What better name for a family restaurant than Hamishpacha? Owners Itzik and Rachel make all their customers feel like family. Once you get hooked on their clean friendly simple fare, you will be back again and again.
Hamishpacha has been around in different Jerusalem locations for about 15 years. Upwardly mobile, each location has been progressively more prestigious.
Hamishpacha started on Shmuel Hanagid St. and quickly moved up to a beautiful building and courtyard on Maalot Street. They then moved to the passage between Hillel and Shammai Streets. Their current resting place is in the very beautiful and atmospheric Nachalat Shiva?Restaurant Row?and in this incarnation the restaurant is Mehadrin.
Itzik and Rachel are the quintessential Israeli melting pot. While both are sabras, Itzik is of Ashkenazi background and Rachel is a Sepharadiya. The result is a fusion of wonderful cooking of both types with no compromises. Where else, tell me, can you find great couscous AND gefilte fish on the same menu?
This is not the place to take a blind date or to propose marriage! While the food is good, the atmosphere is not conducive to intimacy (How about some candles on the table at night?). You are also likely to bump into everyone you know in Jerusalem, an occupational hazard for Anglos in the capitol.
This is a great place for a family outing, business lunches and when you want something fast and simple.
All the food is pre-cooked (except for the grill) and each order is nuked separately. Beep-Beep-go the microwaves. Great for people in a hurry. All the food is displayed in an open case, so you know what you are getting.
I am not a fan of this manner of serving and presentation, but, hey, it has worked for them for 15 years.
Tuesday and Friday are couscous days. I have eaten couscous in many places, including Paris, and this one is the best. Garnished with caramelized walnuts and raisins, this common dish is elevated to a delicacy!
Almost every day there are 4-5 different fish dishes. That's not bad for a meat restaurant. There is always Moroccan chreimei, Gefilte fish, Salmon baked in herbs and fish balls.
Along with regular Israeli grilled meats, there are stuffed vegetables and an amazing chicken stuffed with sweet rice.
Chicken soup, (sometimes with kneidel) is always on the menu, as is Kubeh soup.
The service is a bit amateurish though efficient. There is also self-service and take-away.
Rachel also does catering. Just as an example, she just catered a full seder for 50 shekels a person (I know where I am going next year!) They also offer great take-away for Shabbat.
Business lunches are 30-35 shekels and are also available at night! Ala Carte would run up to maybe 50 shekels if you tasted all the goodies. Did I mention the latkes and southern fried chicken tidbits?
The Bottom Line
Hamishpacha is a very Yerushalmi fusion-type restaurant and is one of the better kept secrets in Jerusalem for cheap ethnic food.
I am happy to introduce the Anglo community to what other Jerusalemites already know.
Hamishpacha has recently gone Mehadrin without sacrificing quality or compromising their reasonable prices.
By the way, the restaurant has Immaculate bathrooms?good place to know about downtown?and maybe you will have a little snack, too.