The top five breakfast options in Jerusalem
From bagel sandwiches grabbed on the go to slow-simmered vegetable stews, from artfully brewed espresso concoctions to deep-fried eggplant topped with picked mango sauce, Jerusalem has you covered with the morning re-fueling options. Classic and experimental breakfast offerings of many ethnic origins, and with pricing to meet every budget, and morning-ready seating atmospheres are to be enjoyed all around the Holy City. Indeed, GoJerusalem.com presents the best that Jerusalem has to offer for breakfast.
There's a reason Jerusalem hospitality professionals like to tout the famous "Israeli breakfast," and it's not because of a few cut up cucumbers and tomatoes. While salad is considered a strictly afternoon or evening affair in many places around the world, in Israel, a smattering of salads and spreads often constitute the centerpiece of a breakfast that can also include shakshuka (a simmered egg and tomato-based stew dish, pictured) chavitat yerek (a fresh herb-infused omelet, usually served on bread), seasonal fruits, smoked fish, a number of yogurts and hard and soft cheeses including labaneh (a semi-bitter Middle Eastern dairy spread), cream of wheat, croissants, bread, bagels, coffee, fresh-squeezed juice - and yes, some cucumbers and tomatoes.
Many hotels around Jerusalem offer the whole spread and even more to guests and visitors, but the airy terrace of the David Citadel Hotel, which overlooks the Old City walls, and the charming gardens of the American Colony Hotel, amid a courtyard rich with history, are arguably the cream of the crop.
But hotels aren't the only places to eat the most important meal of the day. A number of Jerusalem's top-flight restaurants open early and offer a number of breakfast options, including some alluring multi-course breakfast combo deals, usually including eggs done to your liking, fresh-squeezed juice, fresh coffee, a large leafy salad, and a selection of cheeses and spreads.
At Lavan, you can have your eggs with a view, and if you're really into pickles, they even offer a Polish-style breakfast. The newish ultra-chic Mamilla Café (attached to the hotel and the swanky outdoor shopping mall) also offers an amazing view of Jaffa Gate to go with its great breakfast, and a special Friday brunch menu means that once a week they take it up a notch.
If you'd rather watch people than buildings while breakfasting, Caffit is the place, where fitting the Israeli breakfast onto one table is a feat of modern engineering. And Restobar gives breakfast a touch of English by adding sausage to its shakshuka. There are many more local coffee shops that serve a more than decent breakfast, the top among them being the literary-themed Tmol Shilshom, the Baka greenery-set Café B'Gina, indipendent roasters Café Modus, the immaculately decorated Café Kadosh, downtown cafe-bistro haunt Alice and the art strudent-dominated Nocturno.
Many national café chains with branches in Jerusalem also offer breakfast deals that can't be beat - despite the stigma of going to a corporate restaurant, sometimes the food is top-notch. Witness Café Neeman / Sambooki's style of letting you pick your own pastries, for pricing by the weight, while they make the coffee. At Cup O' Joe, a dizzying selection of coffee accompanies a number of quality morning food options, including some fancy salads, pastries and more.
Café Hillel also offers a stand-up breakfast with all the goodies you would expect from the coffee shop, and although it's now an international brand name, the Hillel Street branch maintains credibility as the one that started it all.
If falafel is the national food of Israel, then sabich is Israel's national food for those times when it's too early to eat Israel's real national food. Consisting of a hard-boiled egg stuffed into a pita along with fried eggplant, pickles, tehina and amba (a Middle Eastern tangy mango chutney), the sabich is considered by many to be the perfect breakfast on the go. Hasabachiya is devoted to the art of sabich and makes a damn fine one, though some swear by Sabich Llo Tasbich.
Of course, Jerusalem wouldn't be the eternal capital of the Jewish people without a bagel shop or two, and what better way to start your day than some cream cheese or butter on a baked or boiled treat. Emek Refaim's Tal Bagels offers all the accoutrements of breakfast, with a wide selection of mouth-watering bagels, fix-ins and spreads. Their outdoor patio also can't be beat for people gazing in the morning. Across town, at Zion Square, American-owned Holy Bagel does a decent-enough imitation of what New York does best.
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