Dreaming of Shakshuka at Cafe Ole
Café Ole, an Israeli café sandwiched between Old City boutiques, is somewhat of a Mediterranean Oasis for lunching locals – with an otherworldly vibe and unique lunch eats. It’s the perfect place to grab a coffee, grab lunch, or just hang out with an iced tea, with tables inside and out and doors swung open as if they’re waiting for your arrival. If the café isn’t busy, it’s really the perfect place to relax in Old City. On beautiful days during the coffee rush and lunch, it can get jam packed, so expect slower service and to have to make your way through a ravenous lunch crowd.
Their menu is full of all sorts of wonders including Mediterranean platters, sauteed chick pea salads, nicoise sandwiches, and dozens of other unique options. While all of these items are delicious (yes, I have tried most of them) they’re best known for (and rightfully so) their Shakshuka, a traditional Israeli dish of poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce.
Served in a large, shallow dish, the Shakshuka seems more like a food experience than just any old lunch item. With plenty of rolls for dipping, and three eggs hidden inside the marinara, eating this dish can be slightly intoxicating. The poached eggs are brought to life by the spicy red sauce, turning eggs, a breakfast staple, into a deliciously filling meal. The base sauce is perfect for dipping bread or pita, composed of a mix of tomatoes, garlic, middle eastern spices, onions and crumbled feta cheese. Even when you run out of eggs, you’ll find yourself dipping roll after roll into this thick and zesty Middle Eastern concoction.
With the Shakshuka at $7.25, treat yourself to a $2.00 tropical green tea while you’re at it, adorned with mint leaf and fresh lemon. The green tea is pretty simple with the mint leaf and lemon give it that burst of freshness.
Café Ole is definitely an Old City gem and perfect if you’re in the mood for something different, and it’s the ideal place to hang/work/chat/eat semi-strange foods. It can get a little expensive if you go there everyday, but they’ve got a coffee and lunch frequent buyer card that helps to curb the cost. Get as close to Israel as you can without leaving Old City, get some Shakshuka, and enjoy some exotic lunching.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- The food is addictive and unlike most lunch options
- Great outside seating
- Frequent buyer card, score!
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Slow service when it’s busy
- Too expensive
Cafe Ole, 147 North 3rd Street, (215) 627-2140