The menu at Nagila is compromised of many different cuisines and origins, including African, Indian and international influences. As the vegan diet is very limited, Nagila offers a large repertoire of dishes, rather than just serving salad. More and more health-conscious people are coming to eat at this restaurant for its versatile menu. Although vegan, they do serve a small amount of dairy, because there is always one in a group that wants their ‘fettuccine alfredo’. According to Gila, however, using the right ingredients like walnuts, lentils or cashew cheese can emulate the dairy taste while remaining a vegan delicacy. Those type of things give flavors and texture in such a way that you don’t really miss the original components.
According to the chef, the flagship dish at the restaurant is the vegan burger with a homemade bun, and the coconut curry. Gila always tells the story about the diner who came in around closing time and asked for something to eat. All they had left was the vegan burger. He was skeptical but tried it, and he hasn’t stopped coming back for it ever since.
If burgers aren’t for you, the quinoa salad, Indian empanada and the vegan lasagna are highly recommended. The quinoa salad tastes amazing, and comes with sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes and baby greens. Topped with a tangy vinaigrette, there’s a refreshing finish to the whole salad. The salad also comes with whole wheat bread and tahini sauce. After that, tuck into the Indian curry pastry with a dipping sauce of tahini and red peppers harissa. The pastry has nice kick to it, with a crunchy exterior, it’s filled with carrots and lentils and a curry spice that really gives it a certain flare.
The lasagna is their most surprising dish, especially for non-vegans. The layers are composed of fresh mushrooms, vegan cheese (made of cashews), vegan cream and tomato sauce to finish it off. This dairy-free dish tastes like a real deal cheesy lasagna, you won’t be missing the cheese or béchamel at all.
The prices of the dishes are very reasonable for a restaurant located next to the Machane Yehudah Market. All in all, this hidden gem is an enjoyable and surprising experience, a calm and quiet place to escape to in Jerusalem to have a flavourful and delicious vegan meal. You can expect very friendly service and always with a smile!