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Best baklava in Toronto?

Torfoodie Sep 24, 2006 10:27 AM

I love baklava and wonder where I can find the best baklava in Toronto. Any tips?

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    Explorer1 Oct 1, 2006 04:25 PM

    It is surprising no one has mentioned Patisserie Royale, on Lawrence a block before Arz. http://www.patisserieroyale.com/produ...
    Their baklawa is superior to Arz, and they have amazing maamoul and other middle-eastern traditional sweets such as 3smalleyeh, halawet-jebn, knefeh, etc. Arz's baklawa is often stale because they make it large quantities and don't make it often enough.
    There are 2 main styles of baklawa: Greek or middle-eastern. comparing the 2 is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. Middle-eastern baklawa doesn't use honey and is more delicate on the taste, more crunchy and has more varieties in the fillings and shapes.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Explorer1
      embee Oct 1, 2006 04:29 PM

      Thanks. I've been wanting to try them but couldn't remember their name. I think there are a couple of others on Lawrence E that are worth exploring. Names, anyone??

      I've never experienced stale at Arz. Perhaps my timing has been lucky.

      1. re: embee
        Yongeman Oct 1, 2006 07:55 PM

        I've bought baklava from Arz twice in the last week. Both times it was excellent--flavour, texture, freshness. I sampled the pistachio/pine nut, cashew and walnut. All were delicious, but I think I prefer the cashew.

      2. re: Explorer1
        embee Nov 9, 2006 02:20 AM

        I finally made it to Patisserie Royale today. Although I still like Arz, Royale blows away everyplace else I've tried in Toronto. Fresh, crispy, buttery, wide variety, generous fillings, not messy and NOT VERY SWEET. This stuff is amazing. If you are partial to the mid-eastern style of filo, you MUST try this place. I have never tasted anything better.

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        pâté chinois Sep 27, 2006 07:05 PM

        I live near Pape, north of the Danforth, and get amazing baklavas at Stany Bakery (between Mortimer and Cosburn). They are large, fresh and dripping with syrup.

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          Anna B Sep 27, 2006 05:55 PM

          This is outside of Toronto, but if you're ever in Mississauga at Dixie/403, Paramount is excellent for Lebanese desserts, including baklava.

          1. Chester Eleganté Sep 27, 2006 12:16 AM

            They're not amazing or anything, but Sababa has these homemade walnut baklavas (they also have some regular ones) that are pretty tasty.

            1. thenurse Sep 26, 2006 06:59 PM

              I've tried Europa's chocolate covered Baklava. Even though I'm a chocoholic, I prefer the plain style. The flavours of both the chocolate and baklava get drowned out when they're together.
              I still have not found a good baklava on the Danforth. They're all way to chewy and not nutty/rich enough, although they're plenty sweet. I was spoiled by mom's homemade as a child.

              1. b
                bluedog Sep 26, 2006 06:42 PM

                I would also try Tahsin Market, a turkish market just east of Pape, on the south side of the Danforth. I know they don't make it themselves but they have some of the best baklava I've had in TO, made with pistachios, not walnuts/almonds. Very crispy, buttery phyllo as well. Better than any greek bakery I've tried thus far.

                As well, Europa, just down the street from Tahsin makes a passable baklava, and they make their own phyllo several times/week. They also do a chocolate covered baklava that is interesting (but the chocolate they use isn't rich enough IMHO).

                1. shana Sep 26, 2006 06:32 PM

                  Athens is a nut free bakery - no baklava but great if you ever have guests coming with nut allergies.

                  1. Webdude Sep 25, 2006 08:36 PM

                    Has anyone ever tried warm baklava? It gets that same gooey, runny texture as a good butter tart.

                    Just don't subject it to the microwave. The delicate pastry can't take it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Webdude
                      chocohead Sep 26, 2006 11:47 PM

                      that goes with anything made with phylo pastry

                    2. MichelinStarChaser Sep 25, 2006 02:56 AM

                      I like Ararat; for both their baklava and lots of other good things to take away.
                      Ararat Specialty Foods
                      1800 Avenue Road
                      (416) 782-5722

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                        phoenikia Sep 24, 2006 10:11 PM

                        Maybe you can tell that Serano products didn't come from a Greek home, but I honestly don't think most Torontonians would be able to tell.

