American diner vibes come alive at Jerusalem's Berlin Burger

Berlin Burger reminded me of a 1980s diner, with lots and lots of color and neon. One whole wall is of soda cans, many of brands that no longer exist.

 There are seven types of burgers at Berlin Burer. (photo credit: ASSAF KERALA)
There are seven types of burgers at Berlin Burer.
(photo credit: ASSAF KERALA)

On a Thursday night on the Mamilla pedestrian mall, it certainly feels like corona is a thing of the past.

Two weeks in a row I had to drive down to the lowest level of the parking garage to find a parking space. When I emerged, I found crowds of people enjoying the mild night air.

The first place I tried was Berlin Burger. It reminded me of a 1980s diner, with lots and lots of color and neon. One whole wall is of soda cans, many of brands that no longer exist.

The menu is limited but has something for everyone.

There are seven types of burgers, (NIS 58-66), including a vegan burger made of mushrooms for my friend Estelle. There is a crispy chicken burger and four types of beef burgers. The 220 gram beef burgers, made from a mixture of asado and entrecôte, have various toppings.

 Berlin Burger at Jerusalem's Mamilla Mall. (credit: ASSAF KERALA) Berlin Burger at Jerusalem's Mamilla Mall. (credit: ASSAF KERALA)

I tried the French beef burger, which had brisket on top, along with truffle aioli, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. The very thinly sliced brisket was nothing special, and I felt the brioche bun, which is a little sweet, was not the best match to the meat. The burger itself, however, was quite good, and the place is fun. The truffle aioli, however, was outstanding, and I asked for more.

The burgers come with fries, which are more like potato wedges and were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, or onion rings.

If dairy is more your thing, I highly recommend Luciana just on the other side of the Mamilla mall. The extensive pasta and fish menu offers something for everyone.

I was in the mood for a cocktail, so I ordered the Coco Chanel (NIS 52), which had rum, pineapple, coconut and passion fruit. It was quite delicious.

The restaurant is large, and the tables are spread far apart. There are candles on each table that lend a nice atmosphere.

My companion was my foodie son, and we chose two fish appetizers from the menu. The tuna sashimi (NIS 70) was a bit disappointing. The portion was small, and the tuna, while fresh, was a little bland.

The other appetizer, the fish bruschetta, was excellent. It had cubes of whitefish, along with some fresh vegetables and a slightly spicy aioli on a thin slice of bread.

 Bruschetta with whitefish cubes and a spicy aioli at Luciana (credit: ASSAF KERALA) Bruschetta with whitefish cubes and a spicy aioli at Luciana (credit: ASSAF KERALA)

For the main courses we went with pasta and had two choices. We had a special of gnocci with beets in a beet sauce with feta that had a chartreuse color and was excellent, and a pasta filled with mushrooms and mascarpone in a sweet Asian-style sauce. It was quite sweet, but I happen to enjoy sweet dishes. There are about 10 types of pasta, which range from NIS 71 to NIS 81.

 Mushrooms and mascarpone stuffed pasta at Luciana (credit: ASSAF KERALA) Mushrooms and mascarpone stuffed pasta at Luciana (credit: ASSAF KERALA)

For dessert we asked the manager, Roga, to surprise us. She came with a slice of chocolate mousse cake and a cheesecake. Both were excellent and reminded me of why it’s fun to eat in dairy restaurants.

Berlin BurgerMamilla MallHours: Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday, until 2 p.m.Tel: (02) 656-4919Kashrut: Mehuderet Beit Yosef