Jerusalem Cafe (2132 Tulane Ave., 504-509-7729) opened in December across the street from the University Medical Center and next door to longtime diner Anita's Restaurant. It's the first restaurant for Ali Hinnawi, who is from Jerusalem and immigrated to New Orleans nearly two decades ago.
"I've worked in restaurants in the past and I thought (now) was a good time to open one," Hinnawi said. "I wanted to really show people our culture and our food."
The cafe's menu features hummus, baba ghanoush, labneh, stuffed grape leaves, fried haloumi cheese, za'atar bread and qudsia, a mix of mashed fava beans and hummus. There are salads with fattoush and tabbouleh and large platters of falafel, chicken or beef shawarma, lamb kebabs and gyro meat drizzled with tahini sauce. A small dessert selection includes Turkish baklava, nammura, a semolina dessert made with almonds, rosewater and honey, and kunafah, a pastry with cheese and dough soaked in honey.
There is a refrigerated case of soft drinks and the kitchen serves traditional Lebanese tea, Turkish coffee and other hot drinks. No alcohol is served.
Jerusalem Cafe is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.