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Knafeh Nabulsieh spread

Knafeh, Making The Authentic Palestinian Dessert

By Update

We welcomed Chef Mahmoud Darwazeh several months ago now, as our new kitchen Chef, adding to the café’s dynamic team of skilled masters of Arabic cuisine. He takes pride in his mastery of Arabic dishes. As the new culinary lead, his mission has been of innovating across the menu and making the food more craveable than ever.

We’ve been very fortunate to have him. He has over 10 years of experience. Chef Darwazeh is committed to exploring exquisite flavours from around the Arabic World with the aim to delight every palette and entice the senses.

A Chef Well-versed in Arabic Cuisine

Darwazeh previously led the Levantine and Andalusian Cuisine teams at St-Regis, Kempinski, and Grand Millennium in Jordan.  He also participated in Culinary Expos and won awards in Bahrain and Oman. As for his specialties, he excels in Msakhan, which translates into English as “heated up.” It’s the most famous of Palestinian dishes, a perennial favorite on menus that comes to the fore during celebrations such as the olive harvest season to celebrate freshly pressed oil. He also masters the Knafeh Nabulsieh, the jewel of Nablus, where he is originally from in Palestine.

Mahmoud Dawarzeh

Knafeh Nabulsieh

Knafeh is, among many other things, is the pride of Palestinian dishes. If you ever get the chance to visit a Palestinian home, you would surely be welcomed with warmth, respect, hospitality, food and of course, knafeh! When Palestinians make confections, they go full hog – no skimping on fat or sugar. However, you won’t find many chocolate, cake or pie-like desserts. The reigning star is the Knafeh Nabelsieh, made with shredded wheat, filled with cheese pastry soaked in sticky blossom syrup and sprinkled with pistachio. Be sure to go in hungry and leave calorie counting at the door!

This Palestinian dessert is often served at special occasions. It is made from kadaif dough (shredded phyllo pastry) which looks like vermicelli noodles. The dough is stuffed with warm goat cheese, drenched in syrup and topped with pistachios. This hallmark dish originated in the Palestinian city of Nables. Knafeh plays a central role in Palestinian cuisine. It is most famous throughout the Arab world including the Balkans. It is also featured in Turkish, Greek and Levantine cuisine. Baking Knafeh requires patience and care.

Knafeh Nabulsieh spread

Making Knafeh

Want to know how to make knafeh? It’s not as hard as it seems, it just requires lots of hand mixing.



  • 500 grams of Nabulsi or Akkawi cheese
  • 300 grams Mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Mazaher (orange blossom water)

Ideally, you would use Nabulsi cheese. Nabulsi cheese is a white sheep or goat milk cheese, with a very mild yet slightly tangy taste and it melts beautifully and becomes elastic. If you don’t have the Nabulsi cheese you can use Akkawi cheese.


  • 1 pack (500 grams) of Knafeh dough (shredded Phyllo or Kataifi may also be purchased from Sobey’s or Greek stores)
  • 1 to 1½ cups rendered ghee or Samneh
  • ¼ cup pistachios, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter to ghee
  • 1 teaspoon of Knafeh (orange colouring)

Sugar Syrup (Qater)

  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ lemon, squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons Mazaher 


Sweetening the Cheeses

  • Cut the Akkawi and Mozzarella cheese into small pieces
  • Place each variety into a separate bowl.
  • Cover both cheeses with water and soak for at least 2 hours, changing the water every 30 minutes, to unsalt.
  • Drain both cheeses completely (this is a very important step—there cannot be any water remaining in the cheese).
  • Grate or squash the cheese.
  • Mix with sugar, and Mazaher.

Preparing the Qater

  • In a large saucepan combine 4 cups sugar, 2 cups water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon Mazaher
  • Bring to boil and cook until sugar is dissolved.
  • Decrease temperature continue cooking for 15 minutes on low heat, until the sauce thickens; let cool.
  • Then add the remaining tablespoon of Mazaher.

Kneading the Knafeh

  • Shred the Knafeh by hand to pull apart all the threads. The idea is to take a tight skein and turn it in to a light fluffy pile. This is the fun part and often therapeutic! You may also chop Knafeh dough with a sharp knife or in the blender.
  • Mix the dough with the hot ghee on low heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until dough absorbs all the butter.
  • Keep mixing by hand.
  • Mix the extra 2 tablespoons butter or ghee with the Knafeh colouring.
  • Spread the colour in a 17″ x 12″ pan.
  • Spread 2/3 of the dough in the pan over the colour and press well.

