A Funky Local Food Joint, in Jerusalem

Jerusalem has a seriousness about it. The holy sites, the prolific white-stone buildings, the religious folks in assorted traditional attire ... the place is magical, but it gives off an aura of somber. Yet the city has a hipper side, and the restaurant Mahneyuda represents it well.

According to Fodor's, Mahneyuda is "considered one of the best in Jerusalem, possibly the country." So of course The Hub and I sent the kids off for pizza and hauled our curious tushes across the city.


We found what here in the States would be called a farm-to-table concept, although the marketing materials don't mention that the food is fresh from local farms. 
The table settings create a down-to-earth feel. Look at this: dishtowels with utensils. Homelike, no?
The menu is creative but fun. I especially like the menu names "Lamb interior parts, can you handle it?!" "Sweetbread and malawach like in Yemen" and, in the second photo, "Jew - York cheese cake, deconstructed."
I foolishly either didn't take notes or lost them, but we enjoyed our meal and here are some specifics. We were given bread -- sliced white bread, in a brown paper bag -- with what I believe was a tahini dip. 
And we were invited to mush ingredients together with a mortar and pestle.
These may or may not have been part of a signature appetizer, Shusterman tartar. The "tartar" was a dozen ingredients that we were free to mix and match at will. 
I was still stuffed from the ginormous Israeli breakfast we'd had hours earlier, plus lunch, so I ordered an appetizer for dinner. It was huge, and wonderful. It's called "pizza on a lafa with mincemeat." It was basically a large, tasty and filling flatbread pizza.
I guess I was beyond functioning at that point because i have neither photos nor memories of Hub's entree or, if he ordered one, dessert. But I can say this: the tartar was fun and fresh but only OK taste-wise. Everything else we had was phenomenal. So if you're headed to what my devout evangelical friend calls "The Holy Land," make a reservation (long in advance), settle into the rustic space, and have a satisfying, fun, if not kosher, meal.
By the way, the restaurant is right outside a market called Machane Yeheda. It has a mix of produce, treasures and junk. It's worth going just to see this halvah stand.
I'm glad I got that photo in. The only halvah in Orlando is prepackaged mediocrity in the supermarket, and a wonderful but super-expensive version in the cooler at Whole Foods.
Eat well, my laptop eater-travelers,