L.A.'s 12 Best Bakeries
Today, I’m taking your taste buds on a journey of a lifetime. The City of Angels is home to many sweet eateries, and our mission is to find the best in town. Whether you’re a devout empanada and potato ball consumer or a dreamer of all things bread, we have something for everyone on this list! Feel free to chime in and tell us about your favorite bakery, baked good, or simply to share a story about a flaky, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth croissant that graced your palate this morning. So, are you ready? Will. You. Bring it. Your appetite, I mean. Let’s do this...
Portos - This cuban eatery is a fan favorite. Unbeatable quality, price, and selection. They're infamous for their potato balls, empanadas, cheese rolls, guava danish, and dulce de leche kisses. I personally love their crumb cakes too. P.S. Don’t let the long lines intimidate you; they have great customer service and lines move quickly.
Milk Jar Cookies - I visited this place on a whim and was so impressed by their cookies. Their flavor combinations are so unique and delectable. You must try their Banana Split, Chocolate Pecan Caramel, Rocky Road, and Chocolate Chip cookies (but, of course)! Thick, rich, chewy, and decadent. Beware: One is sweet enough to quench your cookie thirst. P.S. “Think what a better world it would be if we all had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap.”
Susie Cakes - For an All-American bakery experience, visit Susie Cakes (pictured above). This place is “a red velvet cupcake lovers delight”! I’m a regular at the Calabasas location, and I can wholeheartedly say that Susie Cakes serves THE best cupcakes in town. Super moist cake and magical frosting. Customers also rave about their specialty layer cakes, seasonal cupcakes, cookies, bars, and pies too. I highly, highly recommend the Classic Marble Cake. There is a surprise in every bite.
Panos Pastry - I must honor my Middle Eastern roots and share my love for Panos Pastry. Yelp reviews say, “This is the gold standard for authentic baklava. Crispy phyllo dough, crunchy pistachios, fragrant rosewater, all contribute to the right amount of sweetness in their heavenly baklava.” I couldn’t agree more. Holiday parties, birthdays, and special occasions would not be complete without a plate of baklava on our table. Panos Pastry was dubbed “The King of Baklava” by the L.A. Times for good reason!
Copenhagen Pastry - Many of us don’t have the opportunity to travel to Europe, so the next best thing is get a little taste of Europe through these authentic Danish pastries. They will blow your mind. So soft, light, buttery, flaky, and “delicately sweet”. You must try the Copenhagen, Kringle, Braided Cinnamon, Chocolate, Kransecake, and Napolean Hat.
Sycamore Kitchen - “This rustic meets urban bakery-eatery serves wholesome, delectable pastries and offers world-class coffee by Stumptown Coffee Roasters.” Whether you’re coming here for breakfast, lunch, or a little midday pick-me-up, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. But if you’re looking to be wowed, definitely order at least two Salted Caramel Pecan Babka. It’s deadly and definitely lives up to the hype. I also recommend the Chocolate Chip Rye Cookie, Buttercup, Apple Galette, and Flourless Brownie.
Bouchon Bakery - A quaint and charming little bakery with a wonderful courtyard area perfect for a enjoying a tasty French pastry and people-watching. Best known for their macarons, croissants, and, most notably, their kouign-amann (pronounced “queen amman”). As described by Wiki, “It’s a round crusty cake, made with bread dough containing layers of butter and sugar folded in, similar in fashion to a puff pastry.”
Proof Bakery - An Atwater Village favorite, this hot spot serves delicious Cognoscenti coffee along with a great selection of sweet and savory treats and sandwiches too. I took the advice of many Yelp reviewers and tried the Ham & Gruyere Croissant and Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies, and they both surpassed my expectations. Definitely satisfied my pastry craving.
Chaumont Bakery - “CHAUMONT is the materialization of an idea. The idea of a French bakery, out of time, where the smell of freshly-baked bread and croissants mingle with the scent of freshly grounded coffee. A comfy place, away from daily routine, where children and parents come together to share a meal, or where the customer in a hurry can enjoy fresh products and drinks on the go.” 'Nuff said.
Bread Lounge - This is a gem of a bakery. Before Bread Lounge, the bread scene in L.A. was not happening. And supermarket breads did nothing to fill the void. Thank you, Bread Lounge, for fulfilling my bread needs. I’m willing to make the trek across town for your fresh baked goodies, especially for your Kalamata Olive Stick with Za’atar (great texture and packed with flavor) and Spinach & Feta Boreks! Carb connoisseurs, rejoice!
Semi Sweet Bakery - Maple Bacon Sticky Bun. Crullant (AKA Cronut) (Baked Not Fried). Red Velvet Ding A Ling. PB&J Pocket Tarts. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. Cheddar Chive Biscuits. These are just a few of scrumdiddlyumptious items on their menu. Everything here tastes like Angels frolicking on your tastebuds. Definitely try their McFong breakfast sandwich.
Buttercelli Organic Bakeshop - Are you a health nut? Do you have gluten or dairy allergies? Feel like your missing out on the Cronut craze? Well, you probably won’t find a Cronut at Buttercelli Organic Bakeshop, but their delicious assortment of gluten-free, vegan, and paleo-friendly baked goodies are not to be missed. Shout-out to my fellow Valley dwellers!
There are so many wonderful bakeries in the LA area and this list doesn’t even cover half, but this should keep you busy for a while! Enjoy!
(Photo via Rita Korkounian)