Food & Drink

The Best Bakeries in LA

Published On 08/19/2016 Published On 08/19/2016
Best bakeries in LA Proof
Courtesy of Proof

While many Angelenos have sworn off carbs (at least when anyone is looking), thankfully there are still many bastions of baked goods across this city where the rest of us can indulge. From airy and buttery croissants to hearty whole-wheat loaves, Danish pastries to pan dulce, here are our favorite bakeries in Los Angeles.

Courtesy of Lodge Bread

Lodge Bread

Culver City

From a small storefront on a quiet stretch of Washington Blvd, three young chefs recently started turning out insanely delicious loaves of whole grain, long-fermented sourdough bread. You can grab a hearty loaf of country, whole wheat, ancient grain, or seasonal specialty to take home, or settle in for thick slices of toast with avocado (of course), jam, nut butters, and more. You’re also going to want to check out the other baked treats like the monstrously awesome cinnamon rolls. And on Sunday get there early for pizza night starting at 5pm until they run out, where you’ll find an excellent, weekly rotating pie topped with farm-fresh ingredients.

Courtesy of Pitchoun

Pitchoun

Downtown

Located just across from Pershing Square, this charming French favorite uses traditional techniques, sustainably sourced ingredients and loads of top-notch butter from France for a great lineup of breads, pastries, and cakes. You’re definitely going to want to check out the croissants and baguettes -- some of the best in town -- but you also don’t want to miss the flaky kouign amann or the beignets filled with Nutella or raspberry jam. On the sweeter end of the scale you could opt for the great macarons, tarts, eclairs, and other treats. The bakery also has a full menu with solid options for breakfast or lunch.

Courtesy of Proof

Proof

Atwater Village

Now considered one of the best bakeries in the country, Proof quickly shot to rockstar status when owner/chef Na Young Ma opened up this tiny, neighborhood spot in 2010. From a massive, decades-old oven, she and her team turn out deservedly famous croissants and excellent sea salt chocolate chip cookies, along with seasonal fruit tarts, galettes, financiers, canelés, cakes, and more. And you might want to get there early as a line often forms before they even open on weekends and the best stuff goes fast. They also have great sandwiches on little baguettes and other savory options as well.

Danny Jensen

Cake Monkey

Fairfax District

Long-known for addictive, signature mini-cakewiches sold in other specialty stores, Cake Monkey finally opened their own brick-and-mortar on Beverly Blvd late last year (so you can just give up on that diet now). Pastry Chef Elizabeth Belkind’s incredibly tasty treats include mini-layer cakes, pop pies (essentially grown-up Pop-Tarts), cookie sandwiches filled with ganache or buttercream, and El Rollos (essentially, magical renditions Ho Hos). The pies are also ridiculously good, in particular the cherry almond and the cider-roasted apple with a double cheddar crust. There are also gluten-free and vegan versions of many treats and great breakfast items, including a chocolate hazelnut babka and a bacon cheddar scone.

Michelle Park

Republique

Mid-City

You could basically camp out at République and eat very well all day, beginning with pastry chef and co-owner Margarita Manzke excellent lineup of baked goods and pastries. You’d also probably be broke before noon as you tried to make your way through the well-stocked bakery case filled with the likes of pecan sticky rolls, flaky chocolate croissants, and the famous brioche bomboloni filled with cream. The restaurant also has a great selection of knockout breads to take home, including an excellent baguette that, let’s be honest, probably won’t make it all the way home anyways.

Deborah Jones

Bouchon Bakery

Beverly Hills

It’s hard to mention great bakeries without somebody losing their mind over Thomas Keller’s baked offerings, and with good cause. While smaller than most of his other outposts, the Beverly Hills spot still offers up plenty of treats like the adored giant macarons, kouign amann, tarts, and more. You’ll also likely want to grab a TKO (aka Thomas Keller Oreo) and the Better Butter (aka the best Nutter Butter ever) while you’re at it.

Bread Lounge

Bread Lounge

Arts District

At this bustling Arts District hotspot, lifelong baker Ran Zimon turns out exceptional loaves of bread, baguettes, ciabatta, European-style pastries, and more carb-friendly delights. Some of the highlights include the oblong-shaped Jerusalem bagel, the almond Danish and the Balkan-style böreks -- puff pastries stuffed with savory fillings. Order up a fully-loaded focaccia or one of an excellent sandwich and hit the back patio, and don’t forget to grab a loaf of the fig and walnut or potato rosemary bread on the way out.

