Fine Dining Inside Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda Market
The Machane Yehuda Market is a hot destination for tourists interested in exploring the flavors of the Jerusalem urban experience. No trip to Israel is complete without a stroll through the colorful shuk, with its stands selling everything from spices and vegetables to clothing and housewares.
The shuk is an excellent place to pick up some snacks or souvenirs and – surprisingly – also a source of delicious cuisine created by respected chefs who know how to make the most of the amazing array of fresh raw materials readily available to them. Here are some of our picks for the best restaurants in the shuk.
Intimate and Urban
Jacko’s Street is a gourmet kosher restaurant decorated to look like a Jerusalem thoroughfare, complete with street signs covering an entire wall. The food here is prepared by Chef Zakai Hodja, from fresh ingredients purchased in the shuk each day. If you grab a seat at the bar, you can watch the chef at work in the kitchen.
In addition to delicious food, there is a selection of wine that includes unusual listings from all over Israel. The restaurant is small, so reservations are recommended.
Fishenchips is a small restaurant in the shuk where you can eat a scrumptious meal of fresh fish, French fries and beer. The restaurant is run by two brothers, who source their fish from their father’s nearby fish stand. The chef here hails from Chile, and his sauces and spice blends are like nothing you have tasted before.
In addition to the regular menu items, there is often a “catch of the day” for more adventurous eaters. Takeout is available as well.
Choose Your Noodle
Pasta Basta focuses on pasta and sauces. Choose from three types of pasta: penne, fettuccini and whole wheat fettuccini. Sauces include classic tomato, butter and parmesan; curry and coconut milk; pesto and four cheese. To make things more interesting, top your sauce with one of the special toppings on offer. Roasted mushrooms, kalamata olives, feta cheese, artichokes and smoked salmon are some of the options.
Make sure to snag a table before you order, since they are in high demand. The tables are set up at the edge of the storefront, so you can watch the hustle and bustle of the shuk while enjoying your meal.
On the Side
Other options for gourmet but not necessarily upscale meals in the shuk include Morris, one of the best grilled meat restaurants in the country, and a trendy café called Mizrahi. Ha’agas offers vegetarian, healthy and organic cuisine, while Ichikidana serves Indian food and Osaka offers a Japanese menu.
Mahane Yehuda’s restaurants are mostly tucked into alleyways, crowded in between stalls and without much available seating. It may be hard to find them, but that’s all part of the draw. Wander among the various stalls until you find a restaurant that suits your mood. If you come for lunch, you can enjoy the local Jerusalemite shopping experience before and after the meal. When you come to the shuk for dinner, you’ll get to mingle with hipster Israelis enjoying evenings out on the town.