NYCGuide

The Best Bakeries in NYC

From freshly-baked sourdough to perfect patisserie, these are the best bakeries in NYC.
The Best Bakeries in NYC image

photo credit: Willa Moore

New York City is home to hundreds of bakeries in dozens of different styles, so narrowing down the best is serious business. These are the bakeries that we’d happily ride the subway for an hour to get to, the ones where we’ll bring a good book and wait in an excessively long line. Whether you’re a pastry connoisseur or just looking for a solid place to buy a loaf of bread, these are the best bakeries in New York City.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Willa Moore

Bakery/Cafe

Bedford-Stuyvesant

$$$$Perfect For:Literally Everyone

There are some bakeries where you must get one particular thing, because it’s the very best thing. But at Bread & Butter, you should order the entire menu. Making yourself choose between an ube morning bun, the frito pie, and a two inch-thick, olive oil-soaked cacio e pepe focaccia is just unnecessary torture. Bread & Butter (formerly Back Alley Bread) began as a pop-up selling beignet-like "angel donuts" before moving into this spot on Rockaway Avenue in Bed-Stuy. Plan to arrive around 11am, because that’s when they begin selling savory pastries and sandwiches, and remember to bring a tote bag for your haul.

photo credit: AQC Bread Co

$$$$Perfect For:Literally Everyone

You’ll find the best (and possibly only) sourdough milk bread in all five boroughs at this elevator-sized bakery in Carroll Gardens. It’s chewy, spongy, and slightly sweet, and like everything else here, you might feel compelled to show it off to someone on the street after picking up a loaf. ACQ Bread Co. is open Thursday through Saturday from 4-7pm, and it’s worth planning ahead to pick up some olive and black pepper sourdough loaf, milk bread, an almost savory ginger miso cookie, and homemade jam.

There might be a line on a weekend morning at Radio Bakery in Greenpoint, but it moves quickly, and the wait is worth it for things like twice-baked pistachio croissants or chocolate ones with chocolate in the dough, on the inside, and on top. The bakery is run by the same folks behind Ridgewood favorite Rolo’s, and despite having just a few counter stools and sidewalk tables, it’s a great spot to romanticize your morning coffee and pastry ritual.

photo credit: Willa Moore

$$$$Perfect For:Coffee & A Light Bite

You might know Otway as the restaurant in Clinton Hill where you can eat a fried chicken sandwich and drink a Bloody Mary. But they also have a bakery, four storefronts away, that’s quietly making some of the best baked goods in the city. Try the sticky cardamom bun, and a plain croissant that tastes like it went to Oberlin, began wearing Birkenstocks with socks, and got a little crunchy. They also make chocolate-brown sourdough loaves, and you should get your hands on a croissant dog if you can. There’s nowhere to sit, so grab some pastries and a coffee for the road. Some of the baked goods, including the cardamom bun, are also available at the restaurant.

photo credit: Travis Brown

Run by an alum of cult favorite Arcade Bakery, Alf has a loyal following of its own thanks to its much-hyped laminated baguettes (imagine the love child of a croissant and a loaf of bread). But this tiny bakery in the basement of Chelsea Market has more to offer, like a mushroom danish, and sandwiches at lunchtime. While you’re there you should also grab a lemon sugar brioche and half a sourdough miche to quarter and freeze at home.

The menu at this avant-garde bakery/cafe/wine bar in Flushing is constantly changing, so you might find yourself suggesting it for every future coffee date, just to see what kinds of zany cakes they’ve come up with now. The downstairs is bright and airy with lots of mirrors and sculptural elements, while the upstairs is a little darker and more date-night adjacent. Get a seasonal croffle sundae, like the mint choco, which has a warm squid ink croffle, chocolate ice cream and mint cream.

photo credit: Carina Finn

At Artion, a bright, shiny bakery in Astoria, you’ll find textbook perfect renditions of all the Greek bakery classics, like galaktoboureko, koufeta, and every kind of baklava—but there’s also Biscoff cheesecake and little mousse cakes shaped like porcupines. These pastries taste even better than they look, which is saying something. If you want to go all-in, get some savory things, like their ultra-flaky spinach pie. There are a few small tables inside the cafe, and they also serve Greek coffee drinks. It’s a great place for a catch-up with a friend, or to stock up on things to bring to someone’s house.

