At almost any given moment someone in Tel Aviv is starting his or her day with coffee, eggs and a chopped salad. Breakfast in Tel Aviv is serious business, and the major players are no longer just cafes and hotels (famous for their lush Israeli breakfast buffets).
Some of the best restaurants in town have joined the breakfast club of late. With fully equipped kitchens, professionally trained staff and serious egos, restaurant chefs have taken breakfast up a notch, transforming the basic deal (coffee, juice, eggs any style, bread and Israeli salad) into inspired culinary creations. Breadbaskets feature the likes of mini brioche and sourdough rolls. Yogurt has magically morphed into fancy yogurt parfaits, served with exotic fruit salads and home made granola. The Israeli salad is meticulously chopped to order, and served with a side dish of top quality tahini spread. Accompanying cheese platters include samples from leading boutique dairy farms. Forget humble scrambled eggs or a basic omelet - current local favorite is the re-invented shakshuka, a simple Lybian egg dish that has been transformed into a veritable gourmet concoction, featuring anything from seafood to mushroom ragout.
Such an elaborate meal deserves at least a fully dedicated hour to consume. And so a sub-category of Tel Aviv breakfast was born – weekend brunch, served on Fridays and Saturdays. In many restaurants weekend brunch has become the most in-demand meal of the week, with local foodies about town trading information about the best brunch spots. In tune with the indulgent weekend mood, the meal often starts with a champagne cocktail and ends with dessert, but the sweetest part of the deal is the check, which rarely exceeds NIS 70 (about USD 18), including a dreamy cappuccino.
Even though most hotel stays include breakfast, and usually a good one, it’s worthwhile to get out of the hotel at least once and join the locals. Here are my breakfast/brunch favorites – restaurants that combine yummy food with lovely ambience.
This picture perfect restaurant in the charming Neve Tzedek quarter offers great food at all hours. Their breakfast is generous and well prepared, but what sets it apart is the bread basket, probably the most sinful in Tel Aviv, chock full of plump brioches, tiny bread rolls, pistachio financiers and other delights. Once finished, take a short stroll along Kol Israel Haverim Street to visit the Dallal Bakery. The counter, (reflected in a huge, strategically placed gilded mirror) is the birthplace of the restaurant’s breadbasket, displaying a plethora of potential diet busters. On second thought – it might be wiser to stay away.
Breakfast served Sun-Thu 09:00-12:00
Weekend brunch served Fri-Sat 12:00-17:00
10 Shabazi St., Tel Aviv. Phone: 03-5109292
One of the first restaurants to open its doors to the morning crowd, Manta Ray still serves one of the most in demand Tel Avivian breakfasts. Grab a table on the beachside terrace and laze the morning away. Service tends to be slow, but hey, it's Friday with a sea view, what's the rush?
Breakfast served all week 09:00-11:30
West Beach, Tel Aviv. Phone: 03-5174773
Only a handful of buildings in Tel Aviv deserve be called "mansions", and this is one of them. The newly renovated three-story townhouse is home to an exquisite boutique hotel and one of the hottest restaurants in town. The décor transports you to the French Colonial Vietnam, which is also reflected in the menu. The breakfast menu is a delectable mishmash of continental classics and local must haves. Go for the decadent: Pain Perdu (French Toast) or Eggs Benedict.
Breakfast served Sun-Thu 07:00-12:00, Fri 07:00-17:00
36 Montefiore St., Tel Aviv. Phone: 03-5646100
A deceptively modest façade hides one of the most creative and critically acclaimed restaurants in Tel Aviv. Young and talented Chef Avi Biton, offers modern Israeli cuisine, with a strong ethnic slant. His Saturday brunch fills up very quickly, and it’s no wonder, given the prices (around NIS 60) and quality of the food. It’s most fun to come with a few friends, order all items on the menu, and share the delicious salads, entrees, shakshukas and more.
Brunch served Sat 09:00-13:00
226 Ben Yehuda St., Tel Aviv. Phone: 03-6050896