December 2017 Revisited May 2018
Ready for something new? Welcome to Valero, which is anything but the same old, same old.
Where did the name Valero come from? It's all about history.
Valero is located on Agripas at the corner of Beit Yaakov St. That's how the story starts.
In the 19th Century
Jacob Valero owned the corner
lot on Jaffa Street, which at the time was in the Bet Yaakov neighborhood. A small market developed on that lot that eventually became part of the Machne Yehuda Market. The restaurant location, on the corner of Agripas Street and Beit Yaakov, commemorates the owner of the lot.
|What A Deal
20% discount + drinks 1+1
6:30pm - 8:30pm Sunday - Thursday
Take the coupon from the SPECIALS page.
You must present the coupon by 8:30pm
Valero is an upscale restaurant on Agripas Street. This area on the edge of Machane Yehuda is mostly known for street food. If it is street food you want, go somewhere else. Valero is an invested restaurant, with an elegant decor and high end food. Not inexpensive, you certainly get what you pay for. Valero has an outstanding bar, an attractive – even romantic – dining room, and a separate space for small groups of about a dozen people. Each of these areas are highly stylized with great color, Art Deco elements, and a fine design.
You might want to come here for a special occasion, perhaps a birthday or anniversary, or with good friends. .
You will find many unusual and creative ideas at Valero. Celebrity chef Aviv Moshe is the inspiration for the Valero menu. the creative kitchen likes to vary the menu according to the whims of the chef and the availability of ingredients in the Mahane Yehuda Shuk, the central wholesale market of Jewish Jerusalem. How do they present an ever changing menu? Forget the blackboard. The menu comes in a colorful cardboard folder, matching the decor of the restaurant. The items that don’t change, such as the cocktails and beverages, are printed on the folder. A slip-in page lists the current food: starters and main courses. This makes it easy for the restaurant to update the menu. But it also means that you may have a dish that you liked on one visit, but it may not be there the next time you come.
Valero greets its guests with a shot of Pastis, the house cocktail. This is a pleasant, anise-flavored drink in a chilled glass. Even my companion, who does not normally imbibe, enjoyed this treat. While we looked over the menu, we discovered a list of very tempting cocktails from the well-stocked bar, so I decided to treat myself to one. After consulting with the helpful waitress, I settled on a wonderful sweet and tart drink that they call “Hamtzutzim.” The name suggests tartness, but the ingredients include vodka, vanilla , and two kinds of candy. It came in a large glass filled with crushed ice, and that really gave me a good start to the evening. I managed to nurse the drink well into the main course. When you go to Valero, do avail yourself of the sophisticated bar.
|Hamtzutzim cocktail (sour candy strips) with vodka and candy
The Valero Bar
I must mention the alcohol menu because it is so unique. Valero offers several drinks not available anywhere else. Owner Yaron prides himself on the collection that includes several limited edition bottles. It is not easy to find a shot of whisky for 850 shekels. Macallan Reflexion is in that league but Macallan 21 is a bargain at 450 a shot. There are also everyman whiskeys and beer at 30 shekels.
|The Valero Bar and private room
Whereas I am a meat man, my companion usually selects a vegetarian starter and a fish main course. Pleased to find several vegetarian starters, my companion chose the Eggplant Heart as a first course. This is grilled eggplant with olive oil, dabs of tomato confit, parsley,, a bit of sweet red pepper and two slices of toasted baguette. This dish was tasty, and healthful too. Another non-meat starter that she considered was the Farmer’s Salad, with vegetables and nuts from the market. Given what they do with simple eggplant, I would be willing to try a salad on our next visit..
I love goose liver, so I went straight for that as a starter. This dish included a generous piece of goose liver on toasted nut bread, with date honey and crushed almonds. Alongside the meat was a popsicle of frozen rose water, which like the customary sorbet, clears the palate of strong flavors. This is a unique dish that I really enjoyed. The more I ate of it, the more I liked it. We noted that the portions were just the right size for starters.
The other meat starters that caught my eye were a mini-pita with asado and tahina, and calf filet carpaccio.
If we were impressed by the starters, we were overwhelmed by the main courses.
The main courses are presented on a heavy stone tray, with the foods arranged as the chef wants you to see them. There was a sprinkling of sea salt in the corner of each tray, which is a nice touch for the vegetables or potatoes. This is a chef who knows what he is doing – no salt or pepper was necessary.
My companion chose the whole sea bream, served with whole crispy potatoes, a small plate of salad, and a bit of grilled onion and tomato on the side. We both agreed that the fish was perfectly prepared and unusually tasty. I often wonder why restaurants are so much better with fish than we are at home. I chose the elegant hamburger of entrecote steak, topped with a slice of smoked goose breast, and served on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato and onion. The tray also had four crispy whole potatoes, a small grilled tomato and onion, sea salt, and three condiments served in miniature pots: ketchup, spicy mayonnaise, and special sauce of mustard and cherry. The mayonnaise was spicier than usually, so it went well with the potatoes, and the cherry mustard was fantastic on the meat. This was a large portion, but I slowly ate my way through the hamburger, if not the potatoes. I must say that the crispy whole potatoes were a much better idea than French Fries.
We let the restaurant chose the dessert. They brought us halvah ice cream with nuts, along side a halvah cream sprinkled with halvah shavings. This was served with a small espresso coffee, just right before we get on the road back to Gush Dan. This ended a memorable dining experience in the heart of Jerusalem.
From the Menu
From the menu: Hamtzutzim cocktail NIS 48. Starters: Eggplant heart NIS 48. Goose liver NIS 96. Denise whole fish NIS 129. Rib eye burger with smoked Goose NIS 82.