Cronuts had their day in the sun, and Dunkin' has been exploring donuts as sandwich material, but amid all this innovation, NYC's actually in a golden age for fans of actual donuts. Between the old-school spots still on their game and the upstarts doing borderline-insane things with them, it's easier than ever to find a top-notch specimen. So use the below rundown of the eight best in the city to guide you... but really, you can't go wrong, they're all donuts after all.
NYC's 8 best donuts, from foie gras to Fruity Pebbles
What You're Getting: Something you've never seen before
This surprisingly vegan (but nonetheless awesome) donut shop's constantly evolving menu has featured everything from Cadbury Creme Egg donuts to avocado mousse donuts. Stalk them on Twitter, wait 'til they drop something crazy, and book it on over.
Upper East Side
What You're Getting: Miso Maple donut
The uptown newcomer has a slew of tasty choices like the elegant Rosemary Blueberry or a flawless Chocolate frosted, but the current champ is the Miso Maple with a sweet, well-textured glaze, and the little clusters of maple brown sugar resting on top that add the perfect contrast. Oh, and please, refrain from "miso hungry" jokes when ordering and eating.
Do or Dine
What You're Getting: Foie Gras donut
Do or Dine served as the launching point for Next Food Network Star Justin Warner with creations like this meaty donut that could come off as sheer gimmickry if not for the deliciousness of the rich, gooey foie surrounded by fluffy pastry.
Lower East Side
What You're Getting: Fruity Pebbles donut
The sceney Bowery restaurant is also open for breakfast, and it has made the pure genius decision to combine two all-time favorite childhood treats into this glorious duo of unhealthiness. If your mom wouldn't buy you sugary cereals as a kid, this is the ideal vengeance.
Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop
What You're Getting: Red Velvet donut
An OG in the burgeoning dining and drinking destination of Greenpoint, they've been slicing open donuts and shoving them full of ice cream for years, paving the way for others. However, all you really need is the red velvet, packing a creamy richness that puts cupcake creations of a similar ilk to shame.
What You're Getting: Blood Orange donut
Another constant innovator (how are these people so productive being around donuts all the time?), this Bed Stuy shop and regular at Smoragasburg might always have something new on the menu, but if it's there don't miss the sweet, citrusy flavor of the seasonal Blood Orange glazed with a candied fruit slice.
Lower East Side, and locations throughout the city
What You're Getting: Tres Leches donut
Sometimes they're round. Sometimes they're square. Always, they're awesome. While it's tough to make a BAD call, the Tres Leches (round, like you'll be) are the RIGHT call -- fluffy, thoroughly, and filled with a substantial helping of cream.
What You're Getting: Cinnamon Sugar donut
Much hoopla surrounded this spot's donut robot when it opened because, well, DONUT ROBOT! Really it's essentially just a machine pumping out fresh, simple donuts on a regular basis, but you won't be disappointed thanks to the outstanding recipe they transferred over from a Hamptons spot. The cinnamon sugar adds nice sweetness and texture, but even the plain ones deliver the goods.
1. 606 R&D606 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn
2. Doughnut Plant379 Grand St, New York
3. Dun-Well Doughnuts222 Montrose Ave, Brooklyn
4. Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop727 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn
5. Dough305 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn
6. Dough Loco24 E 97th St, New York
7. Do or Dine1108 Bedford Ave, New York
8. The General199 Bowery, New York
Plating new American cuisine in Prospect Heights, 606 R&D serves breakfast, brunch, lunch & dinner seven days a week. They've also got a family-style Sunday Supper prix fixe every Sunday at 5p.
Doughnut Plant laid its roots in owner Mark Israel's Lower East Side basement in the ‘90s, and grew to be a leader of New York City’s new-wave donut craze. DP now has outposts in three boroughs and Tokyo, and its popularity continues to spread thanks to seasonal specialty items (coconut-lime and rose petal) and beloved inventions (a jelly-filled peanut butter doughnut). But it’s the game-changing creme brulee doughseed with a crisp shell and creamy vanilla innards that takes the cake—or glazed icing— every time.
The first all-vegan donut shop in NYC, Dun-Well's baking 200 flavors of premiere donuts in Brooklyn.
This donut shop in Greenpoint is over 60 years old, having opened its doors in the 1950's. They offer all kinds of pastries, egg sandwiches, and more than 20 varieties of donuts, like French crullers and creme-filled and crumb-topped yeast varieties -- but the signature is the lightly glazed red velvet cake donut, which they start turning out at 4:30am. During the hotter summer days, you can get it split open and get it filled with cherry amaretto ice cream.
Hype is often misleading, but the fluffy and moist doughy behemoths at Fany Gerson’s cult-favorite shop continue to be worthy of the attention they receive. Dough offers unique flavors (think hibiscus, lemon poppyseed, and toasted coconut, plus a number of rotating options) and enormous sizes. While it's hard to go wrong here, the cheesecake -- coated in a tart frosting and dusted with graham cracker crumbs -- is the one to beat.
Chef Corey Cova (ABV, Earl's Beer & Cheese) is baking insanely delicious and creative donuts -- like miso-maple, blueberry-rosemary, and blood orange -- on the UES.
After months of whipping up everything from dumpling nachos to foie gras doughnuts, the team at DOD's lowering resistances to the weird with their fresh liquor license, so that foie won't be the only bloated liver at the table.
The General's a modern Asian resto in the LES that's the brainchild of the EMM Group and Top Chef winner Hung Huynh, serving up classics like beef & broccoli but with a serious twist (braised short rib served alongside Chinese broccoli and thick udon noodles). For breakfast or dessert, give their Fruity Pebbles or Green Tea Donuts a try. Martini Week Specials: from 5:30p to 8:30p, get a Grey Goose "Lady with a Dagger" or a Bombay Sapphire "The Doc" for $12.