Putting it all together

  • Preheat at 350⁰F.
  • Spread the cheese mixture over dough evenly.
  • Cover with the remaining dough and press well.
  • Place the knafeh in lower rack and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Put ½ cup qater in a tray of similar or larger size.
  • Remove the knafeh from the oven and flip the tray that has the Knafeh over onto the other tray that has the qater.
  • Return to oven and bake for 10 more minutes.
  • Add more qater if needed.
  • Garnish with pistachios. Serve hot. 

Knafeh dishes

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Falafel on a salad

600% increase in # of Veganism over last 5 years

By Update

Less than a generation ago, veganism was considered beyond fringe. As late as 2014, 1% of Americans considered themselves vegans. In the last 5 years, the number of self-identified vegans skyrocketed to 600%!

Impossible burgers are now available at Burger King, KFC, and Taco Bell. According to the Plant Based Foods Association, sales of dairy and meat alternatives grew by 20% in US supermarkets in 2018—that’s a $3 billion surge in coconut milk yogurt, tempeh bacon.

Why are so many people suddenly going vegan? What are the benefits?

New York Times bestselling authors Kathy Freston and Gene Stone, just published 72 REASONS TO BE VEGAN; Why Plant-Based. Why Now. It’s an informative, and insightful guide filled with short, fact-based essays on the extraordinary benefits of switching to a vegan diet.

By all means, we are not endorsing veganism, we’re just informing you, our reader, about the sudden increase in this lifestyle.

Vegans Live Longer

Some points discussed by the authors in the book are how vegans live longer. Unprocessed, plant-based foods tend to be healthier than animal-based ones because they are cholesterol-free, lower in saturated fat, and higher in fibre, complex carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients. As a result, vegans tend to have lower blood pressure, lower incidence of diabetes, lower incidence of heart disease, and lower incidence of cancer.

Our menu has plenty of vegan options to help towards a path of longevity. Our Pali salad is one of the healthiest options with a ton of veggies and an olive oil based dressing. You can also try our lentil soup, moujadara, or zaatar manakeesh. Check out our menu for a list of ingredients.

zaatar shatta-min

Crowd Out Instead of Cut out

Transitioning to a vegan lifestyle is progress rather than perfection is essential when making any lifestyle change. Kathy Freston and Stone healthy lifestyle tips suggest to crowd out instead of cutting out. Add nutrient rich, tasty, fibre-filled plant foods to your diet and eat them first. Instead of trying to resist cravings just tell yourself you can have whatever you want, after you eat something like hummus or a really good vegan burger. You’ll be so satiated that you won’t even want the bad stuff.

If you come to Yafa Café for your vegan delight, you know we’re the kings and queens of hummus in Winnipeg.

Hummus plate

Veganism Lessens The Risk of Pandemics

According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), about 60% of all known infectious diseases and 73% of emerging ones are of zoonotic origin. This means they are caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites transmitted between animals and humans, and then from person to person. This includes COVID-19, MERS, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, Ebola and AIDS. And industrial-scale factory farming only aggravates the problem. Luckily, anything plant based is saved from such effects.

While we are not an entirely vegan or vegetarian restaurant, we carry several options. We also do accommodate our customers by flipping carnivores meals into vegan or vegetarian. Just ask us! You can also swap the burger for falafels on a bun or have them with a salad.

Falafel on a salad

Indulging Even if Vegan

You can be vegan and still eat indulgent, delicious foods. Being vegan does not mean living on salads and grain bowls. There are tons of great tasting vegan food, from plant-based burgers and vegan cheese, to luscious vegan chocolate and oatmilk ice cream. We are currently working on providing vegan dessert options for our customers but regularly offer it for our catering menu.

Cheaper & Better For The Environment

Researchers from the University of California, Riverside have found the total greenhouse gas emissions associated with a single charbroiled hamburger is equal to driving an eighteen-wheeler for 143 miles. Similarly, a study out of the University of Chicago confirmed that simply ditching the Standard American Diet is more effective at combating climate change than switching to a hybrid electric car. So yes, becoming vegan is cheaper and better for the environment than buying a Tesla! A Loma Linda University study found, vegans generate about 42% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than meat-eaters.

The next time you want to visit Yafa Café to indulge in your next vegan meal, think of walking, taking the bus or biking instead of riding your car, electric or not.

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Cheese spinach manakeesh Yafa Café

Best Pizza Places, Toppings & Manakeesh

By Update

Deep dish, thin crust, or somewhere in between, North America is a nation of pizza addicts. That craving has only grown while we’ve been sticking close to home during the pandemic as pizza is the ultimate comfort food.

But which 10 cities take the biggest slice out of 2021’s Best Cities for Pizza Addicts?

LawnStarter compared the 100 biggest cities in the USA across five key factors, including prevalence of pizzerias, average cost, and search popularity.

