La Pavee is a lovely, intimate restaurant located in Jerusalem, within walking distance of the Waldorf-Astoria, Mamilla, David’s Citadel and King David Hotels. La Pavee is the name of a street where an old synagogue in France was located. The word also means cobblestone street and is the name of a slab of steak.
Salmon Gravadlux. Image Barry Kaplan
Like most chefs, 33-year-old Ran Atun, had a dream to have his own restaurant. After the army and studying in the Culinary department of Hadassah College, he went to France where he received a degree at the Cordon Bleu, specializing in French cuisine. He worked in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem restaurants, was mentored by Chef Shalom Kadosh of the Leonardo Hotel, and his dream became a family reality the end of May.
“It was my dream,” Ran said, “and it is exactly what I thought it would be.” Ran’s Tunisian-born father, supervised the building of the restaurant; his sister, Noa, did the décor. Gadi Medalcey is manager and works with the chef.
One enters through an outdoor patio with black wood tables and black wicker chairs. From the outside, one can see into the two dining rooms through large picture windows.
Fillet of veal and lamb rib duet. Image Barry Kaplan
On the left is the smaller dining room which seats 22 including several at high tables with bar stools. The walls are natural stone color, resembling Jerusalem stone, with natural tile floors. On one wall is a shelf with wine bottles and changing color lights hidden in the arches. At the back is a bar divided between the working kitchen of the chefs and a bar area.
The adjacent dining room seats 39, with stone color walls and natural tile floors. The room is a good venue for private parties for simchot or for touring groups.
The Hebrew-English menu is a leather portfolio with plastic covered pages.
Chef Ran began our tasting with the delicious and beautifully presented salmon gravlax (55 NIS) served with avocado cream and garnished with radish slices, cilantro and balsamic vinegar dots.
The chefs of the La Pavee restaurant in Jerusalem. Image Barry Kaplan
We then received the initial selection of salads, which all customers receive–turmeric pickled vegetables, smooth and rich tchina, fennel salad, black olive spread, diced beets and sweet cooked carrots, accompanied by enjoyable bread from the classic Jerusalem Angel Bakery.
Our second appetizer was red tuna with beet carpaccio (89 NIS). The moist tuna fit nicely with the sweet and sour beet slices. The tomato salad was well liked by my companion who loves anything spicy, and the pickled lemon added a Mediterranean touch.
These appetizers were two of the 11 offered including soup, salads, eggplant and sweetbreads (45-89 NIS).
The main course Chef Ran wanted us to try was the mouth-watering filet of veal and lamb rib duet (169 NIS)with sweet potato cream and green bean cream, grilled beets and onions and garnished with cooked green beans. On the side was a sweet plum-tasting sauce. The filet of veal is a large piece, shaped very much like filet mignon and was the best piece of meat we had eaten in a restaurant.
Because of the particular high kashrut level, everything is cooked under the watchful eye of a mashgiach (kashrut supervisor) who is there all the time. There are 11 other entrees ranging from 75 NIS to 179 NIS.
Watching the team of chefs in the open kitchen is delightful. Avi is the grill and meat expert; Yaniv is sous chef.
There is no dessert menu because they change weekly. On the night we were at La Pavee, the choices were sorbet, chocolate soufflé and a halva parfait.
Packets of wash and dry cloths were handed to us at the end of the meal.
There is a business lunch available each day for 98 NIS.
La Pavee is definitely a very special restaurant in which to have a very special gourmet French meal.
The author and photographer were guests of the restaurant.