The classic Israeli breakfast is a tradition loved and honored by what seems like just about everyone in this country. On Friday mornings and afternoons, diners enjoy a selection of egg-based dishes, accompanied by a dizzying array of spreads and dips, showcasing the best Israeli dairy and spreads, and always paired with a crunchy, fresh Israeli salad. Israeli breakfast is a national export - nowadays, diners around the world are eschewing greasy bacon and carb-loaded pancakes for the healthy-but-hearty Israeli kind.
In a funky twist, the ‘American’ style of breakfast and the weekend institution of the drunken brunch are finally making their way to Tel Aviv. This wasn’t always the case - for as long as we can remember, it was near impossible for expats to find something even resembling the American brunch: a mid-day meal lasting for hours, mixing savory and sweet treats, with refills on coffee and mimosas.
As 2019 flies by, Delicious Israel is thrilled to report that Israel (well, the country of Tel Aviv at least) is catching up - and we made sure to try all of these brunch experiments. We’ve collected some of our very favorites in this list of new-ish restaurants that have opened up, as well as old favorites that have changed pace to keep up with our changing tastes.
Note that most of these brunches take place Friday and/or Saturday (the Israeli weekend) and are not available midweek. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Taizu, the self-described ‘Asiaterranean’ kitchen, quickly jumped to the top of diners’ and critics’ radars since opening, and has retained top status ever since - now, with brunch! Like many of Israel’s best breakfasts, Taizu have adopted the style of serving a selection of small mezze-style appetizers for sharing across the table, including refills. In this case, they are a far cry from standard Israeli starters like tuna salad and feta cheese - think shrimp dumplings and fish tartare for starters, and a very creative curry shakshuka.
Menachem Begin 23, Tel Aviv
Nithan Thai joins Taizu in the growing list of successful, high-end Asian restaurants in Tel Aviv, and a smaller list of those who offer brunch. They also started offering brunch in 2018 and haven’t looked back. They offer an eclectic selection of Western, Israeli and Asian tastes, including egg dishes like shakshuka, dim sum, Asian-tinged focaccia, and cocktails mixing all of those cuisines. One fabulous example is the togarashi steak and eggs with yuzu and avocado. Nithan Thai features innovative ingredients across the menu that give new life to old favorites,
like a dashi leek focaccia, and cocktails
include a Chiang Mai Mojito with keffir lime.
Ha'arbaa St. 21, Tel Aviv
While Bellboy’s brunch has been around for over a year, its sheer uniqueness bears mention. This Prohibition era-style cocktail bar has a well-earned reputation for exceptional craft cocktails. They have capitalized on the brunch trend, offering a truly special mid-day meal with a selection of starters served to the table, and a choice of main dish. The room is dark, the music is classy, the crowd is older (perhaps not as many screaming babies in at their weekend brunch, though you may be offered a shot of Campari from a re-purposed baby stroller), making this a perfect spot to recover.
Berdyczewski St 14, Tel Aviv
Located in one of Tel Aviv’s restaurant hotspots off Allenby street, near the Great Synagogue, Shishko has long been one of our favorite gastropubs. Their “Drunk Brunch” is served on Saturdays only, at the decidedly adult hours of 12:00-17:00. Shishko truly mixes the best of both worlds - you can enjoy American crack pie or New York Cheesecake after your tahini, charred eggplant and fried hot peppers with Bulgarian kebabs, all served a la carte. Do justice to the Drunk Brunch name and enjoy a Bloody Mary or boozy Iced Tea while you’re at it.
Har Sinai St 2, Tel Aviv
This picturesque hotel (acclaimed as Tel Aviv’s oldest) is home to a wonderful restaurant that, luckily for us, started offering brunch earlier this year. Cafe Nordoy is one of those rare places in Israel that make you forget you’re in the Middle East - if you let yourself relax, you might think you’re in a tea house in Europe. Breakfast and brunch here are a la carte, so choose dishes that go well with their breakfast martini. They’re also known for offering one of the city’s best cheesecakes - make sure you save room for a piece of this velvety goodness.
Nahalat Binyamin St 27, Tel Aviv
We also can’t wait for brand-new restaurant Fantastic, the latest joint from the Monkey Business restaurant group who brought us Bell Boy, to start offering their ‘Tea Party’ brunch in the near future - their restaurant is currently open, but not yet for brunch.
If you’re looking for recommendations for brunch anywhere in Israel - we can help!
Stay tuned for our updates, and Happy Brunching!