Our Favorite Local Bakeries Around the World
Every city has its beloved local bakeries—places that reliably turn out aromatic loaves of baguette or pumpernickel, small cafes that bake a pie, cupcake, or cookie that you crave daily. We combed some of our favorite spots around the world, sampling their goods (it was tough work) along the way. Here, the spots not to miss, whether your afternoon coffee break leans sweet or savory.
Read on for our picks, or skip ahead to your city of interest: Cape Town; Chicago; Hong Kong; London; maui; Milwaukee; New Orleans; Philadelphia; Portland, OR; Rome; San Francisco; Stockholm; Tokyo; Toronto; and Washington, D.C.
Capetonians have lately been in the midst of a Banting craze — a food philosophy that favors a high-fat, low-carb diet filled with faux-bread and cauliflower rice. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of bakeries that have no interest in such nonsense. Here are five spots where you can take care of those carb cravings without shame.
1. Jason Bakery
How many bakers can say they have a cult following? Jason Lilley is known to Capetonians on a first-name basis, having built something of a rock star rep for the croissants he serves up at his eponymous Bree Street café (something else he’s serious about: good coffee. Whatever you do, don’t ask for a cappuccino—it’s all about the flat white here). Every Saturday morning, Capetonians log in to Instagram to see what his latest “doughssant” is. He constantly experiments with flavors for his answer to the cronut, which sell out within hours. Recent combinations include coconut macaroon with salted caramel, strawberry and chocolate-chip cookie, earl grey with lavender, and Belgian beer with pretzel.
2. Loaves on Long
A relative newcomer to Cape Town’s dining scene, Loaves on Long opened in May in a heritage building on busy Long Street. In that 200-year-old space, Lyndal Wakeford and Ciska Rossouw pursue their biggest passion, running this artisan eatery where bread plays the starring role. Upstairs is a cute café with a balcony overlooking the space, but downstairs is where the baking magic happens. If you’re inspired by their dedication to dough, be sure to ask about weekend classes.
3. Ou Meul Bakkery
I first stumbled onto one of Ou Meul’s outposts as a pit stop on a road trip to the Garden Route, in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town called Riviersonderend (I suspect the name is bigger than the town). While I chalked it away to a particularly scenic roadside stop, I was surprised to discover it was the flagship of a growing group of bakeries beloved for sweets like their pecan tart and mini pies. Soon after, one opened on Long Street in Cape Town’s Central Business District. Now their famous pastries are always a quick stroll away.
4. Schoon de Companje
This one isn’t in Cape Town, but I highly recommend making the drive out to Stellenbosch to check it out. Set in a former bank in the heart of the historic city’s beautiful whitewashed central district, you’ll find artisanal baker Fritz Schoon turning out his signature sourdough loaves and popular pastries in Schoon de Companje’s rustic-chic space.
5. Woodstock Bakery
While this isn’t exactly a café you can pop in to, Woodstock Bakery is a constant fixture at popular weekend markets like Neighbourgoods and Oranjezicht, where their crusty sourdough and generous bread sticks are perennially popular. But even if you don’t make it to one of their stalls, chances are you’ve tasted their wood-fired loaves at some point during your Cape Town visit—they supply many popular city restaurants and coffee shops with their goods.
As the melting pot of the Midwest, Chicago's various cultural bases come together in an ethnic explosion best explored through culinary delights. This list of the best bakeries in the city highlights not just American treats, but also German, Italian, European, and Swedish goods, too.
Whether heading to the original bakery in Wicker Park or the new patisserie in River North, Alliance consistently creates beautiful and delicious European baked goods and pastries. Pair a ham and cheese croissant or delicate macaron with a cup from the bakery's full espresso bar, while gazing at the cleverly gorgeous made-to-order cakes.
In the world of Chicago bakeries, Bake is a relative newcomer—it opened in 2009 among a list of generations-old colleagues. But it has quickly risen to the top of Chicago's favorites with a focus on classic American desserts made with simple and fresh ingredients.
This traditional Italian bakery focuses on breads made in its 135-year-old coal-burning oven. A local favorite for pizza, D'Amato's offers several varieties of rectangle-shaped pies, served room temperature but reheated upon request. The crust is Italian bread, and an edge piece will give you extra crispy cheese.
Dinkel's is a proudly family-owned German bakery that's been in the same location since 1922. The vast majority of ingredients are sourced locally or from a three-state region surrounding Illinois. Dinkel's even created a new type of breakfast pastry that Chicago fell in love with: the burglaur, a breakfast sandwich in a baked bun.
Traditional German treats and cakes have come from Lutz since 1948. Wedding cakes are a bestseller—chances are most Chicago residents know someone who had their celebration sweetened up by Lutz. Try the stollen for the holidays or baumkuchen as an everyday snack.
11. Swedish Bakery
Andersonville's famous Swedish heritage is on display at this 80-plus-year-old bakery, where visitors can come enjoy traditional pastries like toska tarts and tarzariners. The cakes and cookies show the Swedes' true prowess with almond-based desserts. Swedish Bakery also offers a selection of European pastries and cakes. Try the cardamom coffee cake—it's a local favorite.
Often unanimously voted the number one bakery in Chicago, Weber's has been a city mainstay on the southwest side since 1930. Everything is made from scratch and the offerings are a testament to traditional recipes (think king cake and kolacky) married with modern additions, like brownies on a stick or cheddar cheese and onion bread. Weber's is now on its fourth generation of owners in the same family.
