The Best Bakeries In LA guide image


The Best Bakeries In LA

Flaky croissants, sugar-dusted pan dulce, luscious pies, and more.

One of the best feelings in the world is the moment you first walk into a bakery. The air smells like a warm hug and it’s completely acceptable to stare into the display case like a cat watching goldfish swim around in a tank. Fortunately, LA is rich with hot carb action, from exemplary baguettes to multigrain loaves to luscious key lime pies topped with whipped cream. So here are 25 excellent bakeries to try next time you want to ride that flour and yeast high.


photo credit: Jessie Clapp

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Bub & Grandma’s


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If you’ve ever ordered anything bread-related from a place in LA with cutesy menu fonts and small-batch coffee, you're likely familiar with Bub & Grandma's. The wholesale bakery has been supplying amazing baked goods around town for years but had never had a space of its own—until now. The Bub & Grandma’s cafe in Glassell Park is an homage to the early-morning American diner, complete with cushy white booths and a wrap-around counter. But if you don’t have time to stay for a full breakfast, do what we do and show up early, grab a loaf of fresh-baked sesame bread for the week, and raid their pastry case of every almond cake, croissant, and blueberry donut that catches your eye.

Des Croissants Paris is a traditional French bakery that smells like a tub of butter. Maybe that's not your first choice when picking out an air freshener, but inside a boulangerie, it's a good sign. You'll only find French staples at this minimalist Culver City cafe, like arms-length baguettes, glossy croissants that are buttery enough to glisten your fingers, and perhaps the best kouign-amann in LA. The layers of pastry peel apart like tissue paper, and the sugar crust shatters like candy but is still gooey inside. We got a C-minus in high school chemistry so we don’t know how that’s scientifically possible, but we can say this exquisite pastry alone is worth the visit.

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This small Armenian bakery in East Hollywood doesn’t have a ton of signage (or tables, or chairs) and it may take a few laps to find it (look for the massive 99 Cent Store), but once you get there, you’ll be treated to Armenian baked goods with the power to realign your whole week. Boreks are $2.75 a piece, so loading up a bag full is always a good idea, but the must-order here is the lahmajune. These warm round flatbreads are topped with a thin layer of spiced, tomato-y ground beef, and most customers order them by the dozen (with a yogurt drink on the side). If you've got room, stop by for an Armenian doughnut at nearby Papillion International afterward.

On weekdays, this quiet, brick-walled cafe in Pasadena is somewhere to disconnect from the craziness of suburban life (read: scheduling carpools). But on Saturday mornings, CAR Artisan is buzzing with lines of people seeking the same thing: their excellent chocolate croissant. These pillowy croissants come filled with a thick band of good-quality chocolate, have layers upon layers of buttery dough that you can count like the rings in a tree trunk, and instantly shatter when you bite in (do not eat these in your car.) And since you'll probably wait 20 minutes in line for a coffee and pastry, might as well double up and get the flaky almond maple danish that tastes like a warm pancake breakfast.

A visit to Coin De Rue in Koreatown can go a number of ways, from grabbing a to-go box of yuzu sponge cakes and red bean sweet rolls to lounging with an iced dalgona coffee and eating said box of pastries. Odds of the second scenario increase if you order this Korean bakery's masterpiece: the green onion pesto loaf. This gigantic scored bread looks like a garlic knot fell into a vat of radioactive waste and mutated into the Hulk version of itself. It serves four people easily, with melted cheese, scallions, pesto oozing out of every crevice, and pomegranate seeds adding surprise bursts of sweetness. If you order this monster, bring friends—or a good book—because you'll be here a while.

Do you ever say “cow” when you pass your first cow on a road trip? After one visit to Bhan Kanom Thai, you’ll probably say “Bhan Kanom” every time you pass the East Hollywood strip mall that houses this Thai bakery and mini-mart. At Banh Kanom, delight is at full throttle. Shelves are lined with imported snacks that are fun to sample. Behind the counter are both savory and sweet treats. For starters, they might make the best mango sticky rice in the city (temperature and texture are always spot on). But they also have fresh coconut pancakes, jellies, puddings, cakes, and dumplings. The must-order here is grilled sticky rice with banana or taro, and the ooey-gooey, bite-sized taro cakes studded with corn kernels.

Republique wears a lot of hats, some of them better than others. But one thing that’s not up for debate is Republique’s reputation as a pastry powerhouse. You won’t find a more attractive display case anywhere in LA, with tiered rows of custardy Basque cheesecakes, chocolate tarts with shiny ganache, and pain au chocolat piled on top of each other like fluffy pillows. They taste just as good as they look, and we suggest splurging on a box of these baked goods before they run out after the brunch rush. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but the creme brulee bombolini and sticky caramel pecan brioche are especially exceptional.

