Kosher Ismi Knaffeh opens first branch in Ra'anana

The signature Ismi Knaffeh (NIS 30, or NIS 75 for family-sized) really hits the spot.

Ismi Knaffeh (photo credit: BUZZY GORDON)
Ismi Knaffeh
(photo credit: BUZZY GORDON)
 The name is both quixotic and intriguing, especially for a kosher eatery: Ismi Knaffeh, Arabic for "My name is Knaffeh." This brainchild of several young men from Haifa is a dessert restaurant cleverly and compactly designed to fit into a handsome kiosk in the center of the food court in the Renanim Mall, where the idea is to turn out individual-sized Knaffehs that are fresh, hot and made-to-order.
The signature Ismi Knaffeh (NIS 30, or NIS 75 for family-sized) really hits the spot: crispy, golden-brown kadaif laced with ground pistachio crown a base of excellent cheese that is the perfect consistency, with strands of melted cheese behaving like those in the best pizzas. I found the delicacy to have the ideal level of sweetness, but a side of syrup is served separately for those who like their knaffeh sweeter and/or stickier. There is also a vegan version with traditional orange-colored kadaif.
Another good option is to order a "side" of homemade ice cream as a foil to the warm knaffeh. There are four flavors, but the owners are proudest of the malabi ice cream, which has the added plus of being sugar-free. I needed some convincing, as I am not a fan of ordinary malabi, but this innovation was much better: distinctive, delicious and refreshing. 
For those with a real sweet tooth, there are extra toppings, like threads of halvah, drizzles of white chocolate or dark chocolate-covered pretzel bits. The ultimate extravaganza, the Ismi Carnival (NIS 45/125), as a mind-blowing assortment of decadent extras.
Finally, there is a tempting array of familiar Oriental desserts, such as baklava, bird's nests, basbosa, and more (NIS 90 per kilo). Additional branches of the chain are slated for Haifa and Rehovot.
Ismi Knaffeh.
Renanim mall, 2 HaMelakha St., Ra'anana. Phone: (09) 740-0438.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.