The Best Places to eat Sufganiyot in Tel Aviv
Everyone in Israel has their favourite time of the year. It might be spring, when the flowers bloom, summer where you can spend all day (and night) at the beach, fall (when the weather is perfect) or winter (when the rains - and even some snow - finally arrive).
And it’s the same with the Jewish holidays - some people love the atmosphere of Passover, and the traditional seder meal. Others love Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), with moving prayers and apples dipped in honey. There are those who enjoy Shavuot, when it’s traditional to eat dairy products and take your kids to visit a kibbutz. And then there’s Hanukkah.
Yes, Hanukkah, the festival that falls every December (the month of ‘Kislev’ in the Jewish calendar) which, although a minor festival in the year, is loved by all - the lighting of candles every night for eight nights, children spinning the dreidel and collecting chocolate coins and then the sugary treats no-one wants to miss out on - sufganiyot.
Sufganiyot (a cross between a beignet and a jelly donut) are something you’ll see everywhere at this time of the year - not just in bakeries but in supermarkets across the country. Traditionally, sufganiyot were a humble affair - deep-fried in oil, filled with a tiny dollop of strawberry jam, and dusted with powdered sugar.
But, today, with the blooming of so many bakeries in Israel there’s an extraordinary range of them - from simple to gourmet. And what better way to celebrate Hanukkah than by indulging? Here are our trips for the best places to eat sufganiyot in Tel Aviv this month…
Roladin really sets the tone for sufganiyot in Israel each year, and although they're pretty pricey, they’re definitely worth it. With a seemingly never-ending supply of flavours (think tiramisu, salted caramel, cheesecake and creme brulee) these are truly bites of heaven.
The presentation of the donuts is also very ‘wow’. With flakes and sprinkles and little ‘syringes’ where you can ‘inject’ some of the flavour into your donut before biting in, if you have to choose one bakery to hit at Hanukkah, it should be Roladin.
Roladin Sufganiyot. Photo credit: roladin.co.il
Lehamim (which is another good chain in Israel) can always be relied upon to come up with the goods - and whilst they serve very ‘classic’ donuts, they don’t skimp on the quality (like all of their baked goods, they only use the most top-end ingredients).
3. Cafe Xoho
For vegans, finding great sufganiyot in Tel Aviv can sometimes be a challenge but Cafe Xoho won’t let you down. This hipster cafe in the heart of Tel Aviv, and a stone’s throw from Gordon Beach, pushes the envelope
Egg and dairy-free creations, using almond-nut butter, are delicious - in the past, they’ve come up with beetroot-flavoured icing and fruity toppings - their menus in general are creative and few leave this cafe disappointed. Grab one and head down to one of Tel Aviv’s best beaches…
Shemo was established by the fabulous pastry chef, Miki Shemo, and is renowned for its patisserie and, in true Hanukkah style, always lives up to the challenge.
In previous years, their donuts (which are famously light) have grown more ‘ambitious’ in flavour varieties, sprinkles and toppings. White chocolate ganache, pecan and lemon, plus lots of glitter atop their creations, will greet you as you walk through the door and you will be hard-pressed not to buy just one. Yum.
Miki Shemo Special Sufganiyot. Photo credit: SHEMO Bakery Facebook Page
5. Boutique Central
If you’re looking for something decadent, then head to Boutique Central (with locations all over Israel). Along with all the classic fillings, they also sell sufganiyot which are styled like brioche and baked (rather than fried) which comes in the shape of a cake!
Fillings of the donuts include Nutella, pistachio, lemon, creme patisserie and caramel - and with stores all across the country, they can be counted on to keep you happy. Additionally, they don’t forget the one million Russians who live in the country and last year produced a creation for ‘NovyGod’ (their version of ‘Sylvester’) which is celebrated at this time.
Boutique Central Sufganiyot. Photo credit: Boutique Central Facebook Page
Located in the beautiful old neighbourhood of Neve Tzedek, the Dallal Bakery is famous for its delicious pastries (particularly their Danishes, which are reputed to be the best in the city).
They won’t let you down over the Hannukah season either - in the last few years, they’ve served visitors with creations made of raspberry ganache, coconut and ‘milk jam’. Dallal has an outdoor seating area, perfect for taking a break, and the vibe is always chilled. And if you want to take yours away, the beach is just a couple of minutes walk…