The Best Baklava in Jersey City + Hoboken

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Baklava might be the perfect dessert. It is everything all at once, buttery, nutty, sweet, flaky, moist, a little chunky. These days, restaurants often use the term “baklava” for a broad group of similar desserts of Ottoman origins, made of layered phyllo and chopped nuts, baked to a golden brown, and bathed in syrup. But the regional variations across the Middle East can be fascinating.

Typically, Turkish style baklavas are described as “pristine,” using no embellishments other than syrup to let the aroma of the nuts {pistachio being the most common} shine. Variations from Greece and Syria, on the other hand, sometimes use honey, cinnamon, or a hint of lemon juice or rosewater for a “busier” flavor.

Whatever your preference is, this delicacy can be easily found in eateries and restaurants locally to satisfy your sweet tooth. Read on for the best baklava spots in Hoboken + Jersey City!

baklava jersey city hoboken

Ali Baba Restaurant {912 Washington Street Suite 1, Hoboken}

ali baba

{Photo credit: @alibabahoboken}

Come to Ali Baba for a full Middle Eastern fare {pick up morsels of grilled meat with warm pita bread and dip it in hummus!}, and make sure to finish the meal with a few squares of baklava. Nutty and sweet, it’s best paired with a small cup of strong Turkish tea. 

Gfg Café • Cuisine {221 River Street, Hoboken}

gfg cafe

{Photo credit: @gfg.cafecuisine}

It’s hard to choose from the bakery’s stellar selection of sweets, but first-timers should make sure to get the Kataifi, often dubbed the Greek “cousin” of baklava. An airy layer of kataifi dough, made of tiny little strands of phyllo, wraps around a nut filling like a bird’s nest. The strands are so fine that it melts in your mouth. Inside, chopped walnuts are scented with ground clove and cinnamon. Baked golden brown, the pastries are then bathed with lemon-infused syrup. 

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Gypsy Grill {187 Newark Avenue, Jersey City}

gypsy grill salad jersey city

Gypsy Grill is another family-owned eatery that makes excellent grilled meat and outstanding mezze {or small dishes}. The baklava, like other dishes, is simple, inexpensive, but consistently delicious. Soaked in syrup, it is moist but not cloying. They are also available for catering. It’s an easy trick to “wow” your guest with a massive tray of delicately layered baklava of all shapes and flavors.

Happy Vegans {410 Washington Street, Hoboken}

happy vegan hoboken

The vegan eatery, which just opened its Hoboken location in August {the other is in Clifton}, makes delicious plant-based versions of classic Turkish dishes. But even carnivores swear by vegan baklava. {Yelp reviewers have called it “out of the world”.} Freckles of bright green pistachios garnish the delicate phyllo crust, baked to a golden brown. Loaded with finely chopped nuts and lightly soaked in syrup, the pastry is a perfect balance of crispness, nuttiness, and moistness. It’s a treat to both the eyes and the palate.

Ibby’s Falafel {303 Grove Street, Jersey City}

ibbys falafel

The small middle eastern eatery boasts some of the best baklavas vetted by locals. “I’ve had baklava all around the world, and Ibby’s is some of the best.” a Reddit user raved. For the undecided, get the basic pistachio flavor. Beneath layers of flaky, buttery phyllo are tightly pressed chopped pistachios. The texture is crisp at the top, crunchy in the middle, then smooth and moist at the bottom, all packed in the intense fragrance of nut and butter. 

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Mamoun’s Falafel {300 Washington Street, Hoboken}

mamouns

If you like Middle Eastern food, it’s hard to resistMamoun’s Falafel. Their iconic sandwiches and plates are consistently satisfying, but make sure to leave room for equally delicious sweets. Of course, one can always choose the traditional baklava. For extra crunchiness and nuttiness, try “mabrumeh”, the Aleppine variation of the Ottoman classic. Layered phyllo is twisted into large, sturdy disks, with a rainbow of mixed nuts {walnuts, almonds, and pistachios} nested in the middle. It’s big enough to share by two, but even better devouring {or savoring} it by yourself.

Rumi Turkish Grill {67 Greene Street, Jersey City}

rumi turkish grill

{Photo credit: @rumiturkishgrill}

Most eaters come for the large selection of grilled meat {richly seasoned and beautifully charred, served with grilled tomato and zesty long green pepper}. But the Rumi Turkish Grillboasts some of the most exciting dessert menus in town. Of course, there’s the classic baklava. For something similar, try the Kadayif, made with finely stranded phyllo dough and walnut. In colder seasons, get the heavenly kunefe, another must-try Turkish dessert. Topped with hearty, caramelized semolina dough, the sweet, melted cheese pulls beautifully when you lift up a syrup-soaked slice. Or the creamy rice pudding, with its caramelized top bubbling in the clay pot. Finish off the meal with robust Turkish coffee.

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Yiwei was born and raised in China. She has lived extensively in Beijing and Hong Kong, before finally settling down in New York. She moved to Hoboken after a few years in Westchester and immediately felt at home here. Two years ago, she left her job at an investment bank to travel the world and explore her interests, and has since then taken on a few freelancing gigs in career coaching, college admission consulting, and writing. When she is not wandering wildly in the streets of Europe, Asia, or Latin America, she can be found sipping an espresso in one of Hoboken's coffee shops or trying out restaurants in Hoboken and Jersey City area.