Tour Guide Israel – Chatsot Steakhouse – a Jerusalem establishment
This Jerusalem food landmark, Chatzot (midnight) Steakhouse serves up Jerusalem’s favorite meat dishes until the late night. On Agrippas Street past the market you’ll be able to smell the aroma of fried onions, sizzling oil and spiced meat.
In the 1970’s and even earlier, Jerusalem was a very sleepy little city that “closed down” an hour or so after dark. The restaurant opened in 1970 as a street-side grill with a couple of chairs and benches on the sidewalk and you were served the Jerusalem Mixed Grill in a pita with a giant pickle on top. The place catered to all the people that were up late and was usually filled with soldiers (like me) foraging for something tasty to fill their stomachs late at night.
The establishment moved two shops up the road and is now a great restaurant with the authentic Jerusalem atmosphere. It is clean and the service is excellent.
All meals begin with a table full of salads and starters that are included in the price of the entree. The menu offers many meat items which are cooked on Chatzot’s huge metal cooking surface.
The kitchen is open to the restaurant and also to the street and you can still have a take-away pita with your favorite grilled meat.
The portions are very large and you would not be making a mistake by sharing the entree with your dinner companion.
Jerusalem Mixed Grill (Me’orav Yerushalmi) is a grilled meat dish considered a specialty of Jerusalem. It consists of chicken hearts, kidneys and liver mixed with bits of lamb cooked on a flat grill, seasoned with onion, garlic, black pepper, cumin, turmeric and coriander. The dish is said to have been invented at the Mahane Yehuda Market, with various steakhouses (across the street – where else?) claiming to be the originators. If you don’t like to eat the interior parts of the chicken you can always order the me’orav with just chicken and their oh-so-secret recipe of spices. Don’t forget to top the meat with some “Amba” (a mango chutney sauce).
Other cities and restaurants offer this popular dish but none of them even come close to the original taste.
This is one of the many famous “simple” eateries in Jerusalem – a very pleasant experience. It’s not Cordon Bleu and you won’t find any of the snobbish people here. There are good chances that you will find yourself sitting next to some of the Israeli politicians or artists who stop here at the end of their long days.
In the past even Arik (Prime Minister and General Ariel Sharon) – known for his passion for food – used to drop by ever so often.