Flora's Gyros 240 Golf Club Rd., Pleasant Hill, 925-687-6454
You wouldn't expect a strip-mall storefront that specializes in gyros and hot dogs to serve the East Bay's best baklava. But the owners, a Cypriot couple who have been running Flora's the past four years as a retirement project, sell a couple of trays a day. They pop one batch into the oven in time for the lunch rush, then bake a second before dinnertime. That means that if you time it right your piece might still be warm, and the many layers of crisp, light phyllo don't have time to get stale. Plus, the cooks have a light hand with the rosewater-scented syrup they pour over the baklava. The toasty flavor of the ground nuts at the pastry's core isn't overwhelmed by sugar, and the pastry doesn't get bogged down in sticky goo. Thank goodness Flora's cuts its slices big, or else you'd be compelled to order seconds.