The warm weather whets our appetite (even more than usual) and sharpens our senses to the max. Twice over the past month I found myself getting on the train early Friday morning and speeding to Haifa’s Breada Bakery just to have great coffee, wolf down a fresh little sandwich with avocado and veggies bursting out of a soft bun and take home crisp and buttery rosemary sticks and other baked goods.
But with all due respect to my Haifa passion, there’s nothing like a long leisurely breakfast stretching from morning until lunchtime, and sometimes accompanied by alcohol, to make for a great weekend. The city has an abundance of places to choose from, some new and some tried and true veterans – and some of them flying under the radar. Here are our best recommendations for breakfast and brunch in Tel Aviv right now.
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Hôtel de Ville
This might be the most Parisian place in town, serving a quiet and elegant brunch inspired by the City of Lights. On the menu you’ll find scrambled eggs with gruyere, avocado and creme fraiche; soft-boiled eggs with leek and spinach puree and Sainte Maure cheese on brioche; croque madame with ham, gruyere cheese and a sunny side up egg; and other less ordinary offerings. Closer to the afternoon you might want to turn your attention to the seafood and vegetable platter on ice, blini with salmon caviar and creme fraiche, the salmon gravlax, which comes with a delicious potato salad, or a veal tonsil croissant with pickled aioli lemon. The dishes are accompanied by a cocktail menu artfully created by mixologist Ariel Leizgold.
Hôtel de Ville, 230 Dizengoff Street, Tel Aviv. Brunch Friday and Saturday 9 A.M.–5 P.M. 03-9746999
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One of the most generous brunches in the city is hiding on a side street in Jaffa, at Beit Kandinof. It’s great value for the money – and significantly less expensive than other meals in the city. It’s located in a charming stone house with high ceilings and art that contends with the colors of the offerings on your plate.
You’ll start with an abundance of little bowls full of goodness, including herring, ikra (taramasalata), Hameiri cheese with hot peppers, tabbouleh with fish tartare, tzatziki, salad and more. Then you can choose your main course, perhaps fava hummus with whole lima beans, spinach and cheese burekas or seafood shakshuka. The meal will run you between 75 to 95 shekels. What’s more, there are three traditional cocktails to choose from – bloody mary, orange Campari and Jaffa sunrise – at the ridiculously low price of 25 shekels. I wish there were more places like this one.
Beit Kandinof, 14 Hazorfim Street, Jaffa. Brunch Friday and Saturday 11 A.M.–4 P.M. 03-6502938.
Claro’s brunch has been a Tel Aviv staple for a few years now with its signature dish: a meal for two made of carefully selected ingredients, including goat cheese, smoked pink trout, herring, chopped liver and challah with eggs and a salad. If you want to go overboard, there’s a ham and gouda toast with a crispy cornflake crust or French toast with a mountain of fresh fruit and sour cream ice cream.
Some new items have recently been added to the menu, such as green shakshuka with spinach, zucchini, feta cheese and pine nuts; jibneh cheese and mulukhiyah (Arab’s mallow) pastry with fresh vegetables and cucumber ayran; and the Claro sabich. But the steak and eggs on roasted brioche with bone marrow hollandaise sauce reigns over it all. The service is terrific and the cocktails, like the Claro Collins, the blood orange spritz or a huge glass of Pimm’s, turn Claro into the ultimate weekend escape.
Claro, 23 Ha’arbaa Street, Sarona, Tel Aviv. Brunch Friday and Saturday 9 A.M.–12:30 P.M. 03-6017777
Bar à Vin
Chefs Enav Ezagouri and Dana-Lee Berman have concocted a hedonistic brunch menu that’s overflowing with pleasures but still maintains its elegance. You can put together a meal from a number of a la carte items, recommended for sharing with a large group. The shadows of the bar during a night out give way to a family atmosphere on the weekends, with tables spilling over into a plaza that’s perfect for kids and wheels.
The menu includes soft scrambled eggs with bottarga and creme fraiche; Bellini-pickled salmon with salmon caviar; croque madame with beef stock; crispy chicken on a waffle with a sunny side up egg, maple syrup and mustard; beef tartare in a bun; and savory crepes with spinach, salami and Emmental cheese. You can also get pastries with Nutella and marshmallows and more. A varied wine list and classic cocktails fill out the menu.
Bar à Vin, 7 Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv. Brunch Friday and Saturday 11 A.M.–5 P.M. 050-3366622
This Italian place puts together a light and pleasant weekend meal. Recent additions to the menu are spuntinos, or snacks, at 36 shekels each: You’ll find sweet and spicy charred peppers with goat cheese, crudités, grilled mushrooms en papillote, Sicilian fisherman’s salad with potatoes and sardines, and smoked salmon with egg salad, feta cheese and chicken livers.
The eggs on offer include sunny side up with spinach and pancetta, a potato and truffle frittata, Italian shakshuka and a large assortment of cheese, sausages and top quality raw fish. Check out the more unusual offerings at the bar and ask the bartender to make you an Italian, vermouth-based spritz with a splash of Suze Liqueur.
