The Insider's Jerusalem Restaurant Reviews:
Authentic Israeli Fare at Tzion Hagadol
Tzion Hagadol is the Jerusalem restaurant for authentic Israeli food well off the tourist path.
Israeli food is hard to define. But if you want a Jerusalem restaurant that serves what many would consider just that – standard Israeli food, with its accent on its Middle Eastern and North African influences - head off the tourist path to Tzion Hagadol.
This place has an almost cult-like following in some Israeli circles. Choose a seat outdoors under the awning in front of the restaurant, and make sure you’re hungry!
First thing first, about a dozen different salads and a basket of hot pitas will appear at your table – and that’s before you order.
The free salads alone could make a meal: tabbouleh, madbucha, Israeli salad, Moroccan carrot salad ... just to name a few.
But this is no vegetarian place: Tzion Hagadol’s specialty is grilling – grilled chicken kebabs, chicken breasts, spicy meatballs, chicken livers – and shwarma.
There's nothing here we wouldn't recommend. The meat and poultry are juicy and tender. Liver lovers, order a skewer of grilled chicken livers on the side, no matter what else you get - it melts in your mouth.
The plentiful vegetables are a feast of color for the eyes as much as the palate. The salads are so fresh, you can watch the chef make them. Watch out, though – some of the most innocuous looking veggies can pack quite a punch. (Be careful of anything that looks like a green pepper – chances are it’s really a hot pepper!) And the pita is piping hot and smells delicious.
Sitting under the awning among the potted bushes, you can almost forget that the restaurant is nestled between car dealerships and discount clothing shops in a working class neighborhood. But actually, that’s part of what makes this place so authentic – this far from the well-trod tourist traps, you know the food here is prepared for hard working folk who want the real thing at a good price.
To get this Jerusalem restaurant, take a cab to:
23 Yad Charutzim St
in the Talpiot neighborhood
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