As a foodie, I try to seek out the best places to eat when I am traveling. So, when I had one night in Jerusalem, the quest was on. Through research and word-of-mouth, the restaurant that was the “must go-to” was Machneyuda.
When we arrived in Jerusalem and checked into the hotel, I asked the front desk to check on a reservation that I had tried to make online before we left. Although the restaurant is five years old, they were quick to tell me that if I didn’t have a reservation, I wasn’t going to get one. But, I asked them to call anyway and we were able to get a table for two (after all, it was a Tuesday night).
Machneyuda is just outside the Machane Yehuda market. We arrived to the restaurant that was already bustling. The restaurant has a Mediterranean charm with wooden crates filled with colorful fruits and vegetables and wine bottles, Italian tomato cans, olive oil and other ingredients line the walls. Most of the tables were full, music was playing and the restaurant was full of energy. We were taken upstairs to the second floor where we had two counter seats along the railing overlooking the restaurant.
With an open kitchen below, we were watching the chefs sing and dance while they were cooking. When we noticed that there were a couple open seats at the counter at the kitchen, we quickly asked our server if we could move downstairs. As long as we were willing to do a “chef’s menu”, the seats were ours. I didn’t need any more convincing than that!
Machneyuda is owned by three chefs – Yossi Elad, Asaf Granit and Uri Navon. On the night that we went, Uri Navon was the only one there as they now own four other restaurants in Jerusalem and one in London. Uri is full of life, as was the rest of his kitchen. As the cooks prepared and plated the dishes, they danced and sang to the loud music playing overhead. The energy and dynamics are infectious.
In fact, when I asked if they would take a photo of my friend and me, they proceeded to take selfies.
The menu, which changes daily, is made with fresh ingredients from the local Machane Yehuda market.
While you can see the kitchen from almost every seat in the restaurant, it is a special treat to sit at the chef’s counter. From the fun atmosphere to the fresh, delicious food, you won’t want your night at Machneyuda to end.