If you find yourself wandering through the streets of Istanbul, exploring the vibrant Turkish cuisine, one dessert that should be on your foodie list is Künefe. This delectable sweet treat is a combination of melted cheese, semolina dough, and a hint of sweetness, all crowned with a generous drizzle of syrup. In this blog post, we will take you on a journey to discover the best Künefe in Istanbul, highlighting some remarkable places where you can indulge in this scrumptious delight.
Where to find the best Künefe in Istanbul
Lezzet-i Şark Antep Sofrası – Fatih
Begin your Künefe journey at Lezzet-i Şark Antep Sofrası in the Fatih neighborhood, located in Eminönü. This restaurant not only offers a delightful kebab experience but is also the perfect spot for those who want to end their meal with Künefe. What sets it apart from others is their unique method of roasting the Künefe. The secret to the delicious Künefe at Lezzet-i Şark Antep Sofrası lies in this roasting technique. They expertly craft their Künefe with love and expertise, using the finest ingredients. The cheese is perfectly melted, and a drizzle of syrup adds a delightful touch of sweetness. Lezzet-i Şark Antep Sofrası in Fatih is an excellent choice for indulging in mouthwatering Künefe.
- Address: Lezzet i Şark, Rüstem Paşa, Hasırcılar Cd. No:38, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye, click here for directions
- Opening hours: 07:00-20:00 every day
Hatay Ekol Künefe – Kadıköy
Hatay Ekol Künefe is a renowned Künefe destination, known for its extraordinary culinary experience. They import special cheeses and kadayif from Hatay to ensure the utmost quality. With six branches in Kadıköy, Üsküdar, Ümraniye, Ataşehir, Bayrampaşa, and Levent, you can be sure to find the same delicious taste at any of their locations.
Whether you visit the Kadıköy branch or any other, you’ll be treated to an exceptional Künefe experience. This family-run establishment’s commitment to quality and meticulous attention to detail sets them apart. Their Künefe is a masterpiece, featuring a gooey cheese filling encased in crispy, golden semolina dough that leaves you yearning for more. Don’t miss the chance to savor other authentic Turkish desserts like Katmer and Kadayif here.
- Address: Hasanpaşa Mah. Prof Dr Fahrettın Kerim Gökay Cad. No:59 D:A, Kadıköy / Istanbul, click here for directions
- Opening hours: 12:00-00:00 every day
Akdeniz Hatay Sofrası – Fatih
Located in the lively neighborhood of Fatih, Akdeniz Hatay Mutfağı is a place that delivers the finest dishes from Hatay cuisine to Istanbul residents. Here, you can enjoy the authentic flavors of Hatay cuisine and savor the original Künefe with delight. Be sure to reserve your table before heading there for an unforgettable culinary experience. The atmosphere is warm, and the staff is friendly, creating a hidden gem for Künefe enthusiasts. The Künefe they serve is rich and aromatic, bursting with authentic flavors. Whether you prefer it as is or paired with a scoop of ice cream, a visit to Akdeniz Hatay Mutfağı in Fatih is a must.
- Address: İskenderpaşa, Ahmediye Cd. No:44, 34080 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye, get directions
- Opening hours: 10:00- 23:30 every day
Keyfeder Künefe Katmer – Taksim
When your journey takes you to Taksim, Beyoğlu, you mustn’t miss Keyfeder Künefe Katmer, a place entirely dedicated to Künefe. This remarkable establishment offers 14 distinct Künefe varieties, allowing you to order it just the way you prefer: generously cheesy, wonderfully crispy, and even crowned with kaymak. They take your Künefe experience to a whole new level. Alongside your order, you’ll be treated to complimentary tea, milk, water, or even sour fruit. It’s the perfect destination for Künefe enthusiasts in Beyoğlu and the surrounding area. Don’t hesitate to pay them a visit when your craving for Künefe strikes!
- Address: Katip Mustafa Çelebi, Çukurlu Çeşme Sk. No:12, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye, get directions
- Opening hours: 11:00-02:00, everyday
Hatay Asi Künefeleri – Eminönü
Located in Eminönü, this enchanting venue, renowned for its Künefe, katmer, and pistachio kadayıf, takes you on a journey to another era. The interior is a palace reminiscent of the Ottoman style, complete with traditional Ebru-designed plates and cups. They offer a delightful array of dessert varieties resembling Künefe, a treat that will immerse your taste buds.
This surreal place carries a dream-like quality that must be experienced to be believed. The special unsalted Künefe cheese hails from its homeland, Hatay, adding authenticity to the flavors. Besides its unique atmosphere, Hatay Asi Künefeleri is one of Turkey’s leading Künefe producers with just five branches, and their products can be found in select supermarkets. For those craving a taste of this culinary delight at home, they also offer courier services.
- Address: Tahtakale mah.hasırcılar cad.no:27 eminönü, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye, get directions
- Opening hours: 08:00-20:00, every day
Tatlıcı Safa – Sultanahmet
Tatlıcı Safa, a dessert haven in the heart of Istanbul, is quite confident about their Künefe. Located around the Fatih area, if your craving for something sweet strikes, head straight to Tatlıcı Safa. Tatlıcı Safa is the brainchild of two brothers passionate about bringing the flavors of Gaziantep to Istanbul. They take immense pride in their phenomenal Künefe. This delightful dessert shop offers a rich menu of authentic Turkish desserts and dessert gift boxes, making for perfect souvenirs to share with friends and family. With multiple branches in Istanbul, you can easily find the contact information for each of them below.
