New York has a lot to thank France for—the Statue of Liberty, art museums full of French masterpieces and, yes, plenty of délicieux dessert and bread. Thanks to pastry pros like Eric Kayser, François Payard and Cronuts creator Dominique Ansel, NYC is home to some of the world’s best macarons, tarts and pastries. These aren’t just the best French bakeries in New York—they’re some of the best bakeries in NYC, bar none.
Best French bakeries in NYC
Philadelphia transplant Zachary Golper, formerly of haute French stalwart Le Bec-Fin, brings his dough-kneading skills to Carroll Gardens. Find traditional European and American breads (pugliese, sourdough) and pastries (croissants, tarts), plus sophisticated savory bites, including a lamb-and-eggplant pizza and a quail-and-tomato breakfast sandwich.
Dominique Ansel honed his skills as executive pastry chef at Daniel for six years before opening this American and French patisserie. Caramelized croissants, miniature pastel meringues and madeleines—and, of course, the blockbuster Cronut—make up the sweet selections at the counter. But the café also serves savory offerings, like roasted butternut squash soup and a pork club sandwich with pickled eggs, tomatoes and spicy mayo on sourdough.
Pastry pro François Payard makes his first foray into the downtown restaurant scene with this casual bakery and café. The menu includes sandwiches made with the chef’s signature breads, simple salads and, of course, pastries. A glass wall lets customers watch as bakers prepare items like croissants, beignets and seasonal fruit tarts in the spacious open kitchen; stay and eat in the airy, industrial dining room, or grab items to go.
French baker Eric Kayser—whose holdings include more than 20 boulangeries in the City of Light—opens his first stateside café, on the Upper East Side. Nab one of the brass-rimmed marble tables and choose from French breads and pastries (including lemon tarts, brioche and financiers). The 104-seat space is handsomely appointed with wainscotting and light sconces.
This box-size boulangerie—attached to the iconic Balthazar bistro—does a roaring trade with locals and tourists alike. Its flaky croissants, heavenly pastries and sturdy loaves are deployed as a mark of quality at cafés and restaurants around the city. Look out for the beloved levain, sticky dried-fruit focaccias and a raspberry studded caramel-chocolate tart.
The most pleasurable part of eating at Andrew Carmellini’s Noho brasserie just might be raiding pastry chef Jennifer Lee's bakery counter, where cherry-almond frangipane tarts crowd wheels of puff pastry adorned with sweet figs. And don't miss the classic viennoiseries (classic croissants, almond croissants) baked up by James Belisle, either.
Superchef Thomas Keller brings his French-style sandwiches, salads and pastries to Rockefeller Center. The classic baguettes are superb, as are sweet treats such as pain au chocolat, chocolate eclairs and macarons.
Pierre Herm acolyte Olivier Dessyn, who fell in love with New York City during a vacation here, moved from Paris and opened this humble shop in Greenwich Village in 2014. Inspired by NYU's Elmer Holmes Bobst Library across the street, Dessyn named his patisserie after the mille-feuille, a layered dessert that reminded the toque of a book on its side. The baked goods are all traditional French—macarons , cheese brioche and chocolate sables )—but the real standout is Dessyn's croissant. The iconic crescent-shaped delicacy ranks among the city's best: The crisp, dark-brown shell shatters on the first bite, revealing stretchable layers of silky, buttery pastry.
At this glimmering, 1,200-square-foot French deli and market, retail shoppers can stock their home pantries with the world-class specialty goods that chef Daniel Boulud uses at his restaurants. The fresh-baked breads, croissants and macarons are as good as any you'll find in the City of Light.
Modeled after the Champs-Élysées flagship, this downtown outpost from the famed Parisian macaron house functions as both a pastry shop and a full-service restaurant, with a 2,000-square-foot terrace and two private salons. The shop focuses on the brand's confections, including its world-famous and unimpeachable macarons, as well as more elaborate specialty desserts such as plaisirs-sucre and religieuses.