From Racha with love

This kosher Jerusalem restaurant offers the exotic taste and feel of authentic Georgian cuisine.

Racha restaurant 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Racha restaurant 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In a city divided among a variety of religions and ethnic groups, dining in Jerusalem is certainly a fascinating adventure for both the palate and the soul. In a beautiful old British Mandate period building on Havatzelet Street in the heart of the city, Racha is a meeting place for the Georgian community.
Racha is the name of the area in the former Soviet Georgia where the owners were born and raised. The restaurant is a testament to that part of the Balkans, from the decor to the authentic Georgian menu. The chefs themselves are from Racha, and all the food is made from Georgian recipes.
From the moment you enter Racha, you know you have entered into a different world. The owners have thought about every little detail, and the end result is a real Georgian feel to the place. The ruling design can be defined as purely eclectic, which creates a magical and mysterious atmosphere. The food is also mysterious to someone who is not familiar with Georgian restaurants. So going to Racha is like going on a journey to a faraway place, but with a very warm and welcoming atmosphere.
In a Georgian home, it is traditional to start a meal with a large choice of salads and traditional pastries, so that is what we did. As far as salads go, we were impressed with the chicken kindzmarauli – strips of chicken breast in a sauce of ground nuts. Equally delicious was the patrigianni – layers of eggplant with a filling of nuts and herbs.
Next up were some delicious Georgian pastries served with tujemali sauce – green plums. Most of these are meat filled, though there is one vegetarian pastry.
Although neither my dining partner nor I are “stew people,” the prakilobio was recommended, so we tried it. The slow-cooked dish was composed of lamb and root vegetables. The meat was so soft, it melted in our mouths. There were green beans and tomatoes, and it was all just bursting with flavor. If that’s what stew always tasted like, I’d be a stew person. This was followed by salianka, a Georgian goulash; and khalia, a beef casserole in a pomegranate and onion sauce. Both were very tasty.
For the less adventurous, there are options from the grill that include entrecote, chicken pullet, lamb kebabs and ribs.
The presentation of the dishes throughout was attractive and almost home style: There was garnish, but Racha didn’t go overboard with it.
The service was attentive and friendly, and informative.
For dessert, we were treated to delicious homemade cookies served with traditional tea.
Racha is a family-run business, and you can kind of feel that in the air. Everyone is friendly and welcoming, and there’s a low-key vibe. The food is tasty, authentic and therefore very different from what we usually find in restaurants here. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone and everyone
 The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Racha Kosher  6 Havatzelet Street, Jerusalem (02) 537-6600