Before you pull up and question whether you’re at the right place: there’s nothing French about this Arlington Heights bakery. It did sell baguettes in its previous life, but after quite the rebrand, came into its own as an excellent panadería. Expect long lines on most days, which means plenty of time to stare at beautiful sugar-crusted pan dulce and mentally debate which you’ll eat on the drive home. Their selection is massive, but highlights include buttery custard-filled pastelitos, gusano rolls with crumbly streusel, and fluffy tortas de azucar that are so airy they tend to magically disappear in your morning coffee. Cash only.

Clark Street is no longer the cute, little subway-tiled stall in the Grand Central Market where we’d celebrate getting out of jury duty with ricotta toast. This well-oiled baking machine is now a local mini-chain with four locations selling incredible pastries like twisty Swedish cinnamons buns, buttery cheddar-chive scones, and kouign-amann that taste like a caramelized croissant. If you’re looking for something a little heartier, our favorite item is their “Scandinavian Breakfast,” a massive platter with a sourdough roll, Comté cheese, ham, butter, jam, and a hardboiled egg. It's the kind of simple, filling meal that makes you feel like you’re picnicking in the fields from The Sound of Music. Which is kind of the best way to start the day.

The concept at Lodge Bread is simple: great, unfussy food, plus a ton of extremely good bread. After its expansion to a larger space a few years ago, the Culver City bakery has morphed into not only a great place for baked goods, but one of the best all-day cafes in the city. Wood-fired pizzas are made with a soft, yeasty dough. Toasts get topped with mounds of fluffy ricotta and seasonal jams. But the star of the show here is their cinnamon bun. Enormous, as fluffy as a cloud, and slathered with icing, this dessert is a legitimate tourist attraction. And eating one is more satisfying than a picture in front of the Hollywood sign.

Long Beach's Gusto Bread is a new-wave panadería specializing in pan and pan dulce made with natural yeasts and heirloom grains. You’ll find beautiful seeded loaves, studded with sunflower, pumpkin, and poppy seeds that go nicely with a cup of coffee, or just a quick smear of butter. Semi-sweet pan loaves are made with house-milled yellow corn, and conchas come with a thick sugar cookie frosting that's the right amount of sweet. They also carry a rotating list of weekend-only specials, like jalapeño cheddar biscuits and strawberry jujube tamales, so plan on getting there early before they sell out.

For anyone who’s ever stepped foot in Southern California, Porto’s should need no introduction. But just in case you need a quick refresher, the family-run Cuban bakery has been serving guava pastries, potato balls, and every other baked treat under the Valley sun for the last 55 years. They’re the pride and joy of Burbank, and you should go here (or to any of their other locations) to join the lines of people waiting to stock up on their trademarked papa rellenas, which are deep-fried and filled with more meat than an Arby’s tagline. And since Porto’s is a streamlined operation, they’ll have you in, out, and eating pastries for lunch alone in your car in 10-15 minutes.

As easy as it would be to write off this San Francisco-based bakery chain (which now has five locations across LA) as an overpriced, out-of-town interloper, we have to admit—Tartine makes some damn good bread. The obvious choice here is to go with their signature sourdough, which is baked in-house, tastes kind of tangy, and is perfect for sopping up runny eggs. But they’ve also got an entire roster of other grade-A lunch/brunch foods that shouldn’t be missed, like bacon and chive scones, pimento grilled cheeses, and roast beef sandwiches with melted gruyere and pickled daikon.

If you leave Gjusta without bread and/or baked goods, you’re not to be trusted. In addition to a full food menu, this Venice establishment offers a huge variety of bialys, bagels, sourdough loaves, and baguettes. Their baguettes are hard to beat but focus on the pumpernickel and olive loaves if you haven’t had them before. Even the butter you spread on top will be in awe of their herby notes and spongy texture. Meanwhile, it’s impossible to go past the pastry case and not consider at least five things. The ham and gruyere croissants are the best we’ve had outside of France, and even those who believe vegetables have no business in cakes will approve of the carrot cake.

Sometimes, when the days get long and every night blurs together, we slip into a very specific daydream—one where we cut off all our hair, move to the Danish countryside, and go by a new name. When that daydream hits, we head to Copenhagen Pastry. The brightly lit bake shop in Culver City has more Danish goods than an IKEA showroom, from pretzel-shaped kringles to butter cakes to loaves of rye. If you come on the weekend, get their special breakfast rolls. They cost just $1 each, and are made from soft, slightly sweet dough—the perfect vehicle for any jammy eggs or jellies you might have on hand.

Open since 1956, the original 27th Street Bakery is a household name in South LA thanks to its sweet potato pies. To make each personal-sized pie, they fly in sweet potatoes from Louisiana and use a secret family recipe that’s been passed down for three generations. The pie here is outstanding—there's a delicious buttery light brown crust and a just-sweet orange-colored filling that can only be described as silky smooth. They also make knock-out versions of ed velvet cake, peach cobbler, and mini pecan pies by the dozen. If you want to skip the line (especially during holidays), order ahead through their website.

