From my articles on Istanbul, you can easily see that I’m a Beşiktaş fan – not the football club, but the neighborhood. Beşiktaş is home to many unique places, and Yedi-Sekiz Hasanpaşa Fırını is without a doubt one of the most pleasantly peculiar spots you’ll find here. Even the bakery’s name is funny: the spot is named after a legendary 19th century Beşiktaş guard whose name can be translated as Seven-Eight Hasan Pasha.
Entering this humble institution, you will be greeted with old newspaper clippings, children’s drawings, portraits and a tv at the far corner, probably there to keep the bakers company. Trays full of cookies, bread and crackers are being taken out of stone ovens by the second, and Beşiktaş locals, young and old, fill up the bakery to get themselves some of the goodness on offer. Yedi-Sekiz Hasanpaşa Fırını makes one of the best vişneli mekik you’ll find in Istanbul – something like elliptical sponge-cakes made with almond flour and topped with a sour cherry. Other famous products of this bakery include the acıbadem kurabiyesi, almond cookies and the coconut macaroons- perfect when straight out of the oven.
Try this delightfully time-defying bakery; although it’s named after an infamously harsh pasha, and the local traffic around the counter might seem intimidating to non-Turkish speakers, there’s no reason not to give it a go – you will not regret your decision once you’ve tasted the mekik.