Lately many restaurants in Tel Aviv started serving brunch over the weekends. This is perfect for us, seeing as how we mostly go out to eat on the weekends. We are always looking for new places that serve more than just the all-Israeli-breakfast that had become so prevalent lately.
One of these places is Cafe Europa, which recently launched an exciting brunch menu, served on Friday and Saturday from 11:30 until 16:00. Cafe Europa is located in a charming building on Rothschild boulevard with a intimate courtyard separated from the busy street. It is owned by Chef Sharon Cohen, who also heads Shila, Florentine House and the neighbouring restaurant Shipudei Europa.
The menu being offered for brunch is so diverse and enables you to compose a variety of meals – whether lighter or heavier, based on meat, seafood or fish. The menu is divided into sections according to price, the cheapest being (29₪ \ $7.5) and the most expensive – (79₪ \ $20.5). On the more affordable side you can find dishes like Emmental and Schinken Baguette (39₪ \ $10), Scandinavian Ashkenaz – Latkes, Smoked Salmon, Steamed Spinach, Poached Egg and Crème fraîche (49₪ \ $12.5) and the more expensive part of the menu includes Ga Ga Brioche – Duck Confit, Fried Eggs and Maple (79₪ \ $20.5) and Burekas with Shrimps, Scallops, Goat Cheese and Eggs (69₪ \ $18).
We booked a table for 11:30 but the restaurant wasn’t full for the most part during our two hour meal. If this is representative of all weekends, it means Cafe Europa is a good choice for a fun spontaneous brunch. We were seated right under a heater which kept us warm and cozy in the chilly morning. They don’t serve freshly squeezed juice so we just stuck with coffee and water. During our meal we sampled 4 courses.
I requested our dishes to arrive in a staggered fashion and the staff kept true to their promise. We started light and continued to heavier, gluten based dishes. First to arrive was the Italian Artichoke Carpaccio with Balsamic and Parmesan Cheese (29₪ \ $7.5). We also received a basket full of challah bread, with butter, olive oil and balsamic and olives (free of charge). The artichoke carpaccio was really good, with all ingredients feeling fresh and seasoned properly. The challah bread was amazingly soft and along with the silky butter was a fine match to the artichoke.
Next came the Asparagus, Cauliflower Cream, Soft Egg and Black Tobiko (39₪ \ $10). The fantastic smell, the beautiful presentation and the taste – I LOVED everything about it. Every bite you take is an explosion of umami flavor and a fun play of different textures and consistencies. I think this dish is a winner, especially for its price point.
And now for the big guns – Shrimp Roll and Fries (59₪ \ $15.5) and Baby Doughnut with Crab Meat (49₪ \ $12.5). The Shrimp Roll dish was the most disappointing of all mainly because of the bun. I think a more accurate way to describe the dish would be “Shrimp Sliders”. The two buns were dry and dense. They reminded me of scones and detracted from the dish. In a photo of this dish uploaded by Chef Sharon Cohen to his FB page, this dish is served in a golden brioche bun. I wish they would have stuck with the same version they advertise online.
The Baby Crab Doughnuts, on the other hand, where a delightful surprise. The filling was moist and tasty and the doughnuts were soft and not too oily. The ratio of filling to bread was also satisfying.
We were too stuffed at this point, and nothing on the dessert menu peaked our curiosity so (and I can’t believe I’m writing this) decided to skip dessert.
The service was overall efficient and courteous but I do keep in mind the place wasn’t full so I don’t know if the same holds when the place is packed full. Along with the relaxed service, the funk/fusion music in the background added nicely to our calm and cozy winter morning brunch. We had a fantastic time and will surely be back again to try the other dishes on Cafe Europa’s brunch menu.
Cafe Europa Online: