Maral’s Pastry: Memorable Armenian Baked Goods in Van Nuys

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Bakery Los Angeles

There are times when I can enter a bakery and tell immediately if the pastries will taste good, just from looking at them. This recently happened the instant I stepped into Maral’s Pastry. Maral Sarkhoshian and her baker husband, Hovsep, have built a following for eight years in the back corner of a San Fernando Valley strip mall, next to a barber shop. I was excited to try Hovsep’s baked goods for weeks, ever since LA Times writer Charles Perry listed Maral’s Pastry as one of the Top 10 Armenian bakeries in Southern California. Happily, the excitement was warranted.

Bakery Los Angeles
Maral’s Pastry isn’t L.A.’s largest Armenian bakery, but their display case still features more enticing cookies than most.

Baklava Los Angeles
The bottom three racks of this display case held nine different varieties of baklava.

Cookies Los Angeles
These snail-shaped tahini cookies were immortalized in the LA Times, with good reason. The layers of pastry were crammed with a terrific sesame filling. Back when the Sullivan Street Bakery existed, I ate a snail-shaped pastry known as a lumaca, which was sensational, filled with a variety of nuts. This tahini cookie was better, browned and crispy at the base, tender and flaky up top.

Baklava Los Angeles
Maral wouldn’t sell less than a pound of baklava, which was fine by me. Here’s my pound ($7), hand-chosen by Maral herself. She included two varieties of “fingers,” bird’s nests filled with whole pistachios and pine nut phyllo cookies sprinkled with crushed pistachios. She said the cookies would last for a month before noticing any difference. I told her there was no chance they’d last that long. And there wasn’t. The pastries were gone within two days.

Cookies Los Angeles
Here is a pair of date cookies, similar to Fig Newtons, but filled with a different Old World fruit.

Cookies Los Angeles
Barazek, pistachio-studded sesame cookies, also came in chocolate, but I opted for the simplicity of these treats.

During my visit, Maral reavealed that all the photos in the LA Times spread were of pastries that her husband baked. I could see and taste why Maral’s Pastry was profiled. I’ve now eaten baklava and pastries from all ten of the bakeries in the LA Times Top 10, and while I enjoyed a few of the other bakeries, Hovsep clearly produces a superior product. My only complaint: Maral’s Pastry isn’t in my neighborhood.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

“STAY AWAY horrible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” by mart (1 review)
July 12, 2009 – they seem very nice when you meet them in fact they appear to be totally competent but DONT BE FOOLED i dont know if they dont know what their doing or just dont care but the service is horrible and the work is sloppy and messy, they dont take dont orders carefully, my beautiful 3 tier 300 dollar cake was an embarrassment, i was forced to display their obviously careless cake at a very large and elegant party. the cake which was suppose to be a pale green and pink with a bow on top , was in fact pink and green WITHOUT a bow and the tiers were uneven the top of the cake was slanted they didnt even bother to even it out after taking it out of the oven and the mistakes had been covered by WHITE icing, they didnt event bother to color it to match the fondant on the cake. there were finger pints all over the cake the decorations were unevenly placed and mismatched sizes when i called her to ask her what was wrong she basically told me that i was first lieing and no one had discussed a bow, then she said someone would be on his way to fix it and NO ONE EVER SHOWED UP within an hour the CAKE WAS LEAKING THE COLORS HAD RUN TOGETHER and what was suppose to be the centerpiece of my part was absolutely ruined . I SUGGEST U STAY VERY VERY VERY FAR AWAY unless u enjoy unpleasant surprises, THEY ARE HORRIBLE RUDE AND INCOMPETENT!

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