Milo and Olive

Milo and Olive

Santa Monica

If you’ve only been to Milo and Olive for the excellent wood-fired pizzas, you’re missing half the fun. Get here early and make your way to the bakery counter where you’ll be greeted by a spread of delectable pastries and a wall of honking-big loaves of bread. You’ll find hits like the sweet cream brioche, buttery croissants, or the maple walnut sticky bun. And if you’re lucky there will still be some of the bakery’s sought-after (and, often, sold-out) bagels.

Courtesy of Superba Food + Bread

Superba Food + Bread

Venice and El Segundo

This bright and spacious eatery is a great place to start your day, thanks to bread and pastry director Carlos Enriquez, whether you’re just grabbing an everything croissant and kouign amann to go, or leisurely enjoying avocado toast on house-baked bread. In a city full of avocado toast, Superba’s actually stands out as one of the best (if you’re into that sort of thing). Really anything on that bread is going to be great though, so be sure to take some home; you’ll also probably want to grab a Nutella banana pop tart and a bag of bombolini while you’re there.

Porto’s

Glendale (& other locations)

A long-standing LA institution, this Cuban bakery cranks out an excellent selection of baked goods, pastries, and cakes. Be ready for a line and have your mind made up by the time it’s your turn, which won’t be an easy decision. We strongly recommend the guava cheese strudels, and both the sweet and savory empanadas. And while they’re not technically “baked” you can’t leave without a box of the signature potato balls. Seriously, don’t even try.

Heather Platt/Larder Baking Company

The Larder Baking Company

Beverly Hills (& other locations)

Nathan Dakdouk has been baking fantastic breads and pastries for Chef Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne’s busy LA eateries for years, and recently the operation has expanded into a full-scale wholesale biz. Hit up one of the Larder’s retail locations (The Larder at Burton Way, Maple Drive, Tavern, and LAX) for all manner of tasty morning treats, including almond croissants, sticky buns, and the cinnamon-buttery goodness known as monkey bread.

Huckleberry

Santa Monica

Before opening Milo and Olive, Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb were drawing the hungry crowds to this busy neighborhood spot with excellent organic breads and pastries. You really can’t go too wrong here, though we’d recommend looking out for the prosciutto and gruyere croissant, the maple bacon biscuit and the blueberry cornmeal cake. On the sweeter side you might opt for the seasonal fruit tarts and definitely the whole wheat chocolate chip cookies.

La Mascota Bakery

La Mascota

Boyle Heights

This legendary Mexican bakery recently came under new ownership and received a much-needed facelift. Thankfully it still offers some of the best pan dulce in town -- some say even better these days -- and excellent tamales. Order up an horchata latte and a selection of sweets, including the coconut-strawberry rolls, chocolate conchas, and cinnamon-dusted chilindrinas. For a savory option, check out the breakfast tortas on house-baked bolillos.

Copenhagen Pastry

Culver City and Pasadena

If you’re a fan of Danish pastries, you absolutely have to make your way to this temple of Danish delights. Even if you haven’t been won over in the past, you quickly become a convert as you devour these buttery and flaky treats made by actual Danes. Explore away, but be sure to try a kringle-filled with marzipan and custard, the Copenhagen with chocolate and custard, and the raspberry macaroon and the traditional rye bread.

Jean-Luc Labat Artisan Boulanger

Frogs Organic Bakery

Torrance (& other locations)

While French baker Jean-Luc Labat doesn’t have a storefront in LA you can stock up on his hearty, certified organic breads and incredible pastries at farmers markets all over town. Be sure to grab several chocolate almond croissants before they sell out, as well as some fruit-filled beignets and morning buns. Also, be sure to pick up one of his excellent baguettes and a loaf of the spelt bread for the week.

Gjusta

Gjusta

Venice

From the folks that brought you the long lines and addictive, wood-fired pizzas of Gjelina comes an artisanal bakery/deli full of Instagrammable eats with a Middle Eastern twist. You’ll definitely want to order a signature baklava croissant stuffed with pistachios, and you’ll probably want to consider the fruit tarts, the fruit and nut morning bread, or maybe a slice of pie. You can also grab loaves of their freshly baked bread or if you’re in need of more sustenance there’s the bialy breakfast sandwich or the pastrami on house bread.

