Known as the ‘sultan of desserts and the dessert of sultans’, baklava has a special place among Turkish sweets. The Güllüoğlu family has been in the baklava business in the city of Gaziantep, Turkey’s top destination for this traditional treat, since 1820, and opened a shop in Karaköy in 1949. Bustling crowds regularly queue up for some of the finest renditions of this flaky, buttery, layered filo pastry to be found anywhere in Istanbul.
Karaköy Güllüoğlu, Rıhtım Caddesi, Katlı Otopark Altı 3-4, Karaköy, Istanbul, +90 (0)212 293 0910
Most famous for its top-quality lokum (Turkish delight) and chocolates, Divan Pastanesi offers a full range of gourmet delights: chocolate truffle cream cakes, fruit tarts, Belgian-style pralines, éclairs and more. In business for half a century, Divan now has close to 20 locations but the original at the Divan Hotel still charms with its Ottoman lattice motifs and long marble counters edged with brass rails.
Divan Pastanesi, Divan Hotel, Asker Ocağı Caddesi 1, Elmadağ, Taksim, Istanbul, +90 (0)212 241 0468
With its stylish décor, Bosphorus views and a full-service restaurant and bar next door, the Bebek branch of one of Istanbul’s oldest and best-known patisseries offers a modern alternative to the nostalgic Kadıköy shop. Specialities such as the famous Baylan kup griye – ice cream topped with caramel sauce, toasted almonds, pistachios and whipped cream, and served with sponge fingers – and classic Turkish and European sweets are as good as ever.
Baylan Pastanesi, Cevdet Paşa Caddesi 52-54, Bebek, Istanbul, +90 (0)212 358 0760
Marie Antoinette Chocolatier
Taking her inspiration from the luxury-loving 18th-century French queen, Ruken Demirer, proprietor of Marie Antoinette Chocolatier, sources only the best cocoa beans from Costa Rica, Peru and Venezuela for her handmade creations. Beautifully designed ‘haute chocolate’ flavours such as Séduction Cerise (bitter chocolate with wild cherry), La Passion (white chocolate with gooseberry) and Turkish-coffee truffles entice both the eye and the palate in this tiny, elegant Nişantaşı boutique.
Marie Antoinette Chocolatier, Ihlamur Yolu 13A, Nişantaşı, Istanbul, +90 (0)212 291 9277
Patisserie de Pera
More than a century after the first guests sipped tea and nibbled on cakes at Patisserie de Pera, this intimate venue, tucked into a peaceful corner of the landmark Pera Palace Hotel, retains its refined art nouveau atmosphere. Colourful macaroons, cheerful cupcakes and luscious tarts tantalise at this classic Istanbul café, which recently opened a second branch inside Brandroom Nişantaşı.
Patisserie de Pera, Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeirah, Meşrutiyet Caddesi 52, Tepebaşı, Beyoğlu, Istanbul, +90 (0)212 377 4000