Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Israel: Mahane Yehuda Market in Downtown Jerusalem

Mahane Yehuda, "the souk", in Jerusalem
I just got back from Israel where I tried to eat as much seasonal and locally grown foods and delicious  Middle Eastern dishes as possible (no Italian, French or Chinese for this traveler).

Crowds Shopping for Shabbot
On my first day, a Friday, our morning stop was Mahane Yehuda a very large market in the heart of Jerusalem that showcases the foods and diverse peoples of Israel.
Middle Eastern Spice Market at Mahane Yehuda

Fruit and Nuts at "The Souk"
We went before the Sabbeth and got an incredible feeling for the energy and vibrancy of "the souk", another name for the market because of its Arab origins, which was packed with shoppers getting ready for the Shabbot meal.

Cinnamon and other Spices at the Market
A combination covered and outdoor market, we wandered its many long hallways and enjoyed some sweet pastries from a bakery (I picked a honey bun that some bees were enjoying too) and then sipped a steaming hot cup of cappuccino at Danessi Caffe, a chain of espresso coffee bars.

Italian Coffee Bar at Mahane Yehuda

Honey Sweetened Pastry

Pomegranates, pita, sabras, a yellow prickly pear cactus fruit, and some figs -- that's what we bought to take back to the hotel.

Prepared Hummus and Pestos

Prickly Pear Cactus aka Sabras

Pita Vendor
Mahane Yehuda is where chefs buy local ingredients, and locals shop for fresh meats, fish, produce, cheese, spices, baked goods, olives, nuts, dried fruit, fresh squeezed juices, housewares and clothing.

Locavore inspired restaurants are in the neighborhood. Eucalyptus, a slow food favorite, and Machneyuda  are two of the best know locavore eateries in Jerusalem and are both within a few blocks of the souk.  

I scored a reservation at Machneyuda and savored every bite. Unfortunately, I had to forfeit my table for two at the highly coveted Eucalyptus to tend to my traveler's tummy.  From what others tell me, Eucalyptus is worth a trip back to Israel.

Mahane Yehuda Market
Jaffa Road to the north, Agrippas Street to the south
Jerusalem, Israel

10 Beit Ya'akov St.
Jerusalem, Israel 

The Eucalyptus  
14 Hativat Yerushalayim
Jerusalem, Israel

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