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29 Best Places for Desserts in NYC

From pistachio cakes and miso butterscotch to durian ice cream, find the best desserts NYC has for you to enjoy

Lavender and honey frozen yogurt at Olmsted in Prospect Heights.
Photograph: Courtesy Evan Sung Lavender and honey frozen yogurt at Olmsted in Prospect Heights.

If you’re looking for dessert, we have your sweet tooth covered—our seemingly unending love affair with the best doughnuts NYC  has to offer is sugary proof. Whether you want your dessert as cool as ice cream or warm as a molten soufflé, we've got just the treat for you. These bakeries, bake shops and restaurants are serving the best dessert in NYC and we can't wait to try them with you.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Best desserts in NYC

Photograph: Courtesy Superiority Burger
Restaurants, Hamburgers

Rye cake with rhubarb compote at Superiority Burger

icon-location-pin East Village

By now, you probably know about Superiority Burger, a hole-in-wall making the best veggie burgers we've ever had. But the lesser-known star is their daily dessert specials. Here, owner Brooks Headley puts his James Beard-award-winning pastry skills to the test, without the fussy sit-down environment. The desserts are, dare we say, punk? Headley and his team don't give a flying f**ck about consistency, putting together a roster of experimental flavor combinations that change totally on a whim.  A recent offering we hope they'll bring back was a griddled rye cake baked with caraway sugar, with rhubarb compote and vegan creamsicle gelato. 

Photograph: Courtesy Burrow
Restaurants, Patisseries

Pistachio cake at Burrow

icon-location-pin DUMBO

You could walk by Burrow three times and miss it (and we have). Located inside the lobby of a run-of-the-mill glass building eyesore in Dumbo, there's no street-facing storefront giving you a glimpse at the magic inside. While others wait for the elevator, head to the black to find the patisserie version of a speakeasy. Burrow has quiet confidence. There's no over-the-top decorations or crazy flavor combinations, but what they create is nothing short of excellent. The pistachio cake is absolutely worth burrowing for with its pistachio mousse, praline and crunchy feuillantine layers. 

Time Out says
Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain
Restaurants, Ice cream parlors

Mr. Potato Head sundae at Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain

icon-location-pin Carroll Gardens

If you're searching for proof that New Yorkers have been yearning for simpler times, look no further than this old-timey soda fountain. At the antique-filled apothecary—rehabbed by siblings Peter "Petey" Freeman and Gia Giasullo, with the help of reality TV show Construction Intervention—nostalgists can transport themselves to a Main Street America where people would hit up their local farmacy for root beer floats and lime rickeys. There's an emphasis on seasonal, local ingredients—just like in the old days. The Mr. Potato Head sundae has caramel, peanut butter,  potato chips and fresh whipped cream. Unfortunately no glasses or mustaches are included in the set.

Photograph: Courtesy Emma Orlow
Restaurants, Ice cream parlors

Marzipan fruit at Fortunato Brothers

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

Since 1976, Fortunato Brothers has been serving Italian pastries in Williamsburg. Known for their affogatos, cannolis, and sensational gelato, here you'll find old-school New York charm. Customers wear Yankee hats and talk in a Brooklyn accent that's slowly fading. What's especially unique about Fortunato Brothers is their dedication to the craft of marzipan art. Bananas, eggplants, ears of corn, all sculpted with almond paste to look like the real deal. And during Christmas Eve, what's referred to as "Feast of the Seven Fishes," they have marzipan fish. 

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Dora L.
Restaurants, Bakeries

Everything at ChikaLicious

icon-location-pin East Village

This is a bar unlike all others. Here, drinks aren't the focus. Stools are placed around the perimeter of Pastry Chef Chika Tillman, where diners get a voyeuristic thrill as she preps, pipes and plates her desserts in expert fashion. A multicourse “meal” may include an amuse-bouche such as coconut sorbet in a little pool of chocolate-infused tea gelée. The main course might be a warm chocolate tart with pink-peppercorn ice cream, a mocha-and-hazelnut trifle or a delicious fromage blanc cheesecake. It all ends with darling petit fours. As if you needed them.

