Topolino (misspelled on TripAdvisor as 'Tupolino') is a very small restaurant just down the hill a few meters from the Mahane Yehuda public market. Look for the green awning, with a couple tables on the sidewalk.The place is unpretentious, the service is always friendly and helpful, but not intrusive, and the food is consistently very good: fresh, well-prepared, Italian with a hint of Israeli fusion. Plenty of choices for vegetarians, good fish, really good salads and desserts. Nice Israeli wine selection and decent-sized pour for the price. In terms of a gourmet restaurant, it's a good value.
About those salads - Topolino is strictly kosher (dairy, fish, eggs), but has abandoned the rabbinate's certification program after being ordered to use only hydroponic lettuce. In the past, my one reservation about the restaurant was rather pallid salad -- well, now that they have taken a stand on it, they created a basil and mixed greens, sweet-and-salty almond salad that really proves their point.
And those desserts -- the chocolate souffle is really more a Lava cake, not a classic souffle, but it is one of the best I've had anywhere. However, try the also misnamed halvah parfait -- really more a a frozen halvah mousse in date syrup -- a subtle, complex, brilliant confection. Perfect with espresso, which they offer also in decaf, unlike most Israeli restaurants.
Being so small, reservations are a must for normal Israeli dinner times, and for Friday lunch. However, if you are up for an early dinner -- 6 or 6:30 PM -- you will almost always be able to get in with little or no notice. Closed for Shabbat, otherwise open for lunch and dinner.
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