Hong Kong is known for its hectic lifestyle, which directly influences the city's bakery culture: Pastry shops are typically chain operations where locals fuel up in between meals. But these seven unique alternatives, with storied histories and innovative offerings, satisfy any craving—just be ready to brave the long lines.
13. Bake Cheese Tart
This grab-and-go establishment has been on every Hong Konger's lips ever since it made its first debut outside Japan. Queues often go out the door and the wait can take up to two hours. One bite into the bakery's eponymous tart is all it takes to understand the hype: Prepared with a trio of cheeses sourced from France and Hokkaido, the pastry strikes a perfect balance between sweet and savory—like a bite-sized version of a cheese fondue. Make sure to take advantage of the one-dozen-per-person limit, as you'll be craving more.
14. Cake's Secrets
Imaginations run wild at this buzzed-about bakeshop helmed by James Chim Yik-shun, a former pastry chef at culinary hotpot Sevva. Visitors go crazy for one-of-a-kind menu items such as the ginger cheesecake. The shop also earns extra points for its inventive presentation: The green tea and red bean cake is constructed with cannoli-esque tubes, while the feather-light purple sweet potato cake has the appearance of a miniature wedding cake.
15. Fine Foods
This high-end patisserie in the Royal Garden Hotel rightfully deserves its moniker, with the flaky, buttery palpiers that patrons order by the dozens. The bakery makes an impact with the whimsical look of its cakes, from green apple cheesecakes shaped like the fruit, to mango and chocolate mousses disguised as sunnyside ups.
Nestled on a quiet uphill street, Munchies is not the most accessible destination for a sugar fix. However, the organic dessert shop makes up for its geographical inconvenience with an addictive range of donut and cookie flavors, from earl grey to white chocolate to matcha sea salt. With an equally creative ice cream collection available as the filling for your DIY sandwich, climbing up flights of stairs to get here will seem like a perfectly timed workout.
17. Tai Cheong
Though this local institution has been around since 1954, it owes its current fame to the effusive praise it got from Chris Patten, the beloved former British governor of the city. Try one of the dan tats—a sweet egg custard pastry that's crunchy on the outside and supple within—and you'll see why this bakery is a requisite stop on everyone's dining bucket list.
Tea lovers will want to bookmark this place immediately: The bakery is famous for an array of tea-infused treats, such as matcha chiffon cake and roselle scones. Presented on elegant blue-and-white china, the dense green tea cheesecake is heralded as one of the best in the city. All baked goods make a great pairing with the creative beverage options (the Keemun milk tea with red date honey is a notable highlight). The outdoor garden, with its full blooms and French bistro chairs, is a lovely setting for afternoon tea.
19. Urban Bakery
This croissant maker marries Western technique with Eastern flair in the most refreshing way possible: The seasonal creations are modeled after iconic Hong Kong delicacies like the pineapple bun and golden lava bun. If you're not in the mood for experimentation, you will still walk away happy with the classic cheese croissant. Cream puffs in every color imaginable are also available for a quick afternoon indulgence.
From small towns across America to major cities like Portland and Washington D.C., bakeries are having a seriously sweet renaissance. Across the pond, talented bread and pastry makers trained in some of the world’s best restaurants are baking mouthwatering loaves, doughnuts, and even whoopie pies. These seven standouts in London should be on your must-visit list.
20. Bea’s of Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury and beyond
A specialist in classic cakes, beautifully iced cupcakes, and buns, this small north London bakery has recently expanded beyond its Bloomsbury original to Farringdon and St Paul’s. Its duffin (an addictive doughnut/muffin combo which sparked a row with Starbucks when it seemingly ripped off the concept) is worth a trip in itself.
21. Blackbird Bakery, Herne Hill (and other south London locations)
For many south Londoners, a weekend is not complete without picking up a chunky loaf of caraway, honey wholemeal, or rosemary and spelt bread from the Blackbird Bakery, which began life as a tiny hole-in-the-wall and now has six branches around southeast London. Head to Herne Hill on a Sunday morning and you can combine a slice of buttermilk-and-currant bread (made from organic, free range, and fair trade ingredients) with a freshly roasted flat white at the café and a stroll around the excellent Farmers Market outside.
22. Bread Ahead, Borough Market
Run by St. John alum Justin Gellatly, Bread Ahead in the foodie mecca of Borough Market is also known for doughnuts. But in addition, it does fantastic cheese and olive sticks and practical loaves of sourdough and ciabatta. It has an admirable waste policy and opened a cooking school last year.
23. The Delicatessen, Clapham
This new deli is part of the growing empire of Robin Gill (whose resume includes stints at Noma and Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons) a chef proving a strong influence in helping to transform Clapham’s culinary chops. The deli sells a range of innovative sandwiches, on its homemade loaves of sourdough (try it with the excellent smoked bone marrow butter), potato flatbread, and Guinness soda bread, all of which appear on the menu at the Michelin-recommended Dairy restaurant next door.
24. E5 Bakehouse, Hackney
With a name that refers to its Hackney location, E5 Bakehouse has become a stalwart on the Insta-feeds of local hipsters and foodies. Its most famous product is the Hackney Wild sourdough, which TV chef Michel Roux famously referred to as bread that “turns me on.” But all of its breads are accomplished and produced with an ethical, sustainable approach, plus there are cakes too, making the café a good place to linger for a warming lunch or granola bar and coffee.