Pizza manakeesh Yafa Café

Highlights and Lowlights

Big Apple? Call it the Big Pizza: New Yorkers love their tomato pies, so much so the Big Apple sits atop our Best Cities for Pizza Addicts. Who hasn’t heard of or tasted New York-style pizza? The hand-tossed crust is wonderfully crisp and airy at the edge and thin in the middle. The traditional New York-style pizza is just tomato sauce and mozzarella. Savour it by the slice, folded for easy eating.

Best in the Midwest: Chicago and a slew of other Midwest cities took top-10 spots: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Cleveland. The Windy City, of course, is renowned for its deep dish Chicago-style pizzas. Each slice can be a meal in itself! Pittsburgh has the most pizza places per resident, with the other cities also sporting impressive numbers. St. Louis boasts some relatively cheap pizza, along with its own named-after-the-city thin crust style. The Washington Post has called the Midwest a region whose “pizza time has come.”

Frozen Pizza Toppings

Frozen pizza is a big staple in our households. As much as we love frozen pizza, it can get boring after a while. Adding things like mushrooms, garlic, and onions before it goes into the oven is great and all, but in the end, it’s still a frozen pizza.

A previous employee of Paulie Gee’s Logan Square in Chicago and current The Takeout editor, picked up some tricks that changed up her frozen pizza game at home.

Hot honey

Spicy honey has been on the up-and-up as a condiment in recent years. It’s great in sauces or glazes and a compliment to fried chicken, biscuits, ice cream, and pizza!


While you can certainly add ricotta to a pizza before it goes into the oven, adding it cold after the pizza’s done baking. Dab bits of it all over the pizza so you get some with every bite. It’s cooling, rich, and smooth, and it gives your pizza a fancy feel.

Arugula, Lemon Juice & Olive Oil

Fresh bitter greens like arugula on top of pizza are highly underrated. You can put them right on top of the pizza as-is, but an even better idea is to toss them in a touch of olive oil and a healthy dose of lemon juice. This is a good way to brighten up the pie without having to mess around too much in the kitchen.

Nutritional yeast

A pizza devoid of meat and dairy doesn’t have to taste boring. Nutritional yeast, is a byproduct of brewing beer, and it’s got such an impressively savoury flavour that many people use it to replace parmesan in their cooking. A red pie with olive oil and garlic topped with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast will yield you a delicious, light result with a ton of flavour.


If you’re not feeling traditional pizza or frozen pizza, trying our manakeesh is a great option. Manakeesh is kind of like a Middle Easter version of the pizza. It’s Arabic flat bread topped with a mixture of olive oil and thyme (za’atar). Manakeesh can also be topped with cheese, meat and and many other toppings.

Cheese spinach manakeesh Yafa CaféAt Yafa Café, we have quite a variety of them to order, that are

  • Zaatar is thyme made with marjoram rounded out by nutty toasted sesame seeds and lemony sumac. Add veggies for extra toppings.
  • Zaatar-Labneh is dollops of Labneh, similar to Greek yogourt. It makes the tang of sumac and the sharpness of the wild herbs lighter and more lemony.
  • Zaatar-Shatta is thyme with a snap of heat, spread of tomato hot chili. Add labneh to cool off the spiciness.
  • Zaatar-Cheese is made with melted cheese on one half, and with zaatar on the other.
  • Cheese Fusion is a mixture of 4 cheeses.
  • Half cheese is half melted cheese, part zaatar and part mhammara, a sauce made with roasted red pepper.
  • Spinach Triangle is spinach mixed with onions, oregano, and marinated with lemon and sumac.
  • Sfeiha is seasoned ground beef/lamb mixed with Arabic spices, tomato, onions & mint (Lahm-bi-aajin).
  • Spinach-Cheese mixes spinach with onions, oregano and sumac spread and topped with cheese.
  • Sfeiha-Cheese is a Sfeiha ground beef/lamb mixture topped with a blend of melted cheese.
  • Bayd is a mixture of beaten eggs, cheeses, parsley, zaatar and black pepper.
  • Khodra (veggie) is a manakeesh with a special sauce, topped with cheese, olives, onions and peppers, infused with thyme.
  • Yafa Spicy Chicken is a shawarma chicken on hot tomato sauce topped with cheese, full of chili, Gaza style.

Sfeiha Yafa Café

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Ramadan lentil soup

Ramadan & Orthodox Easter Menu

By Update

Ramadan and Orthodox Easter are both at our doorsteps and we’re ready for it. This year, Ramadan is expected to begin on April 13, 2021 and end on the sundown of Wednesday May 12, 2021, and Orthodox Easter is set for May 2. Both are a special time when people are fasting, getting together, and self-examining. It is about sharing, appreciating, giving, and having their beloved people around them, celebrating their culture and being thankful for everything they have.

