Most often you hear people rave about Old Jerusalem's falafil sandwiches. They are freshly fried, crispy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside, perfectly seasoned, and after eating one of these, you feel you could easily have a couple more. Some guidebooks suggest that you buy these and walk east to Lincoln Park or to the lake and picnic there while people watching. Though picnicking is a fine idea, I feel it's a huge waste on such a crispy hot creation by letting it cool before you eat it.
Falafil sandwiches aside, the meat entrees are generous and delicious. Try the combination platter, which includes shawirma, kefta kabob, and shish kabob. Served with a salad dressed in tahini, rice pilaf, and pita bread, you get enough food for two people. My only complaint about the salad is the iceberg lettuce.
All the appetizers are excellent. The classics (hummos, baba ganouj, grape leaves, tabouleh) are flawless. For something a bit out of the ordinary, try kibbah, delightful minced lamb dumplings wrapped in cracked wheat and deep fried. Or try arayess, basically a pizza on toasted pita topped with ground lamb, onions, and tomatoes. If you don't want a big meal meal, having a few appetizers to share is the way to go.
Vegetarians will find a long list on the entree section. Old Jerusalem keeps halal if that's a concern to you. The dessert list is a short one--only three items. But they are all worth trying. The baklawa is always fresh. Tired of baklawa? Try kinafa, shredded dough filled with ricotta and honey; or harisa, honey cake made with semolina, milk, and honey.
1411 N. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60610