Photograph: Courtesy Andrew Spena
Restaurants, Diners

Sno ball cake at Meme's Diner

icon-location-pin Crown Heights

This Prospect Heights eatery pays homage to fading diner culture in New York. There's blue plate specials, chocolate leather banquettes, art made by a grandparent, oh, and complementary cheese puffs. Finish it all off with this decadent Sno Ball cake that's as much a joy to look at as it is to eat.  

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Sophie P.
Restaurants, Ice cream parlors

Durian ice cream at Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

Nicholas Morgenstern scoops inventive hard ice cream flavors (sesame-caramel, salt-and-pepper pinenut, green tea pistachio) and sorbets (lychee-raspberry, guava-strawberry) at this scoop shop. Some say that durian is one of the smelliest fruits in the world, but if you can get beyond that, it's one of the most complex, interesting ice cream flavors available around town.

Husk Meringue at Cosme
Photograph: Liz Clayman
Restaurants, Mexican

Corn husk meringue at Cosme

icon-location-pin Flatiron

While Enrique Olvera’s single-corn tortillas pop up frequently, it’s his husk meringue, with its fine, ash-dusted hull giving way to a velvety, supercharged corn mousse, that cements Olvera’s status as the corn whisperer of New York dining.

Rice to Riches
Restaurants, Bakeries

Graham cracker rice pudding at Rice to Riches

icon-location-pin Nolita

Sometimes we can't believe Rice to Riches still exists. Rice to Riches feels like what the '90s imagined The Future would look like. The space-age looking spot serves up flavors of rice pudding like Stubborn Banana, Black Cherry Birthday Suit and Coconut Coma. Think of like fancy gruel, served in reusable orange containers, we love carrying our lunch leftovers in. Oh, how sweet it is.

Photograph: Courtesy abcV
Restaurants, Vegetarian

Grapefruit gelée at abcV

icon-location-pin Flatiron

This elevated vegetarian wonderland is the latest expansion of Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Paulette Cole’s ABC restaurant empire (ABC Kitchen, ABC Cocina) inside Flatiron’s ABC Carpet & Home complex. One of their best dishes comes at the end: a refreshing grapefruit granita, which you can think of as a deconstructed fancy slushie. 

Time Out says
Photograph: Courtesy Zoe Kanan
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Napolean at Simon & the Whale

icon-location-pin Kips Bay

After first, restauranteur Gabriel Stulman (Fedora, Fairfax, Joseph Leonard's) didn't think he needed a head baker at his Freehand Hotel projects. Then he met Zoe Kanan (who'd been at at Milk Bar and Four and Twenty Blackbirds). Now the James Beard-nominated baker creates one of the most celebrated pastry programs in NYC at  Studio at the Freehand and the Freehand's first floor restaurant, Simon & The Whale. One of the newer additions to the menu is the Napolean. Think of it kind of like a citrus-y Mallomar: lemon marmalade souffle, olive oil, whole wheat puff pastry and Sorrento lemons, garnished with wild fennel and served frozen. 

Time Out says
Photograph: Courtesy Cafe Altro Paradiso
Restaurants, Italian

Seasonal tarts at Café Altro Paradiso

icon-location-pin West Village

So many fruit tarts are so sugar-y you can't even tell that there's really fruit in them. Head pastry chef Natasha Pickowicz makes her desserts sing, with tarts that aren't highly conceptual or show off-y. They're simple, but with extraordinary flavors that change based on the season.  

Time Out says
Photograph: Courtesy Evan Sung
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Lavender frozen yogurt at Olmsted

icon-location-pin Prospect Heights

Yeah, this is no 16Handles swirl. Here, handmade fro-yo comes with honey and lavender, and the first time fro-yo may have ever been eaten in a fancy dinner environment, rather than a Washington Square Park bench.  

