Ein Kerem is one of the loveliest areas of Jerusalem to visit, especially when the trees are flowering. But until now the kosher offerings were minimal at best. Now a new dairy restaurant called Hatzar has opened on the main street of Ein Kerem with food that is well-prepared and some options that are a little different from the menus of most dairy restaurants in Jerusalem. If you sit on the top floor there is also a lovely view.
I sometimes feel like all dairy restaurants in Jerusalem have the same menu – pizza, pastas, salads, etc. At Hatzar, the menu is different enough to make it interesting.
“Our concept is to make great food with ingredients that are common in this area like eggplant, beets and zucchini.”Erez Shabo
“Our concept is to make great food with ingredients that are common in this area like eggplant, beets and zucchini,” chef Erez Shabo said.
Enjoying a different dairy meal in Jerusalem
We were three diners including my favorite husband who, by the way, got me beautiful flowers for Mother’s Day and said they were from the kids, and my friend Erika, who is visiting from the US. Shabo asked us to choose what we wanted rather than him choosing.
We started with two appetizers: the 12 Gods Pastry (NIS 48) phyllo pastry with feta cheese and honey, and the sautéed mushrooms (NIS 56) cooked with butter, shallots and parsley on a bed of French mashed potatoes. Both dishes were excellent – the pastry a little sweet from the honey, and the mushrooms with a savory, umami flavor.
In a nod to eating healthy (but a small nod, at best), we ordered a roasted beets and mozzarella salad (NIS 62) with baby leaves, endive, apple, fresh mozzarella and other good stuff. It was a large portion and plenty for the three of us.
We had to try a pasta dish (of course) and chose the polenta and Parmesan ravioli in a salsa rosa sauce (NIS 74). While the pasta was fresh it was not made in-house but by a company that specializes in fresh pasta. I love polenta but thought the carb-heavy filling on top of pasta might be too heavy, but it wasn’t. I’ve never had polenta inside pasta, and I enjoyed the dish very much.
As a service to all of you we also had to try the pizza with a thin sourdough crust. There are eight types of pizza on offer and they’re large enough for two people to share. We chose the zucchini and goat cheese (NIS 74) and it was one of the best pizzas I’ve had recently.
For our last dish, we wanted to try something from the fish menu. We wanted the sea burgers (NIS 85), mini-burgers made from fish, but they weren’t available so we had the fish cigars (NIS 68) served with tzatziki and salad. They were three long cigars, and tasty, although the size of the portion would have been more suited to an appetizer than a main course.
While the food was very good, and I plan to go back, the service was lacking. It was amateurish, and several of the servers did not know the menu well. They also brought the dishes out together and we felt a little rushed to try to eat them before they got cold.
Hatzar Ein KeremHaromaim Stairs, Ein KeremPhone: 02-535-3000Hours: Sunday – Thursday noon-11 p.m.Friday (special brunch menu) 9:30 – 2 p.m.Kashrut: Jerusalem Rabbinate (most products are mehadrin)
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.