Review: The Legendary Abulafia Bakery in Jaffa, Israel (near Tel Aviv)

Abulafia Pastry Stuffed with Potato, Mushroom, Cheese and Hardboiled Egg
Sambusac Stuffed with Potato, Mushroom, Cheese and Hardboiled Egg

Here are your directions. (1) Board plane for Tel Aviv (2) Clear immigration and customs (3) Ask taxi driver to take you to Abulafia. You could tell him that it is in Jaffa, but he already knows.

SP’s dad, you mention anything related to the Middle East and his eyes glaze over with desire as he tells you about how you have to make it to Abulafia.

Do you get what I’m trying to say here? This 24-hour streetside bakery has been located at the same corner in Jaffa since 1879. They pretty well have the recipes tweaked out at this point. That turnover, calzone looking item you see above is called a sambusac, and this one was filled with silky smooth mashed potatoes, onions, mushrooms, and cheese. Big deal right? When you order it, they put it on the grill for a minute, then cut it open and add a sliced hardboiled egg. The warm, creamy potatoes, the rich egg and cheese, slightly chewy but tender dough, lots of black pepper. Dang! Suddenly I understand what all the other pastries I’ve ever eaten filled with cold, dry mashed potatoes were referring to.

Just up the street, Abulafia has another location that serves sit down meals and apparently has unbelievable hummus, according to Hillel. I didn’t have room for it today.

If you are doing any more web research about the bakery, be sure and check multiple spellings. Even on their own sign they have both Abuelafia and Abouelafia, and I’ve also seen Aboulafia.

While you are in Jaffa, you can stroll up to beautiful overlooks of Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean, and walk through one of the nicer, cleaner Old City areas I’ve seen, with some high quality, not so touristy art dealers.

Just to whet your appetite further, here’s a picture of Abulafia’s pita with zatar, if you don’t mind looking through the glass.

Abulafia Pita With Zatar
Pita Bread Covered in Zatar

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Posted by Michael Natkin on Thursday, September 13th, 2007 in Restaurants, Travel.

16 Responses to “Review: The Legendary Abulafia Bakery in Jaffa, Israel (near Tel Aviv)”

  1. Reply
    September 13, 2007 at 10:36 am #

    We’ll have to check it out–last time we went, it was during Passover–we’ll be going again this winter and I’m going to get me some bread at Abulafia!

  2. Reply
    October 19, 2007 at 9:35 am #

    This was my last taste of Israel before boarding the planes home to USA. It was a good last taste- worth the parking ticket we got across the street! It was well-packed on a Saturday, and there’s no question why.

    Be well


  3. Reply
    October 19, 2007 at 9:37 am #

    This was my last taste of Israel before boarding the planes home to USA. It was a good last taste- worth the parking ticket we got across the street! It was well-packed on a Saturday, and there’s no question why.

    Be well


  4. Reply
    February 4, 2008 at 5:56 pm #


  5. Reply
    Miguel Torres
    February 12, 2008 at 2:44 pm #

    Every time I go to Israel, Abulafia is on my first place to go list. I just love to eat the delicious bread they prepare since 18th century. When you buy a lot of stuff from there, the man in charge gives you for free some of the bread you did not take. That’s what I call “client service”. Does somebody remember the name of the place where you can buy arab yogurt that is warm, they also sell ice cream, corn, it´s close to Abulafia.

  6. Reply
    enas abu alfeh
    June 19, 2008 at 3:28 am #

    zatar yafa

  7. Reply
    July 2, 2008 at 8:21 am #

    We were there a few times, well more than a few times, last winter, November to February. EXCELLENT. Just made me think about it again today. Best wishes from Canada, to the staff and bosses who make the good things at Abulafia!! Mike

  8. Reply
    September 8, 2008 at 7:57 am #

    Hi you are good!I’am not good, though not as good as you. You have such a great potential. Keep it up!

  9. Reply
    Awad Sifri
    October 7, 2008 at 12:54 pm #

    My father’s side of the family is from good old Jaffa. I had a fabulous Pita with za’atar at Abulafia’s in Jaffa. I didn’t know Abulafia from Adam.
    At the time, I was part of the US team that was introducing McDonald’s to Israel. I introduced za’atar Pita to my colleagues and they were in heaven.
    Abulafia knows how to make delicious baked products that are hot fresh, and delicious.
    More power to him.

  10. Reply
    Suzie Levi
    January 29, 2010 at 10:26 am #

    Honestly at first I thought you were exaggerating but I was dead wring!
    I absolutely LOVED it!
    It tasted soo good! The Sambusek and Pita Zatar are my fav!
    I miss it so badly now that I’m back home,they should open a bakery in NY!!

  11. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    February 1, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    @Suzie – another Abulafia believer! Would I exaggerate 🙂 ?

  12. Reply
    May 8, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    looks like you have found the important holy sites of the country!

  13. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    May 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    Hah, well one of them anyhow! Will you hook up @xandthecooks with some more recs on twitter?

  14. Reply
    Jake R.
    May 23, 2011 at 3:38 am #

    My favorite bakery in the World!!!! Should be on the to do list of every foodie!

  15. Reply
    September 20, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

    I just arrived their after all the talking it’s nothing compared to what it tastes. I had to wait a long line but its worth it indeed. I am planning to have my Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at the restaurant and Bakery!! God Bless them!!

  16. Reply
    bill brennan
    June 16, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

    i came up with a theory that involves the book of genesis (fig leaves) buddha (sitting under the bodhi fig tree) jesus (many sayings about figs) ross hornes’ book (new health revolution) and science (figs are the most important source of food for fruit eating rainforest animals). i then experimented on the figs by eating mainly dried figs (same brand) for over 10 years now and found cycles which i related to the numbers in psgs 11/12 of the book of revelations. this theory has gone everywhere. so far i have had eliminations at days 504, 840, 1176, 1512, 1848, 2184, 2520, 2856, 3192 and 3528. today is day 3742. i have definitely found something. i am not lying. what i have discovered has gone around the world and many songs have been written about it……the foo fighters’ last 4 albums……coldplays’ last 4 albums
    …….”vertigo” by U2 (my first name is phil). an elimination is a day when you experience strong flu-like symptoms and feel terrible. bad stuff is washed out of your body.

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