Ramadan lentil soup

What is Ramadan?

Muslims around the world will be observing this month through fasting from sunrise to sunset, abstaining from food and water until they can break their fast.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is considered a holy month that honours the time when Allah, via the angel Gabriel, revealed the first verses of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, to a caravan trader named Muhammad. The final evening of Ramadan consists of a celebration called Eid-Al-Fitr, when the traditional month-long fast is ended with a feast.

5-course Meal Menu

This year, we’ve created a special menu for the blessed month of Ramadan. It’s a month that spreads love, peace, consciousness for the needy and inclusivity. Those are the core learnings of observation of Ramadan.

The menu items starts with something light to break the fast. It continues with some of the most special Arabic dishes, cooked following recipes of mothers from Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt. The traditional certainly comes alive in these dishes. The options are also available in vegan to accommodate those observing Lent.

At $40 per person, you start with a cold drink that helps fasting thirst. You have 3 appetizers, a main dish followed by a hot drink and dessert. This price will be available during Ramadan and we will extend our hours until 10 pm to accommodate the sunset time.

Ramadan menuOur Ramadan menu is available for takeout and dine-in. You can order from 6 pm to 9:30 pm (last call). We are also offering catering options.

Dessert Special

Desserts have their great significance and presence during Ramadan. Yafa Cafe will be serving Ramadan’s most iconic treat of the Arab world! Qatayef! Made from yeasted pancakes stuffed with nuts or cheese, fried to crunchy, golden perfection then doused in a thick sugar syrup. Qatayef looks like a crescent and is light. This makes it easy to digest.

For Eid Al-Fitr and Orthodox Easter, stay tuned for our kaak, date or nut cookies made with semolina.

Covid Impact

The occasions are usually filled with gatherings, gorgeous spreads of food and friends and family rejoicing For Ramadan, worshippers are breaking their fast together and sharing stories and prayers, and for Easter it marks the end of Lent celebrating and eating foods abstained from for 40 days. For a second year in a row, for many of us, it will not be possible. While most of the world remains in some form of physical distancing and lockdown measures, we hope that you will be able to celebrate with your friends and family via virtual and safe gatherings.

Giveaway & Giving Back

To mark the celebrations, we’re hosting a giveaway. We will be providing a lucky winner with 1 of our infamous gift baskets full of goodies. In addition, we will be donating 10% of the month’s sales to Manitoba Islamic Association. To enter our giveaway, hop onto our Instagram post to learn how you can win.

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Locavore diet, ingredients used at Yafa Cafe

People’s Hunger For The Locavore Diet

By Update

It might seem that we just invented a new diet that seems to suggest crazy (loca means crazy in Spanish) for meat. In fact, that’s not the meaning, nor have we coined this term ourselves. We first heard it from LawnStarter, America’s leading outdoor services provider.

What is The Locavore Diet

According to LawnStarter, locavores, which consists of food from local places like nearby gardens, farmers markets, and farm-to-table restaurants is in — again. That’s good news for small owned and operated restaurants like ours.

During the pandemic, it seems that Americans renewed their appetite for the “locavore” diet. We believe the trend has replicated in Canada. Much of our food is sourced locally, even as close as our garden for greens during the warmer months.

Locavore diet, ingredients used at Yafa CafeLocavore Trend

Before lockdowns, nearly three-quarters of Americans were already eating locally produced food. A recent surge in direct farm-to-consumer sales suggests the trend has continued to grow, reports LawnStarter.

They compared the 150 biggest U.S. cities across 14 key indicators of locavore-friendliness. They range from the prevalence of community-supported agriculture and farm-to-table restaurants to the sales of farm-to-consumer food per capita.

Placed like Santa Rosa and Ontario in California, Salem, Oregon, Vancouver, Washington, and Worcester, Massachusetts came out in the top 5, we unfortunately don’t have an indicator for Canadian cities. Either way, we don’t need a scale to provide that same experience to our customers.

Not surprisingly, the trend shows that agricultural dominant locations tend to be well placed to afford great menu for locavores. That’s good news for us given that we are one of the best provinces for agriculture. It’s certainly easier to eat local when much of the nation’s food supply is just down the road.

Local Supplier Offering at Yafa Cafe

Often regarded as one of the word’s healthiest cuisines, Arabic food combines the sophistication with exotic ingredients. At Yafa Cafe, we desire to spread the goodness of our grandmothers’ cooking: simple, healthy and tasty Arabic cuisine. Every day our chef wakes up before dawn to pick up the best ingredients from local produce suppliers. We seek out the freshest ingredients, local when available and handpicked whenever possible. Our coffee beans are sourced locally from a Headingley Roasters.

