Breakfast is hands down my favorite meal. Even so, morning time is my least favorite time of day. This has turned me into one of those people who enjoys breakfast for dinner on a very consistent basis. Can you blame me? Just imagine: a homemade biscuit topped with a cheese-covered eggs over medium with a side of spiced potato wedges; a plateful of crepes filled with avocado and labneh or apple butter and halva; a cheese omelet, diner style, with a side of Jewish rye toast and crispy French fries; toast with almond butter and banana slices drizzled with honey; chocolate chip pancakes with apple honey syrup; hard-boiled eggs in a pita with Israeli salad, avocado, and cheese… I could continue for hours.
My obsession with breakfast left me thrilled with Benedict, a 24-7 breakfast restaurant with two Tel Aviv locations. In the middle of a long stroll from our apartment to the Tel Aviv port and back (with a detour through HaYarkon Park), we stopped for breakfast at the Ben Yehuda location.
Benedict is incredibly appealing from the outside. It combines classic with modern with its large glass-front exterior, white woodwork, and somewhat rustic interior appearance. Not only that, but the restaurant is always bustling. We wanted to sit outside to enjoy the beautiful Tel Aviv weather, but unfortunately the outdoor area was a smoking section, so we opted to sit indoors instead.
We surveyed the menu for some time. While there were numerous options, I had trouble picking a meal. Despite my love for breakfast foods, not much on Benedict’s menu jumped out at me. I think part of this may be attributable to my unmet expectation that a classic American diner omelet dish would be on the menu (cheese omelet with toast and fries). Benedict’s breakfast fare was of a more gourmet variety, which was certainly an acceptable alternative to classic American diner food. They had Israeli breakfast options, pancakes, sandwiches, salads, and even something they called “egg balls.” What was not acceptable, though, was that Benedict’s did not have French fries. When my shock finally subsided and rational thought returned, I was able to select the eggplant and feta cheese shakshuka. Doug, meanwhile, ordered a feta cheese and tomato croque: a grilled sandwich with pesto, tomatoes and feta topped with a fried egg and hollandaise sauce. We both got a fresh drink, a hot drink, and a salad with our meals. We also ordered a crisp and refreshing Benedict ice tea special that had mint leaves, lemon, and ginger.
After we ordered, our waitress brought us a basket with a variety of rolls and spreads. We enjoyed munching on the bread, slathered with butter, jam, and/or nutella while working on a crossword puzzle and waiting for our food.
While I had trouble picking my meal initially, I was certainly thrilled with it once it arrived. My shakshuka was amazing. The tomato sauce was wonderfully seasoned, the eggs were perfectly cooked, the eggplant contributed an excellent smoky flavor, and the slightly salty feta cheese gave it all a fresh and light taste. There was enough of it that I was able to have enough left over for a mini-shakshuka serving at home the next day.
Doug’s meal was good, too. The egg atop the sandwich comprised of pesto, tomato, and cheese, was perfectly runny, ideal for popping over and soaking into the well-toasted bread. His one qualm with the rustic meal? The ratio of bread to other ingredients was off—there was too much bread and not enough of the other elements of the meal to balance it.
We finished our meals and enjoyed lattes as we completed our crossword puzzle before ambling home happy, full, and thankful for places that serve breakfast 24-7.