Cookies and cakes, bread and bagels, oh my! New Yorkers love baked goods—that’s no surprise, especially given that the city’s unofficial pastry patron is the bagel. It’s a fact that goes a long way toward explaining why there are so many bakeries in the Big Apple, scattered throughout the five boroughs. With so many choices, it can be daunting to try and pick just a few favorite establishments; in fact, it’s nearly impossible to crown a single “best” bakery. So here are our top 7 picks for the best bakeries in the whole of NYC.
7. Milk and Cookies
On a tour of Greenwich Village, we passed by this neat little bakery on Commerce Street. A local, who lived in Midtown, pointed the shop out and was delighted to learn we’d already had a chance to sample the wares fresh from the oven. Even David Schwimmer, who played Ross on Friends, is a fan of Milk and Cookies and their focus on American classics, like the classic chocolate chip cookie. The shop was also recently voted best ice cream sandwich in NYC, so you know they have to be doing something right. The bakery has packaged their chocolate chip cookie dough, but nothing beats the real McCoy; Milk and Cookies is open until 10pm every night, so swing by and grab a sweet treat—or get creative and take advantage of the shop’s “design your own dozen” service, which lets you pick and choose flavors.
When Hurricane Sandy hit NYC 3 years ago, the storm leveled one of Brooklyn’s best bakeries. Pastry chef Herve Poussat didn’t expect his bakery to flood, but it did and he lost most of his equipment—and the Big Apple almost lost Almondine, one of the most revered French bakeries in Brooklyn and beyond. Luckily, Poussat was able to re-open in April 2013. Since then, Almondine has continued to do what the bakery does best: make delicious French-style breads and pastries, including some of the city’s best baguettes. Almondine consistently places on lists of the best bakeries in the five boroughs, and New Yorkers know that a trip to Almondine is always a good idea. A pilgrimage to 85 Water Street should be on every gourmand’s New York bucket list.
5. Amy’s Bread
Amy’s Bread has been serving NYC for 23 years now, in three locations around Manhattan: Greenwich Village, Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea. Open early to late every day of the week, Amy’s Breads offers up an assortment of homemade artisanal breads, like basil-infused foccacia, fresh on a daily basis. Oh, and if you’re hankering for something sweet, the bakery dabbles in treats too—like their cupcakes, which garnered a 5-star rating in a recent Zagat survey. The fact that the bakery was voted as the best spot to grab a loaf in all of NYC should tell you a bit about the quality of the goods; others just can’t compare. The bakery also supplies various restaurants in Manhattan through its wholesale channel, but the best place to pick up a treat is still one of the cozy bakery locations.
4. Cannelle Patisserie
Don’t let the fact that this French-style bakery is located in a mall in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens throw you off: it is simply one of the best in all of NYC. New Yorkers and the media alike will tell you that making the trip out to Cannelle Patisserie is well worth it; not only are the pastries cheaper than the puffed-up price points you’ll find in Manhattan bakeries, but the goods are just as delectable (if not more so). They’re open from 8 til late, 7 days a week, so there’s no excuse for not dropping in for breakfast, lunch or dinner or a coffee break somewhere in-between. Sandwiches, quiches and a breakfast selection round out a menu full of exquisite cakes, tarts and cookies. With items starting at just $1, how can you possibly go wrong?
3. Valencia Bakery
Manhattan has more than its fair share of excellent bakeries, but that doesn’t mean that you should count out the other boroughs: all of them are graced with places to pick up some sweet treats. Valencia Bakery, located in the Bronx, is an excellent example. The shop has to come up in conversation about the best bakeries in NYC, and it’s known as the place to get a birthday cake (or a cake for just about any other occasion) in this borough. Valencia has several locations in the Bronx, and 2 additional locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. They also make pastries so even if you’re not celebrating, you can still treat yourself to something sweet from this bakery institution. If you’re in town for a birthday or other occasion, celebrate with a pineapple or guava cake from Valencia—you won’t be disappointed.
2. Bien Cuit
This little shop in Brooklyn has made quite the splash since it landed on the NYC bakery scene in 2011. Chef Zachary Golper and his bakery have been nominated for awards consistently since then; in 2015, Golper was nominated for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Baker. The Bien Cuit philosophy is to offer up breads and pastries that are both unique and varied, utilizing ancient techniques and modern-day sensibilities. The shop has become a favorite among locals and a must-visit for travelers passing through. Open 7 days a week, from 7 in the morning til 8 at night, Bien Cuit offers customers more than pastries and breads; their menu includes quiches, sandwiches, tartines and cookies, as well as drinks to wash it all down. Bien Cuit also offers a wholesale service, which means you can find Bien Cuit breads in restaurants around Brooklyn and Manhattan.
1. Dominique Ansel Bakery
You may have heard of the Dominique Ansel Bakery before. Even if you haven’t, you’ve probably heard of Chef Ansel’s most famous creation: the cronut. Half-croissant, half-donut, this pastry caused quite the uproar in 2013, even spawning a black market and knock-offs due to limited production. Cronuts aren’t the only thing you can sample at this Soho bakery, however: Chef Ansel has a wide variety of delicious goodies up for grabs, including mini-meringues, large cakes, macarons and other gifts. The chef creates a signature item every year; past inventions have included the Frozen S’more and the Cookie Shot. His imagination has earned him the title “Willy Wonka of NYC” and his bakery, opened in 2011, has been named the best bakery in the city by various magazines and newspapers. Located at 189 Spring Street, the bakery is open every day of the week, inviting you to pop in.