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Nov 29, 2011 02:39 PM

Best dairy/vegetarian in Jerusalem, Israel

We'll be spending a couple of weeks in Jerusalem next month. Which restaurants should we not miss? We're vegetarians, but do eat dairy.


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  1. We liked Cafe Joe (Cup O' Joe) on Keren Hayesod. Nice, cozy atmosphere and good food (nice portions) at a good price. I thought Cafe Rimon was over rated.

    1. Though I live in Jerusalem, I don't go out to fancy restaurants that often, so can't recommend the BEST. However, I do very much enjoy Lechem Shel Tomer (locations in Talpiot, on Azza and on Lamed Hey ... just down the street from my work, so I stop in there a lot) for a snack or a quick meal. They use real butter in their baked goods, and real coffee in their coffee - even their ice cafe! Very pleasant staff, too.
      I also enjoyed a birthday dinner at Cafe Masaryk, on Emek Refaim, with interesting, carefully cooked pasta in a pretty setting.
      Nessia tova!

      1 Reply
      1. re: almond tree

        I also had a birthday dinner at Masaryk, a few years ago. Here's an account I wrote up at the time:

        We went to Masaryk for a birthday dinner, and had a lovely time. The starter two of us chose, sweet potato soup, was delicious. It was served along with steaming hot small loaves of freshly baked bread. We finished two of these loaves. We didn't request a third, so I'm not sure if that's all they give, or if we could have gotten more. Three of the four of us had fish dishes: one had salmon, one had grey mullet, and one had levrack (sp?), and they were all excellent, prepared well and presented quite aesthetically. Each main course came with a fresh salad (fine, but nothing special), and very tasty veggies on the plate: small potatoes, a long thin sweet potato, and a cooked tomato with garlic. The other person had a ravioli dish, which was also very tasty. No sides came with that, though, other than the salad. The four of us shared three desserts at the end. The White Chocolate Cake topped with Passionfruit Mousse and the Pecan Pie (that's what they called it, but the nuts in the pie were actually mostly walnuts and hazelnuts, with a few pecans) were delicious. The Chocolate Volcano Cake with Ice Cream actually came without ice cream. I would have questioned it, but I had already put away so much food that I really didn't need any more. It might have been nice with ice cream melted over the hot cake, but that may have to wait for another time. It was tasty, but not as good as the other two desserts. Service was very friendly and helpful, and all the waitress' suggestions were right on target. We arrived before the real dinner crowd, but by the time we left (about 8:30), the place was full. At the end, it was a bit harder to get the waitress' attention, but prior to that, the service was quite attentive. The bill (before tip) for all four meals (two soups, four mains, and three desserts) came to about 430 shekel, about 120 dollars at the current exchange rate. Overall, I think it was well worth it, and recommend it highly.

      2. I don't know about the best, but it would be a pity if you were to miss Tmol Shilshom.

        2 Replies
        1. re: zsero

          Tmol Shilshom has gone done in quality, IMHO, the past few years while the prices have gone up. The food isn't worth what they are charging.
          There is Te'enim at Confederate house, Pere e Mela (Agas ve'Tapuach) in Safra Square, and I like the food at Ben-Ami on Emek Refaim (though it is also a bit pricey for what they serve).

          1. re: JudgeMaven

            What a pity. Once a business falls into that trap it's very hard to get out. But even knowing about it and having seen it happen to others, it must be terribly difficult to avoid.

        2. Good to know if you're visiting the Israel Museum - as part of their recent facelift, they installed two attractive restaurants, one of them dairy with simple, elegant food by the Beit Ticho people. The restaurants are open later than the museum's closing hours, so you can relax over a meal after touring the exhibits.
          A dairy place with a lot of vegan options is the Village Green, which has branches on Yaffo near Kikar Tzion and Rachel Imeinu near Emek Refaim. It's cafeteria style, with salads and many of their hot foods sold by weight. Soups are very good, the rest of the selections are so-so IMO, although the restaurants are very popular. They frequently have a sugarless dessert option.

          6 Replies
          1. re: almond tree

            The cafe at Beit Ticho itself is very nice, especially if the weather is good and you can sit outside. Cafe Itamar at Moshav Ora is an incredible little oasis. It is a cafe in the middle of the plant nursery, complete with waterfall. Fun little cab ride getaway from the center of Jerusalem.
            I love Itchikdana in Machane Yehuda - Indian food.

            1. re: mamaleh

              Carousela on the corner of Aza and Metudela is a wonderful little cafe (though the service is slow).
              Topolino on Agrippas is one of the best restaurants in Jerusalem (it is Kosher, but does not have a teudah- don't know if that matters to you or not). Te'enim is good, as is Cafe Mizrachi in the shuk.

              1. re: tichyek

                If there's no teudah then how do you know it's kosher? If you know the owner and trust his word, that's great; but how is a tourist, who doesn't know the owner at all, to know whether his claim of kashrut is true?

                Also, isn't it illegal in Israel to advertise something as kosher without a teudah from the Rabbanut?

                1. re: zsero

                  It had a teudah for many years and only recently decided not to have one any more. I do know the owner and trust her. I did not mean to imply that every tourist should take any owner by their word. Nor do they need to take mine.
                  Also, they are not advertised as kosher. If you ask the owner she will say it is kosher without a teudah. In terms of the legality- it is possible that to advertise a place as kosher when it is not is illegal, but I don't think a teudah needs specifically to be from the Rabbanut. There are plenty of places in mea shearim/geulah that don't have teudot from the Rabbanut. They have their own kashrut system. And I don't think that's illegal.

                  1. re: tichyek

                    Technically they are illegal, unless they also have a teudah from the Rabbanut (which needn't be on display). But the Rabbanut generally turns a blind eye to them, since it knows that they really are kosher. It concentrates its enforcement on places that have no supervision at all, or on places that are certified by companies known to be fraudulent.

                    And of course if you know the owner and trust her that the place is kosher then it doesn't matter that she can't legally advertise that fact. If you would eat in her house then there's no reason not to eat in her restaurant.

                    I did come across one restaurant in Meah Shearim that had no teudah at all, neither from the Rabbanut nor from the Edah, and when I asked the owner he pointed at his kippah and said "zot hateudah sheli, en li acheret". Apparently he gets enough business to survive, from people who trust him.

                    1. re: zsero

                      Huh. I've lived here for 8 years, and did not know that was technically illegal. Learn something new every day.

                      The owner of Topolino is one of the only restaurant owners I would trust. I personally would eat (and have eaten) there. I also understand if people don't want to take her word for it.

                      That's a great story about the place in Meah Shearim. When it comes down to it, the whole system of kashrut is really based on trust anyway.

          2. We had a nice meal at Polly in Baka last week. Go to and get a 10% off coupon for this and many other restaurants.