25. St. John, Bermondsey
This bakery, run by the famous nose-to-tail restaurant (and supplier of all its bread), is rarely open to the public. It is part of a group of some of the city’s most accomplished producers and suppliers (from cheese to wine) located under the industrial arches around Maltby Street, all of whom open up their work premises for short hours on Saturdays and Sundays. The result is huge queues of fans who know that this is where to come for the best doughnuts—think substantial, chewy buns oozing with custard or chocolate—in London.
26. Violet Bakery, Hackney
Anyone with a sweet tooth should bookmark Violet, a five-year-old bakery and cafe, run by food stylist and former Chez Panisse pastry chef Clare Ptak, near the happening restaurant-lined street of Broadway Market (where she started out with a market stall). Best sellers include her whoopie pie, which is so popular it spawned its own book.
There’s so much more to bakeries on Maui than merely gratifying a sweet tooth. It’s the culture, heritage, and history of the food that give Maui’s best bakeries some background. Portuguese culture lives on, for example, with every malasada that’s sold, just as the Japanese culture is perpetuated by sweet, azuki-filled mochi. Here are our picks for where to find them.
27. Home Maid Bakery
Opened in Wailuku in 1960, this humble bakery on Lower Main Street is an island staple for mochi (a type of pounded rice cake). Also known for their crispy manju—which are essentially bite-sized pies—Home Maid Bakery is a convenient stop for gifts on the way to the airport. Or, if you still have a couple of days on the island and need to pick up some bread, the Maui Crunch Bread is an island favorite, as are their fresh malasadas.
28. Komoda Store and Bakery
Amazingly, 2016 marks 100 years of Komoda Bakery in Makawao (3674 Baldwin Ave. 808-572-7261). Set on the corner of the town’s only intersection, the bakery is famous throughout Hawaii for its cream puffs and classic “Stick Donuts.” If you stop by before it opens at 7 a.m., chances are you’ll find a line has already formed at the door. Everything about this bakery is old school, which is all a part of its charm. Prepare to pay in cash since the accounting is still done with a pen.
29. Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop
Like an oasis of fresh, flaky goodness on the long drive out to Lahaina, Leoda’s Pie Shop has rapidly become a local island favorite. With their collection of sweet, house made pies, visitors can choose from coconut cream to macadamia nut chocolate praline. Leoda’s strives to use local ingredients, and even has their own farm for produce used in their deli sandwiches.
30. Stillwell’s Bakery
Located directly under the bridge between Kahului and Wailuku, Stillwell’s Bakery is where to stop for bread, torpedo, or maccoco rolls. All of the bread has been baked here in house since their 1994 opening, and the gooey cream horns are tough to resist at any time of the day.
31. Sugar Beach Bake Shop
Finally, on the very tip of North Kihei next to Ululani’s Shave Ice, Sugar Beach Bake Shop crafts traditional favorites—with a tropical twist. There’s mango cheesecake, mac nut sticky buns, and lilikoi key lime pie—and, of course, you’ll also find the ubiquitous malasada.
Sausage, cheese, and beer may be Milwaukee's main tourist draws, but city residents know there's a delicious alternative hidden beneath. From Italian cakes to all-natural artisan breads and rolls, these five bakeries keep the Cream City's sugar rush on high.
Amaranth is a family-run all-natural and mostly organic café specializing in artisan-style goods. In addition to breads and pastries, diners choose from a selection of sandwiches, soups, quiches, and salads, and all are free of artificial sweeteners, fillers, and substitutes.
The Italians own it in Milwaukee, where Canfora specializes in Italian cookies and sweets, plus whipped cream wedding cakes. The cassatini, a mini version of the traditional Sicilian cassata cake, shines with rum flavoring, cannoli filling, and marzipan. Any self-respecting Milwaukeean has to try the cream puffs.
34. Classy Girl Cupcakes
Cakes and cupcakes, brownies and bars—Classy Girl's sweets have satisfied locals since 2010. Twenty-five flavors are showcased every day, along with some novel ways to enjoy the dessert, like cupcake push-pops and cupcake mousse parfaits. Even the Milwaukee elite gets in on the craze: the shop baked the mayor's birthday cake.
35. Peter Sciortino's
Famous for its bread, rolls, and cookies, this Italian bakery has catered to Milwaukee residents since 1948. Restaurants and grocery stores throughout the area carry Sciortino's made-from-scratch fresh bread, and the shop recently began selling cakes and gelato. Try the tiramisu—it's a local favorite.
Another addition to Milwaukee's Italian bakery scene, Scordato is a close relative of Sciortino's—the owner, Giovanni Scordato, is Peter Sciortino's nephew. And Scordato continues the family tradition of offering spectacular Italian baked goods including Sicilian pizza, bread, and cookies (thirty-six different types).
In the city that gave us doberge cakes and muffaletta loaves, the aromas of king cakes during Carnival and chicory coffee year-round, bakeries are essential to everyday life. They do more than serve treats; they preserve New Orleans’ rich food culture. Here are nine standouts, and what to order at each one.
37. Breads on Oak
Its name says it all. This Oak Street bakery, open since 2012, focuses on breads—especially the Old World–style French breads for which New Orleans is famous. Purity and process are the keys here: The sourdough starter is live, the eggs used to make the dough are free-range organic, and the fermentation process lasts more than a day so the flavor has time to develop. Chef Sean O’Mahony’s menu of mostly vegan sandwiches makes even the most carb-loaded lunches at Breads on Oak feel healthy.
