Reinventing the Israeli Breakfast

Breakfast at Cafe 99

Israeli breakfasts are iconic for their lavish spreads of fresh fruits, salads, cheeses, and pastries. That said, it hasn’t evolved very much, staying pretty much the same for decades. I love hotel breakfasts in particular, but even I needed to admit that they are getting a bit tired.

That is why I was excited when I heard about what Chef Aved Alfia has been working on at Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv. He’s taken the traditional Israeli breakfast and added a more eclectic vibe to launch their new Cafe 99. The Israeli breakfast got a refresh that we didn’t even know it needed.

Chef Alfia created a hybrid menu that includes a patisserie buffet, salads served to the table, and main dishes made to order. The experience is elevated with a French influence and farm-to-table produce.

We went on a blustery cold winter day. Because the Dan Hotel sits on the front line of the beach in Tel Aviv, we got to watch the waves crashing against the shore while we ate. The waitstaff was very attentive and brought us hot beverages as soon as we sat down.

We started the meal with coffee and an array of pastries from the buffet. Soon the table was covered with the starter dishes of pickled salmon with remoulade sauce, caesar salad, Israeli market salad, and Aruk (an Iraqi vegetable hash brown).

We had plenty of time for a leisurely meal, so we enjoyed our salads and fresh-squeezed orange juice. All of it was delicious but the locally made pickled salmon was our favorite. It was soft, with a buttery texture and the remoulade was creamy and complimented the fish perfectly. We enjoyed it so much that we ordered a second helping.

The main dishes are a significant departure from the typical Israeli breakfast. Each item was rich, complex, and made to order. We ordered the Eggs Benedict, Jerusalem Artichokes with poached eggs brie & white butter sauce, and the Bread Pudding. The poached eggs were served on a thick and tasty pastry, and the accompanying sauces were rich and creamy. While the eggs were delicious, the bread pudding was exceptional with chantilly cream and fresh strawberries. It was the star of the breakfast for me.

My dining partner finished off the breakfast with a piece of cheesecake but I was content with another coffee. The sumptuous menu was bright and warm, perfect for a cold and rainy day. While this menu really wouldn’t fit in the heat of the summer, it doesn’t have to because the menu will be changing and evolving with the seasons. I look forward to seeing the menu as it evolves and what Cafe 99 will be serving when they open for lunch and dinner.

About the Author
Sarah Nadav is a Behavioral Economist and member of the World Economic Forum Expert Network. She is a social entrepreneur who has built two fintech startups. Her work has been geared towards people in debt who are going through a financial crisis. She is an activist for diversity in tech and is one of Linkedin Top Voice for Entrepreneurs and Venture Capitalists.
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