Nocturno - Dairy food with a twist

COVID-19 has, of course, limited Nocturno to deliveries, but it does those very well, the food arriving well-packaged in paper bags with the Nocturno logo.

Nocturno (photo credit: AMIT SCHECHTER MAGAL)
Nocturno
(photo credit: AMIT SCHECHTER MAGAL)
In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions for healthier eating, I was happy to taste the food from Nocturno, a coffee shop/performance space/artisan area in downtown Jerusalem.
COVID-19 has, of course, limited Nocturno to deliveries, but it does those very well, the food arriving well-packaged in paper bags with the Nocturno logo.
Almost everything on the menu can be ordered vegan, which would make my vegan friend Estelle very happy. They also host occasional live music shows on Facebook.
Rather than choosing from the menu, I asked the chef to surprise me. When the food arrived, my always-hungry 16-year-old said, “This is really fun. It’s like opening presents.”
Take that, coronavirus!
So what did I get? There were two pasta dishes, both excellent. The mushroom pasta (NIS 62) had whole mushrooms, cream, truffle oil, and Parmesan cheese, while the artichoke pasta (NIS 63) had whole artichoke hearts sautéed in sage butter, with cherry tomatoes, fresh garlic and basil. I couldn’t decide which I liked better, and the portion was quite generous.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the Beyond Meat burger (NIS 75) a vegan dish served on a bun with sautéed mushrooms and onions, mustard, ketchup and pickles, along with wedges of roasted potatoes. When I think of café food, I don’t usually think of burgers, but this was juicy and delicious. My husband, who rarely eats meat, said the burger was excellent.
There was also a quinoa salad (NIS 58) with red quinoa, mixed greens, and crunchy root vegetables. It was fresh and delicious.
One of the best things about dairy restaurants is good desserts, and here my New Year’s resolutions went out the window.
I tasted a cappuccino cheesecake (NIS 30), which was thick and dense like a NY cheesecake rather than the lighter, fluffier Israeli kind. Israeli cuisine does lots of things well, but I much prefer NY-style cheesecake.
The other dessert was a dense chocolate cake that my kids went crazy over.
The extensive menu clearly indicates which dishes are gluten-free, which are vegan, and which can be made vegan. There is also a large cocktail menu which can also be ordered for delivery, as well as beer and wine.
Nocturno’s owner, Amit Magal Schechter, started work at the restaurant as a barista when he was just 16. By 17, he was the manager, then the co-owner; and today, at 40, he is the sole owner. And, he says, Nocturno has not closed for even one day because of corona.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

Nocturno
7 Bezalel Street
Deliveries available Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fridays, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; Saturdays, from one hour after Shabbat.
Minimum per delivery is NIS 100. Delivery fee, NIS 20.
Phone: 077-700-8510.
Kashrut: Jerusalem Rabbinate.