Revised July 06
Tucked away in a quiet corner of the lobby, on the entrance level of the Jerusalem Inbal Hotel, sits a little pocket of elegance called Sofia. As befits the posh hotel that hosts it, this gourmet dairy restaurant is high class all the way.
Sofia restaurant achieves a level of elegance that only a 5-star hotel can allow itself. No expense is spared for creating a luxurious feeling. Yet, the restaurant is casual, so that folks can feel relaxed and laid back after a long day in Jerusalem. Hotels are not just for tourists. For city residents these spiffy refuges are a reliable escape from the banality of everyday life.
The Sofia menu, as well as the food at the entire hotel, is under the tutelage of Chef Itzak Barak, formerly of Herod's in Eilat. We have enjoyed his meat menu at the Grill on the Terrace. Now let's see what he can do for dairy!
The menu has the requisite hard-to-pronounce but easier-to-read Italian staples. We were grateful that the menu specified that many of the anti pasta dishes (38-45 shekels) were suitable for sharing, and share we did. My partner chose the Trio Fungi Broskata. That's an easy one—three kinds of mushrooms on a toasted brown bread. I chose another bread appetizer, the Crostini Special because it came with fresh baby leeks and asparagus and goat cheese. The fromage was tasty and savory. I must admit that I missed the fact that the leeks were only "babies". The asparagus were luscious even though they were beheaded for kashruth reasons.
The sour dough bread was crusty and earthy. The bread deserves special mention. It is made on site and takes a full 48-hours to prepare. This is certainly a highlight of the dinner. It came with three spreads, avocado, eggplant and roasted peppers, which were all good on their own. I enjoy the opportunity in a dairy restaurant, to have butter with my bread, and it was promptly brought to the table.
Keeping with the Italian theme, the restaurant offers home-made pastas (52-59 shekels). We decided to go for the fish. We ordered Sea Bass and Lebrak which are filleted for the bone-challenged. The sea bass was served in a grilled pepper sauce and the lebrak was served on a bed of rosti, which is a fancy word for a latke. The sea bass came with leek slices, sweet potatoes and the headless asparagus again. The service and presentation was elegant - befitting of a 5-star hotel.
The desserts are all our Italian favorites, Cassata, Tiramisu and a very sinful chocolate souffle. We dallied over our coffee and tea, "buying" more time in this picture-perfect setting.
There is ample parking on the street and plenty of underground parking in the hotel for guests.
It should be noted that we arrived at an unfashionably early hour, but it was timed perfectly with the sunset.
Sofia offers two business meals that are excellent values for lunch and dinner. The eLuna discount coupon
is honored for both of these specials.
* The business lunch at NIS 79 per person. Hours are 12:30-5:30.
* The evening chef special for nis 89 per person including a soft drink.
Hours 5:30pm - 10:30pm.