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Nestled in an old stone house next to the many alleys enclosing the shuk, Schleifer is a cozy mom-and-pop restaurant where husband-and-wife team Moshe and Ella serve plentiful dishes of unpretentious hearty food.
Walk into the place and you feel almost like intruding in someone's living room; when the owner greets you warmly you'll believe you've been invited to dine at your best friend's house.
The restaurant's venue on Jaffa Road is the house where Moshe Schleifer grew up, and the idea behind redecorating it into an eatery has long cooked in his mind.
"I had so many memories of this place that I found it the most comfortable thing to sit over dinner and share them with friends," says Moshe. "It is one of my many dreams which I made come true."
The family's old-time paraphernalia adorns the arched walls and contributes to the homely feeling. There's Shleifer's old gramophone plus pots and burners from his childhood scattered around the room.
The nearby shuk truly benefits Schleifer when it comes to the freshness of ingredients, and the menu offers varied seasonal dishes.
Start with the smoked eggplant ceviche with tiny tomato cubes, egg, and green tahina - it's like eating a delicate sabih without the pita.
Raw salmon chunks are marinated for a good long time in lemon sauce and seasoned with rock salt and ground pepper, while equally good is the champignon mushroom salad in coconut and red wine sauce. Freshly made chicken liver pate is smooth and tasty, and goes down well with any of the red wines on the menu.
Choices for main course are limited, but there are a few fine options. The entrecote steak was of a high-quality cut, and cooked perfectly to our liking. A dish of small kebabs drizzled with green tahina was moist and flavorful, and proved to be an excellent choice. A simple but hearty dish of chicken filet was enhanced by mushroom and coconut sauce that made it taste superb.
If fish is to your liking, then the catch of the day promises the freshest one from the market grilled and spiced with green herbs and lemon zest. On the day we came, we enjoyed the sea bass.
For dessert, go with a fruit salad, lemon pie, or one of the tarts baked on the premises. It's sure to sweeten the rest of your day.
Business lunch deals including an appetizer, main course or soup, and coffee or tea, are offered at Schleifer between noon and 7 p.m. for NIS 38 to NIS 50.
A jazz evening with a live band plays on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9 p.m. until the last guest leaves.
Schleifer. 127 Jaffa Road. tel: 625-1969. open Sunday to Thursday from 12 noon to midnight. (kosher)