What To Eat In Baku And Azerbaijan | Food Guide

What To Eat In Baku And Azerbaijan | Food Guide

Photo Credit: SAHiL bar & restaurant

From Dolma to plovs to saj to pakhlava, here’s a lowdown on Azerbaijan’s rich and flavourful culinary scene

Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, boasts a rich and diverse culinary scene that has been influenced by centuries of history and cultural exchange. From mouth-watering local dishes to trendy international cuisine, there’s something for everyone. It is famed for its old walled-city (Icherisheher), the Maidan tower, Flame towers, Hayder Aliyev Center (designed by legendary architecture Zaha Hadid) and its food. Let’s explore the city’s gastronomic delights and embark on a culinary adventure through the heart of Azerbaijan!

Baku’s food culture is heavily influenced by the seasons, with an emphasis on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. The city’s markets are teeming with vibrant fruits, vegetables, and herbs, which form the backbone of many Azerbaijani dishes. From juicy pomegranates and sweet apricots to fragrant dill and mint, Baku’s cuisine showcases the best of the region’s produce. Baku truly delights food enthusiasts with its diverse gastronomic offerings.


Bread holds a special place in Azerbaijani cuisine, and Baku is home to several types of traditional bread. Tandir bread, baked in a clay oven called a tandir, is a staple in Baku. Other popular breads include lavash, a thin, soft flatbread, and qutab, a stuffed bread that can be filled with various ingredients such as meat, cheese, or herbs.

Photo Credit: Ekta Handa

Must-Try Dishes in Baku

Kebabs: Kebabs form an integral part of Azerbaijani cuisine, and you will find a wide variety of kebabs everywhere you go. Chicken, beef or lamb — you name it they have it. One of the most famous types of kebab is the Luyla kebab made with minced meat and taste divine.

Plov: As the national dish of Azerbaijan, plov (also known as pilaf) is a must-try when in Baku. This fragrant rice dish is typically prepared with saffron, onions, and various spices, and can be served with a variety of accompaniments such as meat, vegetables, or dried fruits. Be sure to sample the many different types of plov available in Baku, including the popular shah plov, one of the most famous dishes among tourists.

Dolma: Dolma is a classic Azerbaijani dish that consists of grape leaves, cabbage leaves, or bell peppers stuffed with a delicious mixture of rice, minced meat, herbs, and spices. This versatile dish can be served hot or cold and is a favorite at both family gatherings and festive celebrations.

Clockwise from left to right: Dushbara; Fusion food (chicken roll); Saj; Steak with potatoes. Photo Credit: Ekta Handa

Dushbara: Dushbara is a traditional Azerbaijani dumpling soup that is perfect for warming up on a chilly Baku day. These tiny, delicate dumplings are filled with a mixture of ground meat and onions, and are simmered in a flavorful broth. Dushbara is often served with a sprinkling of dried mint and a side of vinegar infused with garlic, adding an extra layer of flavor to this comforting dish.

Qutab: These delicious, stuffed flatbreads are a Baku favorite and can be found throughout the city. Qutab can be filled with a variety of ingredients, such as ground meat, cheese, or herbs, and is usually served with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream. Be sure to sample a few different types of qutab during your Baku food adventure.

Saj: Saj in Azerbaijan is a bit different from other middle-eastern countries. Traditionally saj refers to a kind of bread. In Azerbaijan, saj is a traditional frying pan and a collection of grilled meats and vegetables are cooked on it and served on the same pan. It is usually eaten when you have company.

Tea and Qutab. Photo Credit: Ekta Handa

Tea: Black tea is a big part of Azerbaijan’s culture and people consume pots of it daily. Tea is usually served with sweets such as Pakhlava and Shekerbura. Both sweets are filled with almond paste and other nuts.

Pakhlava: Pakhlava is another popular sweet treat in Baku and is similar to baklava, but with a few key differences. Azerbaijani pakhlava is made with layers of dough, ground nuts, and sugar, but it also includes a layer of sweetened, grated pumpkin. The pastry is then cut into diamond shapes before baking and is often decorated with a single walnut or hazelnut on top. Be sure to try some pakhlava alongside your tea for a truly Azerbaijani experience.

Where to eat

Some of the best food in Baku can be found at the Nizami Street. For authentic Azerbaijani food, try Nergiz, Dolma or Firuze restaurant at the Nizami street. You can also find fusion food and other cuisines easily in the area. For some fine dining options, you can try Sahil restaurant at the Boulevard.

Photo Credit : Firuze Restoran

Small roadside eateries are your best friends if you are looking to eat on a budget. There are many eateries serving a wide variety of breads and pastries, coffee and doners. Just stop by any of them and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Baku’s rich and diverse food culture offers a culinary adventure that is sure to delight travelers and food lovers alike. From traditional Azerbaijani dishes like plov and dolma to sweet treats like baklava and badambura, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city. So, grab your fork and dive into the delicious world of Baku’s cuisine!

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