Utterly heavenly

Angelica offers the ultimate in refined dining.

Angelica offers the ultimate in refined dining (photo credit: PR)
Angelica offers the ultimate in refined dining
(photo credit: PR)
What’s interesting about restaurants is that you can hear about them, read about them or even walk right by them, but unless you enter an establishment and experience for yourself its unique aura and atmosphere, not to mention its menu, you have no idea what it’s like – and what you’ve been missing.
That was the case with Angelica. I had heard about it and had passed it on occasion, but until a friend of mine invited me to have dinner there last week, I had no idea how elegant and sophisticated this Jerusalem gem was.
Always in search of the ultimate burger and often disappointed by thin gritty patties that have no taste on their own without the addition of a heap of condiments, I was assured by my friend that Angelica served the best burger in town. She helps out in the busy kitchen once a week as a way to “feed my soul” as she puts it, citing the dedication to excellence and the warm camaraderie among the staff as salient aspects of the experience. Hence, I was glad to accept the invitation to go and check it out.
Well, I was in for a treat that went far beyond the (uh huh) ultimate burger.
To begin with, the place is just beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that it is almost intimidating; but the staff is so friendly and the co-owners so down to earth, that they immediately make you feel welcome and at ease.
The modern, spacious, tastefully designed restaurant has black glossy wooden tables and chairs, high arched windows, vases of fresh flowers strategically placed in various niches, and an almost wall-to-wall bar at the back that faces the glassedin kitchen, where patrons can watch the skilled culinary staff at work. All this is reflected in dramatic mirrored prisms on the ceiling. There is also a private dining room that seats 16.
The kosher restaurant is described as “fine grill.” Paraguayan-born chef and co-owner Marcos Gershkowitz says that he and co-owner chef Erez Merge do not relegate themselves to any one type of cuisine and change the menu two or three times a year.
That allows the creative chefs to devise their own dishes and revel among such culinary styles as Asian, Moroccan and Italian. No strangers to the restaurant world, they also operate Grand Café on Derech Beit Lehem and Café de Paris on Aza Street.
Although I had wanted to sample some of the appetizers before delving into the famed hamburger, I had talked so much about it in anticipation, that it was the first thing the server brought me.
“Just have a bite, and then taste some of the other dishes,” Gershkowitz suggested.
Easier said than done. One bite, and I was hooked. That hamburger platter (NIS 78) was so delicious, that I managed to leave only one bite! The dish was everything a true hamburger lover would want. The 250-gram minced entrecote burger was thick and flavorful, and the platter was replete with excellent home fries, crisp onion rings, a small green salad, dill pickles and sliced raw onions, accompanied by small dishes of ketchup and mayonnaise.
Perfect! With that under my belt, I sampled a few other items on the extensive menu. The small taste I had of the hearty mushroom soup of the day (NIS 44) was delicious. I also tried my friend’s endive salad (NIS 54), which was a delight. It was artistically plated as a little tower of endives, caramelized pears and pecans with white wine and saffron in a honey vinaigrette.
While my friend had the irresistible burger platter as well, I ordered an appetizer of divine chicken liver paté with roasted pistachio nuts and homemade jam (NIS 54) and a main dish of seared chicken breast with sautéed mushrooms in brandy sauce, with mashed potatoes (NIS 86).
Tender and delicious.
The appetizers at Angelica range from NIS 42 to NIS 98 (for foie gras in red wine sauce), while the mains, which include fish, beef and chicken dishes, range from NIS 78 to NIS 300 (for a chateaubriand and smoked goose breast for two). There is also a business lunch served from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. that starts at NIS 84.
As always, full but never too full to fulfill my duty and my desire to sample the desserts, I opted for the chocolate soufflé with cherry coulis (NIS 42) and the apple tart with ice cream (NIS 44), while my friend had her favorite, the tapioca pudding with fresh diced fruit (NIS 40). The latter two were very good, but for me the stand-out was the soufflé.
Although some might call it sinfully delicious, I would say it was a blessing to indulge in such a rich, delectable dessert.
Angelica definitely made a great impression on me, and I look forward to going back to try some of the other alluring dishes.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
4 Washington Street, Jerusalem
Tel: (02) 623-0056