November 2012 Revised December 2015
Luciana restaurant is situated just above the Mamila amphitheater and faces Migdal David.
What started as a light dairy cafe is now a full fledged restaurant with a full menu and great choices. At last the menu at Luciana matches its amazing decor.
The Best, Amazing Desserts
Let me start at the end. Luciana offers the worlds greatest desserts. Their conditoria - bakery in English - is on site and you will enjoy amazing desserts at Luciana that you have never seen before and are not available elsewhere. These are on display in a case at the entrance to the restaurant, suggesting that whatever else happens, your visit to Luciana is going to end well.
Luciana boasts one of the best views of the walls of the old city, in Jerusalem. Knowing this we walked to the Old City side of Mamila and walked up a big flight of steps to get up to the restaurant. It turned out not to be necessary. Through the Fox shop there is a glass elevator that takes you right up to the top floor where there are several other eLuna restaurants.
Luciana on Mamila is designed to look like an Italian Piazza, and it works. You'll feel that you are in an Italian street scene on a movie set. There are trees and a fountain inside the restaurant, all around a shiny inviting well-stocked bar. Some sections are raised and separated by wrought iron banisters. Other sections are on wood flooring and a brick path delineates the areas. There are small one-table porches that overlook the main Mamila thoroughfare.
The look is Italian but the architecture is Ottoman. The restaurant
is constructed from two heritage buildings. When we asked about it, they brought out a book with photos of the building during Ottoman times. This, you've got to see.
In addition to the history, we were impressed both with the food and the service at Luciana. The menu is varied and complete, portions are generous and both the food and service are excellent. The new menu (from November 2015) starts with a fine selection of breakfast dishes and then fixed price lunches. You can select from the many other menu items throughout the day.
We started with the brochette, two long pieces of thick toast covered with tomato and shredded Parmesan cheese. You'll get the idea after the first one, so I would advise sharing this dish with your dining partner. Red beet tortellini in a red sauce with Parmesan is one of Luciana's most popular dishes. This is a heavy pasta dish, that again, can be shared. The new menu includes some high end dishes not on the previous menu. You'll be pleased to find fresh red tuna grilled on a plancha. Don't even think of sharing this dish. You'll will want it all for yourself.
Speaking of fish, the new menu has an expanded selection of fish. Fish dishes are well made and is very nicely presented on a bed of diced root vegetables or sweet potato puree. The vegetable base of the salmon was slightly sharp and lemony, going well with fish.
The fish of the day was served on a bed of creamy sweet potato puree.
What is an Italian restaurant without its pasta and pizza? The selection of Pastas is impressive, but don't miss the section of specials with unusual ravioli dishes and tortollini, gnocchi and home made lasagna. There is also gluten free pasta.
And then the desserts. Need I say more?
Food, Decor, and Service: A Cut Above
Luciana at the Mamila Mall offers outstanding food, service, and decor at reasonable prices. A lot of little things make this restaurant special. We especially appreciated having the table cleaned between courses and a new set of silverware provided. The menu is available in English and the staff speak English. When I asked for my drink of choice - hot water without tea and without nana, I didn't get my usual strange look.
You'll enjoy a full meal here, but this restaurant works even for a shopping break, a cuppa, coffee and dessert, or a cocktail. From its popularity, we advise calling for reservations in advance. The restaurant can host parties of up to 70 guests.
NIS 79. Gnocchi 69 and NIS 72. pizza nis 64 - 72, pasta nis 64 - 79, risotto nis 72 -78, fish nis 120 - 130, salads nis 65 - 67.
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