A large portion of our menu items are vegan. All meats are halal. Our recipes have been passed down through several generations. Though many of our recipes have remained unchanged for over the last 3 years since our inception, many have evolved through time and travel into a balance of traditional and contemporary cuisine. Our plates and pita wraps gained popularity from their love of our concept and food. The spirit of tradition runs deep at Yafa Cafe making our customers happy with fresh and healthy Arabic food.

Coffee beans with sweets at Yafa Cafe

Buy Local Movement in Winnipeg

During the pandemic, many businesses had to shut their doors. Despite all the government’s efforts to help out small business owners, for many it was difficult. While we managed to keep our doors open by largely modifying our service offerings, hours of operation and staffing, we owe much to grassroots movements that promoted local purchases. We’ve taken part in a few of them over the last 11 months not only to improve our stance, but that of our fellow local operators.

We want to thank the community from the bottom of our heart for all their continued support and we look forward to many more years together!

What are your thoughts about the locavore diet?

Falafel delight

Food, Restaurant and Gadget 2021 Predictions

By Update

Happy new year! 2020 predictions may not have turned out as planned. Many of us did not expected a pandemic to hit us when we rung in the new year. Let’s remain optimistic that 2021 will bring better days.

The new year may bring on new thoughts, ideas, and predictions ahead for most of us. As for the food industry, we haven’t really thought about what that would look like except that takeout and delivery orders may be more in demand than dine-in…even post lockdowns.

Coffee beans in heart shape2021 Predictions

We looked to the Takeout Editors who have made some early predictions about food and restaurants in 2021. Let’s see what we have to offer at Yafa Café to match the predictions.

Wings Galore

You’ll see a lot more chicken wings springing up on menus—that’s because they’re cheap to make, easy to deliver, and don’t require a lot of floor space to prepare, meaning they can be easily accommodated in ghost kitchens and pop-up restaurant concepts. These aspects will give wings the edge in the 2021 delivery market.

While we don’t serve wings, you can certainly give its Arabic substitute a try, the shish taouk skewers. 2 skewers of threaded boneless chicken, Lebanese style and dipped in exotic spices, herbs, lemon, yogurt, loads of garlic. Served over rice or fries with vegetables, hummus and garlic sauce.

Grilled Fruit

More generally, this is in relation to grilled foods that aren’t meat or meat substitutes. It’s based on the success of The Takeout’s original recipes for Watermelon Burgers, as well as smoky grilled fruit cocktails.

At Yafa Café, you can try the Mhammara for $7. It’s not grilled fruits, but grilled veggies are just as good. Taste the spicy walnuts mixed with tomato & grilled red pepper, served with a fresh bread.

Mhamara, rilled red peppers, walnuts, tomatoesOpen Kitchen Shelving

The lofty Instagram ideal of perfection has come for our home kitchens, and now, even the dishes and clutter that we were once allowed to hide discreetly behind cabinet doors are now out in the open, putting pressure on home cooks to keep their shelves precisely organized and maximally aesthetically pleasing, whether for posting on social media or gussying up WFH backdrops for Zoom meetings. Expect the majority of next year’s gut renovations to do away with cabinets entirely and leave behind only floating shelves in their wake.

Most of our kitchen shelving is exposed to the staff but not our patrons. The café counter on the other hand, partly offers that look and is often used as a backdrop for photo shoots.

Air Fried Everything

Every person who cooks has been gifted an air fryer this year, or are about to receive this holiday. Allison Robicelli with The Takeout Editors wrote: I was a serious air fryer skeptic before I received one last year, but after a few weeks of experimenting and recipe developing, I realized that if anything air fryers have been undersold as a worthwhile kitchen appliance. With the right recipes in hand, air fryers are poised to become an essential part of our everyday cooking routines, even for those folks who might be too intimidated to take it out of the box yet.

Air fryers haven’t yet been adopted at Yafa Cafe, but given this prediction, we may just invest in one. For now, if you want a delightful fried meal, that’s finger lickin’ good, look no further than the Maqali. These crunchy fried veggies with salad pickles, chili and tahineh sauce are a perfect mid-day or late-night snack.


If the current air fryer discourse is any indication, we’re going to see a lot of people splurging on kitchen appliances to make at-home dining easier and more fun. Lillian Stone from The Takeout Editors says: I feel like everyone I know is saving up for high-end espresso machines, pricey oven thermometers, and gadgets to make restaurant-quality goodies like bread and pasta. I also think this signals the end of keep-it-simple kitchen hacks. We’re not looking to save time; we’re focused on quality.

Our coffee-based drinks are brewed to perfection on our espresso machines. Our breads are hand made with love in our wood stove.