Time Out says
Photograph: Courtesy Pilar Cuban Bakery
Restaurants, Cuban

Tropical Layer Cake at Pilar Cuban Bakery

icon-location-pin Bedford-Stuyvesant

The name of this family-run restaurant in Bedford-Stuyvesant comes from Ernest Hemingway’s boat, Pilar, which he used for fishing trips in Cuba. One peek at the menu reveals this eatery stays true to its Cuban roots. For years, Pilar has become a staple for the neighborhood. Recently, Pilar expanded next door with their very own bakery serving empanadas, a cuban sandwich breakfast pudding and a tropical layer cake. The cake is made with mango, pineapple, and passion-fruit buttercream ushering in summer. 

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Will S.
Restaurants, Bakeries

Cassata cake at Veniero’s Pasticceria and Caffe

icon-location-pin East Village

Since 1894, this East Village Italian bakery has been doling out biscotti, pastries, cannoli and, yes, deliciously creamy deep-dish cheesecake, enrichened with fresh ricotta and whole eggs. Our favorite is the Sicilian ricotta and candied fruit cake known as cassata, which really looks a lot like a boob. 

Venue says Veniero's, since 1894!.. as close to Italy as you can get without a plane ticket.

Photograph: Courtesy Lady M
Restaurants, Bakeries

Green tea mille cake at Lady M Cake Boutique

icon-location-pin Upper East Side

At this diminutive flagship—filled with stone tables and Venetian wood chairs—you'll find the café's signature 20-layer crêpe cakes. Our go-to is the green tea mille, which makes us green with envy that we'll probably never been able to make it ourselves.

Photograph: Noah Fecks
Restaurants, Ice cream parlors

Spumoni sundae at Ice & Vice - Time Out Market

icon-location-pin DUMBO

We like to think of Ice & Vice as the mad scientists of our market. Founded by Paul Kim and Ken Lo on the Lower East Side in 2015, the scoop shop is the last word on all things wacky flavors. Handcrafted small batches of unique concoctions such as the TV Dinner (carrot, clove and sweet-pea frosting), the Pokey (prickly pear and candied cactus meringue) or the Koala Chip (eucalyptus, black pepper and chocolate chips) will shock and tantalize the taste buds. The ice cream shop is Neaopolitan-meets-cosmopolitan and the flavors might just inspire you to brainstorm your own wild combinations. 

Restaurants, Dominican

Guava tres leches at El Castillo de Jagua

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

This Dominican diner is one of the remaining relics of old New York. While we love the mofongo, we stay for the tres leches. True fans of El Castillo no that in addition to the classic, there's sometimes a guava tres leches verision that's even better.

Photograph: Courtesy Llama Inn
Restaurants, Peruvian

Algorrobina at Llama Inn

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

Any Lima lover could tell you that there’s more to Peruvian food than citrusy ceviche and crisp-skinned rotisserie chicken, though both are dutifully on offer at Llama Inn, a lively terrarium of a restaurant disjointedly set beneath the BQE. Its chef is first-generation Peruvian-American Erik Ramirez. But a graduate course on Peru’s vast cuisine—a dizzying blend of Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Andean influences—this isn’t. Rather, this is New Peruvian 101: At dessert, this is demonstrated wit algorrobina, smoked banana, chocolate terrine and walnut sorbet. 

Time Out says
Photograph: Courtesy Supermoon Bakehouse
Restaurants, Bakeries

Blueberry and rosemary croissant at Supermoon Bakehouse

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

Supermoon Bakehouse feels comically made from Instagram: there's millennial pink and terrazzo decor as well as metallic to-go boxes that seem like they'd hold Jimmy Choos, not croissants. But owner Ry Stephens can back it up with flaky, buttery baked goods and unusual flavor combos. The standout morsel is the blueberry and rosemary croissant. 

