Greek Tuesday at Mamilla Cafe.... Hoopa!

While Mamilla is known for its high end shops and beautiful atmosphere, in “foodie” circles it is basically understood that the restaurants are pretty much all versions of existing Israeli chains- just a bit more expensive.  A friend of mine from suggested that I go check out Greek Tuesday at the Mamilla Café and I was so glad I did- Hoopa!
GoJerusalem staff photoGoJerusalem staff photo
Before I went out I knew that at least I would enjoy the atmosphere. Turns out, there is a lot more to recommend at the Mamilla Café than just the setting and great live Greek music. The food was stupendous. There is nothing better than being pleasantly surprised when an evening exceeds your expectations.
Perched at the very top of the promenade and connected to the Mamilla Hotel, the Café is like a secret garden which is at once both modern and ancient with a clearly Mediterranean influence. The inside tables are long and connected giving a communal atmosphere but it was the terrace that really seduced me. It turns out that the atmosphere has gotten a lot of attention and was written up in Architectural Digest, Elle Décor Italy, and Tatler''s travel section (in case you don’t want to take just my opinion on this) The place was spectacular, there were fresh plants were everywhere; they had an outdoor bar plus a great live band.
My dining partner and I were seated right away by super friendly waitstaff and we had the pleasure of meeting Chef Nadav Elbaz who came to say hello to us at our table. We put ourselves in his hands and went according to his recommendations- we were so happy we did because he suggested dishes that I probably wouldn’t have chosen but was thrilled with. 
We started our meal with glass of Yatir’s Sauvignon Blanc 2009 which was a fruity and refreshing with lime overtones and a perfect compliment to our starters of polenta, mushroom risotto with parmesan and a fresh salad with apples goat cheese. The food was brought out and presented beautifully. Sitting atop the most scrumptious, creamy polenta ever was a poached egg which was subtle and firm on the outside and then let loose a cascade of deep yellow yolk. While this wasn’t the only dish I enjoyed- it turned out to be my favorite. The risotto was also delectably set in a deep bowl with an array of mushrooms and crisp pieces of shaved parmesan on top and the green salad crisp.
Photo by Sarah Nadav 2011Photo by Sarah Nadav 2011
For the main course we shared salmon crusted with black pepper and fresh ravioli with eggplant. Both dishes were tasty but by the time they came I am ashamed to say that I had already filled up from the starters.
The fish was cooked perfectly and the crust made a hard shell around it which contrasted nicely to the silky smooth pink fish. The ravioli on the other hand were a bit of a disappointment. Neither my dining partner nor I had noticed on the menu that it was eggplant ravioli- which could have been good but it was clearly smoked which was an unexpected flavor which neither of us enjoyed.
Throughout the meal our waitress stopped in numerous times to make sure that we were happy (which we were) and to bring shots of Arak which were on the house in celebration of Greek night (Hoopa!) We were clearly not the only ones enjoying ourselves. The tables around us were all full but at one point in the evening just about everyone had got up to dance. We pulled our seats around and enjoyed the music, the view and finished off our meal with a piece of nemesis chocolate cake, apple pie and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
Special thanks to my friends at GoJerusalem who invited me out (check out their website if you want to find the best Jerusalem Restaurants  or fun things to do) and to the Mamilla Cafe for having me as a guest.
As always, you can find me on twitter @sarahnadav
picture credit Sarah Nadav 2011 and GoJerusalem staff photo