I’ve written about kanafeh before…my favorite dessert in the world. I had the great pleasure of introducing my wife and son to kanafeh during our recent trip to Israel. Here are two places I strongly recommend for really tasty kanafeh.
Kanafeh is a traditional Arab dessert made with layers of cheese and dough, topped in pistachios and drenched in rose water syrup.
Best Kanafeh In Jerusalem – Ja’far Sweets
I would say the best kanafeh in all of Israel was at Ja’far Sweets in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is located a short walk from the Damascus Gate (Khan Al-Zeit Street // +972 2-628-3582). After a long day in Bethlehem, we arrived around 5:00PM, just as fresh batch arrived from the oven.
This was the best 17 NIS (~$5) every spent. The cheese, the pistachios, syrup…simply delicious (and it totally spoiled our dinner, but was totally worthwhile).
Augustine was skeptical at first, but once he tried it he wanted it all for himself…
Just note, sadly, this places closes early…about 8PM. No late nights snacks here.
Best Kanafeh In Tel Aviv – Yaffa Knafeh
I asked my waiter at The Jaffa if he had any kanefeh for dessert. He smiled and apologized, saying the hotel did not have any. But he advised me to take a walk to Yaffa Knafeh, the “best” kanafeh in the world. He warned me there would be a 30 minute wait.
That convinced me. If the place was that popular, it had to be good. So while my wife and son slept, I ventured out to Yaffa Knafeh (Rehov Oley Zion 24 // +972 54-298-4149) and got in line. A host from the bakery ventured out with free baklava tarts for everyone waiting in line.
The bakery is tiny and a bouncer let people in as people departed. Finally, I made it inside. Reaching the front of the line, I ordered kanefeh with ice cream, holding back on the coffee since it was now nearly midnight.
It was delicious! I must say, not as delicious as Ja’far in Jerusalem, but very, very good and well worth the wait.
Although more a Palestinian/Jordanian treat than an Israeli one, don’t miss trying kanefeh while you are in Israel. I cannot wait to return to both places!
> Read More: The Best Airline Dessert. Ever.
Matthew, These food/travel reviews are unique and are enjoyable to read. Food and culture are a very important part of the travel experience. The airlines reviews are great, but this aspect of your blog makes it interesting in a fun and thoughtful way. I love to fly in a private flat bed seat, but the food cannot be ignored!
Thanks for this tip! Taking my kids there for Passover/Easter week. I know it’s a crazy busy time, but it’s our Spring Break, so…. I lived in Jerusalem a few semesters of college and visited again a few years ago, and I’ve never heard of kanefeh. Can’t wait to try it!
What language should one use to order? Should one learn a little Hebrew or Russian, enough to order? And Arabic to order at the Ja’far Sweets?
I used to have the same problem ordering Cantonese (Chinese) dim sum but I learned the names of a few of the items so I use a combination of Canto-english even though I don’t know enough to construct a sentence.
Everyone speaks in English (a little bit) in the Old City. But you can just say Kanafeh, then Shukran when they hand it to you, and hand them the money when you finish and no one will know you don’t speak Arabic! 😉
Fantastic!!! My wife’s family is from the ME so we are used to eat all sorts of amazing food including this one. You should have more reviews of restaurants in your blog.
I assume this thing is the same as kunefe in Turkish. When I had it, it was delicious, highly recommended for sure 🙂
Sorry Mr Matthew
There is no thing it is name Israeli an Knaffeh
The Knaffeh is Palestinian origin 100 %
And it is from Naples
Be sure from your post before you shared body
Free Palestine for ever
And nothing named Israel only in your mid
This may be very good knaffeh, but for the real good stuff you have to head north. Al Babur in Um Al Fahm / Yoqneam have wonderful knaffeh, in Nazareth you have real good places.
Was it really 20 ILS for a piece of Baklava? Or was it a whole pie or something? That is kind of expensive. I can get a piece of Baklava for 80 Cents -$1.25 at a Middle Eastern Bakery in the southern state where I live.
Food is very expensive in Israel. More expensive than Switzerland or London…
I know this is private but Augustine needs a little brother or sister before he gets too old. Then the kanafeh can be shared.
Man you must try at ..sultan sweets ..in abugosh village the best and original knafe that you will never forget the taste and the quality you will not find in any place in Israel after that you will see the difference between the two places that you ate before Compare that place in ABugosh village thank you.
There is nothing Israeli about Knafeh.
Except that it is widely offered there.
There us no Palestine – the food is a blend I’d Middle East foods from various areas – even you said the food is from Naples
Jordan is Palestine
Israel us Israel