38. Cake Café
This boundary-pushing bakery in the Marigny makes Sazerac cupcakes and king cakes baked with goat cheese and apples, instead of cream cheese and icing. Founded in 2007 by Steve Himelfarb, who got his start selling slices of homemade chocolate cake door to door, Cake Café is also known for its Jewish menu items, such as fresh bagels topped with lox, capers, red onion, tomato, and shmear.
In 1946, a Jewish-Hungarian woman living in New Orleans sold her adapted recipe for a Hungarian-Austrian cake to an Italian by the name of Joe Gambino. From this multicultural transaction came the dawn of New Orleans’ famous doberge cake (layers of cake and pudding wrapped in a shell of buttercream and fondant). Gambino’s, with locations in Metairie and Gretna, is also known as one of the city’s top spots for king cakes during Carnival.
40. Gracious Bakery
Rarely will you hear a mention of this Mid-City bakery that doesn’t include its founder: Megan Forman, a veteran pastry chef who worked at Bayona and Sucre before setting off on her own in 2012. It’s her sensibilities (never use a mix, always incorporate butter) that inform the offerings of the spare Gracious Bakery, including cupcakes iced with Italian buttercream and cinnamon croissants baked into muffin tins. In a hurry? Swing by Gracious To Go, an express location on Earhart Boulevard.
The world record holder for the largest king cake on earth (a 4,000-pound whopper that wrapped twice around the Superdome), Haydel’s has churned out New Orleans’ most famous Carnival dessert since 1965. The German-owned Jefferson bakery receives tens of thousands of king cake orders each year and ships the majority of them to homesick New Orleanians around the country. There are 16 king cake varieties on the menu, including mini king cakes and black-and-gold ones in the shape of a fleur-de-lis.
42. La Boulangerie
Quaint. Charming. Lovely. These are common descriptions of this jewel of a traditional French bakery in Uptown New Orleans. Open since 2000, La Boulangerie sells croissants, petit fours, madeleines, and French bread done right: light and airy on the inside, thin and brittle on the outside. Order one to go, tuck it under your arm, and you’ll feel like you’re a Parisian expat as you hurry into the Garden District.
Unapologetically upscale, Sucre sells Tahitian vanilla marshmallows, chicory chocolates and—most notably—French macarons in a gleaming, modern atmosphere. Its flagship store on Magazine Street opened in 2007, followed by a Metairie shop, then a location in the French Quarter. In April, that third location unveiled an upstairs restaurant and lounge called Salon, where you can sip a Sazerac while watching the shoppers below.
44. The Sweet Spot
Open since the spring in a stall in St. Roch Market, the Sweet Spot is a retro bakery from New Orleans transplant Donna Maloney cares more about comfort than craft. The banana bread recipe comes straight from a hand-typed card passed down from Maloney’s mother, and the gooey chocolate-chip cookies are baked twice a day to ensure they’ll always taste like they’re straight out of the oven. Canines are part of the family here: A large jar of fresh dog biscuits sits by the register.
45. Willa Jean
New Orleans’ bakery du jour, this much-anticipated offering from the Besh Restaurant Group showcases the prodigious talents of John Besh’s top pastry chefs, Lisa White and Kelly Fields. Open since August in downtown’s Central Business District, Willa Jean is a homey bakeshop that offers such indulgences as cinnamon rolls, donuts, and biscuits—plus a coffee program and a full bar serving adult slushies. This is New Orleans, after all.
With its rich history of immigrant settlement, traditional baked goods are in Philadelphia’s blood. This is the home of Butter Cake, after all. Locals have favorite neighborhood bakeries where things haven’t changed in 25, 50, or 100 years, but a swath of hip new bakeries that combine favorite flavors to create sublime desserts are keeping things. Old or new, savory or sweet, this town knows and loves its baked goods—and these are our six favorites.
46. Brown Betty Dessert Boutique
The charming “mile high” cakes and cupcakes at Brown Betty Dessert Boutique seduce the eyes first. Then, they win hearts with flavors like sweet potato pound cake with spiced vanilla buttercream, and ganache with chocolate fudge cake and chocolate icing. Each cake is named after one of owners Linda and Norrdina’s relatives, and their best traits or favorite hobbies.
47. Flying Monkey
Imagine it: a pumpkin pie baked inside a chocolate cake, topped with apple pie baked inside vanilla cake, which is filled and frosted with vanilla buttercream. “Pumpple Cake” is a real thing at Flying Monkey in the Reading Terminal Market, if you order 72 hours in advance. The spot is also known for its whoopie pies in dozens of flavors and fillings, as well as mini bundt cakes in flavors like hot buttered rum and pink lemonade.
48. Kermit’s Bake Shoppe
“Imagine if a pizzeria and a bakery had a baby,” says Kermit Bake Shoppe’s website. Here, hazelnut tea cakes, pumpkin rosemary anglaise tarts, and oreo mousse cakes live peacefully next to creative pizzas topped with pesto, maitake mushrooms, and applewood-smoked ham. A French-trained pastry chef leads this happy union of savory and sweet under one roof.
49. Metropolitan Bakery
Metropolitan Bakery’s six locations in some of Philadelphia’s best neighborhoods sell more than 30 varieties of homemade breads made with locally sourced and sustainable products from area farmers and small producers. Try the organic Miche with a sourdough flavor and a chewy, hearty texture, inspired by the famous bread of the Poilâne bakery in Paris, and pumpernickel made with dark rye flour, onions, sunflower seeds, brewed coffee, cocoa powder, and honey molasses.
