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.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with these bakeries
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, 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. 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.)
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 inside or on the sidewalk patio, where you’ll get a vista of pretty much the entire Village while you sip your coffee.
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 has drawn rave reviews from chefs and ordinary 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.
If Willy Wonka’s colorful creations skewed toward baked goods, he’d be Dominique Ansel. The long-awaited, first West Coast bakery from the acclaimed pastry chef of Cronut fame launched in the Grove to fanfare that’s still palpable, with rows upon rows of whimsical, gold-flaked treats. Ansel offers so much more than the Cronut (a monthly-rotating croissant-doughnut hybrid), though that’s always worth a bite. Look to other signatures, such as the Frozen S’more and the DKA (his take on a classic kouign-amann) for proof. As if it couldn’t be better, there’s a full-service restaurant on the second floor, in case you’re looking for something more savory. Just be sure to grab some ice cream avocado toast from the bakery for us while you’re at it.
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. Owner Elizabeth Belkind 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.
San Francisco’s Tartine bakery is taking over L.A.’s bread and baked-goods scenes, given that massive ROW DTLA bakery and restaurant complex, Hollywood’s Tartine Sycamore café, and more outposts set to open soon. There is 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.
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 tortes 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 cakes 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.
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 in the sunny Hollywood dining room, but we’re also more than content grabbing a quick hand pie and some canelés on the run. 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.
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.
Christina Tosi finally brought her world-famous Milk Bar bakery to Los Angeles, and it landed in style. 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, Crack Pie, 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.
Choose from dozens of cakes and pies—from Almond Roca to raspberry lemon—for special occasions, or just unwind at a table and enjoy a slice of signature crowd-pleaser, the triple berry shortcake with French-press coffee. 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?
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 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, 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.
Grand Central Market has plenty of visit-worthy vendors to call its own, but when it comes to fresh bread and pastry, Zack Hall’s Clark Street Bread is where to head. The stand, which is open from 9am to 4pm, became so popular it even opened a new sibling spot: Clark Street Coffee Shop in Echo Park. Both locations sling freshly baked loaves like whole wheat, Danish rye and French baguettes, and stocks plain and chocolate-studded croissants, artful toasts and hearty banana bread.
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 soymilk, too.
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 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?
San Francisco’s popular bakery Mr. Holmes Bakehouse carved out a cute and croissant-studded corned of 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 cream or jam. You’ll want to snag a couple of those, but also the bacon and onion danishes, the seasonal savory tart and a cookie or four. Pair with a coffee and you’ll be on a sugar high for the rest of the day.
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.
The aroma of freshly baked artisanal 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 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.