Getting our hands greasy

'In Jerusalem' takes a tour of the local bakeries to find out which sufganiot are the flavor of the month.

Doughnuts 521 (photo credit: Ronnen Mangan)
Doughnuts 521
(photo credit: Ronnen Mangan)
’Tis the season... for fried confections! As Hanukka is approaching, every bakery across the city is piling its window displays high with their own version of the popular holiday treat – from traditional jelly- or chocolate-filled to the innovative pistachio, pavlova or mint. But each doughnut packs a big calorie punch, so don’t waste your time on any inferior products. I sampled sufganiot at locations across Jerusalem to bring you the best and worst in this year’s offerings, including a three-way tie for the tastiest in the city. All the locations mentioned are kosher.
Roladin: A- This bakery is known for embracing Hanukka with gusto, and this year is no exception. The newest twist at Roladin this year is “chasers” – small plastic syringes of syrup or fruit juice that you squirt into the center of each doughnut before eating. From the over-the-top vodka double espresso to the classic strawberry jelly filling, the sufganiot looked and tasted good, with a light, tasty dough and generous filling, despite being on the small and expensive side. They also post their calorie counts on the menu, which you will either love or hate. Flavors: strawberry jelly, caramel, chocolate, cream, pistachio, halva, sprinkles, berry pavlova, hot chocolate bianco and vodka double espresso. NIS 4.50 to NIS 9.
Mamilla Mall, Hillel Street and Mevaseret Zion.
English Cake: A- With some of the most attractive doughnuts in the business, English Cake doesn’t skimp when it comes to flavor. The dough was sweet and tender, and the filling was generous. Before Hanukka starts, the store stocks the basic traditional flavors, and they are set to offer some exciting varieties like blueberry, Ferrero Rocher, mint and more once the holiday begins. Flavors: strawberry jelly, caramel, vanilla, chocolate, white chocolate, halva and more to come on Hanukka. NIS 4.50 to NIS 8

Various locations in Jerusalem.
Brooklyn Bake Shop: A- This American-style bakery, named for a neighborhood in New York City, is one of the few that sell doughnuts all year round. It sticks to the classics – jelly, chocolate and custard – but does them well, with a sweet, light dough and rich, generous filling, though the icing verged on toothache-inducing. Flavors: strawberry jelly, custard and chocolate custard. NIS 7
21 Malchei Yisrael Street, Geula.
Hataboon: B+ This little gem nestled in the Central Bus Station offers the classic sufgania varieties plus a more “American-style” glazed. The dough had just the right level of sweetness, even though it was slightly heavy, but also a balanced, genuine-tasting jam filling. Flavors: strawberry jelly, caramel, custard, glazed. NIS 5.
Central Bus Station, second floor.

Angel Bakery: B As the largest commercial bakery in Israel, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Angel sold sub-par, mass produced-tasting confections. But the doughnuts found here were a pleasant surprise, with a nicely flavored dough that wasn’t too sweet or oily. Flavors: strawberry jelly, caramel. NIS 3.50 to NIS 5.
Several locations in Jerusalem.
Kurtosh: B This Hungarian bake shop, which is new to Jerusalem, is named for its signature tubular pastry. But it’s no slouch in the doughnut department, either. With a slightly sweet dough and almost too generous filling, the doughnut was slightly heavy but still a tasty offering. Flavors: strawberry jelly, caramel, chocolate, cream, espresso. NIS 6 – NIS 8.
3 Luntz Street.
Aldo: B Not actually a bakery but an ice-cream shop, Aldo nevertheless offers sufganiot from Mr. Donuts, an American-style manufacturer that sells to a variety of locations. The dough had a nice texture and the perfect level of sweetness, but the icing was appealing but on the small side considering the price. These were a tasty option, especially for those hankering for a taste of home. Flavors: classic, chocolate and custard. NIS 7.
At the 21 Ben-Yehuda and 46 Emek Refaim locations only.
Beit Halehem/Hava Bakery: B- This storefront on Jaffa Road, just outside the shuk, will lure you in with the sight and smell of doughnuts being freshly fried, filled and powdered right before your eyes. Unfortunately, the jelly tasted overwhelmingly artificial and the dough was a bit too chewy, even though the price and size are just right. Flavor: strawberry jelly. NIS 3.
119 Jaffa Road.

Berman: B- A large commercial bakery, Berman operates two storefronts in Jerusalem, where it sells all its manufactured products and a variety of fresh pastries. The dough in their sufganiot had a nice flavor, though it was too chewy and oily. The icing was rich and chocolaty without being overly sweet. The doughnuts marketed as “filled” really had only a dollop of filling on top but none inside. Flavors: strawberry jam, caramel, custard. NIS 4.80
42 Agrippas Street and 24 Beit Hadfus Street.
Marzipan: C+ This famed shuk bakery is known for its chocolate rugelach – gooey and soft and just slightly underbaked. Unfortunately, the doughnuts don’t fare quite as well, with an artificial-tasting dough and a frosting that slid right off the confection. Flavors: strawberry jelly, chocolate, caramel and halva. NIS 5
14 Agrippas Street and 5 Rachel Imeinu Street.
Ne’eman Bakery: D Though Ne’eman is getting into the spirit by offering innovative toppings and fillings – from marshmallow to Bamba to cheesecake – the treats were disappointing. The dough was heavy, a touch oily and too chewy to enjoy. The icing on top was so hard, it cracked when I bit into it, and I had to search to find the tiny drop of filling. The fancier offerings here are smaller and more expensive. Despite the bakery’s being the most convenient stop, with more than a dozen locations in Jerusalem, the doughnuts aren’t worth the time or the money. Flavors: strawberry jelly, caramel, Belgian chocolate, white chocolate, marshmallow, chocolate flake, chocolate truffle, Bamba, cheesecake, almond, date honey and sprinkle. NIS 5 to NIS 10.
Several locations in Jerusalem.