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Lodge Bread
Photograph: Caleb Coppola

A guide to the best bakeries in Los Angeles

Carbo-load at one of L.A.’s best bakery spots, where croissants, cookies and hearty loaves of bread reign supreme

By Erin Kuschner, Stephanie Breijo and Time Out contributors
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For all the talk about Los Angeles being a gluten-free town, you’d never know it judging by the caliber of bakeries here. From the San Gabriel Valley to the Beach Cities, we’re lucky enough to lay claim to flaky croissants, pillowy loaves of bread, decadent cookies and perfectly crusted pies, whether you’re looking for a breakfast treat or a sweet dessert. In short, L.A. is a carb town, and these outstanding bakery options prove it. 

Satisfy your sweet tooth or pick up the best bread at these bakeries

1. République

Restaurants French La Brea
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Some preliminary advice before visiting République: Should the phrase “Hold the bread, please” cross your mind, hold your tongue instead. The La Brea restaurant’s pastry chef and co-owner, Margarita Manzke, serves up freshly baked breads and pastries morning, noon and night, so you can order one of her incredible croissants for breakfast, the quiche of the day for lunch or a baguette to sop up those pan drippings from the dinner menu. The only catch? They don’t replenish the pastry stock throughout the day, so once an item is gone, it’s gone. (Don’t worry, they stock about 50 varieties of items daily, so we’re sure you’ll find something else to fall in love with.)

2. Clark Street Bread

Restaurants Lunch Downtown Historic Core
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Some of the flakiest croissants, some of the most creative and consistent loaves, some of the fluffiest sourdough doughnuts, and now, an expanded café menu: all hallmarks of Zack Hall’s Clark Street Bread. The versatile bakery is found inside Grand Central Market; as a cozy coffee shop on Sunset; and as a larger standalone bakery in Echo Park. All three locations sling freshly baked loaves such as whole wheat, Danish rye and French baguettes, and stock plain and chocolate-studded croissants, artful avocado toasts and baked goods like hearty banana bread.

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3. Proof Bakery

Restaurants Bakeries Atwater Village
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Na Young Ma’s bakery is where locals drop in for morning coffee and baked goods like buttery croissants and brioche toast slathered with local jam. The caffeine is tops here, don’t get us wrong, but lines out the door mostly appear around noon, when the bakery brings out its famous sandwiches and tartines. Options include marinated beets, herb pesto and goat cheese; or salami, machego and chive butter (there are veg options as well) on lightly salted, still-warm-from-the-oven mini baguettes. Grab one—they go fast!—and snag one of the few seats on the sidewalk patio, where you’ll get a vista of pretty much the entire Village while you sip your coffee.

4. Lodge Bread

Restaurants Bakeries Culver City
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It feels like there’s nothing that Lodge can’t do. Alexander Phaneuf and Or Amsalam’s small bakery is dedicated to big loaves, but it also churns out pizzas, sandwiches, pastries and toasts that give anywhere in L.A. a run for their money. Their dedication to organically grown, seasonal whole grains put through a naturally leavened process results in a selection of bread that's drawn rave reviews from chefs and pedestrian gluten-lovers alike. At their counters in either Culver City or Woodland Hills, you’ll find goods like cinnamon rolls, coffee cake and cookies, along with a rotating selection of loaves that include seeded country, whole wheat, spelt and red quinoa wheat.

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5. Gjusta

Restaurants Delis Venice
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You might miss Gjusta if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The Venice bakery operates out of a nondescript warehouse, but step inside and you’ll find a long, narrow corridor with glass cases of sweet and savory treats on the left, a working bakery behind it, and treats that are recognizably Gjusta (yeah, you've probably seen them on Instagram).

On the sweet side, slices of fruit are folded into sugar-glazed dough for a morning indulgence; a banana chocolate tart, while pricey, is worth a post-lunch splurge; that’s pistachio dust atop those gloriously flaky croissants; and there’s farmers’ market fruit woven into anything you can imagine. The bread is some of the best in town, and with sliced fish, jarred goods and other accoutrements, you’ll have a spread for days.

