Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Jerusalem Restaurant Review: Canela

Address: 8 Shlomzion HaMalka St.
Tel: 02-622-2293
Business Lunch: Sun-Thurs 12:00-4:00pm, 2 courses 68NIS

Canela is a fairly new kid on the Jerusalem fine-dining block. Gone are the days when Arcadia and 1868 had to suffice for a fancy night on the town. The recent influx of the French (many of whom were restaurateurs or chefs in their previous locales) and tourism dollars pumping their goodness back into the economy means that Jerusalem can now sustain a restaurant of Canela's caliber. Sporting a crisp James Bond-like decor (LOVE the striped wallpaper - why don't more Israeli restaurants embrace wallpaper?) and impeccable food with equally matched good service, Canela provides a sexy and elegant dining experience, worth the hefty price tag.

The menu selections are not necessarily ground-breaking. The starters consists of the usual roasted eggplant with techina appetizer (making appearances on every high-end menu in town), along with sashimi and soup selections. But the lamb kebob with warm chick-pea salad (pictured above) was fulfilling on every level. The chickpeas and buckwheat provided heft and the creamy techina added just enough tang to the herb-infused keboblets. The sliced roast beef starter with garlic aioli was robust and superbly rare, a wonderful way to commence the meal.

The veal tagine main course was lavish and well-executed, arriving in a rustic metal pan and wafting sirenous aromas on its way to our table. The meat was tender, the vegetables stewed to perfection and the Moroccan-influenced sauce delectable and earthy. Another main course of goose leg confit with shallot confiture was appropriately rich and dignified, the sauce providing a nice accompaniment to the creamy mashed potatoes served with the dish.
Two glasses of house red and white (Recanati, offered at 20NIS/glass for the lunch menu) completed the decadent meal.

Canela also boasts private dining rooms in their upstairs level and on any given day one may catch a phalanx of impeccably-suited European businessman or the certain Russian-billionaire-owner of a certain Jerusalem soccer team exiting after a fitful meal at Canela.

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