By Sharon Szmuc

As an American, I am always craving good pizza and when I found the restaurant Bardaq Pizza, my craving was satisfied. A friend and I sat outside on a beautiful sunny day for a business lunch and for only fifty five shekels we had a pizza, a salad, and draft beer. Bardaq is the perfect place to come socialize; as the manager, Matan, puts it: “no laptops allowed”.  If Matan sees people with laptops or trying to work he directs them to the coffee shop next door where it is quieter because at Bardaq people are encouraged to socialize and relax. Bardaq’s crowd usually consists of young people, business professionals, families in the area and hipsters who had a night out and want to grab a bite since the restaurant is open until 2 a.m.  And of course, on Saturday nights after Shabbat this is the place to be.

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Pisgat Ze’ev Pizza with Rose sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, goat cheese and dried peppers

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Malhan Pizza with zucchini, tomatoes, house sauce, kalamata olives and four cheese mix
I ordered the Malhan and my friend ordered the Pisgat Zeev (yep, each pizza is named after a different neighborhood in Jerusalem), but the clever names and great taste were not what made me want to come back.  Matan sat with me for forty minutes, and though at first our conversation was mainly about the idea behind this restaurant, it soon felt like a conversation with a friend I’ve known for years.  He explained that the idea of the restaurant came about after the owners sat down and continued to throw around ideas on how to sell pizza in a creative and simple way, and there I sat looking at a menu that used pizza toppings such as zucchini, eggplant and corn to represent the diversity of Jerusalem.

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Pictured left: the Gan Ha’Azmut Salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, clementine olives and feta cheese)
Pictured right is Gan Ha’Paamon (mushrooms in teriyaki, lettuce, sprouts, red onion, tomatoes, cranberries, roasted almonds and kashaval cheese)

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Nothing like a good beer tasting, courtesy of Matan

Before Matan returned to tending the restaurant, he not only offered us a taste of every single draft beer (before we made up our minds on Shapira Lager), but he answered my famous question: Why so much love for Jerusalem? His answer was that his friends are here and it is the place he grew up. He said that in Jerusalem’s the bar scene everyone is free to be who they want to be. He also noted that Jerusalem is a friendly place for people wanting to engage in conversation, regardless if you can speak fluent Hebrew.

Indeed, Matan’s sitting down with us in the middle of his job and making us feel welcomed that showed me just how friendly Jerusalemites are.

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Sharon

Sharon Szmuc, our fabulous summer intern, is a fourth-year at Florida State University studying Creative Writing and Communications. In the fall she will start writing for Her Campus, an online magazine for US college students.

 

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Programs are sponsored for young adults ages 22-35.
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