Abu Hassan (restaurant)
Number of locations
|Ali Karwan (until 2007)|
Ali Karwan – Abu Hassan (Hebrew: עלי קרוואן – אבו חסן, Arabic: علي كروان – أبو حسن) is one of the oldest and most famous hummus restaurants in Israel. Its original branch is on Dolphin Street in Jaffa and there are two more branches located on Shivtei Israel Street. It has been rated as the best hummus restaurant in Israel in many lists. The restaurant is famous for its loyal clientele of Arabs and Jews, laborers and tourists, sitting side by side and crammed to the same tables, and the long line that waits at its entrance every day at noon. The hummus restaurant was founded by Ali Karawan, known as Abu Hassan.
Karawan began by selling hummus from a cart in the Ajami neighborhood of Jaffa. In 1959 he opened his first restaurant on 60th Street, now Yefet Street, but that business did not last long. In the early 1970s he opened a restaurant on Dolphin Street, at the corner of Yehuda HaYamit. This restaurant is still active today.
After decades in which Karawan refused to open additional branches, a larger hummus restaurant was opened on Shivtei Yisrael Street, not far from the original restaurant. The success of the branch, which despite its larger size is also characterized by a long line of diners at the entrance, led to the opening of a third restaurant, Pearl of Jaffa - Brothers Karawan, which also sells fries, falafel and salad. In October 2007 Karawan died after years of minor involvement in the management of the network during which his son Ibrahim served as the director.
Abu Hassan's original restaurant on Dolphin Street is small, overcrowded and almost uncluttered. It is open from eight in the morning and closes when there is no more food, usually in the early afternoon. Due to the long line that is steeped in the entrance, hummus is eaten sitting together with other diners around the same table, as is customary in many working restaurants. Restaurant service is fast, efficient and sometimes even aggressive. The reservation and serving are very quick, and the waiters often urge the diners who have finished eating to make room for those waiting in line.
The restaurant's menu is very limited. The restaurant serves only four basic courses - hummus, masabacha, brown beans and labane - and dishes that combine them. The famous dish of the restaurant is the triangle (in Arabic: Mutha'alat, in Hebrew: Meshulash), a triangular dish that includes hummus, brown beans and masabacha. With the dishes, pitas, fresh onions, and saucers of hot sauce with lemon salt are served.
The restaurant does not offer the guests a written menu for viewing around the table, but presents the various dishes and their prices on the wall of the restaurant.
- Eater: "must-try delight"
- Lonely Planet: "If hummus is a religion, then this could be its Mecca."
- Palti, Michal (24 October 2007). "מת אבו חסן - מייסד החומוסייה האגדית" [Abu Hassan, founder of the legendary hummus restaurant, died]. Haaretz. Tel Aviv.
- Brown, Keren (25 May 2016). "The 38 Essential Tel Aviv Restaurants". Eater. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
Far from fancy and always loud, but this place knows its hummus. For over 50 years, Abu Hassan has been the go-to joint for this creamy chickpea staple. Mix-and-match a fifty-fifty split of hummus and masabacha — a revved-up version with warm, whole chickpeas on top. Be sure to arrive before 3 p.m., or risk missing out on this must-try delight.
- Phull, Jasmine (6 November 2017). "How Tel Aviv became the vegan capital of the world". The Independent. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
Abu Hassan, located in the Old City of Jaffa, serves up a local favourite of masabacha, or warm hummus.
- Lonely Planet: Israel & the Palestinian Territories. Travel Guide Series. Lonely Planet Publications. 17 July 2018. ISBN 9781786570567 – via Google Books.