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!
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