Breakfast in Israel is kind of an amazing thing, and a vegetarian’s paradise.
Our first venue was the Dan Panorama Hotel in Jerusalem where we were treated to an unbelievable buffet that is included in the room price. Five enormous tables had perhaps fifty or more choices including cheeses, yogurts, and labnehs, breads of all sorts, sweet and savory pastries such as borekas, half a dozen fresh salads that changed daily, an omelette and pancake station, fresh fruit, fresh squeezed orange and grapefruit juice, great mounds of halvah, and I’m surely forgetting some things! Most everything was impeccably fresh and the amazing Israeli produce and dairy products made it unforgettable. The biggest problem I had was not to stuff myself so much that I couldn’t eat falafel at a reasonable lunch hour.
When we moved to the Vered Hagalil Guest Ranch in the northern part of the country near the Sea of Galilee, there was again a buffet though of more modest proportions, appropriate to the small and rustic resort. Still all of those superb salads and dairy products to die for, and much needed espresso too.
In Tel Aviv, the buffet at the Metropolitan Hotel and Suites was shockingly bad. It was fairly large, maybe half the size of the Dan Panorama, but everything was sad looking and dirty and tasteless. It was like finding myself at a Residence Inn in the States trying to eke out a breakfast from reconstituted waffle strips and imitation egg curds. We didn’t go back after the first day.
Instead we started breakfasting at Yotvata, a kibbutz-run, kosher dairy, diner-style restaurant with several locations. The plate in the pictures at the top of this post costs all of 42 shekels (about $10), and that includes also a huge pitcher of an absolutely fresh fruit smoothie of your choice (get the mango!), and warm bread. Served on a patio across the street from the Mediterranean no less. Incredible. I don’t think the $10 would even cover the food cost for a restaurant in the US. Denny’s should take one look at that picture and lock its doors in shame.
And of course if you have been out partying all night in Tel Aviv, a plate of salads might not sound so good. This fellow below opted for fries and a snooze, then dined-and-dashed after the security guard woke him up!