The prices were also very reasonable. We spent about 130 NIS ($38) for fresh squeezed orange juice, a slushed "lemonana" (lemonade with mint) and two entrees that came with salad. In general I thought the meals lacked a gourmet touch or balance of flavors. The tomato sauce on top of my spinach lasagna was ketchupy, the topping was skimpy on cheese, and the filling was a boring, homogeneous mix of frozen spinach and ricotta cheese. Bottom line, the food was tasty for a simple cafe, but did not meet my expectations based on recommendations and the fancy setting. My husband felt differently. He said his quesadilla was excellent, came with lots of fries, and he was very impressed with the service since they were so crowded.
Jerusalem was fully redeemed over dinner. We walked around the Ben Yehuda Street area, then headed down Shimon Ben Shatah Street, a lovely pedestrian alley, where we found a selection of restaurants and pubs. After peeking at a couple menus we chose Gabriela Cucina, the sister restaurant to Gabriel, the meat chef's restaurant next door. If I knew the food would be so good, I would have taken pictures before we started eating! Ordering was a tough choice, with a unique selection of ravioli, including asparagus, goat cheese, sweet potato, or quattro formaggio (four cheese), homemade gnocchi (potato dumplings), and red-striped mullet on a bed of risotto. Chef Jacques Dayan designed every dish with artistic genius. Below are some of my favorite excerpts from the menu (prices in shekels). I was impressed by the array of sauces and vegetable combinations. And they weren't out of anything on the menu! I have a real knack for ordering whatever the kitchen doesn't have.
Both restaurants are Kosher L'Mehadrin as of July 2011. Gabriela has many choices that do not mix fish and dairy.