City Bites: Bread, Meat and Everything in Between

The Mamilla Deli brings the fine art of sandwich-making to Jerusalem

April 13, 2011 15:22
3 minute read.
Shredded beef sandwiches

beef311. (photo credit: GOURMETKOSHERCOOKING.COM)


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Yair Rivlin takes pride in a good sandwich. “The concept is fast, healthy, tasty food,” says the owner of the recently opened Mamilla Deli in the center of Jerusalem.

“We serve a broad range of meats with no preservatives or anything artificial. This also includes the salads and the sauces. And the breads are made in-house every day.”

Although Mamilla Deli is primarily a fast food eatery - seating on the bottom floor is in booths, diner-style - the second floor is great for non-business dates and even family outings. RELATED:

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“Upstairs there’s flowers on the tables, a more relaxed atmosphere,” says Rivlin, quick to point out that the upstairs is also open in the daytime. “During the winter we also served lots of hot dishes; meatballs, goulash... We also have a children’s menu - hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, little schnitzels - our place is family friendly and you have to let the kids express themselves.”

But did we mention that what it really boils down to is the sandwich, or, as the Mamilla Deli’s slogan puts it, “Bread, Meat and Everything in Between?”

“Our sandwich is very special,” Rivlin says. “No one makes such a sandwich in Jerusalem - or anywhere else in the country, for that matter - where all of the ingredients are prepared on the spot, fresh. When someone orders a sandwich, the meat is taken straight out of the humidifier, where it goes directly after it’s smoked.”

Rivlin notes that unlike other deli restaurants in Israel, where the main event is often swimming in mayonnaise-garlic sauce and buried under a pile of lettuce, Mamilla Deli puts “a large amount of meat” in the sandwich. “We want people to taste the meat,” he says. “People sometimes eat a sandwich and they feel heavy; they ask themselves, ‘Why did I do this to myself?’ With our sandwiches it’s different, because the meat doesn’t contain anything that the body can’t handle.

“We do the entire process in-house; from the fresh parsley and the fresh garlic to the fresh meat - we age it, marinade it, smoke it. Each piece of meat is given between two weeks and a month of treatment until it reaches the customer.”

He smiles, “Every piece of meat is given personal treatment.”

Rivlin notes that much of the Mamilla Deli's lunch crowd comes from the various offices in the area, and many of those who drop in for dinner are returning customers who’ve been hooked by the irresistible combination of top-quality food and reasonable pricing. However, he says, newbies need not be deterred by the seemingly endless possibilities of sandwich combos.

“The mix sandwich is something I recommend to people who find it hard to make a decision,” says Rivlin. “Then, the next time they come, they already know what they like best and what they prefer not to have in the sandwich.”

Mamilla Deli’s breads (the options include health bread, rye, grains and both whole wheat and white-flour baguettes) are all baked in-house, but customers who are watching their carb intakes also have the option of combining their meat with a salad. Besides the cold cuts, the menu offers many additional items such as hamburgers, homemade sausages, and wings with a variety of sauces to choose from, including buffalo sauce and a delicious wine reduction sauce.

The restaurant also caters events and is unique in that its ultra-stringent kashrut certification (Badatz Rav Machpud) does not cover only the meat, but extends to its kitchen, as well. This is something you don’t see in Jerusalem restaurants,” says Rivlin. “In the future,” he adds, “we hope to be open 24 hours.” It would probably be safe to say that when that happens, the Mamilla Deli will become  Israel’s first 24-hour mehadrin diner. Only in Jerusalem. is a new online international travel portal offering all the latest information on things to do and places to stay in Jerusalem.

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