Situated in the upscale serene neighborhood of Rehavia, just opposite from the Prime Minister’s official residence and a 5 minute walk from the city center, Restobar is an island of sanity in this often tense city. Yonatan Sternberg, Jerusalem
As a secular resident of Jerusalem, I am sad to say that there are very few good non-kosher restaurants in town, and even among those which aren’t kosher, some are closed on the weekend. Not that I have anything against kosher food or kosher restaurants, on the contrary, but come Friday afternoon (even earlier in the winter days), it can become rather difficult to find a good bite to eat.
For this as well as several other reasons, the Restobar is one of my favorite Jerusalem eateries. Situated in the upscale serene neighborhood of Rehavia, just opposite from the Prime Minister’s official residence and a 5 minute walk from the city center, Restobar is an island of sanity in this often tense city. The atmosphere and décor are welcoming and homey, attracting a very diverse range of clientele. Open daily from 7:30 until the late hours of the night, the Restobar evolves and changes as the day moves along, starting off as a café serving an assortment of breakfast options, then moving on to a lunch/dinner menu with tempting and reasonable business lunches served from 12:00-17:00 while at night the lights are dimmed and the Restobar transforms into a fun and contemporary bar offering a tasty late night menu.
We arrived on a Wednesday evening and the place was literally packed. With few seating options available, we sat indoors and asked the hostess to let us know once a table on the deck becomes vacant. While waiting, we decided to order our starters, the chicken livers sautéed with silan and onions served atop toasted baguette from the regular menu and the sesame coated red tuna skewers which appeared on the specials de jour insert. Both dishes were quite generous, my favorite being the chicken livers. The sweet and peppery sauce coated each piece of the succulent liver and the crunchy baguette absorbed with the sauce was a real treat.
Relocating to the pleasant balcony we ordered a couple of beers and took another look at the menu. Restobar’s burgers are considered among the best in town, I mentioned to Oshrit, so we definitely need to try one of those. Following the waitress’ recommendation we also ordered the oven baked salmon in a lemon-garlic butter sauce. The burger was delicious, served on a fresh bun with an assortment of traditional vegetables. Restobar offers three burger options: the classic house burger, a more Middle Eastern lamb burger and my personal favorite a burger made with 100% ground fresh entrecote (rib-eye) meat. A cut usually reserved for steaks, the entrecote burger is delicious, juicy and full of flavor – a dash of ketchup and mayo and we were good to go. The salmon was surprisingly good - first seared on a skillet and then baked in the oven ensuring that the fish is nice and crisp on the outside while remaining pinkish and moist within. The lemon-garlic butter really complemented the salmon. This is a very easy sauce to prepare at home and from my experience also goes well with most grilled or baked white fish.
For dessert, we shared the vanilla krembo, comprised of decadent vanilla cream, a white chocolate shell, biscuits and a tangy berry puree. Good balance of flavors and not overly sweet, this was an excellent way to end the meal. Be it during the week, early in the morning, mid day, late at night or on the weekend, the Restobar is definitely worth a visit. By the way, until 1 September and starting daily at 19:00, Restobar is offering a buy one get one special on most beverages ordered at the bar. Now you really can’t go wrong.