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Nov 29, 2008 08:08 AM

middle eastern breakfast/brunch place

This is my first time posting. I've been a long time lurker and until today I have always found the answer I was looking for.
I'm in search for a restaurant that serves a typical middle eastern/Israeli breakfast? Any ideas?


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  1. I don't know what a typical Israeli breakfast consists of, but there are two Middle Eastern places that get consistent reviews for their breakfast and you might get the fare you are looking for in either of the places. First is Byblos, an Iranian restaurant on Laurier E. I've been multiple times, and it is always a pleasure.

    Another place I've been meaning to try Balila in Ville St Laurent. They serve Lebanese food, and they were multiple raving reports and reviews about their breakfast.

    8 Replies
    1. re: emerilcantcook

      When living in Israel, we would typically have breakfast that was described as 'Hara b'leben' (a crass term for 'Yogurt with stuff in it'). With the exception of Saturday the norm was yogurt, fruit, salad, bread, and cheese.

      I got hooked on dipping my pita in to a plate of thick yogurt with olive oil and zaatar. if you want to bring home some good thick Yogurt (leben), it can be purchased at Arkhavan and Andonis). Good Zaatar, can be found an Cananut on Mazurette, perpendicular to l'acadie, in front of Marche Centrale.

      If you want to eat out, I recommend Byblos.

      1. re: emerilcantcook

        Another vote for Byblos. Ate there tonight -- great as usual. And brunch is great. Beteavon.

        1. re: rictitious

          So I have to respond with a different opinion about Byblos:

          I went for dinner maybe a year ago and it was great. I went with my gf and her Persian dance troop, all of who knew the staff and owner. It was a a fantastic meal. We got a varieity of off the menu items and everything was great.

          On the strength of that meal and recommendations on this board, we tried it out for brunch. I have never been more disappointed. First, the food:

          I ordered what seemed to be pretty standard from what I saw other tables receiving; a selection of breads, a cafe au lait, and eggs with dates and spices. The breads seemed stale and ordinary, like what you might scrap together from your pantry. The eggs were completely unseasoned and had a strange gray color. The taste was kinda gross, and I normally love middle eastern flavors. For this, I payed far far too much. Oh yes, there was also some runny jam which tasted like store bought with water added.

          And the service:

          Normally, I don't even notice service, unless it's great or horrific. This experience was the latter. The waitress LITERALLY threw our menus on our table as she walked past, took our order without a word and without looking at us, and then delivered a plate or food, I kid you not, from around a corner we were sitting near. We just saw this arm reach out around the corner and BAM, the food was dropped on our table.

          So yeah, I just don't get what people see in this place.

          As far as what I can recommend, there is an awesome middle eastern cafe on the corner of Parc and Milton called Recontre (or something like that) that makes a killer zaatar. It's hard to find as the sign is small, but it's on the north west corner.


          1. re: The Chemist

            I agree with you regarding the service. If you get the owner, she overwhelms you with her "nosy mother in law" ways; but she cares and she feeds you. If you get one of the hipsters that are hired staff, as you describe, they throw things in front of you. The place is busy, so they don't care. But the space is lovely, and I always had very good meals. In fact their feta "omelette" (which is actually a creamy scrambled dish) is one of my favorite egg dishes in the planet. The breads, I am also not the biggest fan as well. I think they are dry in an weird way; but they go oddly well with the jams.

            One correction needs to be made about the jams. think it is actually the style of the jam in the region to be a little runny. Some of the things they use (roses, orange flowers, etc) are a little bit too intense to make Euro style jams. Yeah they are nothing like thick cut orange marmalade in terms of texture, but they are made to drizzle or dip on your bread rather than being spread thickly.

            I guess because I grew up with this style of jam, I never thought they were inferior; but I kind of see your point. Also, I think all are made in house; at least that is how they are publicized.

            1. re: emerilcantcook

              I absolutely adore the jams! I also love the wooden tables and how nice and airy the place is when they open the windows. Apart from that I'm not blown away by the food. I have yet to try the feta omeltte though.

              1. re: emerilcantcook

                Yeah, of the meal in general, the jams were the best thing (relatively speaking of course) that we had.

                It just struck me as so odd the massive and unexplainable difference in quality between the brunch and the dinner (the dizzy, if I spelled that right, in particular). I was left feeling so regretful because I could have gotten the 'Bon Ben Je Prend Tout' at L'Acadamie for what I paid for stale bread, and unseasoned gray eggs. Probably would have waited less in line too! =D

                It just boggles my brain why it's so popular. I have rarely been steered wrong when so many people recommend a place. You begin to wonder if you're broken. Or maybe I was right back in third grade and everyone in the world ARE robots except for me. This could explain a few things in fact. =D


                1. re: The Chemist

                  The thing is you have to stick with what they do best and that is the feta and the tomato omelettes. As for the bread, they toast in a small toaster oven, explaining why it'd dry. But the brioche bread with poppy seeds and raisins is really good when tipped in a bowl of cardamom hot chocolate. Yeah the service is sketchy but I don't go there for that, I go there for the food. That being said, we used to go there very weekend when we lived nearby and noticed that the quality was really varrying from a week to another.

                  1. re: Campofiorin

                    It's possible that I went on an off day then I suppose. Maybe I orderd the wrong thing (off of a very small menu, however).

                    Although even on their best day I would not be able to justify paying what they are asking for a few pieces of ordinaryish bread, a spoon of jam, and 2 eggs with some spices. Do you ever go somewhere and think, 'wow, I could do this better for one quarter the price in about 5 minutes'? I rarely return anywhere that makes me think this.

                    On a side note, isn't it a shame when you frequent a place and you notice the quality beginning to slip? Makes me want to cry.


        2. Don't know if it's what you have in mind, but knafeh is definitely Middle Eastern and definitely served only in the morning.

          And I third or fourth Byblos. Great brunch, warm Plateauish setting and friendly service.

          1. thanks for the recommendation. i'll try it out and see how it measures up.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ganit

              There is an Egyptian resto called Omda in Laval. They have cute little ommelletes and an all you can eat lebanese style breakfast. The food there is awesome. They bring you veggies, pita and hummus and probably other stuff. I haven`t tried this breakfast though, just the eggs.

              784 boulevard Cure-Labelle
              Laval, QC H7V 2V3
              (450) 681-4104