Tzidkiyahu: Meat, salads better than ever

The new restaurant is fancier, with the tables spaced further apart, and booths as well as tables. There are hanging lights and a refrigerator for aging steaks.

Tzidkiyahu's dazzling array of food (photo credit: ASSAF KARLA)
Tzidkiyahu's dazzling array of food
(photo credit: ASSAF KARLA)
 I have always had a soft spot for Tzidkiyahu in Talpiot, and based on the line of people waiting to get in that I almost always see there, I’m not alone.
First of all, it’s in my neighborhood, which means I don’t have to drive or find parking, especially useful after one (or three) arak chasers that the staff pours liberally.
Secondly, when my older son was in the army, Tzidkiyahu was where he wanted to go every time he came home, so just walking in brings back good memories.
During corona, the restaurant did an active takeaway business. It also completely remodeled. The new restaurant is fancier, with the tables spaced further apart, and booths as well as tables. There are hanging lights and a refrigerator for aging steaks.
I was pleased to see that the staff members took the Tav Yarok seriously. They asked to see each person’s Tav Yarok as well as ID card.
While we were waiting to be seated, a family with a young child came in, and the staff asked for the Tav Yarok. Since most children have not been vaccinated, they were directed to go across the street to the new Tzidkiyahu, which has quite a bit of outdoor seating. There, the bright colors and touch screen offer a quick (and cheaper) experience, with the same quality of the parent restaurant.
Over the years, I’ve been to quite a few steak houses in Israel, and there is something special about Tzidkiyahu. The salads that quickly cover the table are always fresh and delicious. My favorites are the coleslaw and the smoked eggplant. Even before a salad bowl is empty, it is quickly refilled. The salads include falafel, french fries, and rice and beans, which are usually not included in most other steak houses.
The laffa (large flatbread) is delivered to the table fresh from the tabun. The thicker edges are chewy, while the middle is crunchy. When you pull off a piece, steam rises into the air, and the bread is just so good.
First courses include large bowls of homemade hummus with various toppings (NIS 22-28), Arabic salad of finely chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, and onion (NIS 28), and baladi eggplant with tehina (NIS 32).
The meat has all of the usual favorites like kebab (NIS 94 for two skewers), pargiyot (NIS 94) and chicken liver (NIS 88). Those prices include the salads and bread described above. You can also get one skewer for NIS 75. But there are also special skewers that are worth a try, including two skewers of goose breast, entrecôte and filet mignon (all NIS 140), or one skewer of sweetbreads for NIS 98.
If you feel like having a good steak, you won’t be disappointed. There is aged entrecôte (NIS 168 for 300 grams), or filet mignon (168 for 300 gr.). If you want to really splurge, add medallions of goose liver to your steak (NIS 35 for 40 gr.). There is also a fish option for NIS 120, and an option to order just the salads for NIS 65, which is a great option if one of your party is a vegetarian.
If you have children with you, there is a children’s menu with mini schnitzels or one skewer of meat, with a drink, for NIS 55.
The steaks are excellent with a deep beef flavor and perfectly cooked to the medium-rare I requested.
We were four diners celebrating both my daughter’s birthday and my friend Debbie’s birthday. We received a large platter of meat, including a little bit of everything to try.
The trick here is not to fill up too much on the salads, so that you still have room for the meat. I’ll share my personal trick which is to skip the french fries and the rice and to concentrate on just the bread and the salads so you’ll have room for the meat. You’ll have even more room if you skip the bread, but trust me, you don’t want to do that.
With the meat, we shared a bottle of Tzora Judean Hills wine, which was a great accompaniment. There are also several types of beer, as well as soft drinks.
AS WE were celebrating birthdays, we got the full treatment, which includes a loud birthday song, sombreros on everyone’s heads, drums and clapping, and a sparkler in a dessert. Often other guests will clap and sing along.
The staff members look as if they’re having a great time, no matter how many times a night they do the birthday celebration. They also often find a reason to drink a chaser of arak together.
I think that’s the real secret of Tzidkiyahu – the staff. Some of them have been there for many years, and the service is always excellent. That service is what elevates a good meal to a great one.
I always have the feeling that the server really cares whether I enjoy my meal and wants me to have a good experience. And I always do.
21 Yad Harutzim
Tel: (02) 673-3379 (Reservations essential for evening)
Hours: Sun.-Thurs, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, closed. Saturday night, from one hour after Shabbat until midnight.
Kashrut: Jerusalem Rabbinate

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.