"The generous portion of light and fluffy couscous was just as it should and the melt in you mouth vegetables that came with it disappeared in no time…" Yonatan Sternberg spends some quality time with Dad over a homey meal at HaMishpacha (The Family) in Jerusalem.

I’m sure that most people would agree there is a strong connection between family and food. Once I heard the name of the restaurant, it didn’t take long to decide who would be the partner of choice for this culinary expedition – my father.

HaMishpacha, Hebrew for “The Family”, is a small and cozy family restaurant. Situated on one of the most popular streets in downtown Jerusalem (Yoel Salomon St.), HaMishpacha offers a wide, Mehadrin kosher menu from which to choose from.

When speaking to owner Itzik about the restaurant's clientele, he said that "HaMishpacha is truly a place for anybody and everybody. One can see, local Jerusalemites, tourists, families, couples and groups, sitting side by side, all enjoying fresh tasty food at affordable prices”. Another bonus offered at HaMishpacha is the all-day business special. Unlike most places who limit their specials to certain hours, HaMishpacha offers specials for breakfast (32 NIS), lunch (40-45) and even dinner.

All of the salads and cooked dishes are homemade, or in Itzik’s words “aside from the pita bread, we pretty make everything ourselves.” As soon as we received our starters, it was evident that true to their name, HaMishpacha’s portions are all generous and unpretentious. The large servings or this tasty food are decoration free, just like one would eat at home.

We decided to sample several hors d'oeuvres from the “specials” section on the menu. Don’t pass on the artichoke heart stuffed with minced chicken breast. Served with a light lemon-olive oil sauce, the artichoke was delicious. While the meat cigars were tasty, we found the kubeh nablusia (a deep fried dumpling made of bulgur and stuffed with meat), to be a bit greasy and lacking seasoning. The homemade hummus was a bit disappointing as well. Don’t get me wrong, it was still much better than the kind you would buy in the grocery store, but as a hummus fan, I have very high standards.

Luckily for us, we visited on a Tuesday and as it turns out, Tuesdays and Fridays are couscous days at HaMishpacha. Vegetarian, chicken or beef, just take your pick. The generous portion of light and fluffy couscous was just as it should and the melt in you mouth vegetables that came with it disappeared in no time. Another signature dish (and rightfully so) is the stuffed chicken filled with a tasty mixture of rice, raisins and walnuts. It is also important to note that HaMishpacha offers a wide range of Mediterranean style grilled meats, served with salads and a choice of side dishes.

Due to a sore throat, I decided to skip my usual espresso and ordered a glass of mint tea and a couple of biscuits.

Overall, it was a tasty and satisfying experience. If you're looking for elegant gourmet food, search elsewhere. But if it's a hot, homey affordable meal, check out HaMishpacha next time you're in Jerusalem.

HaMishpacha (The Family)
12 Yoel Salomon St., Nachalat Shiva, Jerusalem
Tel: 02-6236886