Semi Sweet

Downtown

Pastry chef Sharlena Fong works wonders at her small shop across the street from Cole’s. You won’t want to miss her decadent and wonderfully named Ding-a-lings, which are basically grown-up versions of Ding Dongs with fluffy cake, creamy frosting, and a chocolate ganache shell. Get the red velvet and peanut butter crunch. Also worth investigating are the crullants -- a cruller/donut hybrid available in excellent flavors like churro and creme brulee. And on the savory side, the McFong breakfast sandwiches with house cheddar-chive biscuits are exceptional.

Valerie Confections

Valerie Confections

Echo Park and Downtown

Chances are you may have heard the buzz about -- or even eaten -- Valerie Gordon’s chocolate-covered toffees, truffles and petit fours, but if you haven’t yet tried her pastries, cakes and pies, you’re missing out. Prepare yourself for excellent seasonal savory and sweet hand pies, tarts, croissants and save room for the slightly smoky Durango chocolate chip cookies.

Sycamore Kitchen

Mid-City

This La Brea favorite for brunch and lunch from Karen and Quinn Hatfield hits you with a tremendous lineup of baked treats and killer sandwiches on house-baked breads. The salted caramel pecan babka roll is a must-order, while the flaky buttercup pastry and the chocolate-filled rice crispy cookie are great choices as well. But really anything behind that glass is likely to be stellar.

The Village Bakery & Cafe

Atwater Village

This cheerful and long-running bakery offers up fantastic sweet and savory treats and great loaves of bread to take home. On the sweet side of the stocked case, you’ll find excellent hand pies, s’mores bars, brownies, cookies, and baked donuts, while the savory selection provides treats like maple bacon scones and croissants stuffed with ham with Gruyere. You’ll also usually find a colorful selection of seasonal and holiday treats. The cafe also offers up some great brunch and lunch options -- just be sure to get there on the early side to secure a table.

Clark Street Bread

Clark Street Bread

Downtown

Even if you haven’t been to the Grand Central Market stall of one-man-band-baker Zach Hall, chances are you’ve probably eaten his incredible artisanal breads at some of the top restaurants in town. The former musician and baking wunderkind uses old-school techniques and only the essential, top-notch ingredients to make his hearty and rustic loaves. Hall produces some of the best sourdough in town, along with amazing baguettes, and a Danish rye definitely worth checking out.

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Danny Jensen is a regular Thrillist contributor who happens to be a little Danish himself (you can tell by his last name). Follow him to the magical land of carbs on Twitter and Instagram.

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1. Lodge Bread Co. 11918 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066 (Culver City)

The three young chefs behind this small storefront on a quiet stretch of Washington Blvd are baking heavenly loaves of whole grain, long-fermented sourdough bread. You can grab a hearty loaf of country, whole wheat, ancient grain, or seasonal specialty to take home, or settle in for thick slices of toast with spreads like avocado, jam, and nut butters. They also offer other baked treats like their luscious cinnamon rolls. Be sure to check out pizza night, starting at 5pm on Sundays, where you’ll find an exceptional pie that rotates weekly and is topped with farm-fresh ingredients.

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2. Pitchoun 545 S Olive St, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown)

A spacious and rustic boulangerie across from Pershing Square, Pitchoun employs traditional techniques and uses fresh ingredients, including plenty of creamy, high-quality butter from France, to create its scrumptious lineup of breads, pastries, and cakes. This French spot has some of the best croissants and baguettes in town, which you'd be remiss not to try, plus a flaky kouign amann and beignets filled with Nutella or raspberry jam. You can also sate your sweet tooth with treats like macarons, tarts, and eclairs.

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3. Proof Bakery 3156 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039

It didn't take long for Proof to achieve superstar status, especially because of its flaky croissants and scrumptious sea salt chocolate chip cookies. Opened by Na Young Ma, this tiny, neighborhood spot is whipping up treats like fruit tarts, galettes, financiers, canelés, and cakes in its massive, decades-old oven. You'll want to arrive here early to get your hands on them, as a line tends to form before they even open on weekends. Be sure to check out their savory options, too, like sandwiches on little baguettes.