6. Cake Monkey Bakery

Restaurants Bakeries Fairfax District
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Cake Monkey has been supplying sweet treats to restaurants and shops around L.A. for years, but in its own storefront, those decadent, inviting, totally-off-the-walls-good cakes, cookies and pastries can be found in full array. Co-owner Elizabeth Belkind and has worked in some of the best pastry kitchens in the city (Campanile, Grace) and it’s clear in every bite. Not sure where to even begin? She’s known for her incredible pies, chocolate babkas and her famous El Rollos, but Belkind and co-owner Lisa Olin fill the Fairfax District case with decadent, playful treats that rotate all the time. (Pop-tart–inspired “pop pies,” anyone?) Here’s a pro tip: If you’re nowhere near the bakery, you can pop by their North Hollywood production kitchen to pick up treats.

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7. Porto’s Bakery & Cafe

Restaurants Bakeries Glendale
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All hail Porto’s. One visit to this family-owned Cuban bakery, which started as a modest cake business in Echo Park in the ’80s, and you’ll be making excuses week after week to come back for fresh-out-of-the-oven cheese rolls, decadent fruit tarts and pies, authentic Cuban sandwiches and flaky-crusted chicken empanadas. Perhaps what they’re best known for, though, are the potato balls: stuffed mashed potatoes filled with ground beef and fried to a beautiful golden brown. If you’re in the market for a birthday cake, Porto’s has excpetional deals on those as well (the tres leches is tops). Can’t make it to the Glendale spot? Other locations include Burbank, Downey, West Covina and Buena Park, and now they even offer nationwide shipping.

8. Friends & Family

Restaurants Cafés Thai Town
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This rustic, organic and locally owned morning-to-afternoon bakery and café offers some of the best pastries, quiche and cookies in the city, but we wouldn’t skip over its brunch dishes or sandwiches, either. Buckwheat pancakes and olive-oil–fried eggs are worth savoring from the sunny Hollywood spot, but we’re also more than content grabbing a quick hand pie and some canelés. What we’re saying is: Order a little of everything, no matter your time limitations, and grab a few pastries for later, too. You’ll be glad you did.

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9. Tartine

Restaurants Cafés Hollywood
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San Francisco’s Tartine bakery operates a handful of outposts in L.A., each with an array of the bakeries’ lauded sourdough bread and phenomenal baked-goods. There’s Hollywood’s Tartine Sycamore café, plus a location in Santa Monica and another in Silver Lake. There’s no way to order incorrectly here, whether you’re hoping to bite into chewy, wild-fermented breads, sugary morning buns, the platonic ideal of a flaky croissant, sandwiches, pastries, tea cakes, quiches and, of course, Tartine’s signature open-faced smørrebrød toasts. Enjoy it all with a cup of Coffee Manufactory, the bakery’s third-wave–coffee offshoot.

10. Huckleberry

Restaurants Sandwich shops Santa Monica
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Pastry chef Zoe Nathan leads the charge at Huckleberry in Santa Monica, where homey breads, pastries and desserts are baked fresh daily. The weekend scene here can be intense, so it’s worth stopping by during the week to give yourself ample time to peruse the daily specials in the pastry case and decide whether you want to pair your tartine with a fruit-studded porridge bowl or something a little more savory, like pesto-y green eggs and ham. If you are in the mood for umami, it’s hard to go wrong with a breakfast sandwich that features the trinity of gruyere, aioli and Niman Ranch bacon, for the record.

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11. Milk Bar

Restaurants Bakeries Fairfax District
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Christina Tosi finally brought her world-famous Milk Bar bakery to Los Angeles, and it’s full of whimsical cakes and cereal-milk soft serve. The 4,000-square-foot space is home to cooking classes, an experimental baking program and, of course, a retail outlet where you can purchase Tosi’s signature layer cakes, truffles, pies, cookies, cookbooks and even merch. You can order cakes in advance, or simpy swing by for the selection in the cold case near the registers. And when you see the light go on near the lab, you know something good is about to come out of the kitchen window—that means that a creative, fun and totally one-of-a-kind experimental treat is ready for purchase.

