The famous Machane Yehuda Market began as a convenient shopping place for locals. Arab farmers and Jewish housewives haggled over prices, much like today. The shuk runs from Etz Chaim Street, to HaShaked Street. At the market you can find street singers, musicians, fresh spices by weight, housewares, craft beers, fresh fruits and vegetables, all within the perimeter of Machne Yehuda. Below are the spots in the market you shouldn’t miss.
Lunch at Azura is a must-try and is guaranteed to be memorable. The manager Shabtai Shrefler’s father opened the restaurant in 1952. Although his name was Ezra, his nickname was Azura. Nine Azura siblings now run the restaurant. Azura is a small family venture which attracts celebrities, as well as neighborhood locals. It is a budget restaurant, which has been going strong for 25 years. The food is a mix of Kurdish, Iraqi, Sephardic and Tunisian dishes. Customers usually fall in love with the kubbeh soup, a delicious dough stuffed with chopped meat and pine nuts. Other popular dishes include the Sephardi chicken stew, shakshuka, which is eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers and onions, incredible hummus, magadra and oversized meatballs in tomato sauce.
Zakai, the owner of this charming restaurant, grew up in Machane Yehuda, helping his father with his fish business. His father wanted more for Zakai, so at a certain point, he asked him to leave and become independent. He did not want his son working in the shuk, and thus, Jacko’s Street was born three and a half years ago. At Jacko’s Street, all ingredients are ultra fresh and come directly from the shuk and his father’s store. Some of the more popular dishes are Kurdish ravioli, veal sweetbread, smoked duck, red mullet, short rib bruschetta, fish shawarma and duck focaccia. Zakai is not just any typical owner. He has attended culinary school and is the main creator of all these fascinating dishes, whilst the presentation of the food is a work of art. The background Israeli music is just the touch needed for a perfect evening.
With its handmade pizza and pasta, beer, wine, and fresh Italian salads, customers say Pizza Flora provides the number one best pizza outside of New York. The pizza is made fresh while you wait. Popular pizza choices consist of Flora, made with Margherita sauce, Arugula and Parmesan cheese, or Margherita, made with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil. There is a host of other toppings, such as sweet potato and zucchini.