First published: June 1, 2014 – Updated: September 25, 2021
The sweet taste of Katmer. When we ask our guests to name their favorite foods from their walks with us, one food pops up again and again… and again…. and again! But it’s no wonder!
What is deliciously flaky…
… indescribably indulgent…
… and quintessentially Turkish?
Why – it’s katmer, of course!
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What is katmer?
Katmer is an ancient flaky pastry of Anatolia, traditionally eaten during breakfast; but rather appropriate with a cup of cay all day long, we think.
According to some sources, the history of katmer may date back to the 11th century. However, the earliest written reference to it comes from the late 14th century, during Ottoman rule.
Katmer is essentially a flaky pastry, prepared much the same way as flatbread (yufka) or baklava. However, what makes this food different (and especially indulgent and delicious!) are the generous amounts of butter and oil used in the preparation of the pastry.
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Different types of katmer
Katmer can be served either plain or filled, and sweet or savory. As with many traditional Turkish foods, each region of the country tends to serve its own variations.
For example, in Afyon in central Turkey, it is generally filled with poppy seed paste; but in Konya, only a few hundred kilometers away, it is more often filled with tahini (sesame seed paste) and served as a sweet topped with pekmez (fruit molasses) or icing sugar.
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The famous one: Gaziantep katmer
Probably the best-loved version of katmer hails from the south-eastern Anatolian town of Gaziantep. Most famous for its baklava, Gaziantep also produces some of the tastiest katmer in Turkey. Gaziantep-style katmer is a sweet pastry, filled with both clotted cream and pistachios. It is this famous Gaziantep-style one, authentically cooked using traditional methods, that our guests eagerly devour on our culinary walks.
What better way to experience the true tastes of Turkey, than pondering the daily goings-on around you in the backstreets of Istanbul, with a plate of centuries-old dessert in your hands, while sipping on a glass of sweet Turkish tea?
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The best places to eat katmer in Istanbul:
1. Köşkeroğlu Baklava
Köşkeroğlu Baklava is a family business that offers their baklava and katmer in four branches around Istanbul. The most famous branch is in Karaköy where you can taste some of the best baklava and kebabs along with one of the best katmer in Istanbul.
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Taste of Two Continents Tour
-Secret local restaurants & one-of-a-kind boutique markets
-Visit locals favourite Kadikoy market
-Taste the world famous Turkish ice-cream & baklava
-It is not just food, it's Turkish culture with an expert's insider view
2. Çanak Kebap & Katmer
Çanak Kebap & Katmer is the ultimate address for Turkish kebabs, çiğ köfte (raw meatballs), and one of the best katmer in Istanbul. visit this restaurant hungry and order eggplant kebab or küşleme, another famous taste of the place, before katmer.
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3. Tatlıcı Safa
Tatlıcı Safa, is one of the most popular dessert shops in Istanbul that make katmer, künefe, and other sweets. It’s a place where many people love to go so they can indulge in all of these delicious goodies together!
They have recently moved to their new shop located in Eminönü, across from the Sirkeci tram station.
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4. Develi Kebap
Develi Kebap recently closed their little baklava and katmer shop in Eminönü but you can still visit their main restaurants in Samatya or Etiler for a taste of their famous katmer.
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5. Çiya Sofrası
The most delicious katmer is from Gaziantep and Çiya, the taste of Gaziantep (the culinary capital of Turkey) is at your fingertips. Çiya offers some tasty and authentic South Eastern dishes that are sure to please any traveler with a keen eye for local flavors. There are two Çiya restaurants next to each other: Çiya Kebab and Çiya Sofrası and they both serve katmer.
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We hope this article has given you a better understanding of the Turkish dessert katmer and its origins. If you are ever in Istanbul, be sure to check out our food tours where we will take you around the city tasting different traditional dishes like katmer! Join us to learn more about how these desserts have evolved through the centuries while staying true to their cultural roots.
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