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Café Paradiso
Café Paradiso Inbal Gerzon
We got here during lunch time, when rays of sunshine were sent inside the restaurant, creating a nice calm atmosphere, probably in contrast to whatever was going on in the kitchen, judging by how we got our dishes in time
Many restaurants tend to stick to one genre, which forces them to give up on culinary innovation that does not abide the rules. Still, some keep to their uniqueness by not caving in to any defined genre, try to swim against it and the result is a great deal of echo. Arik Bloom, professional cooking amateur and one of Paradiso's owners, proves this. This café is the result of a mother and son cooperation, combined with a great passion for dynamic cooking: Bloom changes the restaurant's menu every week according to available produce.

The family cooperative that exists for nearly 20 years started out in Rehavia neighborhood and shortly after moved to its current location in city center's Keren HaYesod Street. We got here during lunch time, when rays of sunshine were sent inside the restaurant, creating a nice calm atmosphere, probably in contrast to whatever was going on in the kitchen, judging by how we got our dishes in time.

Homemade Challa bread with mustard was pulled out of the oven, together with appetizers and midcourse: chopped Arabic vegetable salad and ribollita that originates in Napoli, in which I enjoyed dipping my Challa: tomato soup with plenty of vegetables that introduced me for the first time with the Kale leaves that Arik had imported. Dushbara are authentic Bokharan pockets filled with sweet-sour lamb meat, sautéed with small onions and cranberries. Black risotto and parmesan cheese was served without the black ink, not before we were properly informed about this by the waiter: when one of the ingredients runs out in the kitchen, the dish is immediately changed. In fact Bloom restructures the dishes daily. This means you have to trust the chef to do excellent work no matter what, and he does.

After a short break, a great portion of Cordon Bleu was served, revealing Emmental cheese and a slice of smoked goose breast, on a bed of baked potato gratin with crispy bread crumbs. Together with these, some lamb mini-kebabs were put on a bed of crusted mashed potatoes with Jerusalem artichoke that was cooked with sour yogurt. Then there was one final expectation - dessert. Out of a variety made on the premises, such as homemade ice cream, we decided to try the rich chocolate tart: crispy dough with buttery chocolate, this is a dessert made for chocolate addicts like me.

Arik Bloom's loyal customers also enjoy the young adjacent pizza place he opened – P2. He makes sure most of the produce he uses is local and promises fare prices, especially between 12:00-17:00, then you can enjoy a 20% discount on the menu. Unlike many restaurants in Jerusalem, Paradiso is open on the weekends, celebrating Friday nights with hot baked Challa bread served to dinners on white tables.

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