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Nov 28, 2008 08:43 AM

Best Baclava? (Downtown)

Where can one find the best Baclava, preferably somewhere downtown. It needs to come close to the exquisite confections of Pâtisserie Mahrouse in Montreal. (See Chowhound posts for Quebec)

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  1. Sorry , not sure about downtown, but definitely the best are from Paramount Bakery in Mississauga

    Made right in front of you, and over 25 varities (cashew, peanut, almond, pistachio, honey, molasses)

    they're ridiculously good

    12 Replies
    1. re: duckdown

      Many thanks for this suggestion. I'll have to wait a bit since I don't have a car. If anyone has any ideas I am still interested in Downtown locations......

      1. re: AzulH

        Also not downtown, but you want to go to Patisserie Royale out in Scarborough at Lawrence and Pharmacy. This is where you will find the exquisite. Oh, and take a look, the owner Mounzer Jamous's pedigree shows him as the manager of your aforementioned Mahrouse, way back in the day.

        p.s. They ship their goods through UPS, so that may solve your locale problem.

        1. re: Chester Eleganté

          Thank you for this too. I am amazed at the connections. The discussion on Chowhound Quebec on this subject was very interesting. As far as i know this is the first mention of Baclava on this part of the site. Thank you both again

          1. re: AzulH

            I definitely endorse Patisserie Royale. These are probably the best Mid Eastern pastries I have ever eaten. It's nowhere near downtown, though, and a very long ride via TTC (Lawrence E bus from Eglinton station is one route).

            1. re: embee

              embee, are these the type of baklava that are made with rose water? I much prefer the honey-drenched Greek variety. Does anyone out there have a favourite Greek-style baklava?

              1. re: Tatai

                These are not too sweet, buttery, loaded with nuts, and have a melting quality. A few taste of mastic. The ones I've tried didn't taste of rosewater, but I can't say that they don't use it in some. They are not in syrup, and they don't need any.

                If you prefer the Greek variety, you probably won't like these. The best in the Danforth area, in my opinion, are from Serano, but I'm still not overly fond of them. I think the other Greek bakeries down here sell crappy pastries. Athens is the big exception to that rule, but they don't make baklava.

                1. re: embee

                  I have been suspicious of those for sale on the Danforth ever since I noticed at "Taste of the Danforth" a stall proclaiming 'home made Baclava' at an expensive price, were in fact selling frozen Baclava shipped in commercially from Cleveland of all places.

                  1. re: embee

                    I don't think any of the baklava (pistachio, almond, walnut, cashew) contain rosewater, but some of the other selections do. The complex balaurieh (with the twisted white strands atop) in particular has the taste of it, as does the marzipan. I believe their exceptional ma'moul has a hint of it as well. The borma is special, but does not taste of rosewater.

              2. re: AzulH

                In addition to Serano, Donlands Bakery makes a decent commercial Greek-style baklava. No commercial bakery's baklava can compete with a good homemade version, and in my experience, the baklava that one grows up with is the style that the person will like the most.

                Many bakeries use oil or margarine to cut down on the cost when many family versions (at least Greek versions) only use butter.

                For some people, whether the filo is home-made or house-made is a big issue, but for me, the freshness of the nuts and quality of the syrup is more important. A friend had asked me to bring her to the best place for baklava in Toronto, and we bought baklavas from 3 different bakeries and she was disappointed by each version, but she kept comparing them to her mother's version. I don't compare any commercial preparations of baklava, or cabbage rolls, or meatballs, or any other comfort food to my family's versions because I'll always be let down.

                Athens Pastries (which specializes by only selling loukamades, bougatsa, galatoboureko, spanakopita, creatopita and tiropita), Donlands and Serano are usually regarded as the best bakeries by the Greek community in Toronto.

                For Iranian-style baklava, I like Shirini Sara on Leslie. The baklava I bought was bite-sized, made with rosewater and pistachio, if I recall correctly. All the pastries I've bought at Shirini Sara have been delicious, and beautiful.

                Here are some earlier threads on the topic of baklava:

                1. re: phoenikia

                  I used to like Donlands, but that was so long ago that they were still located on Donlands. As with many long established food businesses in Toronto, I feel they have declined profoundly over time.

                  The last few times I've had pastries from Donlands (probably about six months ago), I found that the filo had a bitter, almost gagging, quality. This was noticeable in the sweet pastries and made the tiropita almost inedible.

                  1. re: embee

                    Thanks for mentioning your recent experience, Embee. That's disappointing to hear. I tried a couple of their pastries (koks, and other chocolate or pastry cream-based pastries, not baklava and not filo-based) at some weddings and an engagement party over the summer, but I didn't notice a decline in quality.

                    Sounds like it would probably be the oil/fat that they're using which would lead to bitter, almost gagging quality, rather than the filo itself. I've noticed that same type of taste in several commercial versions of kourabiedes (a cookie similar to shortbread, which is not fllo-based,in case any Chowhounds reading this are not familiar with them) from two different bakeries located on the Danforth.

                    Haven't tried their tiropita- but I don't like commercial tiropita- not even the commercial tiropitas in Greece! All commercial tiropitas are almost inedible to me;)

                  2. re: phoenikia

                    The iranian baklava (square dense cake like) opposed to the traditional phyllo flakes style was absolutely delicious at Shirini Sara Pastry House.

                    They have some lovely shortbreads and cookies there too, loved the flax type roll cookie filled with apricot, so chewy and addictive!

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              1. For a twist, try Armenian baklava. There is a little Armenian restaurant and grocery on Victoria Park about halfway between Danforth and Eglington in a little strip mall. There is a bakery next door, but they don't sell them, you have to go next door to the grocery. Very nice. There is also a little Turkish bakery near Danforth and Main (Ahar or Azar maybe?) that makes one of the lightest versions I have ever tried. Quite exquisite.

                5 Replies
                1. re: munchieHK

                  Is the first one the Armenian Kitchen ( 1646 Victoria Park Ave ?)

                  1. re: munchieHK

                    The place near Main and Danforth is called Arya and the owner is Afghan. He offers offering Afghan bread and sweets, Indian sweets, and Greek and Turkish pastries, along with his own creations. Good to hear he makes such good baklava. The Star profiled this place in a feature a few months ago -

                    1. re: JamieK

                      Actually, I asked him about that. I saw he was advertising Afghan bread etc. and asked him about it. He said everything was Turkish! He underlined that very strongly. Having seen the article, I now understand. He's an Afghani baking mostly Turkish products.Thanks for the link.

                      1. re: munchieHK

                        I agree with phoenikia above. You cannot compare to the versions you grew up with at home, especially if truly homemade. I also agree that an exceptional baklava or phyllo can be compromised if the nuts aren't fresh and if the syrup is not successfully made. I much prefer a nice kataifi from Serano on Danforth over commercially available baklava.