Have your cake and eat it

Jerusalem restaurants rise to the Pessah challenge

Moshava 54 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Moshava 54 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Despite the pressures, more and more restaurants are taking the Pessah plunge. Emek Refaim, for example, is paved with hametz-free delicacies to satisfy even the pickiest of palates.
You can have your cake and eat it this Pessah at the Italian eatery Luciana. For those who do not eat kitniyot, or legumes, Luciana will offer a kitniyot-free range of pastas, pizzas, fish and salads. Manager Shiran Goldberg says that in her three years of working there, she has never had so many reservations for tables on Pessah. “We are expecting a full house every evening, and it’s recommended to book in advance to avoid another night of cooking.”
Its special Pessah menu includes traditional matza-ball soup and the Bianca pizza topped with baby mozzarella, salmon and a cream sauce. For the calorie conscious, your diet need not take a vacation of its own this Pessah.
Luciana has a healthy selection of salads and vegetable dishes to choose from. Cashew nuts will replace pine nuts, and all dressings, including balsamic and pesto, will be kosher for Pessah. Goldberg also says there will be a large selection of kosher wines on special. Menu prices will not differ much, ranging between NIS 50 and NIS 95 per person, depending on fish, pasta, pizza or salad choices. Cleaning will take place over a 24-hour period with strict supervision, with new cutlery and crockery to welcome the potato flour parade.
Those with a passion for meat can satisfy their tastebuds at Joya, Moshava 54 or Buffalo Steak House. All three are kitniyot free and 100% kosher for Pessah.
If your credit card is threatening exile, you may want to start at Moshava 54. Owner Arnon Zavdasaky promises fine-quality, generously sized meals at attractive prices. Costs usually range from NIS 10 to NIS 54 a person, with a slight added charge to compensate for Pessah preparation. Dishes include spring chicken skewers Ras al-Khanout with baked potatoes; lamb kebabs with baby leaves salad and homemade chimichurri.
If you have relatives visiting for the holidays, you might want to try Joya. Dishes range from potato gnocchi and entrecote to spring chicken in Szechwan sauce. Sivan Gal, the marketing manager at Joya, says the new menu will be up on the website in a few days’ time, and they are expecting a large crowd of both Jerusalemites and tourists. “From my experience here, business booms on Pessah mainly because of our great service and because most restaurants are not open during the holiday itself.”
Buffalo Steak House is a South American restaurant that offers a wide variety of meat and chicken dishes at reasonable prices. The restaurant is kosher under the supervision of the Jerusalem Rabbinate. The meat comes from Beit Yosef.
Buffalo Steak House is closing for three days for Pessah provision. Manager Kfir Edri is confident about the Pessah turnover. “There will be many special dishes geared toward the holiday,” says Edri. Dishes usually range between NIS 60 and NIS 130 per person.
Dishes include buffalo wings in a chili barbecue sauce and the traditional asado, a selection of meat dishes cooked on the grill or open fire. Asado is considered a customary dish in Argentina, Chile and southern Brazil.
Those with a spicier craving need not go unsatisfied this Pessah. Although it is disappointing that Middle Eastern restaurants Baba and Marvad Haksamim are closing for the holiday, you can try Roza. Recently opened on Emek Refaim, it provides a Mediterranean menu with Mexican, Italian, Spanish and Jerusalem homestyle dishes. Branches on Emek Refaim and Jaffa Road will be kosher for Pessah for those who eat kitniyot. One of the owners, Shmulik Shmueli, says, “A large budget has been invested in Pessah cleaning, and we invite Jerusalemites to sample the new Emek branch.”
And Sephardim can enjoy Sushi Rehavia.
Both the Rehov Aza and German Colony branches are keeping their doors open throughout the holiday. A new sushi-filled menu is being prepared to welcome Pessah.
Other places on Emek Refaim where one can enjoy a cup of coffee, a bowl of soup or a fresh salad include Caffit, Masaryk and Aroma.
Eateries on Emek Refaim that are opting out this Pessah include Tal Bagels, Olive, RYU, Pizza Sababa, Waffle Bar, Village Green and, most surprisingly, Burgers Bar.
After weeks of relentless cooking and cleaning, Jerusalemites need not be captive to the kitchen. Enjoy the freedom to feast on Emek Refaim this Pessah, and let someone else do the dishes.
You deserve it.