Italy meets Jerusalem in a downtown restaurant

I had heard that Palomino Italian Lounge, which is located on King George Street in central Jerusalem, serves delicious dishes and fresh cocktails, but it exceeded my expectations. In fact, I could hear myself saying “Wow!” after each course. And if you don’t believe me, try it for yourself!

My partner and I were greeted at the door and sat at a comfortable table near the attractive bar, behind which is a neon sign that reads, “Put down the gun, take the cannoli.” It was good advice. As you enter Palomino, remember that line of The Godfather – Leave your troubles outside and leave plenty of room inside for dessert!

From our table, we could see the kitchen, and what was clear from the start was that the chefs, led by Shlomi Ben-Shalom, who brought the menu, know a thing or two about Italian food. Actually, what Palomino does is offer a fantastic fusion of Italian and Jerusalem flavors.

It is an exclusive Mediterranean tapas bar and restaurant recently opened by four friends from Jerusalem: the brothers Alon and Kobi Ravia (whose grandfather Yaakov Ravia worked in The Jerusalem Post in his early years), Meir Chen and Tamir Obergot.

While the restaurant has over 60 varieties of wine, we liked the look of the Flamingo cocktail (Beefeater Gin and Aperol with Lychee, Ginger and Cucumber, 48 NIS), and we were not disappointed!

THE FOOD is a fantastic fusion of flavors from Jerusalem and southern Italy. (credit: David Moyal)

They served us some of the restaurant specialties chosen by the maitre d ‘, and it was getting better and better. My favorite was the Camembert Brûlée: the cheese is glazed like crème brûlée and served on a bed of leafy greens and walnuts with a spectacular sauce, for 42 NIS.

But you should also try the Burrata Condimenti, which is mozzarella stuffed with fresh cream (yes, it is rich but refreshing) served with fresh tomatoes, crostini, and an excellent sauce.

As you go from “Freddo” to “Crudo”, “Caldo e Fritti”, “Pasta e Risotto” and “Pizzaiulo”, there are two dishes you really must order: Casa Bia Tortellini (fresh pasta flowers stuffed with artichoke cream of Jerusalem in a spectacular sauce consisting of olive oil and white wine, red onions, olives and spinach with Parmesan slices for NIS 62) and the saffron souffle (Zafran) (risotto balls fried on a bed of tomato sauce spicy and parmesan per NIS 52). A double wow!

If you like fish, you can try the Raw Seafood in a lemon (lemon and mint) and chili sauce (NIS 52) and the Tuna Tataki: slices of lightly seared red tuna with lemon and tomato sauce and sheep’s yogurt with Parmesan (NIS 58). But we really enjoyed the Al Cartoccio sea bass, where the fish is baked on parchment paper along with potatoes and a variety of vegetables (83 NIS).

We also tried one of the restaurant’s Sicilian-style smoked pizzas with fresh tomatoes, smoked mozzarella, sweet potato, beetroot, honey and parsley (48 NIS), and they also serve a delicious focaccia with pesto, tomato paste in za’atar oil and balsamic vinegar with hot peppers and garlic cloves (29 NIS).

We left enough space for two classic Italian desserts: panna cotta and cannoli. I highly recommend that you do the same! And we finished a perfect meal with Kahlúa Espresso Martini.

Palomino also offers outdoor catering, as well as pay for parking in nearby lots.

AFTER TRAVELING to Italy on numerous occasions, the four young partners decided to follow their common dream and open Palomino.

“We always liked Italian cuisine,” says Alon Ravia. “We research, study and test at every opportunity.

“Then, two years ago, we agreed to take this love one step further and embarked on a crazy culinary road trip, the four of us, in a car, through towns and cities in picturesque southern Italy.

“When we were there, we were able to not only taste, but also meet the people behind the flavors, and we understood that the connection between Italy and Jerusalem is natural. The unsophisticated simplicity, the use of the here and now, and the need for love and closeness through food. That’s us!

“The four childhood friends left with a dream in a suitcase and came back with a real plan for the opening of Palomino.”

When asked how they came up with the name, Alon says, “It’s kind of a horse. But we liked how it sounded. It comes off your tongue. “

My taste buds are still fluttering at the thought of Palomino’s cooking. We can’t distribute Michelin stars, but we can give you five surprises! While we also can’t offer you a trip to Italy to enjoy authentic Italian food, this is the best you can get, and the icing on the cake is that you are in the heart of Jerusalem!


Kashrut by Tzohar

41 King George Avenue, Jerusalem

Open from 5 pm to midnight, Friday from 9 am to 3 pm Saturday open one hour after Shabbat until midnight.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

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