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Saturday, July 2, 2011

A few of my favourite things

Beyond the tourist shops and restaurants, the Old City is filled with hole-in-the-wall eateries offering authentic and tasty local delights which add to the fun of wandering around the alleyways.

One of my favourite areas are the three Crusader market streets which make up the Cardo of the ancient Roman-Byzantine city.  These are Butchers' or Meat Market, Spice Market and Engravers' Market.
Butchers' Market
Descending from Jaffa Gate along David Street to the bottom of the hill, make a left on Shuk HaTzorfim (engravers' street) to Arafat Restaurant. The only sign is a large pot of freshly-made hummus and a tiny cave filled with hungry customers. There is a daily special which usually lasts until 1 p.m. so get there early.

For those of a strong disposition, take the first left along Butchers' Street - Shuk HaLahamim in Arabic and Katzavim in Hebrew - walk past animal heads and entrails and walk almost to the end. On the left side is Abu Taher, a small restaurant run by Taher and his male cooks. Ask to see the daily specials simmering on the stove. The hummus is also good.

Za'atar spice mountain, spice market
Walk to the end of Shuk HaAttarin, Spice Market - the most aromatic of the three streets which contains another secret - grilled lamb kebabs. For over 70 years the family has been making this delicacy served in a pita with grilled tomatoes and onions for only 9 shekels. The tiny cafe is usually crowded so take it to go and eat it around the corner near the Holy Sepulchre Church and watch the world go by.

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