I am an unabashed fan of the dairy restaurant. To me, the dairy restaurant has the perfect menu for any time of day – consisting of breakfast, pastas, sandwiches, salads, baked potatoes, quiches and soup – all with enough variation to not have to repeat the same item for weeks. And if I could, I would spend all my time rotating between Caffit, Café Kadosh & Kalo.
Caffit - Caffit is a crowd pleaser for the entire family. Maybe it’s because you can sit there for hours and drink coffee and eat delicious food and enjoy the free Internet without anyone giving you a dirty stare. Maybe it’s because in the morning at breakfast – they serve your coffee with a little tiny brownie or at lunch time they bring by a little amuse bouche (usually a small portion of something off of their appetizer menu) to whet the palate or maybe it’s the complimentary glass of slushy lemonana (lemonade ground with mint and ice) that they serve in the afternoon. Or maybe it’s because the food is fresh, flavorful, and plentiful that Caffit became a regular stop on our eating circuit. It was so popular that my kids, in a major blow to my ego, they claimed that their French Toast was better than mine! If you only go to Caffit once, make sure to order one of their signature salads. And be forewarned – the salads are huge. Actually large enough to easily split between two people who are not that hungry or to combine with another dish if you’re either really hungry or just want to sample other menu items. All of the signature salads feature a combination of vegetables and nuts sautéed in soy sauce. While it sounds a little weird at first, their combos are addictive. The “Oregannato” features sautéed zucchini, nuts, Bulgarian cheese and herbs and is a classic, as is the sweet potato salad, which features more of those sautéed vegetables topped by mounds of crispy sweet potato strings piled on top of the salad. One of my personal favorites is the Halloumi salad, featuring crispy pieces of Halloumi cheese, nuts and herbs. You also can’t go wrong with their Sweet Potato soup, featuring a cream and chili-based broth enrobing chunks of sweet potato, or with a salmon burger with Thai spices and spicy mayo. One other tip – Caffit has two locations in Jerusalem – one on Emek Refaim in the German Colony and the other inside the The Botanical Gardens, which is a beautiful location and a lovely place to sit and eat or simply enjoy a late afternoon latte while looking out over the duck pond.
Kalo – Kalo is on Derech Beit Lechem in Baka. Kalo also has a vast menu with dishes that are fresh and abundant. I am a fan of the Israeli breakfast at Kalo, featuring two eggs prepared to your liking, an assortment of spreads and cheeses, a hot and cold drink, and for an extra 10 shekels, you can add some lovely smoked salmon to your plate. But what I really like about Kalo is that it is a great place for people watching and running into friends and neighbors. Steve and I would opt for one of the sidewalk tables where we would invariably run into people we knew - either those in town visiting or those living in the neighborhood shopping at the fresh fruit stands or the fabulous bakery/cheese shop Beit Lechem. You could also do an abundance of errands while enjoying the food and company. Need to make a quick haircut appointment? No problem run across the street to Dave’s while waiting for your meal. Need to send some emails? Take advantage of the free Internet. And of course, don’t forget the food – whether it was a delicious pasta with cream and mushrooms or a sandwich featuring halloumi, pesto, sundried tomatoes and micro-greens, I usually didn’t need to eat another meal that day.
Café Kadosh – Café Kadosh is where I spent the least amount of time, due to the fact that I only went there only towards the end of my time in Israel. But walking into Café Kadosh is like walking into a small Paris brasserie in the middle of Jerusalem. Delicious coffee and pastries – including my personal favorite, the brioche. If you go with a friend or relative, I would highly recommend ordering the expanded Israeli breakfast for two, which in addition to the traditional spreads that are served with breakfast (gvinah levana, tuna, pesto, jelly and assorted others), they also served delicious sautéed mushrooms dressed with pesto and a grilled eggplant over labneh cheese with olive oil and herbs. That dish was worth going to Kadosh by itself. Small tables are the norm at Café Kadosh and there was so much food that came with the breakfast that we were forced to use a chair to hold our extra food.
Why, oh why can’t we figure out how to have places likes these in America? I’m pining already.