A slice of Jerusalem history

For meat lovers or dairy enthusiasts, Café Rimon has a kosher branch to more than satisfy either palate.

By ERICA SCHACHNE
August 30, 2012 12:48
3 minute read.
Mamilla Mall at Jerusalem's Old City.

Jerusalem old city_521. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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Café Rimon is a family-run place and a place for family and friends.

Owner Ronen Rimon’s father opened the restaurant with his two brothers in 1953 off Ben- Yehuda Street in Jerusalem.

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The café, like its founders, has a dynamic history. It started out as a meat restaurant but changed over to dairy in 1983, earning mehadrin kosher certification in 1997. In 2007 they added a meat restaurant to the downtown location and opened a dairy branch in the Mamilla Mall overlooking the Old City. In 2011, Ronen renovated the original branch and is now considering opening a third location outside Jerusalem. Meanwhile, he says the light rail has brought a new influx of younger customers.

While the family background is traditional and Middle Eastern – Iranian, Iraqi, Turkish – the menu is contemporary, with influences from all over the world. It changes every week, based on what is fresh and seasonal.

The cafe's Jerusalem-born chef Elad has worked in the restaurant industry throughout the country. He says that Cafe Rimon is one of the top 10 restaurants in Israel, and it occupies a special place in his heart - as he met his wife there.

Our evening meal at the cafe's dairy side was very enjoyable. (The lunch menu includes most of the same dishes at lower prices, with a separate breakfast menu offered as well.) The food was well presented, with many dipping sauces.

My dining companion and I started with a fruit shake (NIS 29) of melon, mango and pineapple with an orange juice base (you can also get a water or milk base). It had a dusting of coconut on the rim and was, in a word, yummy. We then had soup, which came with bread and spreads (sun-dried tomato and eggplant). The rich butternut squash soup with sunflower seeds was an appealing shade of orange (NIS 35), while the onion soup with croutons had bountiful cheese and a tangy flavor (NIS 33).



We devoured our starters. The seared red tuna was covered in mustard dill sauce and accompanied by a green salad with radishes, which the chef said brings out the taste of the fish. The tuna had a meaty, almost corned beef, consistency (NIS 37). And the breaded mushrooms stuffed with cheese in a creamy sauce were addictive (NIS 32).

Next, we had hot Italian salad. Its lettuce, tomato and cucumber base was enlivened with cashews, mushrooms, roasted zucchini, Bulgarian cheese, pesto and croutons for added crunch. We were told it was one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes (NIS 57).

Then it came time to indulge in carbs – the starchy main dishes. The pastas were uniformly tasty. They included spinach lasagna (NIS 62) and sweet potato ravioli with a mozzarella topping and cream-based sauce (NIS 64). If you like quiche, you will like Rimon’s broccoli and Bulgarian cheese version, which comes with a hardboiled egg in the Israeli style and a dollop of sour cream (NIS 58).

We were very happy with the fish. All the different varieties were delicious and even better with a splash of lemon and the dipping sauces, which included sweet chili.

The denis (seabream) was cooked in an olive oil and garlic sauce and was simple, soft and tender (NIS 92).

The salmon-tuna fillet mix was Asian style in a teriyaki and white wine sauce and was smothered in cashews and mushrooms (NIS 95).

The desserts are all homemade. The sugar-free cheesecake with a chocolate graham cracker crust was fluffy and surprisingly good. We never would have known it was sugar-free and it was, in fact, our favorite (NIS 32). The selection of regular cakes had something for every palate. It included: a buttery Belgian waffle, which came with an always-welcome scoop of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (NIS 38); a crepe with sweet cream (NIS 42); and a roulade of white and dark chocolate (NIS 32).

We both were very satisfied with the food and concluded that our ideal meal would consist of a fruit shake, stuffed mushrooms, fish and the sugar-free cheesecake. We’ll be back again soon to try it.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

Café Rimon
(Kosher)
4 Luntz St. and Mamilla Mall, Jerusalem
(02) 624-3746; (02) 633-3030 
 
Sunday- Wednesday: until 1 a.m.
Thursday, Saturday night: until 2 a.m.
Friday until 1.5 hours before Shabbat.

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