Sitting down for coffee and cake in one of Jerusalem's fine cafés is something of a tradition. Yeast cakes and strudels recall the past, but today's palate craves flaky brioches and savory tarts. Italian coffee machines have driven a rise in quality and a demand for the perfect hafuch, the strong Israeli version of a cappuccino.
Two Jerusalem coffee chains have expanded across the country. Aroma has excellent coffee and fresh sandwiches and salads. Hillel is a favorite with locals for breakfast, with its good food and good prices.
In Jerusalem, the open-air mall of Ben-Yehuda Street has several venerable hangouts, but the newer cafés along the bars and restaurants of Shlomzion Hamalka Street offer more sophisticated menus—and better coffee. The upscale Mamilla Mall, outside Jaffa Gate, is known for its coffee places, but don't overlook Emek Refa'im Street in the German Colony or Bethlehem Road in Baka.
Most popular coffee spots serve decent light, affordable meals for lunch and dinner as well, and courtyard seating gets full in fine weather and on summer evenings. Coffee and a pastry are about NIS 30 to NIS 40; sandwiches, salads, quiche, and pasta will cost NIS 30 to NIS 60. If you're not a coffee drinker, consider trying a gazoz, a fizzy drink made of soda water and syrup.
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