50. Termini Brothers
Philadelphians talk about Termini Brothers with a reverence not often seen in this no-nonsense town. In business since 1921, the bakery now sells its signature, handmade cannoli at four locations, two in its original home of South Philly, and two in Center City. Among the many sweet treats on offer are authentic Italian specialties like sfogliatelle (crispy puff pastries filled with ricotta and orange peel), torrone (nougats dotted with pistachio), and regina biscotti (crunchy lemon cookies rolled in sesame seeds).
51. Sweet Freedom
Philly’s first and only “allergen-free” bakery, Sweet Freedom is completely gluten-free and vegan, and avoids refined sugar, corn, wheat, peanuts, and soy. Treats—including cupcakes, cookies, loaves, donuts, muffins, and bread—utilize unique ingredients like garbanzo bean flour, coconut milk, and arrowroot to satisfy those with and without food allergies.
Everyone knows Portland is a great coffee town—and what goes better with a morning cup, or a 4 p.m. one, than a little something sweet from one of the city's best bakeries? For a bakery to be truly noteworthy, it has to master both sweet (pastries that perfectly balance butter, flour, and sugar to elevate a croissant to something magical), and savory (breads that have strong enough flavors to complement an turkey sandwich, for example). From pies to focaccia, these five standouts are worth breaking any low-carb diet for.
52. Lauretta Jean's
Primarily a bakery specializing in butter-crust pies, Lauretta Jean's (pictured) makes fruit pies, cold meringues, and less common offerings like chocolate chess. Their quiches use the same dough but add herbs to the mix. They also make one of the best biscuits in town—marked by a little crunch on the outside yet fluffy on the inside, served with butter and jam, or as an egg sandwich.
53. Roman Candle Baking Co.
Right next door to dinner hot spot Ava Gene's, the same owners run a more casual restaurant-bakery with the same rustic Italian goodness. Fans come to Roman Candle to grab a thick square slice of pizza bianca, some focaccia, and the not-to-miss Kouign-Amann, a crackly pastry that's sort of like a round croissant laminated in caramel.
54. Little T Baker
The motto at Little T Baker is “buns not guns,” and the sunny bakery, with locations in SE and Union Way the West End, serves delicious sandwiches, loaves, and pastries, especially their Jacobsen Sea Salt-dusted brownies. Don't expect a gluten-free option here; their other motto is “flour, science, hands and heart.”
55. Grand Central Bakery
With locations all over town, and the fact that is supplies bread to many local restaurants and sells loaves at groceries like Safeway, Grand Central might be the most ubiquitous bakery in Portland. But it's a deserved reign, thanks to their tangy sourdough; soft, eggy challah on Fridays, and cookies (the molasses one is chewy and perfectly spiced). You can also buy their frozen pizza dough or cookie dough in stores to bake the goodness at home.
56. Ken's Artisan Bakery
James Beard-nominated owner Ken Forkish makes amazing French pastries like canneles, eclairs, and fruit tarts, plus unique loaves like French rye, dense walnut, or Raisin-pecan breads and his namesake bakery.
—Sarah Z. Wexler
It's no surprise that Rome is sweet on pastries. Romans are known for their sugary breakfasts, so every morning cornetti (croissant), fagottini (chocolate filled puff pastry), and anything else that comes with a glaze is lined up along bar and café counters around town. The city is a maze of pasticcerie (pastry shops), with bakeries on nearly every street in every neighborhood, but these seven shops are above and beyond—saccharine specialists whose delicacies will pique your sweet tooth as well as your curiosity.
57. Dolce Roma
Down the street from the Forum is Dolce Roma, a small Austro-Roman bakery that is the only place in Rome for proper florentiners (chocolate and almond cookies) and pretzels, but the real specialty is the mohnbagel, a soft, sweet bagel filled with poppy seed spread.
58. Il Maritozzaro
When in Rome, eat a maritozzo. The most indulgent of all Roman pastries, it’s a sugar bomb—a sweet bun filled with cream. Though Il Maritozzaro is not a true pastry shop, this historic Roman bar (i.e., nothing fancy and no elbow room) is a master of the maritozzo.
59. Pasticceria Boccione
Better known as il Forno del Ghetto (the bakery of Rome's Ghetto neighborhood) or the Kosher bakery, Boccione is no-nonsense and no frills. Fans line up for pizza di beridde (also called pizza ebraica), a savory and sweet dense bread of almonds, pine nuts, raisins, and candied fruit that only the Boccione family makes.
60. Pasticceria al Cinque Lune
Often overlooked in the cluster of shops that face Italy's Senate office house, Cinque Lune is a small pastry shop with a delicious selection of traditional Italian pastries like torta alla ricotta (ricotta cheese cake) and crostate (pie), but it's those curious antichi romani that set Cinque Lune apart from the rest. Found nowhere else in the city, these bite-sized pastries are inspired by ancient Roman ingredients and recipes, and come out as delectable phyllo dough concoctions with cinnamon, pistachio, hazelnut, poppy seeds, honey, and bay leaves.
61. Pasticceria De Bellis
For the past few years, De Bellis has received international recognition for its creative spins on Italian pastries, especially its millefoglie, but this summer, it flipped the switched and added the insane donut burgher to its new savory line up. Two toasted glazed donuts couple a barbecue sauce-coated beef patty to create a flavor merge like no other.
