When breakfast met lunch

In Tel Aviv, the beauty of brunch is that myriad establishments abound where you can find a great one, each stamped with its own unique flavors.

restaurant 88 (photo credit: )
restaurant 88
(photo credit: )
I love weekends. From Friday, with its bustling atmosphere of last minute shopping, afternoon radio shows on 88 and 106FM and a fresh, new Billboard, to the way the afternoon calms down, cedes to dusk and eventually makes way for Saturday when it seems there's all the time in the world to read, sip coffee and, come nightfall, curse this country's lack of Sunday. And then there's brunch. A perfect gastro-companion for when you've finished your errands and can sit back, letting the relaxing vibes of an impending weekend, just at the doorstep, grab hold of you. In Tel Aviv, the beauty of brunch is that myriad establishments abound where you can find a great one, each stamped with its own unique flavors, reflecting the character of the area where it's served. Assif, a great little bistro on Lilenblum and run by chef Einav Berman (formerly of Orna and Ella), serves four different brunches: morning Assif - eggs baked with tomatoes and feta (NIS 58); brunch Assif - eggs baked with chili, beans and Merguez sausages (NIS 64); a sweet breakfast of chestnut pancakes with ice cream, a fruit platter, granola and yogurt (NIS 56); and, a savory breakfast with salads such as roasted beet, pickled zucchini and black quinoa served alongside a basket of baked goods with jam and butter. No matter which you order, best to wash it down with a morning cocktail such as a mimosa (NIS 20). Also, don't miss the incredible fruit salad with orange and basil risotto. It is magnificent! 18 Lilenblum St., Tel Aviv (03) 516-5198. If your errands take you to Ramat Hahayal, Hudson Brasserie serves what they consider the perfect brunch - steak, eggs and whole-wheat grains. Then there's the morning Sloppy Joe with a poached egg, home fries, an Arabic salad with roasted vegetables and baked goods, including a whole-wheat croissant and dark chocolate Danish or the house specialty: Eggs Benedict. Prices range from NIS 32-58. 23 Habarzel St., Ramat Hahayal, Tel Aviv (03) 644-4733. On the northern side of the city, the Basque restaurant La Plancha serves up a special Friday deal: a platter of five pinchos and two glasses of cava for NIS 55. In case of curiosity, the platter includes homemade Spanish sausage, tuna bruschetta, shrimps wrapped in cured ham and calamari cooked, of course, on the Plancha. 54 Yirmiyahu St., Tel Aviv (03) 604-7222. Still on the northern side is the boutique Italian restaurant Mel and Michelle that has put together a small, light menu of about ten dishes that change each week - specifically for Friday brunch. Exemplary courses include Mediterranean calamari seared in sumac on tehina (NIS 38), gnocchi in a wild mushroom sauce (NIS 38), veal bacon and duck ragu (NIS 68), salmon escalope in brown butter and sage (NIS 78) and more. 155 Ben Yehuda St., Tel Aviv (03) 529-3232. Toto has also created a special tapas menu that changes weekly. The selection of which is so impressive that writing anything complimentary would be of little to no use. Just know that the food is presented on a special knights table at the middle of the restaurant where chef Yaron Shalev and his staff serve the dishes in a colorful atmosphere. 4 Berkovitch St., Tel Aviv (03) 693-5151. The seafood restaurant Shaked offers a special treat for sardine lovers where, every Friday, they can enjoy a dish of the fresh fish smoked, stuffed with vegetables or breaded and fried. As always, patrons may eat till content from a selection of 18 different mezes including spicy tomato salad, okra, zucchini in yogurt, chopped liver and more (NIS 88). And, if the sea was good that day, you can also enjoy anchovy chips. 90 Hashmonaim St., Tel Aviv (03) 561-0546. If you happen to be in the area of the Central Bus Station then Sender offers a real Polish feast with different dishes, such as Matias herring in oil with onion rings and tomatoes, homemade chopped liver, congealed veal leg, egg salad and gefilte fish, served with sweet challah bread, horseradish and vodka for NIS 39. 54 Levinsky St., Tel Aviv (03) 537-1872. So, get out there and enjoy your weekend. But, remember to leave room for lupper.