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PIPS (pizza, pasta and salads)

CALL NOW  02 624 5613
 rachela.rest@gmail.com
 5 Havatzelet Jerusalem
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PIPS -You'll Feel Like You Are in Naples

             by Sybil Kaplan
             Photographs by Barry A. Kaplan 

5 Havatzelet, Jerusalem
Phone 02 624 5613
Hours: Sunday through Thursday -- 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Friday--closed during winter; Saturday evening--1 hour after Shabbat ends until midnight
Kosher---Rabbinute Jerusalem
website-- in the works
Owner/chef--Rachel Dabbah and husband, Benny

Pizza came to Jerusalem in the 1970s when some New York yeshiva boys opened the first place on King George. It was immediately a hit! I love pizza and it reminded me of the first time my boyfriend (now husband, Barry) and I were treated to pizza by a buddy of his for our high school graduation present.The pizza restaurant owner, a young man who was a Holocaust survivor, had opened up a place near the University of Kansas campus and now opened this place in the southern, residential part of Kansas City, Missouri. We were hooked on it.

Neapolitan pizza is our favorite.  

By definition, according to the rules of the Association of Neapolitan Pizza created in 1984, this pizza filling must be made of tomatoes and mozzarella cheese; the crust must be wheat flour, natural or brewer's yeast, sea salt and water, no thicker than 1.2 inches; pizza must be baked in a stone oven with an oakwood fire, 60-90 seconds at 905 F. degrees (not a typographical error).


Jerusalem-born Rachel (of Egyptian parents) has been cooking for as long as she remembers. After community service, her father suggested if she was really serious, she should study cooking seriously, so she learned in the culinary program at Hadassah College, 18 years ago. She also subsequently learned to be a pastry chef. 

For six years, she owned and operated a dairy cafe, Rachel's, on Havatzelet, then she and her husband, Benny, decided to make a change.

This past summer, the 47-year-old mother of four (ranging in age from 17 to 23) went to Naples for a month to Pizzeria "La Figlia del Presidente," one of the most famous pizza restaurants in Naples, to learn how to make pizza from the daughter of the president. Rachel also attended the pizza carnival where 45 of the best pizzerias in Naples took part.

Returning to her Jerusalem restaurant, she and Benny opened PIPS (standing for pizza, pasta and salads), in October 2013. 

The large glass windows face Havatzelet; some outdoor tables can be used when the weather is warm. Immediately inside is a black top, white bar and three stools. On the wall is the framed menu with glass shelves holding glasses underneath. Behind the bar is the oven, acting as a divider with the open kitchen behind and a glassed wall where one can see what is being made or continue to the patio with seats for about 40, decorated with colored lights above, when the weather will be suitable. Along one side of the main room are four black tables which seat a total of 16; one walks on an attractive tile floor.

Following the rules of the Naples pizza association, Rachel's pizza dough is made from imported Caputa flour from Italy mixed in a mixer but kneaded by hand; only mozzarella cheese (regular from a cow and special buffalo cheese) are used with tomatoes imported from southern Italy. The brick oven is covered with metal and decorated on the outside with copper pots and pans. The 30- centimeter diameter pizza (a little over 11 3/4 inches) pizza goes into the 842 degree F. oven for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes so that it bakes very quickly. 

Of the 11 choices (ranging from 19-42 NIS), without knowing what we liked, she made us half "Balkan" (feta, spinach and black olives, 39 NIS for a whole pizza) and one of my favorites; and half "Sicilian" (mushrooms, anchovies and onions, 38 NIS for a whole)--definitely a favorite of my companion.

For pasta, one can choose between strozzapreti (an elongated form of cavatelli) and fettuccini, and have a choice of eight sauces (19-35 NIS). We chose fettuccini and were treated to the artichoke with lemon and parsley sauce (29 NIS). It was cooked al dente, seasoned perfectly and served in an attractive black and white tin casserole.

Four salads are available (12 to 39 NIS) and Rachel wanted us to try the panzenella--lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, black olives, basil, olive oil, and Balsamic vinegar, garnished with pieces of day-old bread. It had just the right amount of Balsamic vinegar not to be overpowering and we felt it was so delicious, we could have enjoyed a meal on just the salad.

Not wanting to miss the tempting desserts (3 are available at 19 NIS each), we tried our favorite, tiramisu, served in a glass bowl, made with Lady Fingers as the base and filling from espresso coffee, brandy and mascarpone cheese, garnished with cookie crumbs--not too sweet and just dreamy perfect.

If you can't travel to Italy for pizza and pasta, PIPS is the next best thing, a must place to go for lunch or dinner.

The prices are so reasonable, Rachel and Benny are not going to offer a business lunch or coupons.

The author and photographer were guests of the restaurant.  
 
Images:
  • Pasta choices - Fettuccini (top) and Strozzapreti (bottom).jpg
  • Fettuccini with artichoke, lemon and parsley sauce.jpg
  • Panzenella salad.jpg
  • Half Balkin, half Sicilian pizza.jpg 
  • Tiramisu.jpg 



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SERVICING: Jerusalem

Last updated: 22.4.2014 | Views: 1609


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