Enjoying an Israeli breakfast is one of the pleasures of a visit to Israel. Hotels, inns, restaurants and small cafés all offer one version or another of this famous breakfast.
Some places serve it throughout the day, so you can even have one for lunch.
Not planning a trip just yet? Try this breakfast at home!
What is an Israeli breakfast?
Typically it includes the following: fresh juice, coffee or tea, eggs of your choice, Israeli salad, a range of cheeses (both hard and soft), freshly baked bread, olives, jam and butter.
Like Israeli salad, this breakfast is not locally called “Israeli breakfast”. In restaurants and cafés it’s sometimes named after the establishment, or it is just called “breakfast”. But if you see a breakfast on the menu offering eggs, coffee/tea, salad, cheeses and juice – rest assured, it’s an Israeli breakfast!
Where does Israeli breakfast come from?
The origins of this popular breakfast are rooted in Israel’s early 20th century history.
workers started their first shift (in the fields, the dairy, etc.) at dawn. After a few hours they were usually ravenous (my husband who worked on a kibbutz can attest to this!), and would gather in the communal dining hall for breakfast.
Breakfast consisted of whatever was available on the kibbutz: fresh vegetables, fresh juice, eggs, bread and milk and other dairy products.
It was a simple meal, but compared to what most folks living in the cities and towns ate at that time, it was a meal fit for a king. The State of Israel was very poor in its early years (1950s), and the availability of produce was limited, and food was rationed.
(My father, who moved with his parents to Israel from Poland after World War II, recalls that the family was given one egg per week. He half–jokes that he was very upset when his brother was born a few years later, because he was no longer given that precious egg!)
So if someone from the city was invited to the kibbutz for a visit, it was like a vacation – not only because it was a chance to escape the towns for a while, but because the food was better and more plentiful.
Hotels Popularize Breakfast in Israel
As Israel’s hotel industry developed, it turned to the kibbutz for inspiration for breakfast. Because hotels had to observe the laws of kashrut (keeping kosher), they couldn’t offer non-kosher items familiar to many tourists (sausages, bacon) and couldn’t offer dairy foods with meat foods.
As a delicious solution, the hotel industry borrowed from and expanded on the kibbutz breakfast, leading to the extravagant buffet that is offered today in hotels throughout Israel.
In addition to the eggs, vegetable salad, cheeses, juice and breads, they also offer cereals, fish (herring, smoked salmon, mackerel), a variety of salads, yogurts (including labane), fruits, granolas, blintzes, waffles, and other baked goods.
Where can I try one?
The options for Israeli breakfast in Israel are infinite. If you’re not eating at a hotel, try one of these top restaurants for breakfast, or one of the more popular café chains: Lehem Erez,
Café Joe, Café Greg, and Arcaffé.
You can also make your own at home!
If you’re not in Israel, but you are in New York, Toronto, or Romania, you’re in luck! Aroma operates three branches abroad. They offer a breakfast of eggs, salad, cheeses, olives, and bread with one beverage (juice or coffee). You may want to consider ordering the additional beverage just to complete the meal.
In New York:
145 Greene St.& Houston St., SoHo, 7 days a week: 07:00-23:00 Phone: 212-533-1094
161 west 72nd St., 7 days a week: 07:00-23:00 Phone:+1-212-595-7700
In Toronto: 500 Bloor St., West Monday to Friday: 07:30-23:00, Saturday to Sunday: 08:00-23:00 Phone: 416-536-7750
In Constanta, Romania: Marrone Rosso Café, City Park Mall, Alexandru Lapusneanu Bvd. 7 days a week, 08:00-00:30 Phone: 402-4182-5011
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