Down town Jerusalem has gone through some major changes over the past couple of years: the light rail has completely transformed the view along Yaffo St. (why it took so long to complete the project is simply beyond me), the new Mashbir building adjacent to Zion square, new eateries & bars, ongoing renovations at the Waldorf Astoria on Agron St. to name a few.
One thing that hasn’t changed in down town Jerusalem is the lack of good-homey-full of character-non franchised cafés. Sure, Kadosh is excellent and I am also very fond of Tmol Shilshom, but walking through Jerusalem it is clear the franchises dominate this sector. A bit frustrated by the situation, I made my way to Alice, a quaint café-Restaurant - Bar situated on Shamai St.
Alice (named after one of the owner’s grandmothers) is a Café by day, and as the day progresses, slowly changes its face, offering lunch and dinner specials and a good selection of alcohol. The menu (Kosher) offers a variety of breakfast options, salads, sandwiches, pasta, stuffed potatoes, daily specials and homemade pizza as well. But Alice is much more than a place to eat or drink. The first thing that we noticed is the collection of picture and photographs adorning the walls, we later learned that Alice also serves as a informal art gallery for Jerusalemite art students and artists.
These exhibitions usually change on a monthly basis and some of the work was truly remarkable. Alice also hosts off-the-beaten-track live music shows on a weekly basis (usually Tuesdays and/or Thursdays). The bands set up their instruments in the alley between Shamai and Ben Yehuda St. and the music can be enjoyed by the diners inside, people sitting at the very cool outdoor bar and even the people walking up and down Ben Yehuda St.
While sipping on a couple of pints – sweet Cherry flavored Kasteel Rouge for the lady and Edelwiess, a German wheat based beer for me, we were getting a bit hungry and placed our orders. Ten minutes later our goat cheese pizza arrived – crispy thin, good seasoning and generous amount of goat cheese made this one of the best pizzas that I had in a while. The pasta dish was quite tasty as well but could have benefited from some additional seasoning to give the Roquefort, garlic, white wine and cream sauce an extra umph.
Overall, Alice offers a very comfortable, cozy, friendly and even artistic ambience...with goof food & music…oh and don’t forget about their mean pizzas. We’ll be back.