The Terrace: Fantastic food at Jerusalem's Waldorf Astoria hotel - review

The bar is on the fourth floor of the hotel and feels like another world. Come around sunset to see the beautiful views of Jerusalem.

 The Terrace (photo credit: DANIEL LAYLA)
The Terrace
(photo credit: DANIEL LAYLA)

Summer plans are well under way, and while some of you might be summering in the south of France or hopping on a Mediterranean cruise, the rest of us, your trusty writer included, will be sweating in front of our computers for most of the summer.

Why not take a mini break at the Waldorf Astoria for a cocktail (or two or three) and some delicious tapas at The Terrace summer bar? The bar is on the fourth floor of the hotel and feels like another world. Come around sunset to see the beautiful views of Jerusalem. As it gets darker, the fairy lights in the greenery scattered around the terrace come on and the atmosphere is magical.

It’s also cool (sometimes very cool) up there with a great wind. When I visited in June, I needed a sweater. The restaurant also provides blankets if needed. The tables are spaced much further apart than inside any restaurant I’ve been to, making it feel like you have a little part of the terrace for yourself among the greenery and potted plants.

What's on the menu at Jerusalem's Waldorf Astoria hotel?

Now I’m no cocktail expert, so I invited my friend Laura Cornfield, who is far more versed in the world of cocktails.

The cocktail menu was created in collaboration with Thinkers Distillery, which makes Israeli gin, vodka and bourbon. I tried the Jerusalem of Gold, the restaurant’s signature cocktail (NIS 95), with Havana Club rum, homemade chai maple syrup, Angostura bitters and a little bit of Arak.

Waldorf Astoria hotel in Jerusalem (credit: PR)
Waldorf Astoria hotel in Jerusalem (credit: PR)

Here’s how Laura described the drink: “We started our meal with the signature cocktail – Jerusalem of Gold, which came out ‘smoking’... but literally. The bartender came out with the drink and removed a smoker top which infused the cocktail with a slight taste of smoke. The rum was the dominant flavor – but my dinner partner, who isn’t usually a rum fan, was impressed by the depth of the drink.”

For my second cocktail I tried the Blackberry Mule, which was Thinkers Vodka with blackberry syrup, lemon juice and ginger. It was delicious and just strong enough.

Now for the food. I can’t comment on the size of the portions, as I tried tasting portions of a lot of different things on the menu, and also can’t comment on Value for Money, as part of that is the size of the portion. But I came hungry and left quite full.

We started off with the Sea Fish Cigar (NIS 55) with herb and spicy gazpacho. It was hot and crispy and had a nice amount of fish without being too fishy. Definitely a winner. The Tempura Cauliflower (NIS 55) was also crisp and was served on a bed of almond labaneh, as the restaurant is a meat restaurant. This would be a great choice for vegetarians or vegans.

We moved on to the baked polenta (NIS 65), which was topped with shredded veal and mushrooms in a demi-glace sauce. I’m a big fan of polenta, especially as I have no idea how to make it at home, and this did not disappoint.

We also tried the beef kebab (NIS 75), which was served on a cinnamon stick with harissa, tehina and roasted vegetables.

But my favorite dish of the night was a thick lamb chop (called grilled lamb ribs on the menu) (NIS 105), which was served with an onion stuffed with bulgur. Cooked medium rare, it had very little fat, and I savored every bite.

THE TERRACE, Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem26 Gershon Agron, Jerusalem.Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 6:30 p.m.-11 p.m.Phone: 054-950-9092Kashrut: Jerusalem Rabbinate, but all products are mehadrin.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.