Jerusalem: A Wonderful Food Trip with a Bonus
Updated: Apr 22, 2020
Since this isn’t just a food blog, I’ve added to the food trip, a bonus, i.e. an additional location with music and culture to end the day to your complete satisfaction.
This post is the result of two major events that brought me back to Jerusalem. The first, was a commemoration event held by the U. Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art on Nov 29th related to the United Nation’s vote 70 years ago on the Partition Plan that led to establishment of the State of Israel. The second, was an opportunity to try a new food app called ‘BiteMojo’ for free in return for an honest post.
The tour that I chose ends right next to the U. Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art so if you look at the opening hours, you may be able to end the food tour and still enter this museum. In between, the last stop of the music tour and on the way to the U. Nahon museum there is a beautiful piazza (in Hebrew ‘Kikar’) where you can sit, rest, have a drink and perhaps see a live concert because it has a stage. You should check in advance. The music square ‘Kikar Hamusica’ is near a music museum with a gorgeous gift shop that are actually nearer to the last stop of the food tour by a few meters, so although I didn’t visit them this time, I’m mentioning them. You might want to leave both museums for the following morning, but ‘Kikar Hamusica’ is a great place to end the day.
Trip Itinerary Options:
Bitemojo Food App Tour
U. Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art
Art and Music Gallery and Gift Shop
Hebrew Music Museum
Before we begin, I'd like to whet your apptite by showing you one of the food photos to keep you going:
Bitemojo is an app that you can download to your mobile phone and use to purchase food tours that you can take on your own, without a guide, at your leisure. The food tours include both food stops and cultural stops that are basically buildings marked on the map for which the app provides a short summary on the history of the building.
Currently, there are food tours available both in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem near the fresh food markets. I chose one of seven tours available in Jerusalem near the ‘Mahane Yehuda Market’ for my debut experience because it fit in my overall scheme of things.
The choice was made easy because each tour is presented with a full description of the food stops, their location, opening hours, if the eateries are kosher or not and the dishes that will be tasted. Per the disclaimer, there are no guaranteed substitutions for those with allergies. However, from experience you can upgrade to ‘gluten-free’ on site in some of the locations. I tasted 4/6 bites and my silent companions tasted the rest. Once purchased, there is an interactive map that opens for navigation showing the whole tour route, highlighting both the food stops and the cultural stops along the way.
I chose one called “The Creative Class Food Tour” that included 6 kosher food bites and 8 cultural stops and costs 110 New Israeli Shekels (NIS) or ~$30, which is the median fee. There is one more expensive tour and two less expensive tours.
Due to time constraints, I ended up going twice in order to complete the tour, which added up to a whole 8-hour day allowing for photography for your sakes and entering shops of interest on the way, as to be expected. There is no problem stopping midway and continuing at a later date because access is valid for up to 6 months. In addition, there is an option to convert unused bites to bite-credits for another tour in case a certain bite is less to your taste, but you still want to take the tour.
The food bites in my tour included the following:
A Sandwich with a Root Salad, which I upgraded to gluten free
Cheese Platter, Brosquetas and Olives (gluten-free minus the brosquetas)
A Healthy Juice (gluten-free)
Trio Dim Sums of Your Choice with Steamed Vegetables (lucky companion)
Soup with Bread and a Dip (all gluten free) OR Beet and Cheese Gnocchi
Half a Belgian Waffle with Choice of Topping (lucky companion).
I am not listing the locations because that would be giving away the tour. However, I’m inserting photos of the food and atmospheric photos, not necessarily of the cultural trip sites, for your overall impression.
Here's the second food photo:
What did I think about it?
The App – Ease of Use
The app is self-explanatory. The tutorial is short and to the point and is altogether easy to use. Navigation is also not an issue. The route is highlighted on a map and you can get some more interactive assistance by connecting to google maps via the app.
Because I went twice, on Friday and Tuesday, I can compare the experience. On Friday, the market is a buzzing hive of locals enjoying the beginning of the weekend with a light beer/lunch before shopping for Shabbat so on the one hand it has a special vibe, but on the other hand it is very crowded. Personally, I enjoyed the leisurely walk on Tuesday much more. The market wasn’t empty, but there was a lot more walking space, available places to sit at all the restaurants and personal attention.
My companions and I all enjoyed the bites that we tasted. Everything was fresh and delicious. Moreover, we thought that the tour was fairly priced. For example: a full sandwich and salad costs 48 NIS or 53 NIS if you upgrade to gluten-free bread. The bite size is a smaller bun equal to half a sandwich and a small salad.
The Cultural Stops
Going to all stops takes time and you have to understand that the stops are all dictated by their proximity to the market, so although they are interesting, they are not what one would rank in advance as must-sees in Jerusalem.
Therefore, if you’re a first timer in Jerusalem, I would prioritize what I wanted to see before spending a full day on this tour or purchase it with the intent of focusing on the food so as not to waste time on lesser tourist attractions. That being said, I thought that the balance between eating and walking was preserved nicely.
Share the atmosphere:
I enjoyed the tour very much and think you get a full value for your money.
As mentioned above, the museum invited the public to commemorate the U.N.’s vote on the Partition Plan 70 years ago and I came to partake in the tribute. The reason for the museum’s special noting of the event is related to the fact that at the time of the vote, the Italian Jews in Rome celebrated the decision by walking under the "Titus Arch" (a symbol of Roman victory over Jerusalem) in the direction leading back to Jerusalem.
The museum itself holds a collection of several Jewish Spiritual Artistic objects that were brought to Israel after WWII for restoration and preservation including a full synagogue from Venice. The objects are from the Baroque, Rococo and later periods and include a variety of materials and techniques.
The music square reminds one of piazzas in Italy. There are tables outside, cafés surrounding the square, a nice stage. It’s quiet and sunny in the morning and hip in the evening so it’s a great place to start or end your day.
Art and Music Gallery and Gift Shop
You’ll probably see it and the end of the food tour. I’m just pointing out that it’s a beautiful gallery so that you shouldn’t miss it. When I was there, it was just before Hanukkah and they had gorgeous Menorahs for sale.
Hebrew Music Museum
The gift shop is at the entrance to this museum. I didn’t visit it this time so I’m just mentioning it as an option.
You can also refer to my previous post entitled "An Architectural Showcase in Jerusalem", in which I mentioned some of the restaurants at Shuk Mahane Yehuda.
You have options for two days in this post so I hope you enjoy!
This is what it looks like on the map:
Do you have any questions regarding the ‘Bitemojo’ app?
POST VISIT NOTE: Subscribers to my website can now receive a 10% discount on the 'Bitemojo' food tours at the 'Members Only' page. Go here to subscribe.
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