62. Pasticceria Lotti
Run by two charming sisters who seemed to step out of a Wes Anderson film, Lotti is one of those "if you know, you know" bars, an unassuming cafe that gets overlooked in the Via Veneto traffic. Lotti's pastry selection is always enticing, with seasonal cookies for every holiday, but it's the pasteis de nata that makes Lotti unique. Also, the Portugese egg tart can only be found at Lotti.
63. Pasticceria Regoli
For 100 years, Pasticceria Regoli has been the go-to sweet spot in the Piazza Vittoria neighborhood. Traditionally styled with glass counters and refrigerated cabinets, Regoli has the expected Roman lineup of pastries, including maritozzi, profiterole and crostate, as well as seasonal and holiday pastries like Easter cakes, mostaccioli (chocolate covered spice cookies) and frappe (fried pastry strips). What pushes Regoli over the top are the Chantilly star, a star-shaped pastry with Chantilly cream and wild strawberries, and the Bavarese, an unparalleled cream-filled, oddly light, mashable cake.
64. Notable mention: Le Carrè Francais is the new kid on the block, and the only place in Rome to get a proper French croissant.
Flaky, bronze kouign-amanns, yuzu tart drops, augmented seasonal hand pies—San Francisco has come a long way from its early bakery glory days of the golden sourdough roll. Now glass cases are increasingly stocked with made-from-scratch treats that highlight the region’s quality ingredients—as well as the creative minds of local bakers, elevating their craft to an art. Whether they’re experimenting with new techniques, reinventing nostalgic favorites, or introducing lesser-known confectionaries to the West Coast, one thing is certain: bring your appetite and an open mind.
65. B. Patisserie
Francophiles flock to Pacific Heights’ B. Patisserie, where a Gary Danko and Manresa protégé dreams up Instagram-worthy tarts, verrines, and viennoiseries. It seems no French treat has been left unconsidered—from the chocolate banana almond croissants, tartines, and vanilla cassis cake, down to the classic madeleine. Must try: The seasonal kouign-amann.
66. Craftsman + Wolves
William Werners’s confections glowing beneath the glass cases may look like artifacts in a museum exhibit, but luckily the art at Craftsman + Wolves is edible. Creative flavor combinations, like quince and dirty chai tarts and brown butter financier with stone fruit and hazelnuts, draw lines at their Mission district bakery—and their future outpost in Russian Hill opening later this fall. Must try: “The Rebel Within,” a soft-boiled egg inside a savory muffin.
67. Flour & Co.
After being open for just a few years, this neighborhood bakery in Nob Hill has outgrown its micro-sized digs, and has expanded into a much larger second storefront in Berkeley this month. All of the goods at Flour & Co. are made with basic ingredients (butter, sugar, eggs, milk) for satiating pastries that won’t put you in a post-sticky bun food coma. Still, the menu has a comfort food slant perfect for an R&R brunch: French toast sandwiches, savory tarts, and homemade biscuits and gravy. Must try: Peach hand pies or the oatmeal praline ice cream sandwich.
This cozy cafe and bakery draws locals for its thoughtful homemade sweets. On weekends, citrus brioche warrants a detour to Jane’s new Larkin Street location, and every day an impressive display of vegan and gluten-free options that taste as good as their traditional counterparts are on-hand. But the biggest temptations are their cookies, baked fresh every afternoon in bold flavors like iced lemon, oatmeal currant, and chocolate chip toffee. Must try: The salted white chocolate oatmeal cookie.
69. Tartine Bakery
One cannot speak of San Francisco bakeries without mentioning the venerable Tartine Bakery. The James Beard Award-winning bakery is often credited for inspiring the city’s new wave of contemporary bakeries, and for their thoughtful approach to classic breads like the country-style levain, available every day after 4:30 p .m. (though you’ll want to get in line long before then). If you can score a table in their sunlit cafe, their hot pressed sandwiches—think Humboldt fog goat cheese smothered between two slices of walnut bread—are the way to go, but don’t overlook the case of pastries. Must try: The classic croque monsier or the tres leches cake.
70. Haga Tårtcompani & Bageri
The island of Kungsholmen is fast emerging as the cake capital of Stockholm. The newest pastry emporium to open its door is Haga Tårtcompani & Bageri, where 27-year-old bowtie-wearing baker Oscar Målevik runs the kitchen.
Oscar and his business partner Anna Cardelius opened the first branch of their baking business in the Vasastan neighborhood in the city in 2014. This second location opened at the end of September. It sells breads and sandwiches, with several tables for customers to stop by for a coffee, but the heart of the business is making big, celebratory cakes.
“We wanted to have a product that is ours, and while Stockholm has places doing cupcakes and macaroons, no one was doing these sort of cakes for kids and for companies,” says Oscar, who has been baking since he was 14. “We try to be classic Swedish, but with a twist. For instance, in our blueberry-cardamom cake we add almost too much of everything—too much cardamom and too many blueberries—but last year it was declared cake of the year in the White Guide [Sweden’s premier food guide].”
The café-bakery also takes a Swedish-with-a-twist approach to its décor. The interior is painted with Falun red, the distinctive red paint used on rustic country cottages across the land, with brightly colored cushions from Svenskt Tenn, the poshest design store in town.
The company has won some high-profile admirers. Last year when Lady Gaga was in town she ordered a cake, specifying that it be gluten-free and not adorned with grapes or fresh flowers. Oscar baked a dense chocolate cake, coated with chocolate frosting, adorned with handfuls of berries and shards of sugar that resembled broken glass.
