With numerous local and international brands setting up stall in Baku, the city is now home to a burgeoning foodie scene, and its breakfast and brunch offerings are all part of the diverse food culture. Whether it’s New York-style bagels, European pastries or the more traditional local fare, here’s how to start your day with a bang in the Azerbaijani capital.
Bakery, Pastries, Azerbaijani
Courtesy of Entrée Bakery
Widely acknowledged as the best place to get croissants in all of Baku, Entrée has expanded across the city, with nine outlets currently. Each bakery offers a wide range of breakfast and brunch dishes and salads, including plant-based vegetarian options, and the croissants come in a multitude of flavours – chocolate and vanilla cream coming top. So if you are looking for a traditional French-style bakery with a touch of Azerbaijani flair – and very reasonable prices, considering their often central locations – this is the place to try.
This venue combines the best of Azerbaijani cuisine and Mediterranean flavours, as well as classic European breakfast and brunch options. The ever-popular Baku Breakfast is the most diverse dish, says head chef Rufet Aliyarov, showcasing fresh, organic, locally sourced produce. Take your pick from more than 20 meats and cheeses, greens, vegetables and fresh bread. The expansive menu also features fluffy scrambled eggs with tomatoes and french toast, all washed down with an unlimited supply of the best traditional Azerbaijani tea. Head west to Fountain Square to walk it off.
The most popular breakfast for visitors to the United Coffee Beans (UCB) eatery and coffee shop is eggs benedict, according to Orkhan Huseynov, who works there. Or ramp it up with salmon for eggs royale. Crisp toast, poached eggs and the freshest of greens, all topped with silky hollandaise sauce, makes for a truly luxurious breakfast. A minute’s walk from Molakan Garden, this locally owned coffee shop serves freshly roasted, highest quality coffee (including V60) in a cosy, shabby-chic setting. Post breakfast, you’re only two blocks away from Baku Boulevard.
For an authentic Italian breakfast, look no further than Dolce Vita. “Many of our products come from Italy,” says manager Fettar Manafov, “and we have an Italian chef.” The breakfast menu features a variety of smoked meats and sausages, all of which come directly from Italy, as well as freshly baked bread, butter, jam and eggs. Tastefully decorated in warm Mediterranean colours, the restaurant has an open kitchen, adding to the homely feel. Enjoy unlimited tea or coffee, then take a minute’s walk northward to the gates of the 12th-century Old City.
If you happen to be around Port Baku Residence at breakfast-time, do pop into Vinyl. Don’t miss the signature cottage cheese pancakes, topped with organic cherry jam, pistachio ice cream and crumbled pistachios and mint. Head chef Rustam Ibrahimov and his team make everything from scratch, using all-natural ingredients. Once you’re done, walk off breakfast at the eastern end of the Baku Boulevard where you can marvel at Baku’s newest high-rises.
The first Baku coffee shop to roast its own coffee beans, Baku Roasting Company (BRC) has developed a loyal following since it launched in 2008. It has a reputation for impeccable service, and its bagels, made from scratch using high-quality products, are the best in town. “They come sandwich-style with eggs, bacon and chicken, or butter, cream cheese or homemade strawberry jam,” explains general manager Afaq Muradov. Artfully decorated in Azerbaijani style, with carpets and stained-glass overhead lighting, BRC mixes local tradition with the chic twist you expect from third-wave coffee joints.
Using only organic products, sourced from local producers, Farmer’s Kitchen Baku sets the bar high. “Our goal is to allow our guests to experience Azerbaijan’s best produce,” says head chef Tofig Huseynzadeh. The traditional Azerbaijani breakfast, featuring products from at least five different regions, includes cheese, butter, jam, cream, honey, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers and olives. The Azerbaijani-style eggs with tomatoes, which every local remembers eating hot off the stove, is prepared in an iron platter called a saj over hot coals. A stone’s throw away from the 13th-century Shirvanshah Palace, this is a great place to get a hearty breakfast before embarking on a tour of the palace.
Another place to enjoy a traditional breakfast, Salam Baku Restaurant offers kuku, a national dish based on a variety of organic greens and eggs cooked in a cast iron pan, as well as omelettes and even pancakes. “This is a very healthy meal, but also good if you’re on a diet,” says manager Ayaz Tagizadeh. The restaurant has three floors, with the top storey offering panoramic views of the eastern part of the Old City. Enjoy your meal with Azerbaijani black tea, and don’t be shy to ask for clove or thyme added to it for a truly authentic taste.
Looking for a quick, affordable breakfast? This small Turkish cafe has been in operation since 1993. “Börek is a top choice,” says manager Emil Memmedov about the breakfast classic made with thin filo sheets, filled with cheese and spinach. The bakery also has an assortment of Turkish desserts. Close to the Old City, Güloğlu is ideally located so customers can enjoy a leisurely breakfast before heading off to see the sights.