1968 restaurant 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
When dining out, I find that I prefer classy but homey rather than formal, and I found that blend in the 1868 restaurant. The building, one of the first built outside the Old City walls of Jerusalem in 1868, has been transformed into a quaint, elegant restaurant on King David Street.
We were greeted upon arrival by the owners Yonatan (the manager) and Jacob (the chef). They politely offered us the option of ordering a regular meal or the tasting menu. We chose the latter. Both partners worked as staff in the restaurant before jointly taking it over a year ago, hoping to fulfill their dream of owning a modern, world-class restaurant in the heart of Jerusalem.
Believing we could easily handle our dinner, we settled in as Yonatan poured us each a glass of 2009 Gewürztraminer. We were quickly humbled, as the many dishes and innovative recipes we encountered surpassed our already high expectations.
First in line was the grilled corn soup (NIS 39), after which we were served yellow fin tuna tartar (NIS 56) and calf sweetbreads (59 NIS) – both delicious.
We then had beef fillet carpaccio (NIS 48) and roasted foie gras ( NIS
98) – both superb. To restore our palates to their former state, we were
treated to a small frozen slush made of plums cooked in red wine and
cloves. It was mild, gentle and refreshing.
We were then served Atlantic salmon fillet (NIS 92) and an incredible
melt-in-your-mouth sea bass (NIS 119). Already stuffed to the gills (us,
not the fish), we sent a message to the kitchen requesting, in utter
apology, smaller portions because we knew we simply would not be able to
consume much more.
Our waitress obliged but teasingly warned that we would find it difficult to resist the temptation of trying everything.
Likewise, the kitchen must have doubted our incapacity to eat more
because the main course arrived in full portions. We had an entrecote
hamburger (NIS 86) and duck breast (NIS 125). The hamburger was
accompanied by an adorable miniature cast-iron pot filled with a
delicious sauce. The duck was brilliantly presented and absolutely
After laboring intensively in the kitchen on our never-ending stream of
dishes, the chef finally joined us at our table for a chitchat. With no
formal training, Jacob gained his experience in various restaurants in
London and New York. He explained how he tries to include all the food
groups within one dish and constantly seeks ways to cater to those
clients who desire a classy environment but affordable dishes.
Jacob animatedly explained that when shopping for dishware, he feels
like a kid in a toy store. He is always on the lookout for uniquely
designed tableware and then considers how to create a course that is
appropriate to each plate.
After attempting to finish our dessert (chocolate fudge and a bowl of
skinned plums in hot sauce), we bade our hosts farewell. As we reflected
on our more-than satisfactory experience, we agreed that running a
high-class restaurant and preparing sophisticated dishes is no small
task, especially for Yonatan and Jacob – both only in their late 20s.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.Kosher. Open Sun.- Thurs. 12 -15 p.m.
Friday: Private parties by reservation only. Sat. night: One hour after
Shabbat until 11:30 p.m. 10 King David St., Jerusalem (02) 622-2312