Apr 1, 2011

Tel Aviv: Breaking the Lox of my heart

By Chelsea Truesdell

I'm not sure if this is the result of growing up in Seattle, but often times when I wake up in the morning I crave the flawless combination of a bagel topped with velvety smooth cream cheese, tomatoes, crisp cucumbers and fresh smoked salmon.The journey to satisfy this craving began the first morning I woke up in Tel Aviv. After a late night of reveling in the Tel Aviv party scene, I knew that my pastime favorite food would ease the hangover throb. Luckily a friend knew exactly where to take me, to her favorite Tel Aviv restaurant, Bagels & Coffee on Diezengoff.

We walked into a narrow bagel shop crowded with the Friday regulars- old men sipping their morning coffee, teenage boys enjoying a high protein breakfast sandwich after the gym, a young couple sharing a plate of tuna salad under an awning.

Inside, a refrigerated case was lined with vegetable salads, various cream cheeses, sliced meats, and assorted fish dishes, all freshly prepared that morning. The wall was adorned with shelves housing an assortment of freshly baked bagels. I didn’t even know where to begin but I knew a bagel sandwich would do the trick.

I ordered a toasted onion bagel with cream cheese, salmon, sliced tomato and cucumber, and chopped onion along with a big glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. My first bite instantly cleared any pain in my head and the second bite took me bagel nirvana. The sandwich was perfectly prepared with a thick spread of cream cheese layered with all the accouterments my mouth was watering for. I fell more in love with Bagels & Coffee with every bite I took; I was now a Friday regular at this bagel restaurant in Tel Aviv.

Since moving to Israel I have successfully encountered a number of Tel Aviv restaurants offering salmon and cream cheese in various ways. I am lucky enough to live in the center of Tel Aviv where every other step you can be sure to find a place to eat. On the corner of Bograshov and King George is a café named Sequella which offers everything from Israeli breakfast to fajitas. I have indulged in a number of meals from there but the one dish that keeps me coming back for more is their Israeli-Norwegian Brunch. I first ordered this dish at 8:00 at night when I was suffering from a bad cold and had a craving for salmon (no surprise) in my mouth. If you ever go here, you must treat yourself to this delectable breakfast, no matter what time of day.

The Israeli-Norwegian brunch consists of a big toasted buttery croissant sliced in half and filled with cream cheese, salmon, roasted sweet red peppers, and a fried egg with a side of big leafy green salad. If you are looking for a combination of sweet and salty, creamy and toasty, this is the meal for you. After I finished the Israeli-Norwegian Brunch I swear my nose stopped running, my throat stopped itching, and my belly stopped grumbling. Maybe it’s a cure-all meal or just extremely scrumptious, whatever it is, it’s a must.
The only other Tel Aviv restaurant I have enjoyed a salmon breakfast so finger-licking good (so far) has been at Olive on Bograshov. I was going to a bakery nearby for a quick breakfast but came to find it was closed for Purim. At this point I was starving and decided to eat at the next place I came across. I usually try to refrain from eating at chain restaurants but when a girl has got to eat, a girl has got to eat. Olive welcomed me in and I ordered the “French Breakfast,” mistakenly thinking it must include French toast… boy was I wrong. The waiter brought out a plate with a toasted sandwich filled with tomato, salmon, and cream cheese topped with two perfect sunny-side up eggs. On the side was a fresh salad in a sweet almond dressing and crispy golden-brown potatoes. Simple yet scrumptious!
The culinary world of Tel Aviv has justly proved to me it is capable of satisfying a little Jewish girl with a constant craving for salmon and cream cheese. I have indulged in various versions of my favorite ingredients, each dish better than the next. I want to thank the Tel Aviv restaurants for making me feel at home.


  1. Try the gravlax-on-a-blini brunch (on Friday/Saturday afternoons) at la Brasserie, on Kikar Rabin. Amazingly delicious, topped with a cilantro herb salad and hollandaise sauce, and actually not that expensive (their regular menu is in my celebrations-only budget). Comes with a cocktail, bread/muffin basket, and coffee for 56 shekels.

  2. We love Brasserie, now we've got to go there for brunch!

    yum !

  3. The Israeli-Norwegian brunch consists of a big toasted buttery croissant sliced in half and filled with cream cheese, salmon, roasted sweet red peppers, and a fried egg with a side of big leafy green salad