Lush, living facade of Eucalyptus Restaurant. Photo by Christina Garofalo, courtesy Creative Commons

Offering a fascinating opportunity to sample truly ancient-style Israeli cuisine, Jerusalem’s Eucalyptus restaurant is housed in a nineteenth-century stone building near the Old City walls. Devised by chef-owner Moshe Basson, the menu here is inspired by the agriculture and foods mentioned in the Bible, and includes only meats and produce from the region. From the “King Solomon couscous” to an extraordinary “mallow cooked with wild spices, reminiscent of the siege” (that is, the siege of Jerusalem, when the starving city residents subsisted on this wild edible), and the “Jacob and Esau special” (red lentil stew), the food at Eucalyptus reminds us of the extraordinary histories that surround us in this city.

A fascinating opportunity to sample truly ancient-style Israeli cuisine.

As celebrated Israeli chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi put it, Jerusalem is “a city with four thousand years of history, that has changed hands endlessly, and that now stands as the center of three massive faiths, and is occupied by residents of such utter diversity it puts the old tower of Babylon to shame.” A city with that kind of jumbled history and demographics—and there is only one—will naturally be a place of inspiring foods.

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