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Nov 2, 2006 03:51 AM

Where to get baklava in the South Bay area?

A few weeks ago my wife and I went to Costco to buy supplies for a dinner party. A vendor was selling stuff I had never heard of, and one of those things was baklava. I had never tried it, but one taste had me and my wife hooked (they were giving away samples, of course). We picked up a few small boxes of the stuff, and needless to say, it was a huge hit at our party! I'm not sure what was inside the pastries, but they were sprinkled with crushed pistachio and there was a honey glaze on the bottom. My wife is now on a mission to find a bakery or store in the San Jose area that sells baklava. And when my wife is on a mission, aint nobody happy till she's happy! I thought I'd try this website and see if anyone had any suggestions. My work takes me up the peninsula to Belmont and San Mateo. Does anyone know of any bakeries or supermarkets between San Jose and San Mateo where I can purchase baklava? From what I can gather so far online, baklava can be of many different varieties, from Greek to Middle Eastern to Turkish. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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  1. Good Baklava and many other Middle Eastern foodstuffs can be found at Aladdin Market and Deli in San Mateo.

    Aladdin Market and Deli
    224 E. Hillsdale Blvd.
    San Mateo, CA 94403
    (650) 574-7288

    1 Reply
    1. re: Euonymous

      Thanks Euonymous for the info. I will defintinely check out Aladdin Market first chance I get.

    2. One brand of baklava that I like alot is Shatila from a Lebanese bakery in Michigan. I know where to buy it in San Francisco and Burlingame, maybe someone has seen it in the San Jose to mid-Peninsula area.

      Edited to add: Have you been to Just Laziz in San Jose? Here's more -

      6 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Thanks for the reply. Where can I find the Shatila brand in Burlingame? A co-worker lives there, someone I will now need to be nice to!

        1. re: steven4490

          Sorry, I misremembered about International Food Warehouse in Burlingame. Pulling up my post,

          it seems that it has Shatila ice cream, but no longer the baklava.

          Now if you ever make it over to Fremont, give MidEast Deli a call to see if any of the homemade baklava is available. When you catch it freshly made, it's great.

          Can you tell the Lebanese versions are my favorite? (g)

          Here's an old post from Pia (now pilinut) who is the true baklava fiend, and she recommends the Semiramis brand from Damaascus that you can buy at Aladdin in San Mateo.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Bakalava is dangerous. The last time DH and I went on a baklava bender, we gained 3 kg. between the two of us.

            I'm on the wagon--haven't had a piece in months--but I'm timing my next order from Bohsali in Beirut so that it'll be fresh for Christmas. (Hmmmm. Maybe I'll jump off the wagon for Thanksgiving.)

            Here's a link to an earlier post on Alhana, a Lebanese grocer in San Mateo, just south of Hillsdale Ave., off El Camino.

            Caveat: Once you start on the Lebanese and Syrian stuff, it's really hard to stop. (Maybe because the pieces are so small, and the assortments beg you to try one of each of kind--and then another round and another round, like a beauty contest to see which type you like best. Before you know it, your jeans don't fit anymore. . .


            Enjoy your new obsession, and post back about any discoveries worth the weight gain ;)

            1. re: pilinut

              Pilinut, thanks for yet another source to get this evil stuff! I will be visiting Alhana very soon to see what they offer. God help my waistline!

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  No, not yet. I didn't even know if was open until you posted the link. It had been a work in progress so long that I had given up on it. But I'll check it out soon and post when I do. Thanks for the info!

        2. I get my favorite baklava at International Food Bazaar, on Snell, cross street Giuffrida, near 85 & Blossom Hill. Its in the same complex as Pho My. They have a pretty good selection of different baklava, variety packs, ect. In my opinion definitely better than Costco. Approx. $7.99 for the small variety pack. If my memory hasn't failed me, the baklava comes from Diamond Bakery in Fremont - always tastes very freshly made. Happy hunting!

