Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jan 14, 2007 03:31 AM

Artisan doughnuts in or around Berkeley

Anyone know of any? Not looking for anything in particular, just not the usual, run-of-the-mill chinese places that have ok doughnuts along with hamburgers, etc.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Good Luck...I've been here 2 years, from LA, and I've yet to find a really good doughnut..

    19 Replies
    1. re: donbonus

      The Bay Area is not yet up the curve when it comes to haute doughnut cuisine. Just shows how provincial we are, I guess.

      1. re: Gary Soup

        The upscale donut came and went ... about the same time Gordon's and it's $7 plate of mini donuts.

        Isn't there some place in Alameda that makes good donuts ... donut works or something.

        1. re: rworange

          Indeed, The French Laundry took donuts and coffee off their dessert menu.

          1. re: ML8000

            So you are tellling our LA friends that doughnuts are so... yesterday.

            1. re: Gary Soup

              So yesterday they might soon be retro.

              1. re: rworange

                I was in LA over the holidays and asked family/friends (hardcore foodies) about artsian donuts.

                One sister had some and said they were good but she wasn't going to track them down w/ two kids and a job but would be nice on occasion.

                A BIL liked them a lot, very good but said half the fun of was going to the greasy spoon at 2 a.m. He made an analogy about getting illicit drugs from a guy in a Armani suit vs. some schmoe that looked like a user.

      2. re: donbonus

        hello, folk in these parts might not realize that L.A. is likely the center of the U.S. donut universe, highest total and per capita consumed I'm fairly sure, with numerous neighborhood shops that are not chains nor using formula mixes. Many places up here served as a business opportunity for Asian immigrants (lots of 'Lee's Donuts' though they're not a chain), Cambodian-americans in the mix I think, and we lack the numbers of afficionados to keep the standards up. The nature of entry small business is a turnover in proprietorship, whereas the best donut houses have long-time owners with 'secret' family formulas. have fun

        1. re: moto

          My two favorites are Donut Alley in Larkspur and Flakey Cream in Healdsburg. King Pin pulls in behind them.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            I used to go to King Pin from time to time but nothing really ever stood out. Even fresh out of the fryer I thought it was a decent donut but not mindblowing or anything. Jest my $.02. In LA I go to this one Asian run (not sure if Cambodian but could be) donut shop that does the most amazing honey wheat cake donut, my new fave. I haven't tried that one place in LA that do the split donut with whipped cream and strawberries but I will when i get the chance. If berkeley had a donut shop that sold good donuts split w/ whip cream and strawberries, I would be there every single day.

            1. re: choctastic

              hello, a couple of years ago I found good honey wheat donuts at Golden Gate on Telegraph nr. 41st in Oakland (BART station vicinity), these are my favorite variety and hardly a regular repertory item in most shops. Fritelli's in Bevery Hills makes decent ones. Don't know if Golden Gate is still making them, their selection goes way down later in the day. cheers

            2. re: Melanie Wong

              I lived a five minute walk from downtown Larkspur for nine years and the only thing that saved me from probable diabetes was the fact that Donut Alley always ran out of doughnuts and closed early in the day.

              1. re: Mick Ruthven

                Ok, if we are throwing in far-flung locations like Larkspur and SF, I toss in Andy's donuts in Richmond as some of the better donuts in the Bay Area.

                The OP doesn't need to cross a bridge and pay a toll and Andy's is open 24 hours a day ... plenty of police protection during the late night hours.

                Having tried both Bob's and Donut Alley, IMO, Andy's is the best of those three.

            3. re: moto

              and you were saying........

              The question was: is there any artisan donut shops???? Not your thesis on the economy, and immigrant demographics.

              1. re: Mattdub

                The OP threw out the bait when he/she dissed Chinese doughnut makers as a group. It's fair for the LA people to point out that their doughnuts are superb, and mostly made by Cambodian immigrants. In any event, to me "artisan" means hand-made at a minimum, and new immigrant groups often seize on labor-intensive crafts as an avenue for survival, and possibly advancement if they do it better than the next guy. You don't have to speak French to be an "artisan."

                1. re: Gary Soup

                  Artisan, to me, simply means extra quality of attention paid to the creation of whatever it is you're selling. Nationality means nothing.

                  1. re: Mattdub

                    To me an artisanal doughnut would be made from scratch, by hand, with no artificial ingredients.

                    The average doughnut shop buys "doughnut mix" in 50-pound bags.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        It's too bad Lou's Living Donut Museum in San Jose closed. they made their own mix, organic flour, etc.

                2. re: moto

                  I think we have had a communication break-down somewhere....
                  For the record, I have nothing against anyone of any nationality, I was just trying to make a point about what type of donut shop I WASN'T looking for. Doesn't matter a bit to me who its run by as long as the donuts are not made with a mix and that they're made well. Thanks for all your comments... keep 'em comin'!

              2. None, zip, nada, to my everlasting regret.

                1. King Pin on Durant is the best donut shop in Berkeley. I'm from LA, and I would compare it favorably with Stan's (I haven't tried the new frou-frou donut shop in Beverly Hills). The key to King Pin is to go in the evening, because they fry their donuts between 7pm and 1130pm(ish). Order whatever is fresh out of the frier, and eat it while it is piping hot.

                  You might also try the fried-to-order churros at Tacubaya on 4th st. Definitely one of the best fried desserts in town.

                  More On King Pin:

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Morton the Mousse

                    Yeah, I second that. Just get whatever is fresh!

                  2. I have yet to find a decent donut locally. The choices are so boring! If anyone comes accross a good chocolate cream filled let me know asap.

                    1. hello, you can get a simple no frills fresh made to order malasada at the Kilohana 'Hawaiian" place on San Pablo Ave in Emeryville. to my taste, better than most donuts around here. might be weekends only.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: moto

                        Love those malasadas. They are made daily until 10:30 am.

                        In the non-classic American donut category, after Sunday mass in Richmond on MacDonald, there's a mighty fine churro guy. He shows up on 23rd street various night after 5 ... if there is a crowd on the corner, it usually means the churro guy is there.