Old Jerusalem in the Mission [San Francisco]
The only Middle Eastern restaurant in SF that I would describe as good. This is a 9/10, and there 's nothing else that even merits a 5.
Hummus, Moussahbaha and baba ganoush that's as good as what you'd get in Lebanon, or Israel/Palestine. Amazing lentil soup. All made fresh every day. Fresh pickles, thick Israeli style pita. All you need.
Hummus is really the test of any place. It's basic, and if your don't know how to make it, then what DO you know how to make? I'm talking about Truly Mediterranean, Sunrise etc., that make 3rd-rate Arab food. and yet get consistently high ratings on Yelp, SF Weekly etc. (Presumably from people who have never had the real thing).
Yeah, I can't think of another Middle Eastern place that's so consistently good across the menu.
Truly Mediterranean deserves high ratings for their great lamb schawerma wraps and falafel wraps. I don't know that those are at all traditional, but they're delicious. Everything else I've ordered there seemed like a mistake.
Similar story with Sunrise, their falafel are tops, nothing else I've had from them was very good and some dishes were really bad. I just get the falafel in a bag.
what a great place. felt transported back to the Middle East.
-Best baba ganoush I've had in the US - a pool of olive oil in the center, with some small diced veggies sprinkled round.
-Great plate of pickled turnip and olives brought to the table with warm pita. And a few other items to dip pita in.
-the chicken on skewers was fabulously tender and marinated in a nice blend of spices.
-not so pleased with the lamb kabob. kinda dry & tough. perhaps an off nite.
- we were lingering long after we finished eating, enjoying an animated conversation (did I mention the acoustics are such that you can have a pleasant conversation even tho the resto was full - albeit it's a small resto) and they brought over complimentary glasses of tea with fresh mint. very lovely touch. much appreciated.
i look forward to the next visit.
That's one of the daily specials. This might be out of date:
Sunday - Maklouba (Upside Down) - chicken over seasoned rice, eggplant & vegetables
Monday - Seeniyeh - baked chicken with potatoes, onions, garlic & bell pepper cooked in special tahini sauce. served with rice
Tuesday - Bamla - fried okra and lamb cooked in special tomato sauce. served with rice
Wednesday - Mousakhan (Palestinian Dish) - savory palestinian dish of oven-roasted half chicken atop freshly baked arab flatbread with lots of sweet onions, roasted pine nuts, and deep-red-summer
Wednsday - Mousakhan (Palestinian Dish)
Thursday - Green Beans - lamb & green beans cooked in special tomato sauce served with rice
Friday - Baked Kufta - seasoned ground beef and lamb with chunks of potatoes, tomatoes, onions and bell peppers in special tahini sauce
Saturday - Mansef - lamb, rice and arabic bread with a creamy yogurt sauce, topped with toasted pine nuts.