There are no few cafés that are worth visiting in Jerusalem. Here is a short selection of places we recommend you try out. It includes some of the most veteran, loved institutions in the capital, and some of the younger, hipper joints.
Kadosh Café: The Veteran
Keren and Itzik Kadosh’s café is probably one of the most veteran, loved places in the city and, ironically, probably not because of its coffee. Kadosh falls somewhere between a café and a restaurant, a brasserie and a bakery; to call it a café is a major understatement. Therefore, it might not come as a surprise that it is loved for many reasons that go beyond its coffee and atmosphere. Whether it’s the delicious breakfasts, like toasted croissants or croque-madame made of brioche with gouda cheese; lunches like fish or fresh pastas, salads, quiches and bruschettas; or the cherry on top – decadent desserts and aromatic pastries, sweet and savoury alike (oh, the profiteroles and éclairs). They also sell cakes that you can take home.
6 Queen Shlomziyon St, Jerusalem
Cafe Mizrahi: The Marriage
This café, established by Eli Mizrahi over a decade ago, was the first café to open in the Mahane Yehuda Market. It’s situated in a crowded area of the market, yet nonetheless serves as a quiet, almost intimate, corner to relax in with a coffee and a pastry when you need a break from all the hustle and bustle. Other than Italian coffee (from Caffè Diemme), you’ll find a range of baked goods that change every day. They include savoury pastries – like a spelt flour pastry with kale and goat’s cheese, and calzone with gouda, artichoke and leek – and sweet treats – like croissants, tartlets and brioche; carrot and crème pâtissière muffins or chocolate and poppy seed muffins; “secret” cheesecake (the secret’s in the base) and a vegan Bounty treat that’s absolutely decadent. Basically, this is the perfect place to marry coffee and cake.
8 HaShazif St, Jerusalem
Café Yehoshua: The Bourgeoisie
Similarly to Café Kadosh, this place is much more than a café. In the mornings it’s a classic café, but by lunch time it turns into a restaurant, and come evening it turns into a bar with food. This place attracts media personnel and policymakers, which is something we found charming. It’s worth noting that a number of dishes here are not kosher – a rarity in the capital – like shrimps in Tabsaco butter with rocket leaves and basil, or veal schnitzel with Parmesan cheese and a side of mushroom puree. That’s not to say there aren’t meals here for those who eat kosher-style and vegetarian. The artichoke and zucchini salad is one such option.
17 Azza St, Jerusalem
Café Shraga: The Colorful
This place is known for combining craftsmanship, homeliness and the kitchen through its food workshops, coffee, aromatic pastries, preserves and seasonal, home-made liquors. The menu includes a range of colorful sandwiches, like “Yellow,” which includes gouda cheese, homemade aioli, tomato, lettuce and pickles; “Blue,” with fetta cheese, black olive pesto, fresh green pepper, tomato and lettuce; “Silver,” with cream cheese, herring, pickled red onion, apple and cucumber; and “Colorful,” which is vegan and includes cashew cheese, olive pesto, tomato, cucumber, green pepper and lettuce. Also served here are mini-quiches, salads and even a vegan burger made with mushrooms and lentils. Desserts range from muffins to brownies and tartlets.
3 Yanai St, Jerusalem
Chocolatte: The Chocolate
In the Talpiot industrial area you’ll find a small chocolate factory that also happens to sell phenomenal coffee. Although this place barely falls into the “café” category (indeed it only has three improvised tables), the handmade pralines here and the coffee that can be ordered along with them make this place particularly worth visiting. The fact that the coffee here (which, as we mentioned, is fantastic – a rarity in Jerusalem) is served with lemon rind and soda water is evidence of the seriousness with which they take everything here; with sharp attention to detail. Pralines, truffles and caramels are sold here. Those with adventurous appetites should try the strawberry and basil pralines, the chilli pralines or the toffee with rock salt.
2 Po'alei Tsedek St, Jerusalem
Coffee World: The Professional
Coffee World is probably the only café on this list that is a coffee shop in the truest sense of the words. Here the coffee isn’t served as a side to breakfast, pastries or snacks; it’s the centerpiece, to which the sides are the coffee-making appliances – the milk frothing jugs, the espresso machine, and the wide range of coffee beans, including those from uncommon places like Ethiopia or Sumatra. Somewhere between a café and a professional shop, and albeit without any food on the side, Coffee World is heaven for coffee lovers; those who feel that “just coffee” is not a compromise, but exactly what they’re after.
2 Yanai St, Jerusalem
Ofaimme: The Farmer
If Coffee World is all about the coffee, Ofaimme is about everything that goes with it. Located in a heritage listed stone building in the Beit Hakerem neighborhood, Ofaimme is a combination of a store (that sells Ofaimme Farm products made in the moshav Idan) and a café. Here you’ll find breakfasts made of the highest quality farm goods – from goat’s cheeses to herb spreads, honeys to jams, and free range eggs. You could, for example, try the “bourekassant,” a tanned pastry made of croissant dough, filled with a poached egg, mangold cheese, spinach and goats cheese. Sweet tooths will enjoy the caramelized apples and almond halva parfait. And so you don’t walk out empty handed, there are shelves full of farm-made products for you to take home, including jams, tahinis, breads, cakes, frozen dough, pastas and more.
19 Beit HaKerem St, Jerusalem
Lechem Tomer: The Intimate
Here, at this small, intimate institution, the bread is the highlight (and has developed quite the reputation even beyond Jerusalem). You can either buy fresh breads, baguettes, focaccias and mini-pastries, or sit in for a light and delicious meal of breads, salads and cheeses. One sandwich that’s simple yet so delicious is the baguette with butter, gouda cheese, tomato and basil. Another great offering is “Tomer’s Picnic” where you choose whatever you feel like eating – breads, cheeses, spreads, sweets, etc. – and then take home whatever is left over at the end, for a picnic of yummy leftovers.
Four branches: Talpiot: 2 Po'alei Tsedek St, Jerusalem; Rehavia: 30 Azza St, Jerusalem; Katamon: 22 Halamed Hei St, Jerusalem; Arnona: 9 Leib Yafe St, Jerusalem
Roasters: The Quality
The Jerusalem branch of the Tel Aviv coffee shop chain Cafelix was opened in April 2014 in the beating heart of the Mahane Yehuda Market. Surrounded by food stalls, it would probably be easiest for the baristas here to focus on doing what they do best: making quality coffee. But when night falls on the market, those who came during the morning for a shop and stopped for a quick coffee will probably want to spend more than just a moment here. For at nighttime, the coffee is replaced with alcohol and this place turns into an entertainment hub – with tables, chairs and live performances. By dawn, the only remnant of the night that was is the coffee with alcohol (like Irish cream or whisky), which can be ordered at any hour.
Corner HaAfarsek and Ets Khayim St, Jerusalem
Cafe Bezalel: The Artistry
The fact that this café is located on Bezalel boulevard, opposite the house of Professor Boris Schatz, founder of the elite art academy, “Bezalel,” is what gives this intimate coffee shop its name but also its atmosphere (somewhat artistic). This place is first and foremost a small, cute, Jerusalem corner to sip on coffee, tear apart a pastry and watch passersby. But, no less important, is one of the café’s major selling points: it’s open on Saturdays – a rarity in the capital. Of all the places in this list, Café Bezalel is the perfect place to start your Saturday morning with a coffee, huge pastry, light breakfast or even a salad or pasta. After all, you can start your diet tomorrow.
8 Bezalel St, Jerusalem