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As most eateries in Jerusalem are kosher and closed during the weekend, finding a reasonable restaurant to dine at on a Saturday afternoon might be a challenging task for an accidental visitor.
If you decide on surprising your family or friends by picking them up for a Saturday morning tour of the holy city, this is the time of year when they'll most appreciate it. The heat waves at the coastal area are unbearable, and a breath of mountain air can only be good for them. But regardless of how beautiful the ancient walls look or how exciting it is wandering among the narrow alleys of the Old City, by noon your stomach will start to rumble. And if by now you haven't given in to the vendors offering piles of baqlawa or bagels, and a good meal is what you're looking for, be prepared.
On Saturday afternoons, downtown Jerusalem resembles a ghost town. It won't take you long to figure out a few things that we Jerusalemites take for granted. Cavalier is overpriced; Arcadia is almost always fully booked; and Foccacia Bar, for numerous reasons, just isn't relevant. Asking locals at kiosks for a suitable place to satisfy your hunger will bring you to the realization that the German Colony might be the best way to go. Full of hope, you head out in that direction, while your co-sojourners make skeptical faces.
Driving down Emek Refaim Street, you begin to wonder if you're not lost - and just at the point where you're about to follow the advice heard an hour ago from the back of the car and ride out to Abu Ghosh for that locale's famously authentic hummus, you reach the recently opened bistro Rivah'le, located toward the middle of that trendy thoroughfare.
One of the city's few non-kosher establishments, Rivah'le is a crowd-pleasing restaurant with cozy dÃ©cor and youthful vibes.
As an escape for locals looking for some company and a quick meal, Rivah'le awards this yuppie neighborhood - often compared to Tel Aviv's Sheinkin Street - with something that in fact never existed here before: ambiance.
No wonder the place has turned so quickly into a hot spot, buzzing not only on weekends but on any day of the week.
So if high-level noise doesn't bother you and being squeezed around a tiny table for four that won't even fit two is not a problem, then Rivah'le is the place for you.
From a variety of fresh salads to pasta dishes, and from an array of toasts to grilled sandwiches and a short wine list, this eatery has a reasonably priced menu and attentive staff to serve you from early morning until the wee hours.
Rivah'le, 38 Emek Refaim St., Jerusalem; open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.; (02) 561-7833; not kosher.