Plant-based Meat Substitutes

Expect to see more plant-based meat substitutes on next year’s fast food and fast casual menus. While we’ll still likely to see a steady uptick in variety of those products at the supermarket, prices on those items are still higher than their meaty counterparts. However, when you go out to eat, plant-based substitutes are typically not a big upcharge (if at all). Combine that with the fact that customers are fatigued from cooking at home during the pandemic, and restaurants should expect a surge of dine-in and takeout customers who are eager to try new plant-based alternatives without having to reach deeply into their wallets.

We have many plant-based substitutes. Our most famous is the Falafel Delight. Falafel balls garnished with tahini sauce, served with pickles and hummus,. Definitely a must-try.

Falafel delightWhat do you think of these predictions? Let us know what you will be into this year.

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Giveaway gift bag for fundraisers

Community Response to The Fundraisers During Covid

By Events

This past year we’ve taken on several fundraisers in our establishment to help those in need. Some of the first were donating food to senior homes and front line health workers. It was incredible to see the smiles on their faces during such a difficult time.

With increasing trouble around the world, we decided to take on a couple more this year.

Lebanon Fundraiser

This past summer, after the devastating explosion that rocked Beirut, Lebanon, we launched a fundraiser. Our intent was to raise funds for the people affected by the blast to help.

The blast in Lebanon caused many deaths and injuries, on top of the havoc it created in a country that has seen so much unrest in the last while. Lebanon was already rocked by political unrest, inflation and increased poverty and on the brink of starvation due to Covid. To help those in need, we donated 50% of one week’s sales in August to the Lebanese Red Cross. We urged people to book a table or order takeout or delivery. If they could not make it, we asked that they consider donating to the Lebanese Red Cross directly at the link.

The community response on and off line was incredible. We collected $5000 for the people of Lebanon. To show our appreciation and thank the community for their overwhelming response and generosity, we’ve created this video.

Server wearing Lebanon t-shirt

UN Solidarity With The Palestinian People Fundraiser

This month, we’ve launched another giveaway in celebration of the United Nations (UN) Solidarity with the Palestinian People Day which is observed on November 29th. This giveaway is meant to raise funds for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The Agency provides assistance and protection for 5.6+ million Palestinian refugees and the Near East. For several decades, Palestinians were the largest refugee population in the world. Only in recent years did Syrian refugee numbers surpass those of Palestinians due to the civil war in Syria.

The UNRWA has recently undergone major funding shortages. Recently, they deferred employee salary due to lack of funds and that means less help is going to those most in need and gravely affected by Covid, poverty and displacement. Some of the refugees the UNRWA cares for have been found looking for food to feed their families in garbage bins.⠀

In honour of the occasion, 10% of our month long sales will go to the UNRWA. We will announce the winner on the same day of the event.

Giveaway Details

To increase our donation amount, we’ve decided to launch a giveaway for a chance to win one of our famous gift bags. Inside the gift bag:Giveaway gift bag for fundraisers

  • Handmade mask with embroidery
  • T-shirt of the campaign
  • $50 gift card
  • Kaak (holiday date cookies) pastry
  • Keffiyeh (famous Palestinian black and white scarf)
  • Coffee ☕️ beans

To enter:

  1. Like this post ❤️
  2. Follow @yafacafe
  3. Tag a friend you think would love to try our food (unique names, each line is an entry, no celebrities pls)
  4. Order takeout
  5. Post a story or photo with your takeout order. Must use the @mention or we will NOT see it

Instagram Inc. does not sponsor, administer, nor associate with Yafa Cafe. By entering, entrants confirm that they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram responsibilities, and agree to Instagram’s Term of Use.

Let’s try to help however we can We know our community is generous so let’s do it again and help those in need. Since the new lockdown measures have been place in Winnipeg, we are open daily from 11am to 9pm for takeout, delivery and pickup.

Top Choice Award Nomination

Yafa Cafe has qualified as an Official Nominee for the 2021 Top Choice Awards Survey, competing for the title of Top Choice Middle Eastern Restaurant of 2021 in Winnipeg.

Top Choice Nomination Badge

We just received this news recently and thrilled. Another testament to the community support we receive. In order to win the the award, we need your help:

  1. Visit
  2. Search for Yafa Cafe to vote
  3. Share the voting link on social media with your friends and family
  4. Your feedback is important for us

Thanks again to our great big hearted community!

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Chair karak tea at Yafa Café

Flavourful Chai Karak, The New Popular Drink

By Update No Comments

Chai Karak, or Karak tea is available throughout the Arabian Gulf area. All of clients sipping tea and enjoying the fragrant taste. If you live in those areas, it’s like Tim Hortons line up, you will find endless rows of cars lining up for a small cup of the creamy fragrant Chai Karak and thousands of cups are sold daily. At night, Chai Karak is enjoyed in coffee shops listening to classical Arab diva, Um Kalthoum. The atmosphere around a good tea selling shop is electric and so much fun to watch.

