HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


not-to-miss sf bakery?

Will be in town in May and want to find any great bakery. Desserts, not breads. Real butter, real cream, etc for cookies and other small goodies. No need for cakes or multi-serving baked goods.

where do you go for over-the-moon baked goodness? neighborhood bakeries a plus.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If here on Saturday, go to Ferry Plaza for some neighborhood bakeries that don't have shops in SF
    - Downtown Bakery has nice turnovers
    - Noe Valley Bakery & Bread Company has good scones
    - Frog Hollow ... also has a shop in the Ferry Building ... good galettes

    Tartine - lots of good stuff

    Boulangerie at Pine (and other locations) canneles, macrons, and I like the lemon tart. They also have a good selection of bagged cookies. Great almond croissant (hope that doesn't count as bread

    Patisserie Philippe - So far the best macrons I've had.

    Emporio Rulli - the best Italian cookies in the city Excellent rice pastry $$$$ ... $

    Golden Gate Bakery - Chinese egg custard tart

    Citizen Cake - ok, I like the fruit pates the best and ice cream next but some nice desserts

    Delessio Market & Bakery - Great and creative mini cupcakes. Other nice desserts

    1 Reply
    1. re: rworange

      Ditto on the egg custard tart, esp hot out of the oven, at Golden Gate Bakery on Grant Ave btw Pacific & Jackson.


    2. Mara's on Columbus in Northbeach have some killer Italian pastries. There is also a bakery on Grant and I think Filbert, I don't now the name of it, but they make really good muffins and have other baked goodies.

      If you make it over to Berkeley, the Cheese Board have really good, unusual baked goods like their "chocolate thing" which is kind of a sweetened bagel dough with huge chunks of chocolate in it. They have apricot scones, corn cherry scones. MMM MM Good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mlucier

        also fantastic in berkeley, and totally pastry, cake and cookie oriented is Masse's. I can't recommend this place enough. On Shattuck a block south of the cheeseboard

      2. Dianda in the Mission for Italian stuff. They sell the great almond cake by the slice. Not sure if they have individual helpings of the rum cake. Rulli does a better job on some cookies.


        6 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          They do have individual slices of the rum cake. Sometimes it's not in the frontcase but behind them.

          1. re: chaddict

            They call it the Rum Cup - it comes in a little paper cup and is in the display with all the individual pastries.

            1. re: Mari

              Huh? This I haven't seen. I have only ever had slices. Is this rum cup essentially just the cake in a cup?

              1. re: chaddict

                Yes - they have the rectangular cakes and rum cups. The cup has layers of cake, rum and custard with whipped cream on top and a little flower.

                1. re: Mari

                  which is better in your opinion?

                  1. re: chaddict

                    Honestly, I might go for the rum cup because it is more compact. I think the slice that you are thinking of has layers of the phyllo-like layer, which I don't care for, so I usually eat around that layer and focus on the custard and the cake with the rum. My favorite dessert there is the Fedora cake and the dildeux! I've probably been going there too often, too long if I can tell you all about their cakes:-)

        2. I really like the cakes at Schubert's Bakery, a European-style bakery on Clement in San Francisco. They do sell pieces for about $3 - $3.50 ea. My favorite is the Strawberry Mousse Cake (Actually, I like all of their mousse cakes.)


          Another neighborhood bakery that I like is in Glen Park, just a short walk from the Glen Park Bart Station. It's called Destination Baking Co. and they serve wonderful tarts (the buttery cornmeal-crusted apple tartlet is my favorite -- fabulous!!,) pies, coffeecakes, carrot cake, and cupcakes.

          598 Chenery Street
          (between Castro St & Natick St
          )San Francisco, CA 94131
          (415) 469-0730
          Mon-Fri 6:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
          Sat-Sun 6:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

          Accepts Credit Cards: Yes

          1 Reply
          1. re: Nancy Berry

            I also like their strawberry shortcake. It is basic but good.

          2. Petit Patisserie -- love the miniature dessert pastries, especially the tiny ginger pear cakes.

            1. If you're near Laurel Village, try Sweet Things inside Cal Mart. They have good cookies, bars, cupcakes, mini-tarts, and sell many of their cakes (especially bundt cakes) and pies by the slice. I especially like their almond cake with raspberry jam on top and their carrot cake, both usually available in single serving size.

