We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
TRAVEL ALERT: SECURITY CONCERNS More info

“Best stop in the souq for a cooling snack” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Bakdash

Bakdash
Al-Hamidiyah Souq, Damascus, Syria
Improve this listing
Ranked #4 of 54 Restaurants in Damascus
Restaurant details
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Best stop in the souq for a cooling snack”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2011

when in hamedye souq its a must that you stop to try this overly famous ice cream place, specially for its very well known arabic ice cream heck presidents from all over the world have been there why not you?!

its always crowded in summers not so in winters yet you would be surprised at the number of people that would eat it in that season.

its cheap yet very tasty, the ice cream it self if not a light snack i never finish it but is worth eating every time i go that way.

  • Visited November 2010
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

34 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    22
    7
    4
    0
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
120 reviews 120 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
158 helpful votes 158 helpful votes
“Great Ice Cream, Good Time”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2011

The Al-Hamidiyah Souq in the Old Town starts at the southwest corner of The Citadel (at the edge of the Old City) and runs due east to the Omayyad Mosque. About halfway there on your right is Bakdash, the oldest ice cream shop in Damascus. You can see the men making and serving ice cream in the window and that’s half the fun, a crowd usually gathers to watch. You can sit at the tables in the back or you can get a cone / dish to go. My wife and went there three days in a row and got ours to go.

Wade into the crowd, go right to the counter, give the guy 50SP per cone and he will give you a token for each cone. Then slide to the right and give your token to the next guy and he will ask you what flavor you want. Your choices are chocolate, strawberry, mango and a few others (the list is taped on the counter where you pay and it is in English). There is white ice cream in the bin but it is not vanilla, it is more like ice milk. I tried it and it was not bad. But after that I stuck to the chocolate, which was great!

The guy who takes your token calls out your flavor to the scooper guy and he serves up the cone to the token taker who rolls it in a box of crushed pistachios in front of him. I tried it with the nuts and it was pretty good but later I took mine without. But if you want it without the nuts, you gotta say so when you order. Just point to the nuts and shake your head “no” as you give him the token. If you want until your cone comes up and try to stop him before he rolls it, you will probably be too late as these guys move at light speed!

One caution: if you have allergies to nuts you probably need to be very careful here or skip this place altogether: they put crushed pistachios on most everything so it is in the air, on their hands, on the serving utensils, etc.

It can get pretty crazy at the counter and even if you are next in line that does not matter, people will reach right over you and hand their money or token to the guy or cut in front of you. Its all in good fun, no need to get edgy with anyone, you just have to smile and push your way forward like everyone else. And try not to wear your backpack / rucksack into the crowd. I did that the first time and felt like an idiot banging into everyone. After that my wife stayed outside and watched our bags while she watched the action through the big window.

And that leads to another caution: because the locals and tourists alike stop to watch through the windows, it is something of a magnet for a specific group a dirty faced kids that start off begging but are very persistent. When I caught one of them working on my wife’s knapsack I realized they were pickpockets! I raised my voice and he quickly backed off – it was clear that he knew he had been caught. A local woman in a full burka next to me caught my eye and nodded approvingly and then yelled at the kids, who took off. We went back to Bektesh the next two days and the same group of kids were there, working the crowd. In our ten days in Syria this was the ONLY time we saw this, so I want to stress how completely safe and hassle free it is to travel in Syria. And nothing ugly happened here, I raised my voice a little and they stopped. So, just be alert and don’t put up with any nonsense – the locals were certainly not shy about running them off!

Summary: Great ice cream, good location, fun to watch… a “Must Do” in Damascus!

  • Visited March 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“ice cream as tourism!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2011

The ice cream is pretty much like soft ice cream at roadside stands in the US (although rolled in nuts), but the Syrian crowd makes the whole thing a worthwhile experience.

  • Visited February 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Ice cream worth fighting for”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2011

You will need to fight your way through the throng of locals all wanting one of the speciality icecream with pistachio nuts, Buy the token first then just keep edging closer to the man serving and give him the token. The hard part is getting out of the crowded shop with out daubing anyone in the process. The easy part is wandering throught the Souk eating it. Enjoy this treat and at $1 excellent value

  • Visited February 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Bakdash also viewed

Damascus, Syria
Damascus, Syria
 

Been to Bakdash? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Bakdash, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.