A touch of class

For those seeking a fine kosher dining experience, Angelica in Jerusalem more than fills the bill.

Angelica 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Angelica 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Angelica is known throughout Jerusalem for its consistent style and high quality and is a favorite among many locals and visitors who are looking for a place where they can enjoy a fine kosher dining experience. With its seasonal dishes, this Jerusalem eatery takes dining to a whole new level. Designer Shahar Ben-Amrami has used wooden tables with white tablecloths, warm lights, intimate bar and a fancy private room to create a calm and cozy look. The restaurant exudes charm, and it is clear that the owners are not just creating a restaurant but a destination, with regulars who come in as much for the warmth and friendship as for the food.
Chef Erez Mergi wanted my dining companion and me to get a good understanding of what the restaurant has to offer, so after we provided a little guidance as to our likes and dislikes, we were brought a parade of tastes. The menu offers a little bit of every major kosher meat group, as well as fish and vegetarian options. What ties them all together is the quality of the food, which is based on what’s in season. The tasty dishes are complemented by the finest selection of Israeli wines, both local and international.
After nibbling on some fresh bread, aioli and colorful antipasti of roasted peppers, grilled onions, zucchini and beets, it was time to order our appetizers. We started our meal with a wonderfully fresh endive salad with roasted beets and fried gnocchi. An absolute must-eat dish, it titillated our senses, leaving us giddy for what was to come. Next up was salmon sashimi. The infusion of red grapefruit, caramel, citrus segments and fresh cilantro helped complement the subtle texture and flavors of the raw fish, which we greatly enjoyed. The sweetbreads brochette appetizer was veal brain, and I tried one before knowing what it was. Suffice it to say, it was very good.
At this point, chef Mergi took some time away from his busy kitchen to talk with us about his other culinary ventures. He had worked at Rafael in Tel Aviv and Canela and the Buffalo Steakhouse in Jerusalem. A daily visitor to Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda market, Mergi also regularly travels the length and breadth of Israel to ensure that only the best quality arrives at his tables.
We moved on to the main dishes. First up was white chard stuffed chicken thigh, oven roasted tomato and garlic confit. It was absolutely delicious. This was followed by the fish of the day, which was seasoned beautifully and grilled to perfection with crispy skin and delicate white flesh.
From here I was expecting dessert, but to my surprise we were served an entrecote steak. Being South African, I was now a very happy diner. It was fantastic. The meat tasted like meat, the portion was more than large enough, and I had to force myself to stop eating once I was full. It was so delicious and enticing that I wanted to keep eating past my abilities.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening was dessert. Rarely does one rave about parve confections, but here I go: The halva brulee was fantastic. But I think the winner was the chocolate drops. These tear-shaped creations were made out of dark chocolate infused with raspberry and mango chocolate mousse. Even though we had eaten far too much already, we strove valiantly to finish this rich cocoa creation.
In all, the outing was a hit. It’s encouraging to see chefs tackling the kosher scene with creativity and skill. Not only is the food of the highest quality, but the wait staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and their smiles are genuine. They really seem to enjoy their work. So when you’re looking to combine gourmet food and an elegant atmosphere with nearly faultless service, you’ll find that Angelica has it covered.
Angelica is located at 7 Rehov Shatz, Jerusalem, (02) 623-0056. It is open Sun-Thu 6-11 p.m. Sat 7:30- 11 p.m. Kosher.