                        I brought some kourabiedes, melamakarona and baklava from Serano to a friend last year, and she mistook them for the homemade Greek pastries that I usually bring.

                        It is the bakery most Greeks I know go to when they don't have time to bake.And Serano's version of kourabiedes (although it doesn't compare to my mom's recipe) is much better than the 2 homemade batches of kourabiedes I received from 2 Greek mothers in Toronto last Christmas.

                        To each their own;)

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                          phoenikia Sep 24, 2006 09:21 PM

                          Serano Bakery, on the west side of Pape, between Mortimer and Danforth, offers the best Greek style baklava in Toronto IMHO. Huge selection of other Greek pastries, too. I find their pastries fresher and more buttery than the other bakeries on the Danforth.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: phoenikia
                            embee Sep 24, 2006 09:54 PM

                            Agreed Serano is better than some others, but you still know it didn't come from a Greek home.

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                            goofibulator Sep 24, 2006 08:53 PM

                            Oh, do visit Arabesque on the corner of Gladstone & College, just east of Dufferin. Absolutely yummy yummy stuff. Somebody told me that the proprietor is of Lebanese descent, and that all of his various kinds of baklava (there are about 8 or 10) are homemade. Everything from the drier variety to dripping with honey. My fave: the little 'fingers' in the top right side of the display cabinet (made with rosewater and other stuff, it says). They're slightly drier and dissolve in your mouth when you bite into them.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: goofibulator
                              7katz Sep 24, 2006 09:11 PM

                              I agree - Arabesque is wonderful - I eat there once a week and always get a piece of his baklava as a finisher. One tiny piece is just right. The owner is very friendly and easy-going. It's open Tuesday to Saturday 11-7, Sundays 11-4 if I remember correctly.

                              1. re: goofibulator
                                chocohead Sep 26, 2006 11:46 PM

                                i second that

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                                embee Sep 24, 2006 04:33 PM

                                Definitely ARZ. It's very different from the more common Greek style - drier and less sweet. What's more important is that they simply do it well. There are other shops along Lawrence East that may be as good as Arz or better, but I haven't tried them yet. Reports anyone?

                                There's incredible choice on Danforth. I haven't tried all of the restaurants, but I have tried ALL of the bakeries along Danforth, Pape, and Donlands. I don't feel that any of the Greek bakeries is any good. (Your mileage may vary.) The trick with Greek style baklava is crispy, buttery filo under the dripping sauce. I consistently find soggy, soaked filo, butterless, and with too few nuts to taste. Europa (not Greek) gets the pastry a bit better, but ruins it with some kind of artificial flavour.

                                Athens on Danforth is great, but they don't specialize in baklava-type pastries.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: embee
                                  chimichimi Sep 28, 2006 03:59 PM

                                  I think you're referring to the middle-eastern style of baklawa that uses orange/rose water, ghee and sugar instead of lots of honey... they also tend to use pistachios, almonds, and cashews instead of the usual in greek style baklava.

                                2. m
                                  mickeyj Sep 24, 2006 01:12 PM

                                  I like my baklava very sweet with lots of dripping honey sauce. For that kind of baklava, there is a woman who sells it in Kensington. It is inside one of the 2 nutsellers stores (bad description I know, but you'll probably know what I mean) and it is delicious. For the drier kind of baklava, Arz grocery (an Armenian grocery on Lawrence East -- east of the DVP) is good and the choices are astounding.

                                  1. m
                                    mclaugh Sep 24, 2006 01:10 PM

                                    Arz Bakery @ Vic Park and Lawrance.

                                    1. h
                                      hungryabbey Sep 24, 2006 11:40 AM

                                      I'm not a huge fan of it, but I do live in GreekTown on the Danforth, so I would say definetly check out any of the places there, particularly Athens Pastries (i'm pretty sure thats the one I'm thinking of)

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