Tokyoites love their bread, whether it's the pillowy shokupan (sliced white bread), French-style baguettes (found in bakeries all over the city), or homegrown favorites like curry bread and an pan—buns filled with sweet bean paste, forever immortalized by the popular cartoon character An Pan Man. There are some more dubious offerings, too, like spaghetti sandwiches (surprisingly good, and excellent for carb-loading), yakisoba rolls, and dainty sandwiches filled with whipped cream and sliced fruit on white bread with the crusts cut off. These are the ones to try when you're in town.
70. Le Pain
French-style bakeries rule the roost, with plenty of shops to be found in train stations and supermarkets. Many will do a serviceable French stick, but for the real stuff, we asked Jennifer Julien, French cookbook author, TV food reporter, and wine expert. Joel Robuchon's Le Pain is excellent for the classics, like baguette, campagne, cakes, and pain au chocolat. They also have some items for the Japanese taste. The selection is a little less, but everything is top quality."
Another favorite, she says, is Viron in Shibuya, a shop that often comes to the top of bakery lists despite lacking a website, social media, or public email. The shop famously imports their flour from Paris, and to enter the store is to be confronted with the burnished gleam of caramelized sugar on piles of caneles and tarts, tantalizing smells wafting from every corner. The kouign amann is a masterpiece, with a dark flaky crackling crust containing inner layers of chewy sweet pastry.
72. Backerei Kaffee Linde
Despite the profusion of bakeries, whole grain and dark breads are relatively hard to find here, with most places trading only in white flour. One outstanding exception is Backerei Kaffee Linde in Kichijoji, a German-style bakery to satisfy all your hearty brot cravings. Serving up heaps of rye breads, seeded loaves, pretzels, and German pastries, it's worth a visit if you're in the neighborhood.
For a local favorite, try the kare pan (curry bread) at Catlea. Located in the Morishita shopping street, Catlea claims to be the originator of curry bread, a crisp, deep fried experience, like a savory doughnut, filled with piping hot curry redolent with spices and with chunks of meat and vegetables. One or two could make an excellent pocket lunch.
74. Asakusa Kagetsudo
Another tried and true treat is melon pan, named not for its flavor but for its shape. With a domed shaped and a bumpy surface, melon bread is a sweet dough covered with a crisp, sugary coating. Asakusa Kagetsudo is one of the top places to get your hands on one, selling 2,000 pieces on a weekend day, and closing as soon as the day's stock is sold. The shop also has a Japanese cafe on the second floor, so patrons can also order heartier food.
Finally, no catalog of Japanese bread delights can go without the mention of an pan, perhaps the country's most beloved bread bite. This sweet roll is a marriage between western and Japanese tastes, traditionally filled with sweet red azuki bean paste, and is a staple snack across generations, from little children to grandparents. Invented by Yasubei Kimura, the Kimuraya bakery in Ginza is the home base for an pan lovers. In addition to the bakery on the first floor, there's also a cafe and a restaurant on site.
Toronto is a city that loves a good loaf of burnished bronze , crusty bread as much as a shatteringly crisp-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside macaron. And its citizens all have their favorite bakeries for different items. This city's best are many—too many to rattle off as a top five. Instead, we offer you a list of some of our favorites, categorized by what they do best.
Buttery, flaky, with a bit of crackle on the crust and tender, not soggy or dry, in the middle. If that's your ideal croissant specimen, head to Colette Grand Cafe's bakery and order their coconut raspberry version if you've got a sweet tooth. Or stick to the classic butter version at Parkdale's The Tempered Room, where Bertrand Alépée makes them so well, you'd swear you're in Paris. If you're in North York, Dolcini by Joseph (or West Finch Bakery) offers flaky perfection under the practiced hands of Belgian patissier Bruno Elsier (his baguettes are tasty, too).
77. Italian Treats
Craving the kind of amaretti that make you feel as if you're in Lombardy? Or a semolina, pine nut, rosemary and orange scented cake that takes you to nonna's table? Head to Forno Cultura on King Street and try to stop from buying out the store. Want your baked goods with a modern Italian accent? Sud Forno delivers. There's the thinly sliced fried eggplant paninis for lunch, or the weekend-only zeppole that ooze Chantilly and pastry cream, as well as amarena cherries.
78. Gluten Free and Vegan Goods
GF, vegan, and jonesing for a treat of your own? Head to Tori's Bakeshop in the Beach, where the iconic Canadian butter tart is brilliant, as are the doughnuts, muffins moistened with apple sauce, and the campfire corn loaf. Bonus: they're made with all-organic ingredients. In the west end, Bunners makes some of the best vegan, GF cinnamon buns you'll ever try. Come in the morning and get them hot. Or snag a Sonic cookie chock full of dried fruit, seeds, and nuts for a chewy snack
79. Lovely Loaves
One of the best places in the city for top notch sourdough bread loaves (try the seeded version or the baguette) is the Blackbird Baking Company in Kensington Market. Heritage, stone ground, unbleached flours (including the Canadian Red Fife wheat) make a world of difference. If you're in the Distillery District, Leslieville, the Beach or First Canadian Place, you'll find an outpost of the Brick Street Bakery, which serves toothsome loaves that get turned into fresh sandwiches (try the Boxing Day) for the lunch crowd. Eccles Cakes, and perfect, hand-held sausage pies are also sure bets.
