Choice dining

A new Jerusalem pizzeria emphasizes fresh ingredients and personalized combinations.

May 7, 2010 16:40
3 minute read.
Pizza from Jerusalem's Dona Fresca pizzeria.

pizza311. (photo credit: .)


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I’m a “cravings” person. Sometimes I feel I just have to have a certain food, and I won’t stop until I get it. Most often, it’s something unhealthy: chocolate, chicken fingers and the like. Most recently, I just had to have crunchy-crust pizza. And unfortunately, that’s not a simple thing to find around Jerusalem.

And then I stumbled across a new pizza place in the capital. Dubbing itself a “premium fast food” joint, Doña Fresca offers fresh and even semi-healthy pies. The concept is all about quick and natural. Pictures of clocks, bells and other time-related themes stress speed. And your pizza is only prepared once you order it: No reheated slices here.

In fact, there are no slices in the traditional sense. The pizzas are one-size-fits-all 30cm. personal affairs. Of course, “personal” is subjective. When pressed to define the servings one pizza yields, the staff at Doña Fresca said one pie was the right size for a girl and a guy to share – a not-very-hungry guy, and a girl.

The crusts (white or whole-wheat) are baked halfway in a back kitchen, and when you order at the counter, the pizza is assembled in front of your eyes and baked in one of the special Italian stone ovens that resemble round sandwich makers. Timers above each oven count down the four minutes each pizza requires.

The menu comes with 11 suggested pizza compilations, plus the option to create your own (the menu also offers soup, salad and a nice variety of drinks). My dining partner and I chose to sample the Doña Verde, which comes with tomato sauce, mozzarella, roasted asparagus and stir-fried mushrooms (NIS 33), and the Doña Fromage, which entails tomato sauce, mozzarella, roasted sweet potato and haloumi cheese strips (NIS 32). Diners can choose among three sauces: “Natural” is a standard olive oil-tomato mixture; “spiced” incorporates garlic and other herbs; “cream” is a tomato-cream combination. We tried the spiced sauce on our fromage pizza and the natural version on the verde.

As had been promised to us, the Italian flour and semolina dusting beneath produce a crisp and sturdy crust. With the natural sauce, the crust was prominent, so we could really feel the texture and flavor. Still, I preferred the spiced sauce. What can I say? I like my pizza hot, in all senses.

Topping-wise, the stir-fried mushrooms were a great improvement over the typical fresh mushrooms, as I was surprised to discover. And the sweet potatoes, haloumi and asparagus were all perfectly satisfactory.

For dessert, Doña Fresca offers another pick-your-own-combo gimmick. A display case of empty profiteroles waits at the end of the counter. When you order one, you are given a choice of five rotating fillings. On the day of our visit, the options were halva, banana, hazelnut, vanilla and coconut. After sampling a few of the creams, I went for the vanilla (I know it sounds boring, but it even beat out my normal go-to coconut). The server pumps a few squirts of filling into your cream puff (NIS 8), and if you feel like splurging, you can also get it covered in hot chocolate sauce and candied chopped nuts (an extra NIS 2). Obviously, we were going to indulge all the way.

When I first bit into my profiterole, I was reminded of a donut – but without the grease. At first I thought the chocolate was a bit of overkill, but with each successive bite, I realized how much the chocolate actually added. While not particularly aesthetic, there isn’t much not to like about a cream puff.

Indeed, there isn’t much not to like about Doña Fresca in general.

Doña Fresca, Rehov Shlomzion Hamalka 1, Jerusalem. Take-away and lunch deals available. (02) 532-2222 or Kosher.

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