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Best hot chocolate in the city?

emily_r Dec 5, 2007 10:16 AM

With the trend of the $5 or even $8 cup of hot chocolate, I'm curious what people think is the top in the city. I've tried the City Bakery hot chocolate and Max Brenner and of course the standard Starbucks hot chocolate, but I'd like to hear about some other places to check out.

  1. s
    secondari Dec 5, 2007 10:59 AM

    I love the hot chocolate at Vosges Chocolate (www.vosgeschocolate.com) in soho (132 Spring St). I think the Hot Chocolate at City Barkery is too thick, rich, and filling. It is more like a pie filling really.

    In addition to Vosges I also love to frozen hot chocolate at Jacques Torres in Brooklyn (haven't been to the Soho location) but that is more for the Summertime.

    3 Replies
    1. re: secondari
      jackieparis Dec 6, 2007 06:33 AM

      Which flavors have you tried at Vosages? I've been wanting to try their white hot chocolate.

      1. re: jackieparis
        kathryn Dec 6, 2007 06:45 AM

        I really enjoy the Azteca (spicy hot chocolate). It's spicier than Jacques Torres' Wicked, which is a plus in my book.

        1. re: jackieparis
          Lucia Dec 6, 2007 06:47 AM

          I didn't like the white chocolate. Tasted like steamed milk.

      2. l
        Lucia Dec 5, 2007 11:01 AM

        City Bakery is my favorite, followed by Chocolate Bar. Jacques Torres and La Maison du Chocolat are also worth trying.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Lucia
          emily_r Dec 5, 2007 12:12 PM

          Where is Chocolate Bar?

          1. re: emily_r
            Lucia Dec 5, 2007 12:16 PM


          2. re: Lucia
            a_and_w Dec 5, 2007 12:19 PM

            City Bakery never makes their hot chocolate hot enough for my taste. The problem is exacerbated by the marshmallow, which I'd recommend skipping.

          3. floretbroccoli Dec 5, 2007 11:56 AM

            City Bakery is especially fun in February when they offer a different flavor of hot chocolate every day.

            Jacques Torres's Wicked Hot Chocolate is great if you like your chocolate a little spicy and smoky.

            3 Replies
            1. re: floretbroccoli
              LNG212 Dec 5, 2007 12:20 PM

              Second -- I love the Wicked hot chocolate at Jacques Torres. It's so great that he has a new shop on the UWS.

              1. re: LNG212
                floretbroccoli Dec 6, 2007 06:22 AM

                I was in the UWS Jacques Torres store last night and Jacques was there. When I told him how much I love the Wicked, he gave me a hug. Swoon.

                1. re: floretbroccoli
                  LNG212 Dec 6, 2007 09:49 AM

                  SO jealous. He was just on a "One on One" with Budd Mishkin on NY1. Very interesting character. I love his chocolates. The macadamia nuts w/dark chocolate are terrific.

            2. emily Dec 5, 2007 03:16 PM

              I really like Mariebelle's. It's not too rich or thick or sweet which sits better with me!

              3 Replies
              1. re: emily
                misschopsticks Dec 23, 2007 08:39 PM

                I love Mariebelle's hot chocolate too! Particularly their European style hot chocolate. It's very thick, chocolatey smooth and not sickeningly sweet. I think b/c the "European style" isn't made wth milk, it's not overwhelmingly rich. But beware, b/c it's so thick, it's not really made for gulping, more so to savor in tiny little sips.

                I've had their dark, mocha and spicy flavors, and I like spicy the best. Don't get the spicy if you can't handle heat, there's definitely a kick!

                1. re: misschopsticks
                  Olive123 Dec 24, 2007 09:45 AM

                  Third vote for Mariebelle. I've had the dark and the spicy, both tasty. Love the room in the back, too. It's perfect to enjoy your cup of deliciousness!

                  1. re: Olive123
                    mahler5 Nov 8, 2009 06:36 PM

                    Fourth vote for Mariebelle.

              2. m
                mrnyc Dec 5, 2007 03:54 PM

                i had a good hot chocolate recently at HOW SWEET IT IS bakery on essex.

                1. f
                  Fallon Dec 5, 2007 06:03 PM

                  Just had a mighty fine hot chocolate at Fairway Cafe by Mitchel London. It was $3.50 and served in a oil canister looking contraption but delicious...I highly recommend it.

                  1. j
                    jens Dec 5, 2007 07:40 PM

                    Jacques Torres in west Soho. They also have a new location on the UWS. Amazing stuff. More like molten chocolate than a hot beverage.

                    I've had really bad, as in downright awful, hot chocolate at Dean & Deluca. For everyday hot chocolate, Pret really isn't that bad. Much better than Starbucks.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jens
                      nokitsch Dec 6, 2007 11:47 AM

                      Another vote for Torres. The only drawback is that it really does make you bounce off the walls for a while.