- Address: Rüstem Paşa, Hasırcılar Cd. No:10, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye, get directions
- Opening hours: 08:00-19:00 every day
Şefikoğulları Künefe – Sirkeci
Located in the heart of Fatih, Şefikoğulları Künefe has been a pioneer in the künefe business since 1997. Not only do they serve künefe on-site, but they also export their delicious creations to restaurants both domestically and internationally. With additional branches in Florya and Siirt, Şefikoğulları Künefe is a trusted choice for your künefe cravings.
What sets Şefikoğulları Künefe apart is their offering of four distinct types of künefe, each promising absolute delight. To enhance your experience, they provide a variety of complementary fruits and nuts. When you think of künefe, Şefikoğulları Künefe should be the first place that comes to mind.
- Address: Zeyrek, İtfayiceler Caddesi, Tezgahçılar Sk. 3/A, 34083 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye, get directions
- Opening hours: Every day from 12:00-00:00
Hamdi Restaurant – Eminönü
Hamdi Restaurant, with its mesmerizing view of the Galata Tower, not only offers delightful desserts. Whether you’re in the mood for a satisfying meal or a sweet dessert after enjoying the view, Hamdi Restaurant is the perfect choice. This place offers both delectable dishes and an unforgettable Künefe that will delight your taste buds. Don’t forget to make a reservation before visiting, as Hamdi Restaurant has branches in Eminönü, Şişli, and Pera, and serves a variety of delightful treats, including Künefe and baklava.
- Address: Rüstem Paşa Mah Tahmis Caddesi, Kalçin Sk. No:11, 34116, Türkiye, get directions
- Opening hours: every day from 11:00-23:00
Altın Damak Künefe – Bahçelievler
Altın Damak Künefe is a specialist in the world of Künefe, offering a wide variety of this delectable dessert. If you’re in search of a place that values not only taste but also presentation and service quality, Altın Damak Künefe is the place to go. When you visit, make sure to savor their special Paşa Künefe or the delightful Banana Künefe if you enjoy exploring new flavors.
Known as Bahçelievler’s finest Künefe spot, Altın Damak stands out with both its exquisite presentation and delectable desserts. In addition to Künefe, they serve complementary treats like buffalo milk, seasonal fruits, and nuts. Especially for those residing on the European side of Istanbul, Altın Damak is a must-visit destination.
- Address: Hürriyet, Mahmutbey Cd. No:201, 34192 Bahçelievler/İstanbul, Türkiye, get directions
- Opening hours: every day from 12:00-02:00
Kaşıbeyaz Bosphorus, celebrated for its expertise in meat dishes, seamlessly extends its culinary excellence to Künefe. If you seek to indulge in Künefe following a delightful evening meal, this establishment is an ideal choice, boasting not only exceptional flavors but also a stunning Bosphorus view and a welcoming ambiance. Distinguished from the aforementioned venues, Kaşıbeyaz Bosphorus stands as an upscale dining destination, offering breathtaking Bosphorus panoramas and a mouthwatering Künefe to relish. The enchanting views lend the place a Cinderella-like allure, making it a perfect setting for special occasions, even a potential proposal. Although the menu includes familiar kebab shop options, the taste is elevated to match the restaurant’s elegant white decor, attracting a mix of celebrities and tourists. While it might be on the higher end price-wise, your investment extends beyond culinary excellence, encompassing unforgettable vistas.
- Address:Yeniköy, Köybaşı Cd. No:10, 34464 Sarıyer/İstanbul, Türkiye , get directions
- Opening hours: 09:00-12:00
The Künefe Cheat-Sheet
- What is Künefe? Künefe is a popular Turkish and Middle Eastern dessert. It’s made from layers of thin, shredded wheat dough, filled with sweet, melted cheese (typically unsalted white cheese), and cooked to a crispy, golden-brown perfection. It’s often garnished with a sugar-based syrup, crushed pistachios, or sometimes, a dusting of powdered sugar.
- Caloric Content: The caloric content of Künefe can vary depending on the portion size and the specific recipe used. On average, a typical serving of Künefe contains approximately 300-400 calories. It’s worth noting that the calorie count can be higher if extra ingredients like nuts or heavy syrups are used.
- Where to Find the Best Künefe: The best Künefe can be found in various regions of Turkey, with Gaziantep being renowned for its expertise in crafting this dessert. You can also find excellent Künefe in local dessert shops, patisseries, and traditional restaurants in major Turkish cities, especially those on the Mediterranean and southeastern coasts.
- How to Consume Künefe: Künefe is best enjoyed fresh and hot, right out of the oven. It’s often served with a scoop of clotted cream (kaymak) or a side of ice cream to balance the sweetness. You can savor it slowly, sipping Turkish tea or coffee alongside to enhance the experience. Künefe is a dessert that’s commonly shared with friends and family.
- Ingredients and Preparation:
- Ingredients: Künefe is typically made with shredded wheat dough, unsalted white cheese (often a mixture of mozzarella and kasar), clarified butter, and a sugar-based syrup.
- Preparation: The preparation involves layering the shredded dough with the cheese filling, then baking it in a round, shallow pan or on a griddle. The dessert is flipped to ensure even cooking, resulting in a crispy exterior and a gooey, cheesy interior. Once it’s done, it’s soaked in syrup, garnished, and served hot.