Chai Karak Popularity

The humble beginnings of the drink came with the influx of South Eastern Asian workers upon the discovery of oil in the early 1950s. A tea that is prepared daily there, named ‘masala chai’, using a variety of spices including cardamom, peppercorn, saffron, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, anis.  Chai Karak, translates into strong tea. Versions of chai karak are prepared in South Asian homes daily. It’s a tea culture that traces back to before colonial times making tea vital in every household pantry. A blend of strong black tea, milk, sugar and cardamom, it is prepared by boiling this combination together on a low flame.  

Chai Karak spreadRecipe For You

If you’d like to attempt making this drink at home, here’s a simple recipe or you:  

  • In your tea pot, mix 2 teaspoons of loose black tea or 3 tea bags and add 3 cups of water  
  • Add a fat pinch of cardamom powder, about ¼ teaspoon
  • Put the same amount of cinnamon
  • Include 4 strands of saffron
  • Optional spices to add are cloves of carnation, ginger and anis star
  • Top with sugar to sweeten and boil for 2 minutes
  • Add evaporated milk or condensed milk until you get a creamy caramel colour
  • Boil further for two minutes and simmer and repeat two more times
  • Pour the tea in a cup through a strainer
  • Savour your delicious Karak Tea 

The Spices

Cardamom is the main spice in Yafa Café, used in our dishes, in our honey cardamom latte and in our karak tea. The cardamom is believed to have many health benefits. It is said to relieve:

  • bloating
  • heartburn
  • nausea
  • reduces inflammation in the body
  • lowers blood pressure

Nothing can beat the karak in winter and it is loved. Give it a go with your favourite Yafa Café dessert.

Chair karak tea at Yafa Café

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Yafa Cafe Shish barak main dish catering menu

Sunshine Makes Things Grow on Our Menu

By Update

Summer is here, it’s an excellent time for all of us. The sun is shining and the surf beckons. Despite the pandemic. we feel like the butterfly emerging from her cocoon; transformed and free to soar.
Yafa Cafe patio

Heartbreaking Setbacks

After an extended period of remodelling in 2019, we had some heartbreaking setbacks causing unexpected delays. Someone running off with our money. We wondered how we would ever see our renovation completed. But here we are at last! Thrilled to serve you the most delicious cuisine inspired by the simplicity of Arabic street food. It’s full of flavours, divine and prices are always affordable.

Options For Every Palate

Whether vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or meat-friendly, we create dishes to please every palate. Each ingredient for every meal is lovingly prepared according to the traditions of our family. Authenticity is truly something you can taste. If you have never before traveled to the Arabic coastal communities, rest assured, we’re delivering their delicacies to you right here. Now you can dine-in, takeout, order for delivery through Door Dash or Skip the Dishes, or have your special event catered.

We want to make it effortless for you to enjoy the many new dishes added to our menu, all made possible by the additional equipment we acquired to offer even more delicious options:

  • Try the falafel — made from chickpeas and spices, rolled into balls and deep-fried to perfection.
  • Treat yourself to a shawarma, seasoned meats that are thinly cut and stacked on a vertical rotisserie, allowing tender slices to be shaved for your eating pleasure, while it continually rotates to ensure consistency in our offering.
  • Then there’s the ever-popular manakeesh — a versatile flatbread made sweet or savoury according to its toppings, like a pizza.

Yafa Cafe Cheese and veggie manakeeshIn honour of introducing some new items, we’ve created some food and drink specials you’re sure to love:

  • Baklawa and coffee for $5
  • Seniors who are 60+ get a 10 % daily discount off any order

A Menu Sneak Peek

The original dishes are back! We added some new selection. Exciting and delicious menu items for you to indulge in.

The best place to start is the appetizers. We’ve added three new ones to introduce our taghmees culture. Taghmees refers to dipping in Arabic. It is usually part of sharing practice in Arabic cuisine but with the pandemic, it’s best to each get your own.

Brunch Meals

We introduced the Tunisian Shakshuka, eggs with tomatoes, and the Potato Mfarrakeh, potato and eggs marinated with spices. Then there’s the famous Lebanese Batata Harra, cubed potato fries mixed with cilantro, lemon, garlic, and chilli flakes. All are perfect for brunch.

