Machneyuda restaurant: great food, lively atmosphere spice up Jerusalem’s food scene

Machneyuda is one of the most difficult restaurants in Israel right now to get a reservation and when you go there, you’ll understand why. Located on a street that leads up to Jerusalem’s famous Machne Yehuda market, Machneyuda’s cuisine is the latest example of new Israeli “fresh from the market” cooking. The restaurant was started by three Jerusalem chefs — Asaf Granit, Yossi Elad and Uri Navon. They have worked in various French and Italian restaurants for many years.

The menu changes regularly and is based upon what the chefs find in the Machne Yehuda market, therefore, you get food based upon what’s in season.

This week, my dining companion and I had the following dishes:

  • starters: tuna tartare, shrimp with garlic in olive oil (slightly spicy, very fresh shrimp) and hamshuka (a savoury dish of hummous and ground meat).
  • mains: black tagliatelle with mussels (the tagliatelle is made with squid ink); steak with polenta.
  • desserts: malabi (a Middle Eastern dessert resembling panna cotta, but this one is made with mango instead of the traditional rose water) and semolina cake with tahini ice cream.

Other dishes we spotted on the menu and would have loved to try, include the seafood soup Uri Buri style (note: Uri Buri is a popular seafood restaurant in Akko); fish, mussels and calamari in risotto; and tomato salad with anchovy (see photo below).

Machneyuda is by far the most lively and fun restaurant I have ever visited. There are 2 floors: the ground floor with an open kitchen and bar seating area (the most fun, in my opinion) plus a few tables; and the upper floor with tables. Why is the ground floor the best place to sit? Because the staff are constantly plying you with drink (such as arak) and occasionally break into a dance and a song or two. You can gaze into the open kitchen and watch how they cook up a storm and come out with these wonderful dishes. The music consists of funky Israeli, Arabic, and Northern African tunes. This is definitely a place to go to with friends who love fresh, creative Mediterranean cooking.

Locals warn that you must make reservations weeks in advance, but we managed to get two seats at the bar near the open kitchen with only a week’s advance notice.

Machneyuda
10 Beit Yaakov St.
Jerusalem, Israel
+972 2 533 3442

About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.

Comments

  1. Felix Binggeli says:

    GREAT place… seriously good food, relaxed, nice and friendly staff, good music, singing and drinking chefs (in between cooking stints), lots to see and absorb. Let them guide you re food – try something new. And book early, or come along and hope to get squeezed in by the bar. Enjoy.