          International Food Bazaar
          5491 Snell Avenue, San Jose

          9 Replies
          1. re: SanJoseHound

            Wow, sounds like there are several places to get baklava locally. I need to get out more. I'll need to drive down to Snell and check out International Food Bazaar. Thanks for the info.

            1. re: steven4490

              Any middle eastern deli or market should have it.

              Damavand market in Milpitas has several different varieties. I like the one that's less flakey, thin and very dense and heavily perfumed with cardamom. For a "standard" baklava I actually like the packaged one made by Oasis in Belmont, which I see in various markets. This article has more info, and a list of stores that carry it:

              In a pinch, Trader Joe's carries a couple of packaged baklavas.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                The important thing is to look at the ingredient list and make sure that butter is in good proportion. It's suprising how many packaged baklava don't have any butter at all!

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Funny, that's one product where I've never really looked at the ingredients. I like the Oasis because it manages to escape what I consider the be the biggest flaw in most baklava: the bottom layer getting tough. I mentioned the TJ's version, but I've never bought it myself, although I know people who seem to like it just fine.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Last week I picked up a box of Oasis baklava at Aladdin in San Mateo for $6.99. I couldn't quite make myself pay $20+ for the Semiramis from Syria. Oasis uses butter, also some margarine, but butter comes ahead of it on the ingredient list. And, you're right, it took about 5 days before the last pieces in the tray started to get wet/tough.

                2. re: Ruth Lafler

                  just a correction that Damavand Market is in Fremont.
                  37013 Towers Way (@ Thorton Ave)
                  Fremont, CA 94536
                  (510) 793-2606

                  Ruth: where'd u find Oasis Baklava in the East Bay? It doesn't mention East Bay markets.

                  1. re: hhc

                    Oops! You're so right! Not only is Damavand not in Milpitas, it's at the other (north) end of Fremont.

                    I don't buy Oasis in the East Bay -- I buy it around my downtown SF office at the Oasis Grill (not sure if there's a relationship) and the deli a few doors down on Drumm (across from the Hyatt Regency).

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      I went to SF so I picked up my Oasis Baklava at the Drumm Liquor store. A package comes with 4 baklava for $2.99. It's pretty good.

                      Drumm Liquor store pic:

                      baklava pic:

                  2. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Thanks Ruth for the info. Next time I'm in the east bay, I'll stop by Damavand in Fremont.

              2. Thanks to Euonymous' earlier post to my inquiry, I stopped at Aladdin Market/Deli in San Mateo last week and picked up 2 boxes of Oasis brand. My wife and I both love it. It's very flaky, it tastes fresh, and the bottom layers of dough are not too saturated with ?? (whatever is on the bottom). The clerk at Aladdin's was very helpful and pointed out the different brands. They must have had about 6 or so different brands to choose from. One of the boxes I bought was an assortment. The only piece I was not crazy about was the one topped with what looked like shredded pastry. I was reluctant to buy an international brand because I didn't see any expiration dates on this stuff! Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough. Anyone know what the shelf life of this stuff is?
                I am still cursing that vendor at Costco that got me and my wife hooked on what must be one of the most fattening pastries you can buy!

                1 Reply
                1. re: steven4490

                  The shelf life of baklava is actually pretty long. At least 6 months, and I've been told up to a year from date of manufacture. Personally I think that 6 months is fine, 9 is okay, 12 is just edible.

                  Sometimes the expiration date is rather hard to find, but it's usually stamped somewhere, often with a small, old-fashiond rubber stamp. Don't buy if the expiration date isn't indicated. An exception is if you are buying direct from a maker like Bohsali in Beirut, as they pack to order. (And will pack whatever selection you specify, too!)

                  If the piece you didn't like was topped with what looked like raw shredded pastry, it was probably ballourie. It's usually the one ignored in our assortment, too.

                2. The best place to buy the freshest Oasis baklava is right at their bakery in Belmont, 1308 Old County Road. Personally, I don't like baklava beyond 3-5 days old. Fortunately, I live nearby.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: gourmetwannabe

                    Anything else at Oasis bakery that you recommend?

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      greifehe(sp?)butter cookies are my next best favourite