Last week, I reviewed two of my favorite pizza places in Israel: The Pizza in Tel Aviv and Yeminite Food Bar in Safed. While The Pizza is an upscale artisinal pizza place that churns out pies similar to what you might find at Co and Motorino, Yeminite Food Bar was an old school hole-in-the-wall which looks like it could have dated back to the patriarchal days. But neither of these places are the norm in Israel when it comes to pizza. The most common type of pizza place is the slandered slice joint — not so different than what you might find in New York City. The problem is that most places serve up inferior slices than their New York brethren. Except for one. But first… here’s where not to go for a slice of pizza in Jerusalem!
The first pizza place I tried on my Israel pizza tour was a block from Ben Yehuda Street — a crowded pedestrian thoroughfare in Jerusalem. It was called Big Apple Pizza (so I already had my doubts before entering) and it did not live up to NYC standards. The slices were bland — particularly the cheese slice, and I was surprised to find people filling up the place around 7:30 on a Saturday evening. The nice thing is that you can eat your pizza at tables outside (inside it’s just a counter), but other than that, there’s nothing too special about this place. Overall, it was an unsatisfactory experience.
Before I get to my favorite pizza place in Jerusalem, it’s worth mentioning one other pizza fail in the area. A few minute ride from Ben Yehuda Street is an area known as Emek Refaim — The German Colony. It’s a cute block lined with upscale restaurants and clothing stores, as well as more basic supermarkets, banks, and shwarma stands. But one thing you can’t get at Emek Refaim — good pizza! Pretty much your only option is a place called Pizza Sababa.
Translated literally, Pizza Sababa means Super Pizza. But the pizza was anything but super. Granted I stopped in around noon on a Sunday — just as they were opening. But the pizza tasted like it was frozen from the night before and had just been reheated. I had a mushroom slice and a plain slice. So unless you’re in desperate need for pizza while you’re at Emek Refaim, I suggest staying away. There are much better culinary options around.
INFORMATION ABOUT EACH PIZZA PLACE (From Jerusalem.com)
Big Apple Pizza
Dorot Rishonim St. 13
$ (under 40 NIS per person)
Hillel St. 28
under 40 NIS per person
Emek Rafaim St. 43
under 40 NIS per person
Shammai st. 12
40-60 NIS per person