Many restaurants come and go downtown each month, but Jerusalem Garden Café has been a favorite for both locals and visitors in Asheville since 1993! Enjoy authentic and delicious made-from-scratch Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, using many longtime Jordanian family recipes of owner Farouk Badr. And his wife Sonja loves to create new dishes by experimenting in her kitchen at home. Transport your senses to faraway lands in exotic ambiance back dining room draped with an Egyptian tent with table and floor seating. They serve lunch and dinner every day, along with weekend brunch.
One of the favorites on the menu is the lamb shank, one of Farouk's specialties. It's slow braised for hours and served piping hot and falling off the bone. Order it with a glass of Turkish Kavaklidere Yakut or Lebanese wine. Another favorite is their hearty vegetarian platter with their famous specialties: hummus, falafel, tabouleh, baba ghanoush, Kalamata olives, tahini salad and a hand-rolled grape leaf. And their hummus is the best in town. Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with freshly baked spinach pies and shawarma plates. In addition to wines and beers from the Middle East, they have a nice selection of local beers on draft.
Don't miss their weekend international brunch with a Southern twist! Try the baharat biscuits and gravy, egg and lamb gyros, French toast of the day and crepes stuffed with seasonal ingredients. Pair your dish with a mango mimosa or a hand brewed Turkish coffee. Small plates are perfect for sharing, like the pistachio encrusted lamb chops, baba ghanoush, and bastilla of the day. The Jerusalem burger is made of local, grass-fed beef seasoned with Baharat spices and topped with cilantro-parsley harra sauce. Brunch is served 10 AM until 3 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.
For an evening you'll remember for years, visit on a Friday or Saturday night with belly dancers and live musicians playing traditional Middle Eastern instruments such as the Oud, electric sitar and hand drums.
Jerusalem Garden Cafe is located at 78 Patton Avenue, adjacent to Pritchard Park, home to the Friday night Asheville Drum Circle.