Main Dishes

We brought back the Msakhan sandwich wrapped with veggies and introduced the Iraqi Vegetarian Sandwich. We offered it to some of our guests to try, and they raved about it so much that we just had to add it to the main menu. As for the Main entrées in our catering menu, we added the masterpiece of Syrian Cuisine, the Shishbarak Dumplings. Ear-shaped dough filled with meat, spices, and herbs, dipped in a cooked garlicky olive oil infused with dry mint yogourt stew, this one is surely to impress your guests. We tried it out as specials, and the response was overwhelming.

Yafa Cafe Shish barak main dish catering menuThe Bamya (ladies’ fingers or okra) is an okra with meat stew. The okra is cooked in a tantalizing tomato base topped with fried garlic and served with fresh bread. You can also eat it with rice for an exquisite experience.

For the perfect as a sharing meal, opt for the Farrouj Mashwi. It’s a whole grilled chicken with a taste to remember.


Basbousa, a semoulina cake, and baklawa (baklava) are both vegan option that can satisfy the sweet tooth that are on our menu. It took years to perfect our signature baklava recipe. The winning result is a melt-in-your-mouth treat that has since become a customer favourite. Handmade in the Yafa Café bakery, this sweet Arabic dessert is crafted with 60 paper-thin phyllo pastry leaves featuring layers of minced walnuts, almonds, plant-based ghee, cinnamon, honey, rose water, and a splash of lemon.


Yafa Café launched many yummy and lovely drinks, served at our coffee bar for you to enjoy. We added more than ten new fantastic selections of drinks that our baristas have crafted. One of the notable ones is the mango smoothie, a must try. You will be impressed for sure!

A Final Thought

We encourage you to come in and try them out in person! We’re cooking up love from the other side of the world. After all, food is love. It brings people together. It comforts, it nourishes, it delights. Thank you for letting us share the love with you. We hope you’ll be back for more.

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Help our restaurant thrive!

Order up:

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Yafa Café patio furniture

Community Response Restores Our Patio and Faith

By Update

Since the start of Covid-19, Yafa Cafe has been creatively continuing to offer the community our unique style of Arabic street food. In our efforts, we enhanced our delivery and pick-up services and offered outdoor patio seating in front of the restaurant.

Our Patio Expansion

We found that seating outside the front of the restaurant was nice but noisy from the street traffic. This need for quieter outdoor seating is where the idea came to expand our back-patio area, adding seating, lights, decor, a garden, and music. This patio would also offer a lovely choice for physical distancing and when the weather is beautiful even when our restaurant’s dine-in area is open.

Yafa Café patio furniture

In our efforts, we purchased patio items such as stainless-steel tables, wicker chairs, flowerpots, decor, and other seating. The patio area was shaping up to be as we hoped, and we put all the items out on Friday, June 12th.

Thieves in the Night

Over the weekend, we came to open the restaurant to discover someone stole our patio furniture and decor. Our hearts broke that someone in our neighbourhood could take from us during the hard time’s businesses are having due to Covid-19. The monetary value was not high, but during this time, every dollar counts. The destruction of the expansion and the disappointment in our fellow humans were even more of a loss.

Restaurant’s Saturday-night patio thieves

Springing into Action

We took to social media and local news to tell the story of our loss. The community responded strongly to what had happened. Neighbours and other businesses offered tables, chairs, and umbrellas to replace the stolen items. Our hearts were grateful, but we were afraid that if we replaced the items, the thieves would return and take them. We were not willing to take this chance with other people’s patio furniture.

A neighbouring business, Alpha Technologies Inc., caught a security camera video of the thieves. They posted the video on YouTube. Other members of the community and business owners took to social media sharing the video and going on the hunt. The people in the community formed a small army and were not going to allow this in their neighbourhood.

Yafa Café Trip Advisor

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Caught and Returned

The efforts of everyone in the community who shared the video and the local news coverage paid off! Due to social media shares, callouts, and community help, the police located the thieves who stole our furniture, ornaments, and flowerpots. Unbelievably, we also came to the restaurant to find all the missing items at our doorstep. This unexpected return was a surprising turn of events. We never anticipated seeing any of our patio furniture or decor again.

Patio Expansion and Security

Due to the circumstances, we have decided to delay the patio expansion for now. We plan to install concrete furniture that will be difficult to steal. Since the furniture reappeared, we will still offer some outdoor seating and make adjustments to protect our property. We will bring in furniture at night, add some lighting, and add another security camera.

A Big Thank You

We cannot thank you enough for your efforts to help us. We knew we had thoughtful neighbours, but this has shown that we can count on you in times of need. The videos, sharing, and callouts helped police catch the thieves, and amazingly the items were returned! This outcome was due to your caring actions and wish to help your neighbour in their time of distress. Our thanks will be everlasting and expressed as much as possible. We will always be here for you as well, the community and the people in it mean so much to us.


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