(photo credit: Courtesy)
Angelica is known throughout Jerusalem for its consistent style and high quality and is a favorite among many locals and visitors who are looking for a place where they can enjoy a fine kosher dining experience. With its seasonal dishes, this Jerusalem eatery takes dining to a whole new level. Designer Shahar Ben-Amrami has used wooden tables with white tablecloths, warm lights, intimate bar and a fancy private room to create a calm and cozy look. The restaurant exudes charm, and it is clear that the owners are not just creating a restaurant but a destination, with regulars who come in as much for the warmth and friendship as for the food.
Chef Erez Mergi wanted my dining companion and me to get a good understanding of what the restaurant has to offer, so after we provided a little guidance as to our likes and dislikes, we were brought a parade of tastes. The menu offers a little bit of every major kosher meat group, as well as fish and vegetarian options. What ties them all together is the quality of the food, which is based on what’s in season. The tasty dishes are complemented by the finest selection of Israeli wines, both local and international.
After nibbling on some fresh bread, aioli and colorful antipasti of
roasted peppers, grilled onions, zucchini and beets, it was time to
order our appetizers. We started our meal with a wonderfully fresh
endive salad with roasted beets and fried gnocchi. An absolute must-eat
dish, it titillated our senses, leaving us giddy for what was to come.
Next up was salmon sashimi. The infusion of red grapefruit, caramel,
citrus segments and fresh cilantro helped complement the subtle texture
and flavors of the raw fish, which we greatly enjoyed. The sweetbreads
brochette appetizer was veal brain, and I tried one before knowing what
it was. Suffice it to say, it was very good.
At this point, chef Mergi took some time away from his busy kitchen to
talk with us about his other culinary ventures. He had worked at Rafael
in Tel Aviv and Canela and the Buffalo Steakhouse in Jerusalem. A daily
visitor to Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda market, Mergi also regularly
travels the length and breadth of Israel to ensure that only the best
quality arrives at his tables.
We moved on to the main dishes. First up was white chard stuffed chicken
thigh, oven roasted tomato and garlic confit. It was absolutely
delicious. This was followed by the fish of the day, which was seasoned
beautifully and grilled to perfection with crispy skin and delicate
From here I was expecting dessert, but to my surprise we were served an
entrecote steak. Being South African, I was now a very happy diner. It
was fantastic. The meat tasted like meat, the portion was more than
large enough, and I had to force myself to stop eating once I was full.
It was so delicious and enticing that I wanted to keep eating past my
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening was dessert. Rarely does one
rave about parve confections, but here I go: The halva brulee was
fantastic. But I think the winner was the chocolate drops. These
tear-shaped creations were made out of dark chocolate infused with
raspberry and mango chocolate mousse. Even though we had eaten far too
much already, we strove valiantly to finish this rich cocoa creation.
In all, the outing was a hit. It’s encouraging to see chefs tackling the
kosher scene with creativity and skill. Not only is the food of the
highest quality, but the wait staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and
their smiles are genuine. They really seem to enjoy their work. So when
you’re looking to combine gourmet food and an elegant atmosphere with
nearly faultless service, you’ll find that Angelica has it covered.Angelica is located at 7 Rehov Shatz, Jerusalem, (02) 623-0056. It is open Sun-Thu 6-11 p.m. Sat 7:30- 11 p.m. Kosher.