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 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.
Top bakery options in Los Angeles
Na Young Ma's bakery is where locals drop in for morning coffee from Four Barrel Coffee, Heart Coffee Roasters and Coava Coffee Roasters, and baked goods like buttery croissants and brioche toast slathered with local Sqirl 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. 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 inside or on the sidewalk patio, where you'll get a vista of pretty much the entire Village while you sip your joe.
Nancy Silverton is credited with single-handedly introducing Angelenos to the joys of the fresh, flavorsome loaf. In the two-plus decades since her store opened, she's become a household name and her store has grown into an international operation. The bakery's newest home on the corner of La Brea and 6th Street—which opened during its 25-year anniversary—is larger than ever, accommodating space for lone diners to sit at the counter top while sipping on coffee and a pastry, or groups of friends to camp out in the café's dining area, where they can munch on turkey avocado sandwiches followed by arguably one of L.A.'s best chocolate chip cookies. It's an institution we hope will last for another 25 years—and then some.
The aroma of freshly baked artisanal breads could easily lure people out of the office at DTLA’s patisserie, Pitchoun Bakery. This family-owned cozy café boasts a homey oasis amidst the Historic Core skyscrapers with elegant pastries and breads made daily. Beyond French sweets and loafs, the café serves up fresh, 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 organic, quality ingredients make all the difference.
The devastatingly artisanal breads, pastries and nuanced eats at the Bread Lounge make every carb worth it—ten-fold. Tucked away on a fairly desolate street in the Arts District, this low-key café and bakery is truly a hidden gem. Wash down one of their many 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?
Alexander Phaneuf and Or Amsalam have brought their incredible baking skills to Culver City with Lodge Bread, a small bakery dedicated to big loaves. Their dedication to organically grown, seasonal whole grains put through a naturally levened process results in a selection of bread that has drawn raves from chefs and ordinary gluten-lovers alike. At the counter, you'll find cinnamon rolls, coffee cake, a muesli bowl and cookies, along with a rotating selection of loaves that include seeded country, whole wheat, spelt and red quinoa wheat. For breakfast, try their behemoth toast with ricotta and blueberries. Sunday night is pizza night from 5-8pm—just be sure to get there early, since pies sell out fast.
One visit to this Cuban family-owned bakery, which started as a modest cake business in Echo Park in the 1980s, and you'll be making excuses week after week to come back for fresh, out-of-the-oven cheese rolls, decadent fruit tortes and pies, authentic Cuban sandwiches and flaky chicken empanadas. Perhaps what they're best known for, though, is the potato balls—stuffed mashed potatoes fill 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 cakes as well (the tres leches is tops). Can't make it to the Glendale spot? Other locations include Burbank and Downey.
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, Margarita Manzke, delivers 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 with Normandy butter and pan drippings from the dinner menu.
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.
Pastry chef Zoe Nathan leads the charge at Huckleberry in Santa Monica, where homemade 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.
Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery provides exceptional baked goods to Angelenos who are craving a little taste of Paris in Los Angeles. The tiny storefront is located on the first floor of Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills, and offers traditional pastries ranging from chocolate almond croissants to a bevy of macarons. Savory sandwiches and baguettes are sold alongside packaged items like Bouchon brownies, and a selction of tea and coffee pairs perfectly with any of the bakery's goods.
Grand Central Market has plenty of fantastic vendors to call its own, one of them being Zack Hall's Clark Street Bread. The stand, which is open from 9am to 3pm, slings freshly baked loaves of whole wheat, Danish rye and French baguettes, plus both plain and chocolate-studded croissants. Stay tuned for the opening of a Clark Street Bread brick-and-mortar, coming to Echo Park in 2017.
San Francisco's popular bakery Mr. Holmes Bakehouse has arrived in Highland Park, offering phenomenal pastries that include their famed cruffin. What is a cruffin, you ask? Think of it as a croissant in muffin form, flaky, soft and filled with creme or jam. You'll want to snag a couple of those, but also the bacon and onion danishes, muffalettas and churro croissants. Pair with a coffee and you'll be on a sugar high for the rest of the day.