(photo credit: Courtesy)
The first thing my companion and I noticed when we entered Mona at 7 p.m. on a
Monday night was how full it was. Located in the beautiful Jerusalem Artists’
House at what was the original Bezalel Art School downtown, Mona is
exceptionally popular, especially among Englishspeakers, even though it is not
kosher and you need to make a reservation.
Known for both its meat and
seafood, the restaurant has a fireplace and small tables that create a cozy
atmosphere, attracting a regular clientele of secular and artsy Jerusalemites,
journalists and tourists. A Frommer’s review of the restaurant compares it to
the legendary Fink’s Bar, which closed in 2005.
The restaurant is owned
by two charming young men, Ezer (who acts as maitre d’) and Guy (who works as a
chef), who both clearly have a large personal following.
We asked our
charming waitress (who spoke perfect English, as she had lived in San Diego) to
surprise us with her favorite dishes. She started by bringing us a fresh salmon
tartar served with artichoke and sour cream (NIS 69), which was absolutely
delicious; a veal fillet carpaccio served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
and rocket leaves (NIS 45), which was outstanding but not as good as the salmon;
and a coquilles Saint-Jacques lightly grilled with smoked salmon and caramelized
nuts (NIS 69), which was fantastic! She also served us the house wine, which was
wonderful. We thought it just couldn’t get any better, but it did! For the main
course, we had drum fish and shrimp in a fish stock and lemon butter sauce (NIS
119), which was fresh and superb, and a rare veal fillet (150 grams) with herbs
and olive oil source (NIS 98), which was out of this world! To top it off, we
shared a piece of chocolate cake (NIS 40), which was the perfect ending to a
We both left feeling high from such an uplifting culinary
experience and both agreed that Mona can compete with any top restaurant in Tel
Aviv or, for that matter, in any big city around the world. Paris may have the
Mona Lisa, but Jerusalem has its Mona, too.
It may be a little expensive
but it’s definitely worth it, especially if you are celebrating a special
occasion or just treating yourself to some of the good things in
life.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Mona is open from
Sunday to Thursday (5 p.m. to 2 a.m.) and on Friday and Saturday from noon to 2
a.m. Reservations can be made at (02) 622-2283. Not kosher.