80. Pretty Pastries and Macarons
Nadege Patisserie, helmed by fourth-generation French pastry chef Nadege Nourian, makes some of the city's finest. Her cassis macarons are delightful, as are the salted caramel or lemon varieties. Don't miss the Marie Antoinette, luscious edible art featuring mini macarons adorning a vanilla bean panna cotta and a maple syrup mousse. Butter Avenue delights with caramel macchiato, cream cheese passion fruit, and matcha macarons. Pick up a "Jardin Secret," crafted with light rose vanilla cream, mixed berry jelly and a soft candy wrap to keep the dessert together. Chocolate crumbles act as the jardin's earthy garden soil.
—Mary Luz Mejia
This is a good time to be a Washingtonian: in recent years, bakeries have been opening their doors in neighborhoods across the city, with still more operating as pop-ups or farmers market stands soon to unveil their own brick-and-mortar space. Together with local baked goods stalwarts, such as Georgetown’s beloved Baked & Wired and the vegan-friendly Sticky Fingers in Columbia Heights, these newcomers have made DC a terrific town for both breakfast and dessert. Here’s a look at some of the best.
81. Baked & Wired
Baked & Wired isn’t just one of the best bakeries in DC—it’s often considered one of the very best in the country. During the height of the cupcake craze, food writer Corby Kummer declared in The Atlantic that Baked & Wired was home to “the only just-right cupcake” he’d sampled among all the trendy shops of the time. And just as the joint predated cupcake mania, it has lasted long past that time, too, remaining the place to go in DC for coffee cake, zucchini bread, caramel blondies, fudgy brownies, custom cakes, chocolate chip cookies, cherry hand pies, homemade ice cream sandwiches, and, of course, perfect cupcakes.
82. Bayou Bakery
New Orleans native David Guas has been educating Washingtonians on the wonders of Cajun cuisine since opening Bayou Bakery in Arlington in 2010. Though the shop, which recently opened a location on Capitol Hill (pictured), offers classic entrees like jambalaya and crawfish etouffee, Guas first made his name in DC as a pastry chef. So it’s no surprise that the glass case in front full of beignets, praline scones, cornbread, cookies, layer cakes, and more is such a popular stop. Bayou Bakery also sells some goods that make terrific gifts, such as PorKorn, a bag of salted caramel popcorn studded with Benton’s bacon and Virginia peanuts.
83. Bread Furst
Legendary James Beard Award-nominated bread maker Mark Furstenberg has been elevating the bakery scene in DC for decades, first with Marvelous Market and then with the sandwich-focused phenom BreadLine. He returned to great acclaim in early 2014 with the neighborhood bakery Bread Furst. It’s well worth the journey out to Van Ness for a loaf of challah, a bag of bagels, fresh baguettes, cookies, coffee eclairs, and pies and cakes made to order. Not to mention Furstenberg’s popular Palladin rolls—a type of ciabatta inspired by another local luminary, Jean-Louis Palladin—which are available by the pound.
84. Buttercream Bakeshop
It may not be open just yet, but Buttercream Bakeshop is certain to be a success when it unlocks its doors in Shaw (hopefully this winter), thanks to the loyal following owner Tiffany MacIsaac has cultivated during her years as head pastry chef for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group (Red Apron Butcher, Birch & Barley, Iron Gate, and more). MacIsaac has since struck out on her own with cake decorator Alexandra Mudry to create Buttercream Bakeshop, creating from-scratch confections such as peanut butter buckeyes, tangerine twix bars, oatmeal cream pies, and flawless special occasion cakes and cookies. Buttercream Bakeshop delivers across the DC area and operates pops-up occasionally in town, so keep your eyes peeled in the meantime.
Founded in 2011, Frenchie’s built up a dedicated following through the years at local farmers’ markets, particularly enthralling Washingtonians with baker Erica Skolnik’s airy croissants. Earlier this year, the bakery found itself a full-time outpost at Maketto, H Street’s hot new restaurant/men’s lifestyle store/coffee shop. During the day, you can head upstairs to grab some coffee and Frenchie’s croissants, sticky buns, kouign amanns, cookies, nutter butters, and more. Maketto is also where you can pick up your orders of Frenchie’s cakes and pies—including a carrot cake with pecan praline filling.
Washingtonians eagerly anticipated the opening of RareSweets in the upscale downtown retail complex CityCenter late last year, having first gotten hooked on owner Meredith Tomason’s baked goods at the Union Kitchen incubator. Before that, Tomason developed a taste for seasonality as pastry chef at Tom Colicchio’s flagship Craft Restaurant in NYC. At RareSweets, she offers a menu of cookies, bars, and breakfast items like cheddar drop biscuits and brioche doughnuts filled with plum jam. Cakes come in classic and seasonal flavors (think: graham and concord grape, or pumpkin and bourbon cocoa), while ice cream rotates among options like sour cream and sorghum, and milk chocolate and peanut.
87. Sticky Fingers
Since 1999, Sticky Fingers has proven that you don’t need butter and eggs to make really delicious desserts and pastries. Baker Doron Petersan—a two-time winner on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars—has kept both vegans and carnivores satiated from her storefront in Columbia Heights. The cupcakes are classics, but so are the sticky buns, and vanilla cream-filled chocolate cake sandwiches known as Little Devils. Order ahead for cakes like tiramisu (made with organic espresso), peanut butter fudge, grasshopper, and various “fancy” custom-designed treats for special events.