The updated menu has two categories—starters (11 dishes, including two salads) and main courses (10)—with one vegetarian option in each. One thing that fortunately has not changed at Angelica, however, is the attentive, professional service.
There are four specialty cocktails that rotate occasionally. For example, the apricot margarita I had on my previous visit was now a peach margarita: the slightly frothy blend of tequila, triple sec and peach had just the right touch of sweetness. The rosemary martini, meanwhile—gin, lemongrass and lemon, garnished with a large sprig of rosemary—was a bit more acerbic, but extremely refreshing.
A meal here starts with a salver of the seeded house bread, served with three superb spreads: aioli that is not too garlicky, creamy eggplant mousse, and a zesty salsa of sun-dried tomatoes. The excellent bread comes with endless refills, so one must be careful not to fill up on it.
In winter, it is always a wise decision to choose the soup du jour, which on the evening of our visit was Jerusalem artichoke soup with cilantro oil. The hearty soup was delicious, especially with the crusty bread.
For our first starter, the manager recommended the seared tuna: small morsels of ruby fish—like miniature steaks—encrusted with caraway seed, and accompanied by dollops of yuzu gel, black garlic cream garnished with red chili pepper, horseradish leaves and a perfectly poached quail’s egg. The gentle searing technique allowed the freshness of the fine fish to shine through; and eating it in alternating bites with the various condiments created wonderfully different flavor experiences.
Next was another dish I had never encountered before on the Angelica menu: liver pâté with onion-cinnamon jam, pistachio crumble and cocoa beans, garnished with a sprig of mizuna. The richness of the liver was cut by both the mild sweetness of the exotic marmalade and the slight bitterness of the mizuna leaf; altogether, if this was not the best pâté combination I have ever had, I can recall none better.
The fish fillet of the evening was sea bream, with homemade fichi pasta in tomato concasse seasoned with garlic, chili, basil leaf, anchovy and olive oil. To our pleasant surprise, the pungent sauce that coated the long, thick strands of fresh pasta did not overwhelm the moist, flavorful fish.
Our meat main course was the beef filet with chestnut and shallots in a demi glace, served with broccolini and mashed potatoes. The succulent medallion of beef was so tender I could literally cut it with my fork, while the al dente broccolini and fluffy potatoes—subtly accented with truffle—were truly worthy accompaniments.
The restaurant’s wine list is not extensive, but it is curated with care and features vintages from a number of boutique Israeli wineries not well known to the general public. According to the manager, another Jonathan, “Angelica takes pride in its wines; there is always a sommelier on duty.”
He introduced us to the Mia Luce winery—in particular, its unusual CSM blend of Carignan, Syrah and Marselan grapes—which was very good paired with the steak.
Angelica’s separate dessert menu lists six entries, along with several dessert wines. The exotic soup was a sweet mélange of patisserie cream, meringue islands, beet powder and almond crunch, while the pistachio and amarena magnum—a small facsimile of the commercial ice cream bar, coated in dark chocolate and hazelnut chips—thankfully was devoid of the peculiar aftertaste characteristic of so many pareve ice creams.
We finished off the evening—and our memorable meal—with another new treat: a pony of Givat Shomron’s exquisite Gewürztraminer iced wine.
4 George Washington St., Jerusalem
Tel: (02) 623-0056