Photograph: Courtesy Morgan Ione
Restaurants, Ice cream parlors

The Sweet Roti & Ghee at Malai Ice Cream

icon-location-pin Carroll Gardens

One of our favorite store-bought ice cream brands finally opened up a brick and mortar in Cobble Hill. Founded by Pooja Bavishi, Malai serves up flavors from around the world. There's "rose with cinnamon roasted almonds," "sweet milk," "star anise," "ginger root" and Turkish coffee. Look out for the seasonal flavors, like the "sweet roti and ghee." Eat the ice cream served in a cone and with a variety of toppings like cardamom shortbread and peanut chikki. 

Butter & ScotchDish: Smores Pie
Restaurants, Bakeries

S’mores pie at Butter & Scotch

icon-location-pin Crown Heights

Butter & Scotch is the feminist bakeshop and bar of our dreams. With staff t-shirts that read "Count Orgasms, Not Calories" and "Smash the Patriarchy" in piped icing, many items on the menu give proceeds to related causes like Planned Parenthood. And while their activist mission is enough to make us interested in stopping by, the s'mores pie makes it clear the desserts can back it up, too. 

Breads Bakery
Photograph: Courtesy Brian Kennedy
Restaurants, Bakeries

Chocolate babka at Breads Bakery

icon-location-pin Union Square

Loaf legend Uri Scheft—the brains behind Tel Aviv's Lehamim Bakery—brings his dough-kneading talents to Union Square with this 9,000-square-foot bakeshop. Grab one of 25 seats for Scheft's stunning babka, made in two varieties: A cinnamon-raisin number that would easily silence Seinfeld and co. and the gorgeously gooey chocolate version, with sweet yeasty dough braided around Nutella and Belgian dark-chocolate chips.

Photograph: Courtesy Misi
Restaurants, Italian

Olive oil gelato at Misi

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

Missy Robbins' second restaurant, Misi has caused controversy amongst critics. Robbins is known for her al dente, sumptuous pasta at her Williamsburg restaurant Lillia. But at her follow-up in Domino Park, some were dissapointed. It's true. The paired down menu only offers one option: gelato. This simple-yet-rich olive oil flavor won't make you wish there were others to choose from. 

Time Out says
Salty Honey pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds
Photograph: Raydene Salinas
Restaurants, Bakeries

Salty Honey pie at Four & Twenty Blackbirds

icon-location-pin Gowanus

Salt, not sugar, is the star of this fan-favorite treat at the famed Brooklyn pie shop. Encased in a crunchy, buttery crust, the chess pie–like base—with honey baked right into the custard—gets a savory finish of fine, large sea-salt flakes on top.

Photograph: Courtesy Spot Dessert Bar
Restaurants, Bakeries

Miso butterscotch at Spot Dessert Bar

icon-location-pin East Village

Pastry whiz Pichet Ong makes his return as the consulting chef at this East Village dessert bar. Ong melds Asian and Western traditions in this miso cake with a miso butterscotch drizzle and mascarpone cream, served with condensed milk ice cream. 

Photograph: Courtesy Peacefood
Restaurants, Vegan

Carrot cake at Peacefood Cafe

icon-location-pin Upper West Side

Peacefood has the feeling of an old-school vegan gem largely untouched by time in the way that Souen was. The fonts on the menu are hideous, the plating doesn't focus on what's Instagrammable and the interior design is understated. But they don't need to hide behind any of it. Beyond the delicious savory sandwiches on the menu, the real star is their carrot cake. Which is not just the best vegan carrot we've ever had, but one of the best carrot cakes, full stop. 

Time Out says
Photograph: Courtesy Serendipity 3
Restaurants, American

Frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity 3

icon-location-pin Lenox Hill

At this cheery, kitschy Upper East Side family spot, sandwiches, salads and burgers merely set you up for the main course: dessert. The trademarked Frrrozen Hot Chocolate—a brain-freezing chocolate slushie—deserves its reputation; the massive beast should be shared. Given the size of the Coward’s Portion of the Outrageous Banana Split, we’re guessing the full-size version comes in a trough.

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