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13 Shammai St., Jerusalem
Kashrut: Rabbanut Yerushalayim

Open: Sunday - Thursday 11:30am - 4:00pm; Dinner: 6:30pm - Midnight.
Fridays, up to one hour before Shabbat
Saturday Nights, one hour after Shabbat (winter only). Closed Shabbat

This write up was submitted by Arnie Draiman (
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revised August 2014
Kohinoor Downtown is a wonderful dining experience. Set apart from the original Kohinoor which was in the Crown Plaza Hotel, Kohinoor Downtown is Dairy Indian dining at its best.

Seating and Atmosphere

Shamai is parallel to and in-between Hillel and Ben Yehuda downtown. There is a pay parking lot on Shamai across the street from the restaurant.

This is a small and cozy restaurant. The decor is simple and pleasant, with touches of Indian design, like framed mirrors and a divider that suggests Indian decor. The simple decor does not distract you from the main reason for going to this restaurant, which is the food! I believe that Kohinoor is the only kosher dairy Indian restaurant in Israel. This is a distinction that is handled respectfully at the restaurant.

About The Kohinoor Menu

My dining companion and I enjoyed a wide variety of items from the main menu. Before I describe them, know that there are two special deals. The first is the 50NIS appetizer taster plate. Instead of having to choose between the samosas, papads, and pakodas, you can have them all!

Kohinoor The second special deal worth considering is the 50NIS full meal business lunch. It is from a set menu with several choices including appetizers, main courses, side dishes and desserts.

Indian food in general, and Kohinoor Downtown in particular, is an experience of flavor for your taste buds. Subtle flavors are layered on sharper, more prominent ones, creating a great sensation in your mouth.

We started with the Batata Vada (spiced mashed vegies in a chickpea batter) and the Makai Palak Pakoda (fritters of spinach leaf and corn). Both of these were excellent (I am going to run out of synonyms for 'excellent' - just warning you). Full of flavor, the preparation of the dishes was well thought out. Enjoyable presentation, and abundant. They were accompanied by a very nice tangy red sauce, as well as the traditional mango chutney and the tamarind sauces.

Kohinoor Downtown prides itself on its food being fresh, and cooked to order. The chefs (there are two) and the staff take pride in their work, and it shows. The service was attentive and prompt without hovering.

KohinoorFor our main course, we choose the Shahi Paneer (home-made Indian cheese cooked in a cashew nut gravy) and the Mushroom Zacuti (mushrooms and Goan zacuti masala - using coconut and an incredible mixture of spices). In addition, we ordered the Garlic Naan - Indian bread which is light and crispy, and delicious.

If you want to know what your kids ate as they trekked through India, try the Malai Kofta. This is a thick vegetable soup dish with a vegetable crouton, This is a little piece of nostalgia for the trekkers who still pine for Indian cuisine.

They brought food warmers to the table to keep the dishes hot - a very nice touch. The dishes arrived and we were immediately captured by their intoxicating smells. Each dish was well prepared, and again, the layering of flavors was amazing.

The mushroom dish was both spicy and well-spiced. The cheese dish had a deliciously exotic taste to it. And the naan came in handy to help sop up the sauces of each one. The food is quite filling and you need not fear being hungry later. By the way, folks who like their spices toned down can bland out the flavors with yogurt.

A visit to Kohinoor Downtown is a cultural experience and an educational one. I couldn't help notice that Sharon (the manager) talked with the patrons, explaining Indian cooking in Israel, and more.

For dessert, we had the Gulab Jamun (reduced milk balls served in a rose flavored syrup with a hint of cardamon), and a taste of the Pistachio Kulfi. The Gulab Jamun was out of this world and I highly recommend it. The Kulfi is a frozen Indian dessert, made from heavy cream with added natural flavors. It is much less sweet than ice cream and clearly delicately homemade.


We left feeling that the Indian Food Philharmonic had just conducted a full symphony in our mouths, and we wanted an encore.

The restaurant seats about 50 people - and Sharon explained that they can host private functions anytime of day or night. They offer take away, and delivery will begin soon. Oh, and one more note: the bathrooms were very clean and orderly.

Appetizers: nis 25, soup: nis 25, salads, nis 25. bean dishes NIS 40 + . veggie dishes (tivoni) nis 50. Paneer: NIS 60 - 70.

Click here for a 10% discount coupon on your next order at Kohinoor Restaurant. Print out this coupon and present it at the restaurant.