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So I just got back from a trip in the Middle East, and I had a chance to eat knafeh, an Arab pastry of warmed goat cheese and syrup. I think it's particular to the Levant, but I'm no expert. So I guess places serving the cuisine of Palestinian, Syrian, and Lebanese Arabs are the most likely to have it. But I have only the vaguest idea where to start looking here in the Bay Area. If you haven't had this, it's incredible. Any idea where to find it?

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  1. rworange posted a couple weeks ago on a place in SF where she had this. Many variants on the spelling so hard to do a search, but hopefully she'll chime in.

    Here it is, found her post on Saffron 685 -

    1 Reply
    1. I've had decent versions at Ya-Ya on Van Ness and Mijana in Burlingame.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Husky

        Oooh, could you tell us more about Mijana in general?

      2. I found it to be pretty good, but I was with some Jordanian friends, so they compared it to Mom's cooking or the "old country" (they really used this term!). The vegetarian sampler was good as was the beef and lamb shawarma arouss.

        1. My two favorite bay area middle eastern restaurants both have this dessert - they're both in Redwood City, within a few blocks of each other. The first one is New Kapadokia (Turkish) and the second one is Tarboosh (Lebanese).



          1. The best is in Lebanon, made by "ALHALLAB" precisly in Tripoli.
            shortly will start KNAFEH in Montreal-Canada

            1. Well, this thread's bumped up again so I'll add an update.

              The best kunefe I've had was the version at Cafe Troya a year ago. It's baked to order. Here's the photo, http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

              349 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

              1. Kunafa is a specialty of Old Jerusalem. They even have a picture of it on the sign. I think I prefer theirs to Troya's, but both are good.

                Old Jerusalem
                2976 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                6 Replies
                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  I've not been to Old Jerusalem to try it yet. What makes the difference to you?

                  Have also had a good version at Pilita Grill in San Carlos. Here's the photo.

                  Pilita Grill
                  680 Laurel St, San Carlos, CA 94070

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Old Jerusalem's is mostly cheese with just a little kataifi. The spicing is quite different--I don't know what makes it red.


                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      A close friend is a native Jerusalemite and swears by Jaffa, a place in the Old City, and I had a good knafeh in Machneh Yehuda -- but that would be for the Israel-area ChowHounds!

                      Anyhow, he is very particular about knafeh, and the only one we found so far that held up was at a place near Wolfe Road in the Cupertino area. I'll try to get the name. in any case, in the restaurant (which has very good shawerma and excellent tahina sauce) he was only so-so about the knafeh - even after I had to ask for extra syrup for him. The next day, however, when he heated up the leftover knafe, he was quite pleased. I think the flavors had to blend a little.

                      Jews often made it with a cream filling but the one he loves is with white cheese, which is what we've found here in the Bay Area. Gebna beida or a mix of ricotta and fresh mozzarella might do. Don't know about the goat cheese -- definitely not chevre.

                      As for the color, I would bet it's safron. I've seen knafeh with a yellow hue, golden or, at the market in Jerusalem, bright carrot-orange.

                      1. re: chowwow

                        Definitely not saffron at Old Jerusalem. Some recipes call for food coloring.

                        1. re: chowwow

                          Maybe you're thinking of House of Falafel? That's the place where I had knafeh for the first time. It was baked to order for me.

                          House of Falafel
                          19590 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA 95014

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            Yes, that's the place: House of Falafel. We loved it. Great lamb, the best Middle-Eastern tea we've had in the area (save at friends' homes!), friendly proprietor who seems most fluent in Jordanian Arabic but known to test out his limited Hebrew now and then. Casual place with diverse patrons. One draw back: the baklava we had was pretty dry (not enough honey and nuts for our taste), and a little bland. But the lamb shawerma plate is very good.

                  2. Further south, Dishdash in Sunnyvale - our local Lebanese superstar - has it. I've heard good reports but have not tried it myself yet.


                    Dishdash Restaurant
                    190 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mdg

                      I finally tried the kenafeh at Dishdash this weekend. I've never had it before, so I have no point of comparison, but I liked it a lot. The cheese is wrapped in shredded filo with rose water and garnished with pistachios. Not for the rose-phobic!


                    2. Knafe at Ziryab is good...I also like it at Old Jerusalem and Ala Turca.

                      A La Turca
                      869 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                      528 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Cynsa

                        we had it tonight at Jannah; a different version - absolutely delicious with date syrup

                        1775 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                      2. I have no idea if it's a good version or not, but they have it in Berkeley's Turkish Kitchen too. I get it everytime I'm there and I think it's become one of my all-time favorite desserts of all time.

                        1. i always get my knafeh from Oasis Baklava in Belmont.$8.00 it servres 4,its really good.

                          Blue Ridge Grill
                          1261 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30327

                          1. Saha has knaffe on their small plates menu.

                            Saha Arabic Fusion Restaurant
                            1075 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109