Jerusalem Garden Cafe

Jerusalem Garden Cafe: Travel to Israel Without Leaving Asheville
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Expand your horizons with a culinary journey to Jerusalem. Boasting an enticing menu and attentive service, the Jerusalem Garden Cafe provides an international experience in the heart of Asheville.

- The Local Expert Team

The Jerusalem Garden Cafe delivers you to Israel through the power of ambience and a perfectly-prepared meal. Stop in for lunch or dinner; no matter the time of day, you’ll appreciate the cafe’s relaxed, yet adventurous vibes.

As its name suggests, the cafe primarily serves Israeli cuisine, although it ventures off the beaten path on occasion. In keeping with most Mediterranean and Middle Eastern establishments in the Asheville area, the restaurant serves a variety of vegetarian dishes, including cous cous, falafel wraps, and a veggie-heavy platter with hummus and tahini salad.

Don’t hesitate to order a drink with your meal. While you’ll find the usual offerings such as soda, juice, and iced tea, you can also choose from a variety of alcoholic beverages. Red and white wines vary based on when you visit, but your server will be happy to recommend an excellent option. The restaurant also offers multiple mimosas, including a traditional orange juice mimosa, a mango mimosa, and a cranberry pomegranate mimosa. Several local beers from Asheville’s Highland Brewing Company are available, as are a few Lebanese selections from 961.

For the ultimate Israeli experience, head for the back room. The atmosphere here is not quite like anything you’ll find at other Asheville establishments — even local Mediterranean or Middle Eastern restaurants. Gaze in awe at exotic chandeliers and tapestries as you sit on a pillow at a low table. Staff members go the extra mile to ensure that, even without amazing decor, the Jerusalem Garden Cafe has a welcoming and unique Middle Eastern vibe.

Outside of delicious food and beverages, the Jerusalem Garden Cafe’s biggest claim to fame is easily its belly dancing. That’s right — this is the best place to see belly dancing in Asheville. Performed to live music, these fascinating dance performances draw large crowds — be sure to reserve your table in advance.

A few of our favorite menu items include:

Jerusalem Burger
Mixing the best of American and Israeli cuisine, the Jerusalem Burger features a patty formed from grass-fed beef, as well as lettuce, tomato, and onion. The sauce transforms it from a typical American burger into an Israeli delight. Choose either cilantro parsley harra sauce or tzatziki to give your burger a Middle Eastern spin.

Eggplant Moussaka
Eggplant moussaka is essentially the Middle Eastern version of an oven casserole. It’s way more satisfying than your typical American casserole, however — and a lot healthier. The Jerusalem Garden Cafe’s version includes sliced eggplant, lamb, grass-fed beef, melted provolone, and tomato herb sauce.

Cous Cous
Enjoy Moroccan-style cous cous alongside house vegetables. The meal can be served as a vegetarian dish or with your choice of a meat topping. Options include cous cous with leg of lamb, lamb chops, chicken, shrimp, or salmon. No matter which type of meat (or lack thereof) you select, you’ll receive toasted pita and an herbed tomato sauce with your meal.

As with the cous cous outlined above, the Jerusalem Garden Cafe’s kabobs allow you to personalize based on your preferences. Unfortunately, unlike the cous cous, there is no kabob available for vegetarians. Meat lovers, however, will appreciate the range of options, including kafta meshwi (a Lebanese variety of beef kabob), grilled chicken, and grass-fed ribeye. All kabobs are served alongside pita, rice, and sauteed vegetables.

Insider Tip:
Reservations are recommended whenever you visit, but especially if you intend to see belly dancing or live music. Depending on your preferences, you can either make reservations online or over the phone.