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4. Cake Monkey Bakery 7807 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

You may have seen and stuffed your face with Cake Monkey's famed, addictive mini-cakewiches sold in specialty stores. Well, you can get them at this brick-and-mortar spot, too, where Pastry Chef Elizabeth Belkind is whipping up insanely tasty treats like mini-layer cakes, pop pies (basically grown-up Pop-Tarts), cookie sandwiches filled with ganache or buttercream, and El Rollos (upgraded Ho Hos). You'll also find scrumptious pies inside this bright pink bakery, like cherry almond and cider-roasted apple with a double cheddar crust. Vegans and gluten-free snackers rejoice: there are versions of treats and breakfast items that suit your diet here, including a chocolate hazelnut babka and a bacon cheddar scone.

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5. Republique 624 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (Hancock Park)

Republique hails from a crazy all-star team that includes the married chef duo Walter and Margarita Manzke -- who were among the most lauded in all of LA during their tenure at Downtown's Church and State -- and one of the restauranteurs behind Bestia and Sotto. Their 'tails and fare are definitely worth a weeks-in-advance res.

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6. Bouchon Bakery 235 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (Beverly Hills)

People go nuts for Thomas Keller’s baked goods, and after one trip to Bouchon Bakery in Beverly Hills, you'll understand the madness. Smaller than most of Keller's other outposts, this counter-service spot still whips up a ton of baked goods, such as its adored giant macarons, kouign amann, and tarts. Trust us, you'll want to get your hands on a TKO (aka Thomas Keller Oreo) and a Better Butter (easily the best Nutter Butter on the planet), too, and take your treats to one of its patio seats.

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7. Bread Lounge 700 S Santa Fe Ave, Los Angeles , CA 90021

Headed up by Ran Zimon, who's been baking his whole life (and you can tell), Bread Lounge is an Arts District hotspot whipping up exceptional loaves of bread, baguettes, ciabatta, European-style pastries, and a ton of other carb-loaded delights. Some must-tries? The oblong-shaped Jerusalem bagel, the almond Danish, and the Balkan-style böreks, which are puff pastries stuffed with savory fillings. You'll want to chow down on the back patio, and then grab a loaf of fig and walnut or potato rosemary bread to take home with you.

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8. Milo & Olive 2723 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403 (Santa Monica)

Milo & Olive specializes in wood-fired pizzas (consider the pork belly sausage and kale), homemade pastries, and hearty breakfast dishes. The bakery counter is what dreams are made of, backed by a wall of huge loaves of bread and lined with a spread of decadent pastries, such as sweet cream brioche, buttery croissants, and maple walnut sticky buns. You'll want to get here early before that selection slims down, particularly for the sought-after and often sold-out bagels. All carbed out? This bright and rustic communal space also a fresh selection of soups and salads, like a sweet corn bisque and an heirloom tomato & peach.

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9. Superba Food + Bread 1900 S Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291 (Venice)

Spearheaded by Bread and Pastry Director Carlos Enriquez, Superba is a bright and spacious spot offering up treats from an everything croissant (!) to kouign amann to avocado toast on house-baked bread. Don't roll your eyes just yet -- the avocado toast here is actually some of the best in the city. No matter what you put on Superba's bread, you'll find yourself craving more after each bite, so be sure to take some home with you. And don't forget to pick up a Nutella banana pop tart and a bag of bombolini, too.

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10. Porto's Bakery & Cafe 315 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203 (Glendale)

Porto's is a Cuban bakery with locations in Burbank and Glendale that cranks out a ton of baked goods, pastries, and cakes at bargain prices. You should expect a line and, while you're in it, make up your mind before it's your turn to order. With a selection this scrumptious, that's no easy feat, so we'll help you out. Consider going for the guava cheese strudels, and both the sweet and savory empanadas. They're not exactly “baked,” but don't even bother trying to leave without a box of the signature potato balls, too. Impossible.

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11. Larder Baking Company 8990 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

You'll find a scrumptious smattering of baked goods from Nathan Dakdouk at Larder Baking Company -- he's the mastermind behind the top-notch breads and pastries you may have eaten at Chefs Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne’s popular LA restaurants. Dakdouk's wholesale bakery spreads leavened joy across the city with locations at Burton Way, Maple Drive, Tavern, and LAX, whipping up dozens of varieties of artisan bread, plus tasty treats like almond croissants, sticky buns, and the must-try cinnamon-buttery goodness known as monkey bread.

