Before you ask, let me just say that the unpronounceable name of this restaurant comes from a city in Morocco. Once you get passed the name you will be charmed by the slightly off-beat welcoming atmosphere of this restaurant.
The two enthusiastic owners, Or and Kobi, have put together a delightful eatery that is from the heart. The restaurant has good vibes, friendly staff, great music. We loved it.
Chefchaouen is known as the Blue City, for the blue paint that dominates the ancient buildings in its old city. Chefchaouen Restaurant captures some of that vibe with lots of blue, hamsas, pillows, whicker furniture and some lay-back low couches.
Chefchaouen Restaurant is right in the middle of Hillel Street. You can't miss it. There are three sections to this restaurant:
a charming section a few steps off the street, alongside the shops on Hillel St. This is where chef Kobi does his magic. There are some tables that enjoy the warmth and the aromas from the kitchen.
In nice weather you may prefer to sit in the outside space and enjoy the Jerusalem air (shown above).
The third section is a glass enclosure on the wide part of the sidewalk. The enclosed area is wheelchair friendly, and provides additional enclosed winter-friendly seating. This would also be the place to dine with a group, and the place to host parties and events.
Chefchaouen calls itself a modern street food restaurant offering well known dishes with their own special twist. The menu is a simple one-page listing that includes the dinner menu and the business meals. The menu is available in both English and Hebrew. Take your pick.
At first glance i see a lot of trendy foods. Meat lovers will appreciate the Nebraska Steak, which is actually imported from Nebraska, and is all the rage at the best restaurants. Beyond Meat is offered in only select restaurants, and this too is on the menu. You can have the Chefchaouen burger with veal meat or with Beyond meat. The menu continues with a good number of traditional Moroccan dishes and some dishes from other ethnic cultures.
I asked Chef Kobi which are his favorites. Veal Sausage with Red curry came up first. This is 200 grams of veal sausage served with grilled marinated cabbage and green onions, aioli, smoked paprika, mustard aioli, truffles and a poached egg.
First runner up was the Souvlaki dish. We are not new to the restaurant world so we know that Souvlaki is a Greek dish. Kobi was quick to remind us that the authentic Greek Souvlaki is made with both meat and yogurt. At Cefchaouen they have substituted techina for yogurt.
Chefchaouen Souvlaki is indeed a meaty dish with veal, lamb and chicken served with grilled vegetables green tahini, amba, chifka pepper and lemon paste.
Amid all the meat dishes are a fair number of vegetarian dishes and dishes that can be prepared vegetarian or vegan. Top of the list is the 200 gr vegetarian burger made with Beyond Meat. This is served in a black bun with lettuce and tomato, pickles, onions, with aioli cognac and aioli chipotle beer sauce. All of this is served with smoked potatoes. This burger can also be had with real veal meat.
Dishes that can be ordered vegetarian or vegan are marked on the menu. Vegan shawarma appears proudly in the menu. These are pieces of seitan fried in curry and sunac and cooked according to the confit method.
If you are walking on Hillel, and you are not up for a full meal, be sure to stop at Cefchaouen for a cuppa soup. We could not help but take a picture of this beautiful display of two pots of hot soup starting at 18 shekels a cup. Who could pass that up?
Chefchaouen is hopping. The restaurant offers a buffet of take away foods so that you can serve these wonderful dishes at your shabbat table. Every other week there is live entertainment. This is certainly the place to be.
From the menu: Veal Sausage with Red curry NIS 62. Souvlaki NIS 64. Vegan Shawarma NIS 46. Moroccan Fish NIS 67 Garden salad NIS 39. Desserts NIS 24.