This year’s Chanukah donut / sufganiyot (filled donuts) crawl took us around Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem and surrounding suburbs. The selections were plentiful and the quality varied significantly.
There are a number of observations to share before reviewing each location. First, many places emphasize toppings and appearances which often do not correlate to taste. Second, out of the way and unpopular places were amazing. Lastly, some places that had great reviews had long lines and sometimes ran out of any donuts (and thus were not reviewed).
Roladin (Mamilla Mall)
Roladin is a big chain with locations all over Israel. They have a large selection of fancy sufganiyot on Chanukah. However, the quality and taste varied depending on the selection, and generally, the taste did not live up to the hype or presentation.
The sufganiyot looked really great and the chocolate truffle seen above had great flavor. Unfortunately, most of the others like pistachio had little taste other than sugar. The cookies and cream, while tasty, relied too heavily on the Oreo cookie on top.
Kadosh (Ben Yehuda Street Area)
The food at Kadosh is amazing so don’t just stop in for the donuts and stay for breakfast or lunch. The problem is that there is a long line to get in – even just for donut pickup – as they have a great reputation. The donuts basically met the high expectations: excellent dough, nice flavor while not being too sweet. They were differentiated in presentation from many places, as it placed a dollop of filling on one side and had a sugar coating.
Gourmandises by Yoel (Ben Yehuda Street Area)
Go through the Friends of Zion Museum to locate a nice cafe in the back run by a French couple with amazing desserts. Gourmandises makes wonderful light sufganiyot which were tops in regards to flavor and texture of the dough. The icing and filings were light and tasty and avoided the heavy sugar found in many others. Try the pistachio and roses. Or the lemon. Or just about any of them – I had six! Remarkably, there were no lines at all.
Boutique Central (Ben Yehuda Street Area)
The small cafe was recommended to us but the sufganiyot were more of a pastry with no filling. The dough was tasty but disappointed overall.
Uri’s Pizza (Me’a She’arim)
One can easily miss this place on a side street, and, as it’s not a classic bakery, one would imagine an easy skip for a donut crawl. Not so. While the donut was simple and not beautiful, the dough was light and the filling was just right.
Brooklyn Bake Shop (Me’a She’arim)
Brooklyn sells out fast and we did not get to sample their donuts but heard they were amazing.
Brizal (Me’a Shearim)
Brizal is near Brooklyn and there’s a reason they had donuts while Brooklyn did not. They looked nice but are inedible. Sweet and artificial. We threw the two we purchased out after the first bite.
English Cake (Mahane Yehuda)
English Cake supplies the sufganiyot found in many of the small stores located around the city. Like Roladin, they look pretty but rely too heavily on sugar as a substitute for taste.
Sweet Nation (Mahane Yehuda)
Like English Cake, Sweet Nation has a beautiful presentation as a cover for a sugar fix. Most of the flavor comes from the fancy toppings. Very festive, but not for a foodie.
Delicases de Paris (Emek Refa’im)
After the great experiences of the French bakeries of Gourmandises and Kadosh, hopes ran high for the two French bakeries on Emek Refaim. Both were disappointments. Delicases sufganiyot had heavy dough that resembled a challah roll – dense and completely off.
Moulin Dore (Emek Refaim)
Moulin Dore was probably the biggest disappointment. The heavy dough was coupled with a spoiled filling. Simply horrible and tossed in the garbage.
Ne’eman (Emek Refaim)
The third stop on Emek Refaim was not a French bakery but a tried and true location. Unfortunately, Ne’eman’s donut simply had little flavor, even while the top and icing were quite good.
Pat BeMelach (Efrat)
Outside of Jerusalem is a great cafe with tasty food and great sufganiyot. The icing, filling flavor and dough texture were all great in every flavor we sampled – and there were many!
Here’s a table summarizing our review of the sufganiyot of Jerusalem for Chanukah 2021.
|Bakery||Dough texture||Dough flavor||filling amount||filling flavor||topping flavor||presentation||overall|
|Gourmandises by Yoel||10||10||10||7||7||8.5||9|
|Delicases de Paris||1||2||8||4||5||6||4|
Israeli sufganiyot are quite different than those found in Brooklyn, NY and varied widely in terms of quality. Top scores go to Gourmandises, Pat BeMelach (in Efrat) and Kadosh. We understand that Brooklyn is very worthwhile as well, although it was sold out of donuts when we arrived. Roladin donuts are fine and are easily found throughout the country. We hope you enjoyed the holiday!