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12. Huckleberry 1014 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401 (Santa Monica)

This airy Santa Monica bakery and cafe has developed a cult following thanks to pastry chef Zoe Nathan's spot-on breads, pastries, and desserts. Every Saturday and Sunday morning brings a frenzy of locals waiting patiently in line for croissants (get the prosciutto), blueberry cornmeal cake, flatbreads, and more. The savory options are just as notable, especially the fried egg sandwich with bacon and arugula, and the prosciutto-and-pesto "Green Eggs & Ham" on a house-made English muffin.

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13. La Mascota Bakery 2715 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90023

This Boyle Heights bakery's been whipping up the same lunch staples and sweet treats since it opened its little corner operation back in 1952. If you don't get there by the time the day's fresh-baked breads and pastries run out in the afternoon, it's no big deal. There'll always be a few basic sandwiches made from the leftover rolls, a pile of hot beef, chicken, or pork tamales, and a steaming vat of spicy menudo stew just waiting to be devoured instead.

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14. Copenhagen Pastry 11113 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232 (Culver City)

"Pastries bring people together," or so says this luxe Culver City spot dishing out what else but Danish-style pastry. And they're right -- their light and flaky sweet treats could probably ring about world peace, due to their far and wide selection of flavors, fillings, and toppings like apple, cinnamon, chocolate, coffee, raspberry, custard, nougat -- you get the picture; there's something here for everybody.

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15. Gjusta 320 Sunset Ave, Venice, CA 90291 (Venice)

An artisanal bakery-deli hybrid, Gjusta is a takeaway-centric spot from the Gjelina owners that mixes up American, European, and Middle Eastern flavors. It’s a mecca for all your breakfast and lunch cravings -- think everything from baklava croissants and lox to porchetta melts and tuna conserva. While the interior is industrial and sprawling, the counter-serve interior is standing room-only, but there is a sprawling back patio.

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16. Semi Sweet Bakery 105 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014 (Downtown)

Just as its name suggests, this Downtown bakery delivers the decadence of baked goods without going over the top with oversaturated sugar. Pastry chef Sharlena Fong spends every morning in her small blue shop whipping up cookies, miniature cakes, a couple of breakfast sandwiches, and -- most notably -- her signature Ding-A-Lings, essentially a next-level Ding Dong made with fluffy cake, creamy frosting, and chocolate ganache shells.

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17. Valerie Echo Park 1665 Echo Park Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Echo Park)

One of the best chocolatiers in the city, Valerie Gordon herself, creates every delicate chocolate, truffle, toffee, pie, and cake by hand in her simple Echo Park sweet shop. The spick and span white walls and counters serve as the ideally blank canvas for her thin chocolate drizzles, colorful fruit in flaky folded pastry, and the creatively iced and garnished cakes ranging from traditional sprinkle-covered chocolate to minimally decorated grapefruit.

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18. Sycamore Kitchen 143 S La Brea, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (Mid Wilshire)

A reclaimed red brick house in La Brea, Sycamore Kitchen is a breezy, calm breakfast and lunch spot fitting for king- and queen-sized appetites. Upscale takes on standard brunch fare -- like honey- and sherry-glazed eggs benedict atop fluffy english muffins and their signature Double B-LTA, a balsamic, avocado-stuffed BLT flaunting crispy, fatty pork belly -- make the rounds between recently awoken diners in the barely-decorated inside and lazy Sunday brunch groups on the sun-drenched patio.

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19. The Village Bakery and Cafe 3313-3315 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039 (Atwater Village)

This cheery little light-blue cafe in Atwater Village might look cute but it means business when it comes to their breakfast sandwiches. The rotating menu usually includes multiple variations of the outstanding breakfast sandwich, but there's no potential for failure when you order the original, which is always on the menu and consists of a fluffy challah bun running over with gooey cheese and two fried eggs. Those who favor waking up with something sweet are inclined to order the sugar-sprinkled brioche french toast.

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20. Clark Street Bread 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown)

Zach Hall, a musician-turned-baker and the sole creator and bread maker at this stall at Downtown LA's Grand Central Market, brings the art of old-school technique and artisan bread in a different form every day in the form of light and airy rye loaves and crunchy baguettes. You've probably already tried them on some form or another, given that this dude supplies baked goods at some of Los Angeles' favorite restaurants.

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