Old Jerusalem

Old Jerusalem

By Tamara Palmer

Finding a good meal that’s not your usual sushi/burger/burrito/pizza seems to require divine inspiration. Not so at Old Jerusalem, a Middle Eastern joint on the edge of the Mission that thrills with its vibrant Lebanese, Palestinian, Turkish, and Israeli inspired fare. Walk in, and you’ll be welcomed with a series of traditional small plates: pickled parsnips and cucumbers, green olives, a chunky chili sauce, and hummus. For the uninitiated, these small bites serve as both greeting and promise: You won’t go hungry here. A big plate of olive oil-dressed ful (a dip made with fava beans, garlic, and lemon juice) pairs perfectly with warm pita bread and, well, just about everything on the menu. Tender cuts of grilled lamb, beef, and chicken are as fantastic on skewers as they are let loose in substantial sandwiches. And we love that combinations of all three meats are available for the indecisive or those who like a little taste of everything (you know who you are). No wonder the crowd of Mission-dwellers, families, and expatriates regularly make the pilgrimage to Old Jerusalem. This food, served in an atmosphere of rosy hued walls, can inspire small epiphanies.

sweet seats

Every table is comfortable and offers great views of the hand-painted decor, but the best spot for families and large groups is at the big table closest to the counter.

chew on this

Old Jerusalem has survived on a fickle stretch of Mission for six years now, still the favorite of Middle Eastern expats in San Francisco.


Sun.–Thurs. 11 AM–10 PM, Fri.–Sat. 11 AM–11 PM

price range

$3 (falafel plate) to $14.95 (combination plate)