Franciscan Catholic priests manage two little hotels just next to Manger Square in Bethlehem Palestine, their main target are the groups of pilgrims arriving there from different parts of the world to visit the historical places connected with the birth of Jesus Christ. There in the Casa Nova Palace they run a very nice little restaurant where we had the pleasure to eat a wonderful meal during our last visit to Bethlehem.
One can choose between seating outdoors and enjoy the freshness of the shade offered by the trees or to sit inside and delight in the impressive views of Bethlehem. This is a simple restaurant but a place to enjoy an unforgettable meal. The menu offers an impressive combination of local and italian dishes. We chose as an appetizer a combination of Arabic delicacies and as the main dishes we went for the pasta. I loved the homemade vegetarian lasagna. Since many of the Catholic priests serving there are Italian they have brought with them the best of Italian culinary traditions and one certainly enjoys a meal like those only possible to be found in little, family run Italian trattorias.
Service is prompt and attentive, we were informed that because lasagna is prepared to order we would have to be patient, but it was truly worth the wait.
The ambiance of the restaurant is very familiar, and since we were eating there during lunchtime on a Sunday, we noticed many local families that had just attended the religious services hosted in the Basilica of the Nativity that is located just steps away. Just be aware that smoking is permitted still in most public places in Palestine, so it will not be uncommon to have someone nearby enjoying a cigarette with their dessert.
After a succulent lunch we went for the coffee, in a matter of minutes we were transported to Rome with a coffee as good as those one enjoys in the eternal city.
This is a very affordable restaurant, it is impossible to enjoy a meal such as this for this price in neighboring Jerusalem. One can pay the bill with a credit card, Israeli currency or even US Dollars. It is good to know that at the same time while one is enjoying a good meal what is being spent is creating a good impact in the local community through the generation of jobs in a city with great need.
We loved our lunch at Casa Nova Palace: great view, amazing flavor in a unique historical setting, this is all one wants to experience when traveling to a such unique location.