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Jerusalem’s Craft pizza offers class and quality, along with drinks

SC 29/07/2021 5


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‘They make a great gin mule here,” said a man sitting at the bar as I arrived at Craft Pizza on Shlomzion Hamalka Street. “And the pizza is amazing.”
It was a nice welcome to what turned out to be a great pizza experience. Many people know the branch of Craft in the Mahaneh Yehuda market that focuses on pizza by the slice. Now owner David Kaplan has opened a branch downtown that focuses more on sit-down dining with excellent pizza pies.
The man at the bar, by the way, is Craig Strathern from New Zealand, who works for the International Red Cross, and is a frequent patron of Craft Pizza. By the middle of our meal, he had joined our table for a great conversation as we gobbled down our pizza.
The new restaurant, with yellow booths and a black-and-white tile floor that David personally built, also has a charcoal oven that uses charcoal imported from the US, and which gives the pizza a special taste, according to David.

The dough is made from a 72-hour sourdough, and the crust comes charred on the bottom. All pizzas come with homemade marinara sauce, mozzarella and parmigiana, unless specified differently. You order pizza by size, either a personal 10-inch pizza, or a 14-inch pie for two. Our friendly and knowledgeable waitress Rachel (a student of east Asian studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) said the personal pie is the perfect size for one person, and the double is for two hungry people or three less-hungry people.
I started with the recommended gin mule (NIS 42), which was a combination of gin, ginger beer, lemon and mint. I’ve decided that the combination of cocktails and pizzas is an excellent idea.
All prices below are for the personal pizza first, and then the double pizza.
Craft is introducing a new menu that includes unique pizzas such as Indulgence with Brie cheese, garlic confit and honey (NIS 43/68) or the Umami with champignon, portobello and truffle oil (NIS 43/68).
A classic margarita pizza topped with sauce, cheese and basil is NIS 34/55, and offers me the perfect opportunity to tell one of my favorite family stories.
When our daughter Rafaella was two, and we were visiting Eilat, my husband asked her if she wanted a mushroom, olive or plain pizza.
“Plain!” she said very excitedly.
He ordered and when he opened the pizza box, she burst into tears.
“Where’s the plane?” she asked. Years later, she told us that if mushroom pizza has mushrooms, and olive pizza has olives, isn’t it logical that a plain pizza has a plane?
 A charcoal oven keeps Craft Pizza's pizza pies extra delicious (photographer: ALEX DEUTCH) A charcoal oven keeps Craft Pizza’s pizza pies extra delicious (photographer: ALEX DEUTCH)
WE ARRIVED at Craft just as the blessed Jerusalem cool air breezed in, and decided to sit outside. The new menu had not been launched and the trial menu encouraged you to build your own pizza, still a fun option with the new menu. Rachel, the waitress, suggested that we choose no more than four toppings, as more can make the pizza too heavy.
Rafaella (significantly taller today than she was at the time of the plane story) ordered a personal pizza with no sauce (as she’s allergic to tomatoes), half pineapple, half mushroom, with kalamata olives, feta cheese and sweet pepper.
When the pizza arrived, it had sweet potato instead of red pepper. When Rafaella mentioned it, Rachel said, “Oh, so sorry, we’ll replace it.”
Rafaella and I both hate waste, so she said, “It’s OK, I”ll eat it,” and Rachel said, “Don’t worry, it won’t go to waste. The staff will eat it.” Within minutes the correct pizza arrived at the table.
Since it was Tu B’av, and since I felt an obligation to my readers to try the pizza for two, my husband and I decided to share a double pizza. He wanted pineapple (sorry honey, I love you, but pineapple does not belong on pizza) and sweet pepper, and I wanted mushrooms. I am just back from a trip to southern France, one of the anchovy capitals in the world, and decided to go out of my comfort zone and have anchovies on my pizza. So we ordered a half-and-half, his-and-hers pizza. According to the new menu, any topping is NIS 3 for a personal pizza and NIS 5 for a double.
The pizza was one of the best I’ve had in recent memory. Piping hot, excellent crust, great cheese, fresh mushrooms and salty anchovies. My husband was equally happy with his pineapple-and-sweet-pepper pizza. Conversation stopped as we savored our pizzas.
There are also several salads to choose from, and we shared the Bowl of Beets (NIS 38) which had beets, kohlrabi, blue cheese, walnuts and apples. It was a large portion, and all of the elements worked well together.
Somehow my husband and I managed to finish the double pizza without leaving any leftovers. If you’re going to splurge on the calories for pizza, Craft Pizza is worth it.
Craft Pizza
Shlomzion Hamalka 1
Kashrut: Rabbanut Yerushalayim Mehadrin
Sunday-Wednesday: noon-10 p.m.
Thursday: noon-midnight
Friday: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Phone: (02) 648-0923
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

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Co-Host for Coffee Mouth Scarecrow Show. Retired NAVY Chief/Flag Writer Psalms 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

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