                      1. re: nokitsch
                        bgut1 Dec 6, 2007 05:45 PM

                        Me too for Torres with a homemade marshmallow and a chocolate chip cookie. Talk about chocolate overload :)

                    2. m
                      maxine Dec 6, 2007 07:24 PM

                      I tried the Jacques Torres wicked hot chocolate yesterday and it really was great! I wish it was closer to me. Though I did burn my tongue on it. Tonight I tried the chocolate from the dessert truck - yum! rich and creamy, not Torres, but very good.

                      1. guttergourmet Dec 7, 2007 03:37 AM

                        Let's see-here is my ranking:

                        8.Bald Man
                        5.Marie Belle (available at Cocoa Bar on 9th avenue too)
                        3. Jacques Torres
                        2.La Maison de Chocolate
                        1.City Bakery
                        Need to try Vosges. Can anyone weigh in on Despana which I hear is serving hot chocolate with churros? I'll also give honorable mention to Donut Plant's hot chocolate. There was a restaurant called @SQC which unfortunately is now RIP which made a mean hot chocolate. Wonder where Scott Campbell, the chef, wound up? I also did not mention Chocolate Bar because I believe they serve Jacques Torres' hot chocolate. Fauchon, which I believe is looking to reopen, wasn't that great and didn't make the cut.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: guttergourmet
                          guttergourmet Dec 9, 2007 01:45 PM

                          Despana's hot chocolate made with Valor Spanish chocolate a la taza is fantastic and their churros are top notch too!

                          1. re: guttergourmet
                            pythagoras Dec 29, 2010 05:45 PM

                            The Catalonian Enric Rovira a la taza Amargo offers the best in my book!!

                            1. re: pythagoras
                              mahler5 Jan 3, 2011 06:18 PM

                              PLEASE let me know where I can find it. I had it in Barcelona and my life has not been the same since.

                            2. re: guttergourmet
                              sugartoof Jan 3, 2011 06:27 PM

                              The Despana Valor hot chocolate is wonderful but comes out of a plastic bag.
                              You're better off buying it when they have it in stock.
                              It's also a more nutty type chocolate that is thick like a sipping or dipping choc.
                              Not for everyone, but I love it.

                              408 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

                            3. re: guttergourmet
                              guttergourmet Dec 22, 2007 07:05 PM

                              Update: the Dessert Truck's hot chocolate could be a top 3 contender!

                            4. s
                              sugartoof Dec 22, 2007 10:05 PM

                              City Bakery is the best I've had, and it takes care of any chocolate urges for days.
                              The last quarter of the cup once it sits and turns into hot fudge sauce can be a bit iffy in it's intensity, but up until then, it's amazing.

                              Marie Belle's espresso size nearly killed me it was so dense. I found it uncomfortable to drink, and the texture overshadowed the flavor. It was also served scalding hot, which didn't help. Once it cooled down, I had to remind myself it was hot cocoa.

                              Max Brenner is a good way to get food poisoning. I suspect he's using generic cocoa powder. His choc. isn't pure enough to fix my cravings, and I'm not even much of a chocolate eater. Meanwhile, the White Chocolate hot cocoa tasted like sweetened warmed milk to me.

                              I miss the old Dean and Deluca coffee bar offshoot in Soho, as well as the place that was next to Kelly and Ping, which I think was called Untitled or something awful like that. Tasty hot cocoa though.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: sugartoof
                                kathryn Dec 23, 2007 06:24 AM

                                Max Brenner works in a pinch because they're open later than a lot of the places mentioned here, but the Italian flavor is the only one worth getting.

                                1. re: sugartoof
                                  mrnyc Dec 23, 2007 07:58 PM

                                  i never get the CITY BAKERY hot chocolate as is. i always get it cut in half with coffee. it's hotter, much more drinkable and no sludge at the bottom that way.

                                  fyi it helps speed things up if you give them the insider order -- they call that a "two-tone."

                                  1. re: mrnyc
                                    sugartoof Dec 23, 2007 10:54 PM

                                    wow, thanks for that tip. i would have never even known to do that, even though i've worked in offices with coffee machines that would do a half and half. the coffee over powered the cocoa mix ... but i'm guessing citi bakery's chocolate would win in a gang fight.

                                    is it the same price?

                                2. m
                                  maxine Dec 26, 2007 07:55 AM

                                  My favorite thing with City Bakery's is that you can order just at "shot" for $2 (used to be 1). It is the perfect size for the rich, thick chocolate.

                                  1. l
                                    lizisinflatbush Dec 26, 2007 08:22 AM

                                    Jacques Torres is definitely the best and most "gourmet," but I definitely enjoy Max Brenner. I met one of their chefs the last time I went in for a late night chocolate fix and they definitely don't use any kind of mix. It's definitely not bad, especially considering the price. Their desserts are usually too sweet/rich, though.

                                    1. guttergourmet Aug 1, 2009 07:24 AM

                                      Happy to report (though my wife and daughter are in tears) that the 9th Street Brenner's Chocolate by the Bald Man has bitten the dust!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: guttergourmet
                                        windycity Aug 4, 2009 12:19 PM

                                        Yes! Yes! yes! This is me dancing in the streets!

