Iran is a country with some serious shirini etiquette. With creme (tar) or without (khoshk), each pastry has its proper serving occasion. It’s a country where patisserie boxes are filled by the kilo, and customers are often seen with several boxes in hand. Those with a sweet tooth will feel right at home in Tehran, especially in one of these bakeries—the best around town.
Cookie Box is a favorite among locals, but if you’re an expat or visitor to Tehran missing those American-style cookies, no place can deliver a slice of home better. Cheesecakes, brownies, and croissants are also on the menu, but nothing fills the trademark red-and-white dotted box better than a mix of chewy chocolate-chip and gooey Mars bar cookies, plus a smattering of other flavors in between. Kill two birds with one stone at Saboos Bakery-Café, where you can try a Cookie Box ice-cream sandwich.
Saboos Bakery-Café, Alef St, Tehran Province, Tehran. T:+98 21 2201 5606
The excitement at the sight of a pastry box from Bibi is palpable, because it usually means one thing: chocolate cake. Not too sweet, these indulgent treats are a work of art: rich layers of succulent sponge, a dusting of cocoa powder, and the signature triple-chocolate creme lines. The patisserie is well prepared every day for the floods of cake lovers streaming through its doors all day, requesting orders large and small, with only the briefest of pauses if customers want a special message written on top. If chocolate isn’t your thing, the other sponge and tart options are also delicious.
30 Mahram St, District 6, Tehran Province. T: +98 21 8800 7770
With humble beginnings in a home kitchen, Sweet Bliss was the first to introduce American-style carrot cake, cheesecake, and double-chocolate cake – to the standing ovation of Tehranis. It has since blossomed into four branches, which also cater and customize cakes for special events. In addition to heavenly pies, tarts, cakes, cupcakes, and buns, the café now serves gourmet sandwiches, wraps, and other savory baked goods, plus artisanal breads are on the way. Prime locations in the north of the city make it a superb locale to grab a salty or sweet bite, while checking out the posh Tehran crowd.
192 Niavaran St, District 1, Tehran province. T: +98 21 2282 5016
The immaculately presented delicacies at Lavender Patisserie will have you convinced that one of the main ingredients must be magic. The founder of this upscale French bakery, in the leafy Zafaraniyeh neighborhood, is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu and bakes dozens of mousse-based pastries using the finest ingredients, including Belgian chocolate and Australian butter. Each item more elegant than the next, you’ll want to admire them a bit longer before diving in.
19/2 , Zafaraniyeh St, Moqadas Ardabili Street, Tehran Province. T: +98 21 2241 4672
Despite what the name might imply, the favorite treats to come out of this bakery are a rich variety of sweet and savory macarons. The first confectionery to bring a taste of these fancy French bites to Tehran, Éclair has been serving macarons alongside their namesake pastry since 2010. Other popular items here include the pistachio cheesecake and seasonal grapefruit tart.
13 Doctor Hesabi, Tehran Province. T: +98 21 2239 4251
France Pastry Shop
Let your nose be your guide as you follow the sweet whiff of freshly baked donuts and noon dânmârki (creme-filled flaky bread) to this quaint joint on hectic Enghelab Street. Just over 50 years old, France Pastry Shop was named after the French baker who introduced his country’s pastries for the first time in this patisserie. With standing room only, this no-frills café offers top-notch sweets and coffee, making it a relaxing bolthole for a pick-me-up as you watch the rush-hour crowds pass you by.
Enghelab St, Tehran Province. T: +98 21 6640 3526
Lord Café and Pastry Shop
One mention of the Lord Café, and Iranians are instantly flooded with memories of the past. Located just across from Saint Sarkis Cathedral in a once predominantly Armenian neighborhood, this much-loved haunt is one of the most well-known Armenian bakeries with classics like apricot tart and gata (a buttery, flaky bread). Though some argue the quality isn’t up to previous standards since a change in management, it hasn’t stopped locals from pouring into the upstairs space for coffee and the sweet taste of nostalgia.
246 Nejatollahi St, District 6, Tehran Province. T: +98 21 8890 0833