Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Jerusalem Coffeeshops / Brunch / Breakfast Spots

Living in a foreign country / environment teaches you a lot about your priorities. One of the things I discovered I like to do is eat breakfast / brunch on a weekend morning, and read, work, blog, write, and code in a café with wifi after brunch. 

Because Jerusalem is a city where the three main populations have three different modes of weekend, finding the "perfect brunch spot" was quite a challenge. 

My ideal set of characteristics for a brunch spot / coffeeshop is: 

  • Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or some kind of beverage
  • Cheap good food to eat
  • Unlimited free wifi
  • A power outlet
  • Working phone service
  • Walking distance from home
  • Open on Fridays and Saturdays
  • The staff let you sit as long as you want

Notice how I don't care if the staff speaks English or not. 

After exploring the city a bit on foot, I've made this ordered list of my favorite coffeeshops / brunch spots in Jerusalem. I have not ventured to find coffee shops accessible only by bus / train, since I didn't want to spend the time or money doing so. 

My recommendation is to not sit at places like Aroma Café or Café Hillel, which are just coffee shop chains with bad coffee that cater completely to foreign tourists. Try for the more interesting coffeeshops / brunch places along the way.

Places with Wifi

1. The Gallery Cafe in Sheikh Jarrah
My favorite place by far. They have the cheapest breakfast / brunch option of all the places I have been. For 15 NIS, you can get eggs, toast, and a small cucumber / tomato salad. For another 12 NIS or so you can get a cappucino. They have outlets, unlimited wifi, phone service, and are a 15/20 minute walk from my apartment. Usually their hours are 10am to 10pm, but they are sometimes closed on Fridays.

2. The Educational Bookshop in Bab Az-Zahra

Not only a cafe, but also a bookshop where you can buy your mostly-Israeli-and-Palestinian-conflict-themed books. They also have a selection of translators, phrasebooks, guidebooks, and the like. The staff are extremely friendly, speak amazing English, and offer a range of coffees, teas, sandwiches, and light snacks for a decent price. They have the best hours of all the coffeeshops I frequent - the owners cater to foreigners and don't often close for holidays and weekends.

3. Café de Paris in Rechavia
Good wifi, outlets, and a big breakfast are definitely pluses for this coffeeshop. The drawback is that it is closed on Saturdays. The staff speaks very good English and you can sit as long as you want to nurse that coffee.

4. Tmol Shilshom off of Jaffa Street in Nachlaot
First and foremost a bookshop, Tmol Shilshom is the counterpart (not the equivalent) of the Educational Bookshop in the west side of Jerusalem. There are occasionally chats with literary figures, a selection of books, and a selection of decent breakfast items. The average cost for a plate of food is around 50 NIS (a bit more than I'd like to pay for a weekly brunch outing where I can get better-tasting food at The Gallery Café for half the price) and lacking power outlets, they have wifi, a good atmosphere, and a friendly staff.

Places just for breakfast / brunch without wifi

1. Cafe Paradiso in Rechavia
A selection of good food, but a bit on the expensive side. I do like their cappucinos though. Also closed on Saturdays.

2. Mamila Café in Mamila
A selection of good food that for being in Mamila, a shopping complex right in the middle of town next to the Old City, is reasonably priced. The drawback is that they are closed on Saturday mornings. 

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