                                        1. re: guttergourmet
                                          visciole Nov 9, 2009 06:09 AM

                                          I am also very happy to see this one go. Every time I used to walk by it I'd think, Get your craptastic choco-theme restaurant outta my hood!

                                        2. r
                                          rkaene Nov 8, 2009 01:35 PM

                                          Zabars "cafe"- the take out shop next to the store- Absolute perfection- less sweet than city bakery, and under $2!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: rkaene
                                            food4lifex3 Dec 31, 2010 06:19 AM

                                            Everything at Zabars rocks, so I'm not surprised!

                                          2. Jacquelyn Nov 8, 2009 11:19 PM

                                            Agree with all the other recs but would also recommend Kitchenette on Chambers. They give you giant homemade marshmallows and it's enough to share!

                                            9 Replies
                                            1. re: Jacquelyn
                                              fm1963 Nov 9, 2009 03:25 AM

                                              I love the hot chocolate at Grom Gelato in Manhattan and the Chocolate Room in Park Slope.

                                              2165 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

                                              1. re: fm1963
                                                daffyduck Mar 18, 2010 11:29 AM

                                                i 2nd grom, i was actually surprised by how good it was. but i havent tried many hot chocolates so i dont know how it matches with others. but i thought it was way better than jacque torres.

                                              2. re: Jacquelyn
                                                sugartoof Nov 9, 2009 08:53 PM

                                                No idea what their hot cocoa is like, but I'd warn anyone looking to have a meal at Kitchenette. Night and day from the Uptown location.

                                                1. re: sugartoof
                                                  Jacquelyn Nov 14, 2009 12:35 PM

                                                  Really?? I haven't been in a while but I used to really enjoy their breakfast. Not so much their dinner though. Have you been recently and it was bad?

                                                  1. re: Jacquelyn
                                                    sugartoof Nov 15, 2009 11:07 AM

                                                    I had a bad experience at dinner with their entrees. The food did not taste freshly prepared, or properly cooked, to the point of concern. Think hospital cafeteria on "southern night". This was probably about a year ago. Never been back, or had the breakfast at that location.

                                                    1. re: sugartoof
                                                      Jacquelyn Nov 15, 2009 01:10 PM

                                                      Wow that's awful! Good to know though, thanks.

                                                  2. re: sugartoof
                                                    a_and_w Mar 18, 2010 09:40 AM

                                                    Wait... are you saying the Chambers Kitchenette is bad? It's been a while, but I had some great lunches there when I worked in the area.

                                                    1. re: a_and_w
                                                      sugartoof Mar 18, 2010 10:50 AM

                                                      Yes, that's what I'm saying.

                                                      I believe it was probably good once upon a time. Maybe they've cleaned up their act since?

                                                      1. re: sugartoof
                                                        a_and_w Mar 18, 2010 11:41 AM

                                                        Bummer... thanks for the heads up!

                                                2. g
                                                  GeraldineNY Nov 9, 2009 07:40 AM

                                                  Absolutely hands down City Bakery! I love it and constantly go out of my way to have it. Also, try Cafe Habana in Noho- they have an awesome spicy hot chocolate...

                                                  Cafe Habana
                                                  229 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012

                                                  City Bakery
                                                  3 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: GeraldineNY
                                                    uhockey Nov 14, 2009 05:13 PM

                                                    City Bakery was indeed excellent. I found Jacques Torres quite boring.

                                                    City Bakery
                                                    3 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

                                                    Jacques Torres
                                                    285 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10023

                                                    1. re: uhockey
                                                      windycity Nov 18, 2009 08:41 AM

                                                      I found Jacques Torres' hot cocoa strangely meaty tasting, which is why I avoid it.

                                                      Jacques Torres
                                                      285 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10023

                                                      1. re: windycity
                                                        lizisinflatbush Mar 18, 2010 06:18 AM

                                                        Weird! Did you try the Wicked Hot Chocolate with chiles in it? I really enjoyed it last winter, though I'll confess that this year a couple of times it's been burnt.

                                                  2. j
                                                    julilouie Jan 3, 2011 08:54 PM

                                                    It's a really crazy intense drink, but somehow delicious. On Spring Street the best chocolate cake in the world cafe sells a "chocolate shot". It is worth a try and very rich dark chocolate.


                                                    1. s
                                                      scotty27 Jan 4, 2011 04:32 AM

                                                      Burdick's, but it's soooo thick.


                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: scotty27
                                                        sugartoof Jan 4, 2011 10:08 AM

                                                        I think it depends what you order at Burdick's.

                                                        They pushed on of their specials which was single sourced from a South American country, if I recall, and despite giving me a sample of the chocolate itself, I wasn't thrilled with the resulting cup. It was thin, probably made with water, but I'm not sure, and so bitter I wished I had added sugar. It was also more expensive, and not a "special" as in "special price".

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