istanbul's landmark patisseries: İnci and Baylan

İnci on İstiklal Avenue

Word has it that İnci, one of the most loved patisseries of Istanbul is under a threat: The building in which it has been for ever and ever is planned to be torn down to give way to some huge shopping complex. There are now active Facebook groups and pages protesting the disappearance of one the city's true institutions. True, it seems that İnci has been offered new premises in the new building, however I am not at all surprised to hear that the owner, much loved Musa Bey, will have none of it.

İnci, which was founded in 1943, makes profiteroles which are good enough to keep cordon bleu French chefs clamoring for the recipe of the chocolate sauce - which is, of course, a well kept secret. Besides profiteroles İnci makes all kinds of other great patisserie things, gateaux, cakes, and cookies as well. However, the profiteroles are what gives the place its reputation.

İnci is not a place to sit for long and dream away - it is almost like a fast food place in its turn over - as the lined up plates in the image above will easily prove to you. You are meant to eat the goodies quickly and make way for the next person. Yes, there are chairs and tables lined up against the wall opposite the counter, and yes, you can of course sit down. But never for too long! And yet, the profiteroles are so worth the rush...

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İstiklal Ave 56,
Beyoğlu, İstanbul
+90 212 293 9224


Founded in 1923, Baylan is exactly as old as the Turkish republic. In the early years of the 20th century, Filip Lenas, a young Albanian Greek came to the (then) capital Istanbul, with the sole aim of becoming a renowned patisserie chef. After several years of apprenticeship at the French owned Mulatier chocolate factory, Lenas opened his first pastry shop in Pera, on a small side street off of İstiklal Avenue. A second shop followed in Karaköy and in 1961 a third one in Kadiköy market - which is the only surviving Baylan shop today. And added should also be that during the middle of the 20th century Baylan became a meeting place of a large group of young poets and novelists, who subsequently came to be known as the "Baylanists".

Today, Baylan is run by Filip Lenas' son Harry Lenas - as sprightly an octogenarian as you would ever be likely to encounter (and one does meet him at the till every time one goes in there ;-). Unlike İnci, whose future is uncertain, Baylan promises to maintain its status: Harry Lenas, who is childless, has recently sold the business to Kahve Dünyası (post here>>>), saying that he would like the business to continue in the hands of people who care about it, after his demise. And Kahve Dünyası being an operation that is smart enough to see the significance of Baylan's history and brand will run Baylan as a series of standalone shops, with the same retro ambience and the same line of products, with Harry in charge as long as he is around - which we all hope will be a for a very very long time yet.

And speaking of the products, Baylan is famous for a special ice cream cup called Kup Griye, an extraordinary truffle gateau and much more. The shop has a small outdoor garden in the back and this is a popular meeting place for folk of all ages, sizes and descriptions (me being amongst them).

Şunu daha büyük bir haritada görüntüle: Baylan Pastanesi
Muvakkithane Caddesi No:19,
Kadıköy - İstanbul


  1. Today Inci Patiserries is forced to shut down.
    I regret to inform you that one of the landmarks of Istanbul is lost.


  2. Fear not! They've moved around the corner to a (temporary?) new premises.


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