              1. We love Arizmendi (9th Ave. near Irving). Our favorites include cinnamon rolls, shortbread, and kookie brittle. Also, scones and cheese rolls (not dessert, but very good). The bakery is sort of an offshoot of Berkeley's Cheeseboard Collective.

                15 Replies
                1. re: Steve Green

                  Yes - Arizmendi is great. I like the chocolate bread and I have read that their chocolate cake is also very good.

                  1. re: Mari

                    Arizmendi's chocolate cake is indeed great, but the OP wants a primarily dessert bakery. Arizmendi is primarily (by far!) a bread and pizza bakery.

                    I would say Tartine and Destination Bakery. Destination is great but of course less well known and definitely meets the real butter, real cream, *everything* from scratch criteria. They do a lot of breakfast pastries, but have several other simple desserts (not nearly as fancy as Tartine). Also meets the criterion of neighborhood bakery. As a companion to Destination, I would go to Mission Pie for Joe's (the owner of Destination) fabulous pies. The fruit and cream dessert pies, not the savory ones.

                    I haven't been to Patisserie Philippe yet, so I haven't listed it. I really like Petite Patisserie, which would be good if the OP makes it to Potrero Hill.

                    I think Delessio's is very much worth a visit as well.

                    1. re: Atomica

                      You're right. Tartine would be my pick if only for the banana cream pie.

                      1. re: Mari

                        My pick for banana cream pie would be Mission Pie (as well as the heavenly sweet potato pie) and Tartine for the passion fruit coconut cake thing, eclairs, chocolate pudding, and whatever else strikes the fancy. And Destination Baking for a very homey, non-highfalutin' place. Their main dessert (non-cake) item, though, is a large variety of small tarts, so I'm not sure it's what the OP wants.

                        1. re: Atomica

                          Don't Mission Pie's dessert pies come from Destination Baking? Or are they making their own now?

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Yes, they come from Destination. See my previous post at 11:10 AM.

                            1. re: Atomica

                              I agree with the gist of the Destination/Tartine discussion above--I finally tried Destination based on comments here and found it very likeably homey and very successful at accomplishing what it sets out to accomplish--*except* I have to go with Tartine's b.c. pie because of (a) a technically superior crust (crisper, flakier) and (b) the use of a thin dark-chocolate layer. The latter is obviously a question of preference, but I think that a b.c. pie without a contrasting flavor can be a little blandly/monotonously sweet. But having said all that, Destination/Mission Pie's is still quite good; I happily devoured all of the slice of it that I had tonight.

                              1. re: readingstand

                                I'm confused. Did you have Destination's banana cream pie at Mission Pie? They don't sell it at Destination. They do have a banana *tart* at Destination. Not the same thing. You can get a nice dollop of whipped cream on your b.c. pie at Mission Pie, creating great contrasting flavors.

                                I think Tartine's b.c. tart crust is hard as a rock and there are too many competing flavors. The chocolate doesn't need to be there. It's a messed-up, confused little confection.

                                1. re: Atomica

                                  Maybe I'm confused. I purchased what was definitely a banana cream pie at Mission Pie, and inferred from the comments above that it must in fact have been made at Destination.
                                  As for Tartine's crust, I do agree that it is sometimes harder than ideal; I prefer a crust that errs on the side of hard to one that errs on the side of soft (particularly with a cream pie, since a soft crust makes for a textural monotony). But I will withdraw the implication that it's objectively better and retreat to the subjective/stylistic preference line (while reiterating that that's all I ever said about the chocolate aspect).

                                  1. re: readingstand

                                    Sorry, I was just confused--I thought you were inferring you were at the Destination location in Glen Park. Yes, what you had at Mission Pie was baked by Joe at Destination.

                                    1. re: Atomica

                                      I do prefer Mission Pie's banana cream pie to Tartine's - Mission Pie's is my new favourite, in fact. My favourite dessert from Tartine would have to be their brioche bread pudding with in-season fruit, warm from the oven... umm. I'm hungry now.

                  2. re: Steve Green

                    Turns out I had my hospitals mixed up. Family was at Cal Pacific Med Ctr. d'oh! So far so good on the proceedure.

                    Did go to Arizmendi--drove past Fri evening while trying to find a parking spot for PJ's Oyster.... --LOL!!. I went to school with an Arismendi, so went back early Sat a to see if here was any relation. Found parking in the lot behind PJ's on the south side of Irving. Got some scones and a chocolate thing, bran muffins for the hospital staff, and a cheese roll for me. All were pronounced excellent. Talked with a friendly local couple who gave me some chow pointers. Everyone I ran into in SF was so very friendly.

