If you have a meal without dessert, did the meal ever really happen? For some, dessert is the end all, be all to a successful dinner—and in L.A., there are plenty of restaurants and bakeries offering exceptional treats. Barring ice cream and donuts—because this list can't go on forever—we've named the best dessert options in the city for a guaranteed sugar rush.
L.A.'s best dessert options to sink your teeth into
Remember having fluffernutters as a kid? Black Market Liquor Bar's version is bumped up a notch by deep frying the sandwich, a gluttonous dream that involves peanut butter, marshmallow and banana spread between two pieces of bread, then deep-fried and drizzled in chocolate. Is it too much to call it perfect? Nah, we'll go with it.
Beignets and a lemon lime coconut tart represent the French side of the kitchen at Santa Monica's Cassia, but the real winner is a Vietnamese coffee pudding. Looking remarkably like a freshly made cappuccino, the pudding’s lighter-than-a-feather consistency is a marvel, and two small coconut shortbread cookies that arrive with it are prime dunking tools.
Pizzeria Mozza's pastry chef Dahlia Narvaez knows how to craft a home run dessert. The James Beard Award-winning chef put her famed butterscotch budino on the menu when Pizzeria Mozza first opened, and it has stayed there ever since. Made with chilled butterscotch pudding, caramel sauce, whipped cream and sea salt, the jar is paired with rosemary pine nut cookies for a somewhat savory accompaniment.
RiceBar opened in the heart of Downtown LA, serving traditional Filipino rice bowls, a $5 breakfast buffet and all the longganisa your hearts could desire. But what many lunchgoers don't know is that RiceBar's iced buko is one of the tiny eatery's standout menu items: a creamy coconut ice pop that you squeeze out of a plastic tube, one delicious bite at a time. It's perfect for a summer day, but it's also so incredibly satisfying that we'd gladly indulge in one of these on a winter afternoon.
Chef Ray Garcia introduced elevated tacos to Downtown's lunch and dinner crowd with B.S. Taqueria, where clams and lardo tacos are offered alongside more traditional options such as carne asada and carnitas. Once you've had your fill of tacos, though, make a beeline for the churros con chocolate. They are, quite possibly, the fluffiest churros we've ever tried. Lightly fried and dusted in sugar, the fried dough arrives with a cold chile de arbol chocolate dipping sauce that's at once sweet and a little spicy.
Tucked into a narrow space off Burbank Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, Crème Caramel LA has made a name for themselves by offering creative, playful desserts, from flavored bread puddings to "unicorn poop." We're flat-out obsessed with everything here, but their classic ube upside down pie—sweet purple yam covered in a brûlée graham cracker crust—is heaven on earth. If you're unfamiliar with ube, it's the perfect introduction to the versatile root.
Sweet Lady Jane has been around for more than 25 years, and now has locations in West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Encino and Newport Beach. Customers flock here to choose from around 30 different cakes for birthdays, celebrations and ceremonies, but it's their triple berry shortcake that draws the most "oohs" and "aahs." Layers of white cake are interspersed with strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, along with mounds of cream between each layer as well as surrounding the cake.
Praise has been heaped on Baroo this past year, catapaulting the tiny Hollywood restaurant into a national conversation. Sure, the bowls of kimchi fried rice and oxtail ragu are delightful, but so is the passionfruit tart—a creamy, tangy dessert that'll shock your taste buds and make your lips pucker a bit before the sour notes turn sweet.
Most come to Trois Familia for the brunch dishes—the double decker potato tacos and the churro French toast—but make sure to save room for dessert. The tres leches birthday cake is worth ordering even when it's not your birthday, a thick slab of cake soaked in condensed milk and topped with frosting and sprinkles. Who knows—you might even get a candle on top.
Don’t try to walk into Bestia without a reservation. As one of the most talked about (and as a result, packed) restaurants in L.A., securing a table at least a month in advance is a good idea. And if you're able to get in? Once you've made your way through the pastas, charcuterie and pizza, you can't go home without having their chocolate budino tart. Made with Mast Brothers bittersweet chocolate, salted caramel, cacao crust, olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt, it's an addictive ending to an already memorable meal.
Cake Monkey has been supplying sweet treats to restaurants and shops around L.A. for years, but now they have their own storefront where those looking for a sugar rush can pick up a few decadent goods. Owner Elizabeth Belkind has worked in some of the best pastry kitchens in the city (Campanile, Grace) and is known for her incredible pies, chocolate babkas and her famous El Rollos. The chocolate cake is rolled-up with vanilla cream and coated with bittersweet chocolate—and yes, it'll definitely take you back to your childhood.