Choice dining

For those who love seafood or beef, or both, Mona serves them to perfection.

Mona 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Mona 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Mona is tucked away at the rear of Jerusalem’s iconic Bezalel building. After walking through a small passage and the entrance to the Jerusalem Artists’ House gallery, one descends three or four steps and is presented with the restaurant’s eclectic, almost otherworldly charm. It is an intimate place, attracting a regular clientele of secular and artsy Jerusalemites, tourists and foreign journalists stationed in Israel.
The main attraction of Mona is, without doubt, its seafood. The menu is heavily influenced by the sea, and it is easy to understand the chef’s insistence that fish is his one true love.
Our waiter was friendly and took care to make us feel at ease. He took his time explaining details of dishes and drinks. He started by bringing us a red tuna tartare served with coriander and yuzu azioli, which was delicious. This was followed by sea cannelloni filled with shrimp, crab and three types of fish, in a sage and tomato butter sauce. Together with homemade bread, it was a magnificent way to begin our meal.
For mains, we were presented with a sirloin steak in olive oil and herb sauce. We were not disappointed. In fact, we were more than impressed. The sirloin was the tastiest and most tender that I’ve eaten in recent memory. Along with the sweet potato and green beans underneath, the dish would have been enough for a light meal.
Not to be outdone, the next course we had was the seafood, root vegetables plate in a fish stock and butter sauce. Cooked to perfection, the dish was complex yet accessible.
With a large stock of wine in the cellar, Mona’s choice is vast, and we left it to our attentive and knowledgeable waiter to recommend a lovely Israeli Cabernet Sauvignon that was equally comfortable with the fish as it was with the meat.
When dessert was brought out, I wanted to politely decline. It looked fabulous, but I didn’t want anything to interfere with the myriad of flavors that I had just experienced. Thankfully, my dining partner was game, so we had a slice of lemon meringue pie, as well as some chocolate truffles.
I went to Mona with pretty high expectations and they were met, perhaps even exceeded. This restaurant offers a fresh approach to fine dining. Mona has carefully kept an old world atmosphere while serving top-of-the-line meals. So when you’re looking to combine a gourmet meal with elegant atmosphere and nearly faultless service, you’ll find that Mona has it covered.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Not kosher
12 Shmuel Hanagid St., Jerusalem (02) 622-2283
Sunday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday from noon to 2 a.m.