                    According to an clipping posted, Arizmendi is an employee owned collective named after an Italian priest who founded a baking collective in Italy which now has something like 35,000 'employees' worldwide!

                    Also had nice sushi next to my motel on Geary. Sushi Tani. Fresh and satisfying, prices in the moderate range. Nice neighborhood feel to the place.

                    Other chow included a late afternnon butter/sugar/almond flour crepe at Crepes-A-Go-Go on Union St; very nice staff.(I was able to do the shallow steps down to Cow Hollow and took a taxi back up hill) and brother and I had some serviceable thin crust pizza at Village Pizzeria next to the hotel downtown.

                    Thanks to all who chipped in with advice--I felt like I had some friendly moral support, and not so much like the country mouse visiting the big city. Chowhounds are so great.

                    1. re: toodie jane

                      The best type of chowhounding ... going with the flow ... thanks for reporting back.

                      I think that's the first report of Sushi Tani on Chowhound and when I looked at the website, couldn't figure out why I never noticed it. Seems there is new ownership. It was Sushi Moto last year.

                      Arizmendi got its start with an assist from Berkeley's Cheeseboard. They have very similar baked goods and pizza. I love that cheese roll.

                      Interesting about the name. Never knew that or that there was a parking lot behind PJ's.

                      Nice chowhounding ... and on a bad foot to boot ... hope you get to visit the city again under better circumstances.

                      1. re: rworange

                        I had SUCH a good time--despite the intensity of the hospital-- and can easily invision myself tottering around SF as an old lady chowhound checking out the scene.

                        Sunday noon I stopped by downtown WF for some road food, and got some rather cardboard-y marinated shrimp and some good corn chowder and roll for lunch. I had to laugh--they have studied their (boomer)demographics well--Motown was blasting on the PA system. It was a veritable feeding frenzy going on.

                        The WF bakery had just discontinued making tres leches cake and suggested I cruise Mission St on my way out of town to score some, but alas no parking, and most bakeries were closed. Safeway was out. But the eatieries! egads--one could spend a month of lunches and dinners investigating a few blocks. Did get a rather insipid piece of cake near the far end of Mission, at a place that looked like it specializes in huge fiesta-sized cakes. Lemon-flavored meringue is.... what kind of leche?....but the cake itself was satisfying, nice and spongey.

                        I stopped for cheap gas next to Mi Pueblo Mkt in Salinas, and on pulling off 101 at Market St, ducking down Kern St to jog over to Alisal, WHO should I see but the lauded taco truck El Grullense! er! er! er! (sound of screeching brakes) I found a parking spot and ordered a lengua and a carnitas taco.

                        Wow. Everything that Melanie has described in her understated way. Fantastic carnitas--tender and juicy, drenched in an intensely-flavored broth, topped with a smokey, well-developed red sauce. The small tortillas had been grilled to bring out the fresh corn flavor. The lengua was wonderful as well, full flavor, cooked just right, not mushy, again with a delicate napping of reduced pan juices.The grilled jalepeno garnish was lovely--going to try it at home next time we BBQ. Definitely the best carnitas and lengua I've ever had. Thanks again to Melanie for her definitive coverage of Salinas budget eating.

                        1. re: toodie jane

                          Here's the post on El Grullense in Salinas. Now you can understand why I'm so lukewarm on tacos in San Francisco.
                          Hope you'll add a note there for other California board readers to find it. Easy on/off the freeway, as it's right next to 101.

                  3. thanks for all the responses. I wish I had more time (and a chauffeur!)

                    Will be in town just for the day (a friday) and will be hanging out at Mt Zion hospital. I guess that is between the Castro and Marina/North Beach neighborhoods? Won't be driving, just walking, and really steep hills are a no-can-do. So anything nearer that area for a great basic coffee and something special. I just didn't want to miss an opportunity to find something special! Likely to be my only trip into the city for a great while.

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: toodie jane

                      I'd say go with Delessio. Market at Valencia, no steep hills.

                      1. re: Frosty Melon

                        The UCSF Mt. Zion Medical Center--is that what you're referring to? That's more like between Western Addition and Pacific Heights at about Sutter & Divisadero. Very close to Japantown as well. Neighborhood map:

                        You didn't say whether public transportation is an option for you.

