Where to eat the best baklava in Turkey and the UK

You’ll find traditional baklava all over Turkey — but closer to home, London and Bristol have tasty options, too.

Baklava - an extra-sweet treat that's best sampled with a glass of Turkish tea. 

Photograph by Laura Edwards
By Mary Işın, Farida Zeynalova
Published 11 Oct 2022, 06:03 BST

1. Güllüoğlu, Istanbul
In the commercial district of Karaköy, Güllüoğlu is one of the best-known baklava shops in Istanbul. As well as all the classic types, filled with walnuts or pistachios, you’ll find gluten-free, vegan and sugar-free variations, alongside an array of experimental creations such as an extra-light variety made with milk and sprinkled with flaked chocolate, served chilled. 

2. Zeki Inal, Gaziantep
Zeki Inal’s modest appearance belies its nationwide reputation for first-rate baklava. A tiny, traditional shop in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep, it sells only four types. These include the circular ‘nightingale’s nest’ variety, but it made its name with şöbiyet, a triangular kind filled with milk and semolina custard.

3. Köskeroğlu, Istanbul
This restaurant is renowned for its kebabs and regional dishes, as well as its array of sweet pastries. It serves a number of different kinds of baklava — most of them with pistachio fillings. One is the so-called ‘dry’ baklava, so named because the syrup is allowed to crystallise, lending an added crunch to the texture. Others include şöbiyet, as well as long tapering triangles of havuç dilimi (‘carrot slice’) and the mussel-shaped midye.

4. Mustafa Gökçin, Şanlıurfa
This family of baklava makers in the southeastern city of Şanlıurfa make more than a dozen types of the pastry, including a cheese-filled variety called peynirli katmer, served hot. Prepared with clarified butter made from ewe’s milk, the baklava is baked in a traditional wood-fired oven. Take a seat and enjoy your sweet treat with a cup of Turkish tea. 

5. Antepliler, London
North London’s Green Lanes is the epicentre of the city’s Turkish community, and this local institution has been going strong since 1993. It’s a place of three parts: a restaurant, a cafe and an artisan bakery proudly making baklava the ‘authentic’ way. Antepliler’s recipe has seven ingredients: durum wheat flour, eggs, salt, milk, semolina, butter and the star of the show — pistachios sourced from Gaziantep, in southern Turkey. Try a piece with a scoop of homemade ice cream, and wash it down with Turkish coffee. 

6. Zahter, London
This upmarket Soho restaurant (above) was opened by Turkish chef Esra Muslu in late 2021, with a menu focusing on the various flavours of her native Istanbul. Lauded by food critics — including Jay Rayner, who described it as the best he’s ever eaten — Zahter’s baklava is made with a filling of Turkish pistachios, sandwiched between crisp, buttery pastry. It’s served with a dollop of thick cream.

7. Phoenicia Mediterranean Food Hall, London
Phoenicia is an Aladdin’s cave of Middle Eastern favourites, stocking everything from desserts and biscuits to pickles and wraps. The bakery at this family-run Kentish Town spot specialises in Lebanese baklava, which is freshly made in the shop every morning. There are a variety of shapes and flavours on offer, including pistachio, walnut, hazelnut and cashew — and you can try them all by ordering an assorted platter. Vegans are catered for, too. 

8. Bristanbul, Bristol
Located on buzzy Gloucester Road, Bristol’s first Turkish bakery has been a hit with the locals since it opened in 2011. It’s home to a plethora of sweet and savoury treats, including an extra-sweet pistachio baklava that’s freshly baked on site and best sampled with a glass of Turkish tea.

Published in Issue 17 (autumn 2022) of Food by National Geographic Traveller (UK) 

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