Cicchetti, 58 Yehuda Halevi, Tel Aviv. Brunch Friday and Saturday, 12 P.M.–4 P.M. 03-6853499
A true gastronomical delight awaits in an alley off the Carmel Market. On Saturday the quiet is broken only by the sound of clinking glasses that’s music to your ears. The many small dishes at the center of the table that start the meal change weekly. Alongside excellent ikra you’ll find challah with yellow butter, fresh vegetables and a menu priced so you can enjoy this pearl without breaking the bank.
Dishes include crab burekas, eggs Benedict with salmon, ham or spinach, Tulum cheese, the Swiss potato dish rösti, shrimps a la plancha, pork sausages and more. Start with a bloody mary and move on to the wine menu, which is one of the most extensive in the country.
HaBasta, 4 Hashomer Street, Tel Aviv. Brunch Saturday 11 A.M.–4 P.M. 03-5169234
This bar at the entrance to the Carmel Market is open 24/7 and the fare here might not actually be called brunch. You won’t find eggs but if you want a cold beer, alcoholic apple cider, shots of Calvados, bourbon or fermented fruit liquor, you’ve come to the right place. Get acquainted with the special weekend menu, which showcases unique dishes and changes frequently. Recently it featured anthias sashimi in matcha green tea marinade, Spanish mackerel ceviche on fried rice paper with mint and sumac yoghurt, Chicken tempura and Chinese cabbage salad with Sriracha, mint, coriander and spicy peanuts, grilled calamari over yellow cherry tomato gazpacho and more. This is the place for the adventurous eater.
Haminzar, 60 Allenby Street, Tel Aviv. Brunch from 12 P.M. 03-5173015
La Repubblica de Ronimotti
It’s worth getting to know the weekend brunch at this Italian eatery, with its tranquil atmosphere and its private organic vegetable garden. The flagship breakfast dish is enough for two. It includes breads and pastries, frittata or eggs to order and small plates that include olives, muesli, panzanella salad, Emmental cheese, a wonderful smoked salmon with dill and capers and others. This is topped off with coffee and fresh-squeezed juice, all for only 154 shekels – a great deal. You can also order steak and eggs, poached eggs, sweet French toast and other dishes. Morning cocktails, like the bloody mary, are sold at a market-breaking 24 shekels.
La Repubblica di Ronimotti, 3 Mazeh Street, Tel Aviv. Brunch Friday 8:30 A.M.–12:45 P.M.; Saturday 9:30 A.M.–12:45 P.M.
The fact that this modest bistro serves up great food is even more true when it comes to their weekend brunch: local fare with a nod to Spain. You’ll find a classic meal with upgrades like merguez sausage, lamb bacon or veal sausage, as well as green shakshuka loaded with chard, leeks, Kadosh cheese and a bit of cream. There’s a fat Spanish torta with potatoes, lamb bacon and pimenton aioli, hummus with lamb or calamari served with Yemenite lachuch bread, and a changing platter of small appetizers. Cocktails at 20 shekels make it a reason to celebrate.
Babi, 106 Ben Yehuda Street, Tel Aviv. Brunch Friday and Saturday 12 P.M.–5 P.M.
With a beach location you can’t beat and brunch served all week long, this is the place to go to feel like you’re on vacation. The summer is the perfect time to relax on the open deck and enjoy the sun and the smell of the sea with Old Jaffa in the background. In the winter you’ll sit inside and feel like you’re on a ship at sea.
On the menu: Bacon and eggs with grilled tomatoes; leek and Parmesan omelet with basil; shrimp and asparagus scrambled eggs on toasted challah with aioli; grilled eggplant, ham and Caciotta cheese on toast; as well as pancakes and French toast.
The service here is great and the portions are particularly generous. For starters you’ll get breads, sweet baked goods, a saucer of butter, cream cheese, seasoned chutney, Souri – or Syrian – olives and homemade pastries. Order the morning meze such as tzatziki, smoked salmon with creme fraiche and honey, pickled matjes herring, ikra or pickled mullet ceviche with onion and sumac. The good cocktails and the lychee cava are even more delightful.
Manta Ray, 703 Yehezkel Kaufmann, Tel Aviv. Brunch all week long 9 A.M.–12 P.M. 03-5174773
Some of the best breakfasts in Tel Aviv are served here on the weekdays, but on the weekend Dallal – like life itself – goes into high gear. The lovely space in Neve Tzedek is particularly pleasant on Saturday mornings, when you can choose relatively light dishes from the large menu, such as eggs on sourdough toast with smoked salmon, guacamole, cream cheese and tomato; a “Jerusalem croissant” filled with spinach, a poached egg and Parmesan truffle mousse; a brioche bagel with boursin cheese; or tuna tartare on toasted challah – or you can go for a more serious main course.
If you overflow into lunch, why not get the forest mushroom and mascarpone tortellini, the som tam ceviche or the skewer of beef fillet with mashed potatoes and a warm mushroom salad? Dallal is great for family meals: Everyone will find what they want and you can pile on as many carbohydrates as you like.
Dallal, 10 Shabazi Street, Tel Aviv. Brunch Friday and Saturday 12 P.M.–5 P.M. 03-5109292