                        There is a 2nd Delessio at the Falletti's grocery store on 308 Broderick. It's a straight shot south on Divisadero by about 0.8 miles. For walking, it might be hilly. You could easily get a bus on Divisadero, though. Take it to Divis and Oak, turn right at Oak and go 1 block to Broderick. This is a good bet--large array of desserts.

                        Also about 0.8 miles away, is Rigolo at 3465 California. You'd walk north on Divisadero and turn left on California. I don't think that would be very hilly at all. That's part of the Bay Bread group and they have some decent pastries.

                        1. re: Atomica

                          thanks so much for the cool map, and all the suggestions; I'm overwhelmed.

                          I've got very limited mobility in my left ankle, so even stairs or other uneven ground can be dicey, so getting on and off unfamiliar p.t. I think is out. I don't know why I didn't think of a cab as rworange suggested. no cabs here in the boonies.

                          you have all been so kind, thank you!

                          1. re: toodie jane

                            The buses have lifts ... the stair lowers and then raises you up ... so they are wheelchair accessible. From personal experience I can say this is iffy at best. Drivers see to detest it and have been known not to stop for people in wheelchairs. So you can ask to use the lift. I'd go with a cab.

                      2. re: toodie jane

                        Delanghe is very close to Mt. Zion. But do keep in mind that the hospital is right by the Geary muni lines and you can get to anywhere in the City easily.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          One block away from Delanghe is Boulangerie at Pine. Both are .04 miles from Mt. Zion. I'd go with Boulangerie and their cannelles. I'm thinking walking up up Pine wouldn't involve steep hills. Also, cabs are good in the city and readily available from the medical center.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            Both Delanghe (at intersection of Fillmore St and Bush St) and Boulangerie (on Pine Street between Fillmore St and Steiner St) are an easy walk from Mt. Zion with no hills, four or five short blocks total (5-8 minutes).

                            1. re: vintner

                              Thanks. Delanghe has a couple small tables and chairs to have a cuppa coffee still?

                              Also meant to mention to tj that ZaZang korean noodle house is on Geary about 4 blocks from the hospital. Haven't been there in ages, maybe someone can update us.

                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                Hit Delanghe early. Later in the day, I think it's a sad place. If I were coming from out of town, I'd be much happier if I were sent to a Bay Bread store/restaurant (i.e., Rigolo, Boulangerie).

                                1. re: Melanie Wong

                                  thanks--never had Korean noodles. will need a place for chow before heading home to SLO.

                                2. re: vintner

                                  thanks for the detailed info. I gather the BtoB will have lots of people in town, but maybe cabs will be still easy on Fri.

                                  Feels somewhat silly to be focusing on food when family will be in the hospital, but we are all chowhounds, so hopefully I can find things to share for post-op treats, if permissable. Or to thank staff! Food seems to be my preferred way of expressing love and gratitude. Primal, I guess.

                                  I'll be sure to let you know what I find and how it was enjoyed!

                                  1. re: toodie jane

                                    It is also a pleasant distraction from more serious stuff. I used food quite often to bribe ... uh, thank the staff at hospitals where my mom stayed. It was always appreciated and polished off quickly.

                            2. I have to agree with votes for Boulangerie. Absolutely delicious and far better than much of what I had in France. All of their pastries are pretty phenomenal, not just their famous canneles. There's an absolutely decadent croissant bread pudding that I couldn't stop eating. Although you're looking for desserts, their savory pastries are just as good. Can't say enough about the place. Hope you enjoy!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: LikeFrogButOOOH

                                They have a wonderful quiche lorraine with a buttery crust and thick cubes of ham. The others are good, but not as good as this. They also have a few sandwiches on baquettes. Again, no sit down.

                              2. If you ever find yourself in the East Bay, Crixa on Adeline in Berkeley (across from Berkeley Bowl) meets your description perfectly. Their Bizets (meringues with whipped cream) are otherworldly, and I'm not even a fan of meringue. They do a number of cookies (http://www.crixacakes.com/archives/co...), and do many of their cakes (http://www.crixacakes.com/archives/ca...) in single serving sizes and/or sell them by the slice. The individual Boston Cream Pies are to die for. Just thinking about them now is painful, as they're closed on Mondays.