Top 5: Best break-fast places in Tel Aviv

With Yom Kippur around the corner, here is Taste TLV's definitive list of places to break the fast the morning after or fill up the day before.

By JUDITH GOLDSTEIN, KASSANDRA GRUNEWALD
October 4, 2011 16:03
Cafe Birnbaum

Cafe Birnbaum 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

TasteTLV is the ultimate culinary guide for dining in Tel Aviv.

What do Israeli’s eat to break the fast? Much like the question “What is Israeli food?”, many would argue there is no uniform answer, instead we have a quilt of culinary staples from all over the world. Being from the States we used to search for the best lox and bagels... and always found ourselves underwhelmed. This year we decided to indulge you in the best breakfasts in Tel Aviv. A question we are asked all year long, but when a pun makes itself apparent (referring to breaking the fast after Yom Kippur) we must take the liberty.

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What’s referred to as a traditional Israeli breakfast, is something that should not be missed. It may come in many forms, but it never comes modest.

Expect your entire table to fill up with dishes all shapes and sizes, and the basic contents: Your choice of eggs, a basket of breads, spreads of all tastes and textures, various cheeses, olives, salads, juice and coffee.

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Cafe Birnbaum

Atmosphere: Whoever said that vegetarian food is boring has never had a meal at Cafe Birnbaum. With a kosher certificate proudly displayed on the window and a foundation that traces back to 1962, at Café Birnbaum, they enthusiastically create unique and hearty vegetarian dishes for their eclectic diners. 

Since Mr. Birnbaum first opened, it has been a family run establishment, now run by the sisters Pnina & Sima. Known for their bottomless vegetarian buffet, which they call “the bar”, filled with tons of salads and vegetarian dishes, and served at a mere price of NIS 45 per person. Since its opening, dozens of people have come by each day, among which include renowned artists Menashe Kadishman and Motty Golan, whose paintings decorate the cozy café, flooding it with colors and beautiful, cultural art.

Break-fast: Birnbaum serves one of the most generous and sultry yet traditional Israeli breakfasts in town. The breakfast that covers your table consists of eggs, Arabic salad, juices, white cheeses, bakery items, olives, spreads, fresh bread, jams and jellies (all home-made) and of course coffee, tea or herbal infusions. The daily changing quiches and pastas add a rich element to the buffet, which includes more than thirty healthy and delightful dishes. Café Birnbaum also has an alluring array of pastries, blintzes, muffins, and cakes. The truth is that once you try Cafe Birnbaum you can never again deny that vegetarian can truly be heavenly.

Other suggestions: Along with the Israeli breakfast, we suggest the apple crumb cake, or the poppy seed cake. That’s right, indulge yourself.

Breakfast and lunch served from Sunday - Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 4:00 pm, or until the buffet’s heaping spread bottoms out.

31 Nahalat Binyamin, Tel Aviv 
Phone: 03-560-0066
Kosher (Dairy)

Brasserie

Atmosphere: Brasserie is one of four restaurants, a hotel, and two bakeries owned by R2M, a company that has clearly mastered how to please its customers’ palate.The service is some of the best in the country, a far cry from the acceptable norm.

The atmosphere is more like a chic New York cafe than like a French brasserie, but the food, influenced from a brasserie, is always on point. Elegant, grandiose, and simple, at Brasserie you certainly feel like you’re at the pulse of the city.

Break-fast: Homemade baguettes, muffins, croissants, and French butter adorn the menu. For something richer, try the irresistible croque madame or for something sweet opt for the fluffy, buttery pancakes. The breakfast at Brasserie is absolute decadence!

Other suggestions:  The tri-color Saumon Marine Blinis - a lightly dressed green salad of dill, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, and basil that sits on a layer of pink graved lox that has been cured and thinly carved atop a slender yellow potato pancake – is almost too beautiful to slice into.

70 Ibn-Gvirol Street, Tel Aviv
Phone: 03-696-7111
Not kosher

Café Michal

Atmosphere: The atmosphere is very charming and consists of lots of green as well as room separators. Therefore, wherever you sit it will feel nice, cozy and private.  At Cafe Michal the details are never overlooked, therefore the experience is very personal. It’s the ideal European Bistro– with a vintage twist.

Break-fast: Israeli breakfast is the optimum and will satisfy every time. The breads are just baked to perfection and you are served unique options to choose from. the salads and toppings compliment one another so that you can create the flawless bite from start to finish.

Other suggestions: The muesli is a must. You won’t feel ripped off from ordering this fresh, juicy, and rich mix of textures that fill you up the healthy way.

230 Dizengoff Street (corner Jabotinsky), Tel Aviv                     
Phone: 03-523-0236
Not kosher

Tazo De Oro

Atmosphere: The cafe, named after a famous Roman Cafe, and located slightly north of Jaffa, in Tel Aviv's first neighborhood Neve Tzedek, has a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere which removes you from the noisy city and places you in a quaint Italian cafe. You don’t just see Italy, you can sip it, with the splendid coffee that is imported from Rome. Everything about this cafe is splendid, from the music, to the food, to the breakfast. 

Break-fast: The breakfasts which range from Egyptian style eggs and greens to health platters, provide an option for everyone. Chef Yossef Mesilati, who got his culinary education from his Tunisian mom, reflects his North-African/Italian heritage in his cooking..

Other suggestions: Coffee connoisseurs and the rest of us stop in even for a cup of joe, coffee that lives up to it’s name. If you’ve come hungry, try the mushroom ragu shakshuka, and the cheese bourekas, both are must-try house specialties. Don’t shy away from the desserts, that are just as inviting as the girl in the logo.

Breakfast served Sunday to Friday from 7:30 a.m., Saturday from 9:00 a.m.

6 Ehad Ha’am Street, Neve Tsedek               
Phone: 03-5166329
Not kosher

Shvil Hachalav

Atmosphere: Sitting in front of Shimshon's restaurant in the heart of the Kerem Hateimanim (Yemenite Quarter) on a Friday morning might just give you the fullest experience of the Kerem you can find anywhere. At Shimshon’s you’re surrounded by an eclectic mix of pictures from Shimshon’s travels, knick knacks from all over the world, and album covers that your parents are likely to own. Each table is occupied and kept entertained by one of Shimson's seven brothers, who takes it upon himself to be the jolly host.

Break-fast: Breakfast at Shimshon’s restaurant is simple and to the point, yet fresh and delicious. You get your choice of two eggs in the style of your choice and a variety of home-made salads from Shimshon’s salad bar. Soft, cloudy bread is served on the side along with a strong dose of black coffee.

Other suggestions: You can’t leave Shvil Hachalav without trying fatoot, a signature Yemenite dish. Fatoot is made with lechuch (a Yemen pancake like bread), butter, caramelized sauteed onions, sugar, a hint of cinnamon and a touch of sea salt. This one of a kind dish will add a special element to your traditional breakfast, and should not be missed!

Yihye Street, Kerem Hatemanim neighborhood, Tel Aviv
Kosher

Judith S. Goldstein and Kassandra Grunewald are the co-founders of TasteTLV.com.


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