Good- and good for you

The Village Green in Jerusalem’s German Colony offers healthy, wholesome food for the whole family.

Village Green 521 (photo credit: Steve Linde)
Village Green 521
(photo credit: Steve Linde)
Ever get the desire to suppress your meat-eating desires and go out for some healthy, vegetarian food? It was the 50th birthday of my friend and colleague, Liat Collins, and I couldn’t think of a better place to take her and her family out to dinner than the new Village Green in Jerusalem’s German Colony – particularly as Liat is a vegetarian, and the restaurant is known (at least among Anglos) as the one of the best vegetarian establishments in the city.
An offshoot of the legendary restaurant downtown, the new branch opened just a month ago on Rachel Imeinu, near the corner of Emek Refaim, where the former Pituyim (Temptations) was located.
As you walk in, there is a welcoming feel in what is clearly a more upscale version of the restaurant on Jaffa Road.
The food is good and wholesome.
The portions, however, ranged in size from an individual pizza that could easily be shared by more than one diner to lasagna in less than generous portions (particularly considering it tasted delicious, leaving you wanting more).
There is a large selection of soups to start – all made from natural ingredients – and there is, of course, their famous self-service salad bar and hot buffet, where you have a choice of a constantly changing selection of fresh and hot vegetables, salads, grains and sauces. The cost is NIS 8.5 per 100 gram, and the price includes a serving of bread and butter.
We decided, however, to order the spinach and mushroom lasagna (which is made from whole-wheat pasta and tomato sauce). At NIS 32, it was delicious and worth the price, but it was a small serving and left us still a bit hungry.
The stuffed vegetables, made with organic brown rice and baked in tomato sauce and herbs, are a good accompaniment (NIS 24) but also not sufficiently filling.
Also available are vegan burgers (NIS 18) served with peanut sauce, tomato sauce or tehina, and a burger meal – which includes a veggie burger in a bun, vegetable garnish spreads, baked chips or sweet potato (NIS 42), which looked very tasty.
Liat’s nine-year-old son, Yossi, ordered a whole-wheat cheese pizza, which he said was “great,” even though he couldn’t manage all six slices, and we were happy to take up the offer of a doggy bag. You can also order cheese and vegetable or tofu and vegetable pizzas (NIS 32).
As it was a birthday celebration, we decided to splurge on desserts, all of which are said to be healthy, made with whole-wheat flour and no artificial flavoring.
The vegan, tofu-based chocolate cake (NIS 18) was a bit bitter, as we had been warned, but the lemon meringue pie was outstanding, and the sorbet (NIS 13 a scoop) – especially the mango flavor – was delicious.
As its name suggests, the Village Green is very much a neighborhood establishment. The atmosphere is warm and cozy rather than elegant.
“Basically, the Village Green has been a concept that has been around for about 30 years, and we’ve been building up a base of good, vegetarian food, combining health with taste,” says Bryan Choritz, one of the proprietors of the new restaurant who made aliya from Cape Town. “So in our new restaurant, we adapted this concept to the Moshava [the German Colony], where people want more of a dining experience.
Downtown it’s more for people on the go, business people and tourists.
So we created more of a dining ambiance here. But we have the same kind of healthy, tasty food. We have a lot of whole-wheat and organic ingredients, all good for you!” Unlike the Village Green in the center of town, the branch in the German Colony is much more service-oriented. The waitresses were friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.
Every effort was made to accommodate a gluten-intolerant member of our party, and it was stressed that with prior notice they could have provided a wider choice.
A welcome addition to the range of eateries available in the area of Emek Refaim, particularly for vegetarians, Village Green is the sort of place that invites you to return – and the menu is regularly changed so that new options are available along with the favorites.
It might not be the swankiest option for dining out, but with its friendly feel, there is something particularly inviting about it.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
The Village Green Rachel Imeinu 5, Jerusalem Kosher Mehadrin, Jerusalem Rabbinate Hours: Sun-Thurs 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fri. 8 a.m. to 3 p.m Saturday night: opens an hour and a half after Shabbat. Telephone: (02) 650-0106