Friday morning, Shuk Tzafon is packed with people grabbing food and loading their baskets for the weekend. Entirely unbeknownst to many of them, a huge, spacious deli had opened just a minute’s walk from their very location. Agatha is more than a deli, though, as it offers a casual dining experience where you can get a taste of the great quality ingredients it has to offer. If you always envied the Europeans for their ostentatious delis, you’ll just love Agatha. Visiting there will make you forget you’re in Tel Aviv, if just for a few blissful moments.
It’s hard to not be dazzled by all the wealth Agatha has to offer. It’s not for nought that it has often been referred to in the Israeli media as a “Foodie’s paradise”. The owner of Agatha, Offer Elpeleg is an entrepreneur and businessman. He used his connections to offer (no pun intended… kinda) imported delicacies that can’t be commonly found in Israel. These include premium cheese, sausage, fish, oil, mustard, wine, artisanal butter, pasta, cookies and more. Strolling around I kept discovering new and interesting items, resulting in endless laps around the deli.
Besides all the goodies waiting for you to take home, Agatha offers in-house dining with a few tables, as well as a bar and some tables outside (which would be nice once the temperatures cool down). The menu, printed on paper, includes some alcohol and many dishes honoring the fresh ingredients and produce the deli offers. If you take a peek at the display counter you’ll find attractive sandwiches as well.
We arrived at noon to find that all the tables inside were already full, and patiently waited for about 20 minutes for a table to become available (with no complaint, really, we realized the place was packed). While the food was tasty and well presented, the service had its hiccups with the waiting staff clearly stressed out because of the rush. The service improved as the place emptied out, and this feels like a result of Agatha’s growing pains.
Since no Friday morning is complete without an alcoholic beverage, we ordered ourselves two glasses of Cava with Amarena cherry (19₪\$5).
Bread with Echire butter (14₪\$4) – A popular choice among Michelin star chefs, Echire is one of the most exclusive and expensive butter in the world. It has a remarkable spreadability and a distinct combination of tang and acidity. Paired with a freshly baked bread, it elevates any breakfast and ours was no exception.
Caprese salad – Mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and basil (34₪\$9)
Smoked Salmon with creme fraiche (53₪\$14) – with sliced red onion, capers and dill.
Prosciutto with melon (56₪\$15) – with chopped spinach.
Towards the end of the meal, all the tables received a small plate of tzatziki with and roasted peppers and croutons.
All of the dishes demonstrate that when you pair fine produce and ingredients with good seasoning, the result is brilliant. They all proved to be fresh, tasty and just right for a slow Friday brunch.
We didn’t leave empty handed and bought home some goods such as Tortellini with pumpkin and parmigiano (32₪\$8.5), dulce de leche (32₪\$8.5), Ferrarini butter (22₪\$6) and durum wheat pasta (15₪\$4).