anywhere. :)
My official first day of classes at Pardes was two Sundays ago, and after my first day ‘back to school,’ Noah and I went out to dinner at Roladin. Roladin is near our apartment in the Baka neighborhood in a small shopping center. The cafe is both a bakery (with desserts, pastries, and coffee drinks) and a sit-down restaurant:
I ordered a salad with eggplant, tahini, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, radish and onions:
Noah ordered a pizza:
The meal was good, but I preferred the other cafes we’ve been to. I think I would be more interested to grab a coffee or dessert at Roladin than to go back for a full meal.
Lastly, at the end of last week we went out with some friends to a nearby Baka neighborhood cafe called Hamakom Shel Itzik (Itzik’s Place). As mentioned in some of my previous posts, essentially all restaurants in Jerusalem in kosher. What this typically means is that the restaurant pays a fee to hold a kosher contract with the chief rabbinate of Jerusalem. After paying the contract fee, a restaurant can receive a certificate of kashrut on their wall, confirming that they meet the standards of kashrut as set forth by the chief rabbinate. If, however, a restaurant meets all of the standards of kashrut but doesn’t pay the fee to the chief rabbinate, they cannot receive a certificate and, therefore, are prevented from being publicly recognized as kosher.
As you might imagine, this system leads to some frustration and the feeling that the fee to the chief rabbinate is, at best, unfair and, at worst, corrupt. In response, a small group of Jerusalem restaurants have challenged the chief rabbinate’s authority, refusing to pay the kashrut fee but still calling themselves kosher. No, there’s no certificate on the wall, but the kitchen is kept strictly kosher and all business stops on Shabbat. If you are uncomfortable eating at the restaurant for lack of certainty about their level of kashrut, they are even happy to give you a peek into their kitchen!
Hamakom Shel Itzik is one of these restaurants, and I really enjoyed my meal there. Around the table, there was lentil soup, stuffed grape leaves, eggplant/egg/tahini salad, and a cheese-filled boureka.
The food was excellent, and our server was also particularly friendly (something not so common in Israel where the waiters often seem less-than-interested in chatting with their table).
Stay tuned for more cafe recaps soon…and if you are interested in reading more about the situation regarding Jerusalem restaurants holding their own kashrut and challenging the chief rabbinate, read this article!