While eating the pies and baked goods from this Grand Central Market stall, you might get hit with a wave of déjà vu. Maybe you’ve eaten it in a parallel universe, but most likely it’s because you've had Nicole Rucker's treats from one of the many places she's baked around town. Now at her own spot in DTLA, she's doing her signature pies back in flavors like rhubarb cherry and whipped-cream-topped Key lime topped with whipped cream, as well as a variety of chewy brownies and sprinkle-topped cookies. Pies are sold by the slice day-of, but you can preorder them whole through their website.

Some people may think the words “gluten-free” and “vegan” have no business in baked goods. But those people are wrong, and obviously have never been to Just What I Kneaded. Besides excellent baking puns, this bright and airy Frogtown shop serves dairy-free scones, cookies, turnovers, and galettes (many of which are GF). They’re located right next to Wax Paper, and churn out giant cinnamon rolls that come with (what feels like) a pound of icing as well as "pop-tarts" decorated with everything from Snoopy to seasonal horoscopes.

Open for nearly 75 years, it doesn’t get more classic than La Mascota in Boyle Heights. The bakery space on Whittier Blvd. has been heavily renovated over the last few years, but not to worry, the baked goods are better than ever. That includes pan dulce, fresh bolillo, and a flan worth driving across town to get. But let’s be real—most everyone in line is here for the tamales. Beyond the masa bundles, some highlights include the custardy capirotada pudding that's heavy on the raisins, warm, piloncillo-infused puerquitos, and fresh bolillos that smell twice as good when you're in the tamale line at 6am and need a strong coffee.

photo credit: Zhengyalov Hatz Glendale

Zhengyalov Hatz review image

Zhengyalov Hatz

This tiny Armenian spot bake shop in downtown Glendale only has two items on its menu: honey and pistachio baklava (spelled paxlava here) and the namesake zhengyalov hatz. And while we’re always down for a daytime dessert moment, the latter is the reason why people drive across town to eat here. This warm, doughy flatbread is wrapped around 15 aromatic herbs and greens and then griddled to order. What you end up with is a delicious, perfectly-constructed wrap that is the kind of quick lunch that fills you up without putting you to bed.

This legendary Chinese bakery has everything you need for a dessert-heavy feast, including favorites like strawberry cream cakes and freshly steamed buns. Crackly deep-fried butterfly cookies go perfectly with a cup of tea, and flaky almond pastries glow like the sun and are filled with sweet red bean paste. Whether you need to pick something for Lunar New Year (it’s never too early to start planning), are taking a trip to your grandma’s house, or just want a tiny little action figure to add to your mantle, Phoenix Bakery has got you covered.

The lines at this cute Atwater bakery can get long on the weekends (we’re talking sneaker-store-on-Fairfax lengths), but with some patience, you’ll be treated to a treasure trove of pastries, croissants, and bread loaves. Rotating sandwiches come on crusty baguettes, ideal for munching on at the park. Fluffy brioche buns are airy and light, and the chocolate chip cookies are what we wish every chocolate chip cookie tasted like: soft and sprinkled with sea salt. The energy here is friendly and neighborhood-y (you’ll definitely see a young family or two), so if you don't want to wait to consume your carb haul, grab one of the small patio tables outside.

Between the symmetrical rows of edamame-stuffed cheese bread, sliced milk loaves, and melon pan filled with sweet custard, browsing through Roji Bakery’s pastry selection is like stepping into an art gallery of baked goods. This Japanese bakery in Beverly Grove churns out beautiful, picture-perfect pastries like slightly purple potato danishes, savory curry pan, and an almond cookie-encased chocolate croissant that combines our favorite things in the world. Everything here looks like it was ripped straight from a well-curated Pinterest mood board—and luckily, it all tastes as good as it looks.

Throw a Gen Z bread specialist, cultured butter, and a bag of stone-milled grain into a vat, stir a few times, and you get Jyan Isaac Bread. The Santa Monica bakery, which is attached to pizzeria Ghisallo in Ocean Park comes from an ex-Gjusta baker who honed his craft during the early days of the pandemic. Jyan Isaac offers fresh bread daily, including everything from seeded sourdough loaves and Danish rye to fresh baguettes and poppy bagels. The bakery is open from early morning to late afternoon daily, but if you can't make it to Santa Monica, the also sell their good at farmer's markets across the Westside.

With locations in San Pedro and Long Beach, Colossus is one of our favorite destinations for bread and pastries, not just in the South Bay, but anywhere in LA County. Their naturally-fermented country loaf is thick and moist, ideal for dipping into beef stew and pretending you’re an extra on Game of Thrones. The kouign-amann are salty and sweet, and the sticky buns combine the texture of a buttery croissant with pecan flavor. If you’re heading to meet some friends (or are just extra hungry), grab one of their assorted pastry boxes: it comes with six sweet treats, based on “availability, farm selection, and whims of our chefs.” We like to think of it like a breakfast omakase.

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