"Health kitchen" threw at me owner Lili. "Salads are oil free, and we only use vegetables and walnuts" she added as the table was covered with small salad plates. Yuval Blankovsky at Racha in Jerusalem

What do you know about the Georgian cuisine? As soon as we stepped into Racha we were seated and hot bread with red beans salad was served to the table. "It's just that a Georgian table cannot stand empty" said the waiter. Add a Georgian soda and a glass of wine, and soon enough we got the party started. "Health kitchen" threw at me owner Lili. "Salads are oil free, and we only use vegetables and walnuts" she added as the table was covered with small salad plates. I won't bother you with names such as Adzhazhilli or Ispanakhi, let me just say that you've never tasted anything like this before. Grilled vegetables, eggplants, pomegranates, and of course chopped walnuts – will all take you through a wonderful culinary experience, and Racha's menu has even an entire meal based on starters alone.

While we were enjoying the hot, sour and spicy flavors playing in our mouths, came the second course – the pastries. Racha offers a lot of good things, but the pastries are definitely something to talk about. The Chibureki are 2 crispy half-moons made of dough and filled with beef, served boiling hot with the superstar – Tkhemali sauce – made spicy with green plumbs, something you should not miss. We also had Khinkali, which are dough pockets stuffed with meat, and Belini – Georgian pancake filled with meat mixture. To tell the truth, we could have stopped here.

Look Around

On top of the luxuriously decorated restaurant space, Racha has 2 bars; one of which is made for smokers. A huge selection of wines and other alcoholic beverages are offered. On Wednesdays, Balkan nights are held, and on Friday noon – ethnic Kabalat Shabat. As for the rest of the week – the restaurant is only open at nights; lunch is available for group reservations.

Racha offers Georgian cooking courses, which include a magnificent feast, and the traditional blessing ceremony: a person chosen to sit at the head of the table receives a deer horn filled with wine, and then chooses one other guest to receive blessings. The rest of guests around the table give their blessings to that one selected guest. The ceremony ends of course as the person sitting at the head of the table drinks the entire content of the horn – just to make sure that these blessings come true. Undoubtedly, Racha is a magical restaurant that suits family or work gatherings.

The Main Thing

Racha's great culinary selection is reflected in the main courses. Beef casserole with pomegranate sauce and Chanakhi - lamb with potato dish – were what we started with. Then we decided to go for something less ordinary and ordered the Kopti which is the name given here for traditionally spiced home sausages. This is a dish you want to have with some cold beer, which is also served here. Last but not least, we ordered one of that day's specials: lamb throat filled with root vegetables. Lili said her brother had enjoyed massaging the meat for 2 hours, and I could tell that he did. Thin slices of lamb throat were piled on a plate next to root vegetables – all demonstrated perfect flavors and textures.

We shall save Racha's traditional desserts for our next visit. Racha is a wonderful restaurant that delivers on its promise.