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** The best bread in NYC **

  • f

Well, which is it? Eli's? Sullivan? Zito's? I've had this debate with different friends and some self proclaimed food gurus, but I'm still not satisfied.

For the last several years, I've thought that Sullivan St. had the best bread, hands down. Their Pugliese is the kind you can imagine Giacomo cooking in the back alleys of Naples... black, crumbly crust with a soft, dense interior. Their ciabatta and sesame breads don't disappoint either.

Am I missing something though? Maybe I had it wrong all along. If a bread store exists somewhere that can top Sullivan, please tell.

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  1. d
    david sprague

    i'd say it depends on what you're looking for in a loaf. i don't think i've ever had better "regular" bread than sullivan street's (other than the stuff my late grandmother used to make). eli's makes the best raisin bread in the area. still looking for a top notch seeded rye, though. any ideas?

    6 Replies
    1. re: david sprague

      In Manhattan the easy choice is Sullivan Street, not only for the Pugliese and Ciabata, but, when fresh, the Pizza Bianco is outstanding - a perfect blend of oil, salt, and herb.
      However, any trip near Brooklyn brings a required "drive by" to Royal Crown. All of the usual breads are first rate, but come early to be sure that they still have the incredible EVERYTHING bread.

      1. re: Eric R.

        Do you have an address for Royal Crown? Are they a bread-only bakery or do they bake other things? Thanks.

        1. re: Penny

          Royal Crown is on 65th or 66th Street and 14th Ave. Brooklyn. They have another store, Paneontico, on 92nd St and 3rd Ave. Brooklyn. Both stores have delicious bread and cakes are also terrific. One of the best bakeries around.

          1. re: Irving

            Royal Crown is on the west side of 14th Ave between 65th and 66th. It's a few blocks south of a stop on the W. On the way there you pass the actual bakery which is also a storefront, albeit smaller and, I think, with a smaller selection. The chocolate bread (chocolate in regular dough, not chocolate dough) and the fig-walnut are very good. The chestnut (available only during the holidays) is sublime.

            1. re: Timowitz
              Connie Crothers

              East Village Cheese is now stocking Balthazar's bread for less money. The rye bread is especially wonderful, cut from huge loaves into addictively crusty and chewy hunks. For Upper West Siders, Silver Moon is the destination. The sourdough boule there is great.

      2. re: david sprague

        Orwasher's...get their extra seeded rye...

      3. There's some great bread at the Union Square Farmers' Market on Saturdays from the Rockhill Bakehouse. It's very different than Sullivan St. -- they have a great San Francisco sourdough and my personal favorite is the cheddar corn jalapeno bread. Be forewarned: deliciousness does not come cheaply, though their bread will keep for up to a week.

        1. one of my favorite things to do is eat a whole lot of the rye bread at le pain quotidien, which is mystically soft yet dense, and get really tired and go to sleep.

          take that, you atkinsheads!

          1. Till now my favorite ciabatta is from Levain on 74/Amsterdam. I can't really imagine a better ciabatta existing anywhere in the universe, but I'm heading to Sullivan St. as soon as I can to compare.

            1. Last week I bought a lard bread at Mazzola bakery in Carroll Gardents. It was godly - although I don't want to think about what it did to my heart. It was this delicious, peppery bread, and mixed into the dough were tiny bits of salami, and some kind of cheese melted in. It was out of this world. I highly recomend it. Also, Mazzola's straight Italian bread and olive breads are excellent.

              1. For Irish soda bread or cinnamon raisin bread I can't find any better than Orwasher's on E78 Street just east of Second Avenue. The fresh Kiaser rolls are also quite good. This is not a bakery for Italian specialty items, but for middle and Eastern European breads such as black, Pumpernickel, babka, seeded ryes, Challah, etc.

                1. When all is said and done,it's a matter of what style you prefer-sourdough,crispy crust,whatever.I love Sullivan St. breads,but check out the bread from Balthazar as well;a different style,but very good-try the walnut loaf.

                  1. I have to put in a vote for Uprising Bakery - if for no other reason than you have to LOVE a company whose motto is "Prepare to Meet Your Baker". We've had some great Ciabattas from them.

                    1. This is off the charts and you have to be looking for this particular sort of thing ... but if the idea of an Eastern European peasant bread made with rye flour interests you, check out Silver Bell Bakery in Corona, Queens. They sell a variety of things, but this bread stands out. It is a beautiful thing toasted.

                      It's 4-5 blocks away from the Junction Blvd. stop on the 7 Train.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Nanaimo Bar

                        I agree with your recommendation for Silver Bell. I'm bias because I grew up eating thier bread. Wondering if they still make those 40 lbs. pumpernickles. I think either or both Zabar's and Balducci used to carry some of thier goods.

                      2. Sullivan Street for the pugelise, the pullman & the pizza. Baltizar for the Chocolate bread & the french bread. Zito for the round bread. Payard for the baguette & croissaint. Zabar's for the onion roll. (their own). Orwashers for pumpernickel.

                        1. b
                          bread advocate

                          I'm surprised that no one had mentioned Amy's Bread (in Hell's Kitchen, UES, and Chelsea market). Amy is some of the best bread I have ever had, and it rivals both Sullivan and le Pain Quotidien, which are also superb. Try her semolina raisin fennel bread, the organic white boule, and anything else, for that matter. You can't go wrong.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: bread advocate

                            Another vote for Amy's bread. Her baguette is just so darn good that I can eat the whole thing without anyone on it.

                            1. re: bread advocate

                              Amy's raisin-fennel bread toasted in the AM is like waking up in paradise! Also her hamburger rolls are great...for hamburgers or even for a tuna sandwich...

                              1. re: bread advocate

                                Amy's IS great, and you can get simple cheap sourdough mini-boules (not so mini, mind you), only $1.25.

                                Honorable mention goes to the small baguettes at, yes that's right, Trader Joe's. Just heat them in a hot oven for about 7 minutes, really really good. Most of their other breads have been disappointing, particularly the sliced ones.

                              2. BELIEVE IT OR NOT ,SOME OF THE BEST BREAD I HAVE
                                & CLUMBS. FRI SPRING TIME. FRESH OUT OF THE OVEN

                                1. I've had some really good rye and olive foccacia from the complimentary bread basket at Blue Ribbon Bakery this weekend that I went out and bought a loaf from the marketplace.

                                  1. For really good rye bread, I mean unbelievably good, there is nothing no where to beat the New Warsaw Bakery in Greenpoint. I'm not sure if they have their own retail outlet, but they are right next to the Sikorski Meat Market on Manhattan Ave and they get massive boxes of fresh rye delivered all day. The loaves are often still fresh from the ovens, and are sitting in the box unwrapped in all their crusty glory. You select your own loaf and hand it over the counter to pay, you can either opt to have it sliced there or leave it whole and slice it yourself at home. Unreal.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ballulah

                                      Amy's bread is my favorite one its the damn crust on it , I too eat a whole one in the car...I never brought a whole one home !http://www.amysbread.com/

                                    2. Zabar's has Jewish Rye that's absolutely perfect. There's a huge pile of loaves on the top shelf just as you enter the bread line, and they push it on the speaker system often.