(photo credit: Courtesy)
Mona is tucked away at the rear of Jerusalem’s iconic Bezalel building. After
walking through a small passage and the entrance to the Jerusalem Artists’ House
gallery, one descends three or four steps and is presented with the restaurant’s
eclectic, almost otherworldly charm. It is an intimate place, attracting a
regular clientele of secular and artsy Jerusalemites, tourists and foreign
journalists stationed in Israel.
The main attraction of Mona is, without
doubt, its seafood. The menu is heavily influenced by the sea, and it is easy to
understand the chef’s insistence that fish is his one true love.
Our waiter was
friendly and took care to make us feel at ease. He took his time explaining
details of dishes and drinks. He started by bringing us a red tuna tartare
served with coriander and yuzu azioli, which was delicious. This was followed by
sea cannelloni filled with shrimp, crab and three types of fish, in a sage and
tomato butter sauce. Together with homemade bread, it was a magnificent way to
begin our meal.
For mains, we were presented with a sirloin steak in
olive oil and herb sauce. We were not disappointed. In fact, we were more than
impressed. The sirloin was the tastiest and most tender that I’ve eaten in
recent memory. Along with the sweet potato and green beans underneath,
the dish would have been enough for a light meal.
Not to be outdone, the
next course we had was the seafood, root vegetables plate in a fish stock and
butter sauce. Cooked to perfection, the dish was complex yet
With a large stock of wine in the cellar, Mona’s choice is
vast, and we left it to our attentive and knowledgeable waiter to recommend a
lovely Israeli Cabernet Sauvignon that was equally comfortable with the fish as
it was with the meat.
When dessert was brought out, I wanted to politely
decline. It looked fabulous, but I didn’t want anything to interfere with the
myriad of flavors that I had just experienced. Thankfully, my dining partner was
game, so we had a slice of lemon meringue pie, as well as some chocolate
I went to Mona with pretty high expectations and they were met,
perhaps even exceeded. This restaurant offers a fresh approach to fine dining.
Mona has carefully kept an old world atmosphere while serving top-of-the-line
meals. So when you’re looking to combine a gourmet meal with elegant atmosphere
and nearly faultless service, you’ll find that Mona has it covered.The
writer was a guest of the restaurant.Mona Not kosher 12 Shmuel Hanagid
St., Jerusalem (02) 622-2283 Sunday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Friday and Saturday from noon to 2