Even on a random weekday with bad weather, there’s going to be a line at La Cabra in the East Village starting the moment they open, and it won’t really let up. The line is not atrocious, however, and the wait is definitely worth it. The speciality here is cardamom buns, and these sticky, airy, delicately-spiced knots of dough are second to none. Anything you order from the pastry case will be excellent, but you should also order a loaf (or two) of dark, dense bread and take it home to slather with your finest salty butter. They serve carefully sourced coffee, and there’s a second location in Soho for a post-shopping bun.

This Bensonhurst bakery is so committed to preserving the tradition of Sicilian pastry making that they actually have a letter of recognition from Sicily (yeah, the island) hanging in the shop. Everything we’ve tried here has been kind of mind-blowing, but the pistachio cookie is a true standout. It’s vibrantly green and seems to be made of pure essence of pistachio. If you like almond cookies, this is sort of like that, but better, because it’s pistachio.

Librae Bakery in Cooper Square is best-known for its inventive pastries that blend Middle Eastern flavors with modern techniques. You've probably seen their sticky, stunning pistachio rose croissant on social media, and it's definitely a must-try. We're obsessed with their savory options too, like the Marmite cheddar morning bun, which is a salt-lover's dream, and the Jerusalem bagel.

You won't find a single baked good at the Lower East Side’s Supermoon Bakehouse that isn't technically flawless, so if you're nerdy for laminated pastries, you're going to love this place. They have a rotating menu of croissants, cruffins, eclairs, doughnuts, and a few savory items like the best sausage roll in NYC and some pizza/focaccia hybrids. They rely on a Supreme-style marketing strategy of swaggy packaging and weekly pastry drops, so expect consistently long lines on the weekends. They also make very good soft serve ice cream.

At Lady Wong in the East Village, you'll see multicolored cakes and pastries sitting in glass cases as if they're million-dollar watches. That's probably because these baked (and steamed) goods are, indeed, very precious. If you're looking for a snack, there's a large variety of kuih, and you'll also find some elaborate tarts, swiss rolls, and layer cakes. Try any one of these things, and you'll feel compelled to come back once a week. (We suggest the silky, candy-coated taro ube tart.) Before any party or special occasion, stop by for a box of treats that will make your friends and family forgive any past transgressions.

There’s no cookie with an identity so inextricably bound to New York as the black and white, and the best ones are found at William Greenberg Desserts on the Upper East Side. They’ve been making these since 1946, so it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing. The cake base has a deep vanilla flavor and manages to be appropriately dense yet implausibly light at the same time. The frosting is on the softer side (if you like the snap of royal icing, this is not the cookie for you), but it’s well-balanced. They also sell the Amerikaner variation, which is essentially an all-white version of a black and white. Crumb cakes, challah, rugelach, and strudel should not be skipped here, either.

photo credit: Alex Staniloff

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La Bicyclette is oh so French, not only because they make perfect breads and laminated pastries, but because they sell them when they damn well feel like it. This Williamsburg bakery’s hours of operation are 8am to 1pm Tuesday through Sunday, and on Saturdays the line is usually wrapped around the block for the entirety of that period. Suck it up and wait. You’re not going to find a better loaf of bread in the five boroughs, and they also make our favorite pain au raisin. La Bicyclette also has locations in Fort Greene and Carroll Gardens.

If you’ve been traumatized by dry, flavorless conchas in the past, the ones at La Flor de Izucar will rewire your brain. The conchas here are face-sized, light, and delightfully springy, with a perfectly balanced flavor that goes especially well with a cup of cafe con leche or champurrado. This tiny spot in Sunset Park sells a wide variety of pan dulce as well as excellent tacos and tortas, and it’s the kind of place you’ll want to simultaneously keep a secret, and also tell all your friends about.

photo credit: Molly Fitzpatrick

$$$$Perfect For:Coffee & A Light Bite

The best egg tarts in the five boroughs come from Xin Fa Bakery in Sunset Park. Don’t be intimidated if the line is out the door when you show up—they’re extremely efficient here. Get more egg tarts than you think you need. Especially if you’re getting a fresh, warm batch, you’ll want to carve out a few minutes to eat a few on the street, each one bringing you a little closer to nirvana. It’s also worth trying their sponge cakes and other pastries.

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