Mahneyuda Restaurant, Jerusalem
Every single person I spoke to about going to Jerusalem recommended going to Mahneyuda for dinner. It is supposedly the hottest place in town recently opened in 2009 by three local chefs; Uri, Papi and Buffalo. Located near the Mahane Yehuda markets on a sloped street in a random building.
They designed the restaurant around the kitchen. Basically at any table except for one or two upstairs in the back, you can watch what goes on in the kitchen.
The restaurant itself is a mixture of furniture, kitchen towels for napkins, a mishmash of dinner plates and this pop-up vibe. Hands down the best meal we had in Jerusalem. Some of the dishes were outrageously delicious. There is the one drawback, even for my kids, the music situation. The music is so unbelievably loud and bad that is it a total bummer. Just seriously bad pop music. At the beginning it is entertaining to watch the staff clap and dance around but after a while you just hit the wall and having a conversation is impossible.
We started with some small ones, Sashimi Uri Style. Keep in mind the menu changes nightly. Thinly sliced white fish mixed with radishes, kiwi, a green peppers, pomegranate seeds and a light vinaigrette over the top. Excellent combo of flavors and really fresh.
The other small was a yellowtail tataki. Seared pieces of yellowtail paired with small cubes of avocado, a green sauce and slices of strawberry. The sweet fruit of the strawberry with the soft nuggets of avacado worked really well together.
I ordered the polenta for the table. I love how it came in a glass jar. This was beyond delicious. Rich creamy polenta mixed together with buttery mushrooms, thin slices of asparagus and pieces of Parmesan layered over the top. We could have each had our own jar. Outrageous.
Jessica had the Indulge Burks for her starter. Pickled fish with greens that looks like Italian parsley and the yolk of an egg and this interesting sauce. I just tasted it at the end. It was really strange but somehow it so worked. It was excellent.
Fred went with the Autumn Salad. A mixture of greens with pears, cheese of the day and a light vinaigrette. This didn’t do it for either of us. Strange flavors in the sauce. Left a strange taste in your mouth.
A few of us ordered the salmon carpaccio for the first course. This was served in large silver bowls that I use for prep at home. I got a kick out of the presentation. Then a small sauce comes on the side which is a warm vinegar. This was delicious. The warmth of the sauce poured over the cold raw salmon just before eating worked really well in my mouth.
I had risotto. A large piece of pan fried yellowtail served over an al dente black ink risotto that was mixed with whole shrimp, pieces of crab and chopped mussels. The risotto was delicious. The fish on top was not necessary. After a few bites, I hit the wall. The risotto I couldn't stop eating even though I hit the wall because it was just so damn good.
We passed on dessert much to their chagrin so they brought us out a Malabi, the ultimate beach dessert. A flan with a strawberry gel on top topped with crushed pistachios. It was awesome. With 5 spoons we devoured it and walked outside into the cool noiseless air.
Fantastic food. We all breathed a huge sigh of relief when we left. I only wish they’d turn down the music and perhaps change the station.