12. Sweet Lady Jane

Restaurants Patisseries Santa Monica
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Choose from dozens of cakes and pies—from Almond Roca to raspberry lemon—for special occasions, or just unwind with a casual a slice of this bakery’s signature crowd-pleaser, the triple berry shortcake. Or you could just gawk at the pastry display case of seasonal pies, cookies, cupcakes and croissants. Brunch and lunch menus also offer sandwiches, salads and non-sweet-tooth selections, but come on—are you really going to skip the triple berry cake?

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13. Superba Food + Bread

Restaurants American Venice
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From Venice to North Hollywood to Pasadena, Superba’s baked-goods empire is slowly growing, and for that we are glad. The breezy café on the Westside offers toasts, salads and sandwiches on a lush all-day menu, while the coffee shops to the east sling snacks and milkshakes. But all of the pastry cases are stuffed with the likes of croissants, sugar-dusted morning buns, biscuits, citrus-zested cinnamon buns, scones, cookies and more—all worth an order (or a few orders; good luck staying away from these spots).

14. La Brea Bakery

Restaurants Bakeries La Brea
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Nancy Silverton is credited with single-handedly introducing Angelenos to the joys of the fresh, flavorsome loaf in the modern age. In the three decades since this venture opened, she’s become a household name and her store has grown into an international operation. The bakery’s L.A. flagship sits at La Brea and 6th Street, accommodating space for lone diners sipping on coffee and snacking on a pastry, plus turkey avocado sandwiches, decadent grilled cheese and sourdough bread soup bowls, followed by arguably one of L.A.’s best chocolate chip cookies. It’s an institution we hope will last for another 30 years—and then some.

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15. Phoenix Bakery

Restaurants Bakeries Chinatown
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Phoenix Bakery is known primarily for its cakes, first and foremost, but we’re obsessed with the almond cookies, the moon cakes and everything else in the pastry case. Founded in 1938 by the Chan family, this bakery attracts sweet-toothed fans looking for their famous strawberry whipped cream cake, which is available daily by the slice (or order 24 hours in advance for the whole shebang). You’ll also find traditional Chinese pastries and a selection of European goods, like eclairs, fruit tarts and cream horns. Our pro tip? Check the beverages in the fridge to see if there’s any fresh soy milk, too.

16. Bread Lounge

Restaurants Cafés Downtown Arts District
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The artisanal breads, pastries and nuanced eats at the Bread Lounge make every carb worth it, tenfold. Tucked away at the edge of the Arts District, this low-key café and natural-yeast bakery is truly a hidden gem. Wash down one of their mouthwatering focaccias or fresh sandwiches with a rich coffee and a streusel. The fare might not be juice-cleanse compatible, but what else would you expect from a place called the Bread Lounge?

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17. Poppy Cake Baking Co.

Restaurants Bakeries Sierra Madre
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This adorable, friendly bakery is a neighborhood staple in Sierra Madre, supplying local residents with freshly baked loaves, sandwiches and pastries. Pop by for a butter, chocolate or almond croissant in the morning—or perhaps one of their beloved apple bear claws—or stop in for a sandwich in the afternoon; Poppy Cake makes everything from an Italian to a vegetarian hummus sandwich.

18. Pitchoun Bakery

Restaurants Cafés Downtown Financial District
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The aroma of freshly baked breads could easily lure people out of the office in DTLA or Beverly Grove, and with good reason: These pastries are some of the cutest and best French baked goods in town. The family-owned cozy café boasts elegant, Parisian-inspired pastries and loaves made daily. Beyond French sweets and baguettes, the café serves up seasonal salads, sandwiches, tartines, quiches, soups and more. Think: house-baked bread topped with prosciutto, ricotta cheese, pine nuts, fig, rosemary and drizzled with olive oil—and the ingredients make all the difference.

Looking for something different? Check out these Armenian bakeries.

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