Culinary Delights of Jerusalem Machane Yehuda Market
Machane Yehuda is Jerusalem’s primary market, particularly for food. Not only is fresh produce sold at the market but there are also several market eateries which have become iconic and considered some of the best restaurants in the city. There is so much to see in Jerusalem that few tourists ever manage to fit in a visit to Machane Yehuda but if you are a foodie (or just hungry) make a point of visiting this outstanding market. When you visit Machane Yehuda you get true insight into the day-to-day life of the local community. This is where many Jerusalemites do their weekly shop-up.
Machane Yehuda is spread out over several lanes; it was established in 1928 for locals to buy their food goods. Today the market sells everything from household items and clothing to books, pet accessories and ceramic ornaments. The market food stalls include spice stalls where large sacks contain different colored herbs or the herbs and spices piled high on tables. You can also find freshly ground coffee; sweets and candy; fresh fish sold by fish mongers; halva; alcohol; nuts and dried legumes; baked goods; fruit; vegetables; pickles; pastries; artisan cheeses and butchers selling fresh meat.
Machane Yehuda Eateries
Uzi-Eli the Market Witchdoctor is one of the most popular stands in the market. Uzi-Eli has a reputation for concocting natural juices from a number of unusual combinations each specifically to treat a physical or mental ailment. He will mix you up a fruit drink which will help your diabetes or one which will help you handle stress. Try one of the drinks with Hilbe (fenugreek) or gat juice.
Khachapuri is a small eatery down HaEshkol Street which serves up traditional Georgian dishes. There are a few tables outside so you can do some people watching while you enjoy your food. If it is your first time trying Georgian food get an acharuli, a baked pastry with optional fillings like the classic salty cheese and egg.
Mimi’s Bistro is also on HaEshkol Street; here you can find French-style cheese toast, croquet-Madame (fried egg grilled sandwich) crepes, pasta, soup or Belgian waffles. Everything is freshly made and Mimi even hosts French cooking workshops.
Mousseline Jerusalem is the markets boutique ice-cream store where you can get unique flavors most of which are based on fresh fruit juices, herbs and spices. For example you could have a scoop of grapefruit, basil and sour cherry sorbet. The store also sells their own blend of coffee made from Ethiopian and Brazilian coffee beans.
Ethiopian Ethnic Center on HaEshkol Street sells Ethiopian products including the spices used in Ethiopian food, Ethiopian beer and more. If you’re in the market on a Friday you can try some of the traditional injera, Ethiopian flatbread.
Ochlim B’Shuk is an eatery on Hatapuach Street which specializes in Persian cuisine. They cook the food using authentic methods on old kerosene stoves. The eatery has been open since 2003.
HaAgas 1 on Eliyahu Banai Street is a vegetarian restaurant which dishes up wholesome healthy vegetarian food. The restaurant is named after a line in a famous Israeli song written by Ehud Banai who’s family used to live above their vegetable store which is now the restaurant.
Café Mizrachi on HaShazif Street opened in order to draw clients to the market. That was many years ago and today the café is one of the iconic coffee places in the market and a household name in Jerusalem.
Fish n’ Chips on HaEgoz Street is the place to go if you’re home sick for chips with vinegar! OK so it’s not quite like British fish and chips but it comes close.
Que-Pasa on HaEgoz Street serves up Spanish and Mediterranean style tapas as well as Spanish beer. The market has cuisine from around the world and this is a perfect example of international cuisine in the heart of the market.
Pasta Basta on HaEgoz Street is a play on the Hebrew word for “stall” which is “basta”. This eatery uses the finest raw ingredients from the market plus some super imported Italian products. The pasta is made freshly at the restaurant each morning and customers who arrive early are treated to seeing the pasta-makers at work.
Foodie Fun at the MarketIn addition to wandering through the market and sampling the various foods you could take it one step further and take a bakery tour, wine and cheese tour, shuk cooking workshops or a chef-guided tasting tour.
Not far from the market (just one street away) is a chef restaurant, one of the best in the country. It is called Machnayuda – a mix of the two words Machane and Yehuda. The highly regarded restaurant is run by three renowned chefs; one of them is Assaf Granite a judge on one of the Israeli reality cooking shows. The restaurant serves delicious dishes using extremely fresh ingredients and often basing recipes on traditional local dishes with an elegant modern twist. For example you can order fettuccine with apricot butter, white wine, cherries and sundried tomatoes followed by a banufi pie (Indian cheese cake) with banana and coconut.
Jacko’s Street is another chef restaurant just one street from the heart of the market. It is a kosher restaurant run by four well known chefs. The restaurant produces salads, grilled meats, Carpaccio, cerviche and more. All diners are treated to a free shot of Arak as they wait for their meal.
You can reach Machane Yehuda by walking up Agrippas Street from the city center or catch the Jerusalem Light Rail which stops right by the market entrance. The market stretches from Agrippas Street to Jaffa Road.
Open Hours: The market is open daily except for Saturdays. Sunday to Thursday 8am-7pm and Fridays 8am-3pm. Several of the cafes and restaurants remain open on Saturdays.