(photo credit: PR)
After a total revamp, the former Ticho House restaurant in Jerusalem has recently opened as Anna, a lovely Italian eatery on the top floor of the relocated Anna Ticho Museum.
Spacious, airy, modern and minimalist, the kosher dairy restaurant has a large interior dining room and an attractive terrace overlooking verdant foliage. The interior also includes a bar, which serves wine (NIS 28 to NIS 34 a glass); beer (NIS 22 to NIS 28); and cocktails (NIS 26 to NIS 32).
A restaurant and then some, Anna is a social enterprise, where the kitchen staff comprises at-risk youth who are being trained as chefs to provide them with a marketable skill with which to enter into the professional workforce. Their culinary craft is being honed under the capable leadership of Norman Nimrod, former chef of Yudale and of Talbiye, the restaurant beneath the Jerusalem Theater.
“Our main goal is to offer great food and excellent service at affordable prices and use the profits for our social investment,” says restaurant manager Nimrod Rogel, formerly of Yudale as well. “We try to be the best at that.”
To the soft strains of recorded jazz playing in the background, my dining companion and I started our afternoon meal with an array of seasonal salads. We sampled the zucchini salad with cheese and chili (NIS 26); the asparagus salad with pecorino cheese, nuts and tomatoes (NIS 38); and the Caprese salad with mozzarella, three types of tomatoes, fresh basil and balsamic vinegar (NIS 36). Each salad was fresh and crisp, flavored with fragrant herbs and drizzled with high-quality olive oil.
The thin bread sticks (grissini) with yogurt and pesto (NIS 25) and the focaccia, served with ricotta cheese and pesto (NIS 28), did their part to balance the textures and harmonize the flavors.
We also had the gnocchi (NIS 48) as an appetizer. The fluffy little pillows of pleasure were bathed in a rich, creamy sauce. Highly recommended.
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For one of the main dishes, I chose pizza. As it is one of my favorite foods, I am always on the lookout for good pizza in Jerusalem but am often disappointed. Thus I am very pleased to report that the pizza at Anna was wonderful. With just the right consistency of crust, savory cheese, tangy tomato sauce and thinly sliced fresh mushrooms (NIS 54), it was a pizza lover’s delight (well, this pizza lover, anyway).
As another main dish, we had the spaghetti with three cheeses. In all honesty, it didn’t look like much on the plate, as it was a mound of white spaghetti in a white sauce (NIS 56). However, looks can be deceiving because it was really delicious. Rich and buttery, it was almost an Alfredo in its delectable creaminess.
Some of the other main dishes listed on the menu included risotto with pumpkin (NIS 66); ravioli with spinach and tomato (NIS 60); pappardelle with fish fillet and lemon butter and herbs (NIS 72); salmon with pumpkin, spinach and tomatoes with a garlic confit and yogurt (NIS 75); and bouri (mullet) with risotto and beet cream (NIS 88).
For dessert, we had the lemon pie (NIS 34) and the tiramisu (NIS 32). The lemon pie was the real deal – a cookie crust base, tart and tangy lemon filling and a light whipped cream topping (which I happen to prefer to meringue), slightly torched. The tiramisu was a very pleasant surprise. I’m not usually a fan of that Italian classic, but the tiramisu at Anna was light and fluffy, and the amount of coffee was subtle enough not to overpower the delicate flavors of the cake, the chocolate and the cream.
All in all, dining at Anna was an elegant, relaxing experience, overseen by a management that is well seasoned in the art of culinary craftsmanship and gracious service.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Anna Kosher (dairy) 10 Harav Agan Street, Jerusalem Tel: (02) 543-4144
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