Looking for the best NYC Cafes (muffins, scones, etc.)
I'm coming to Manhattan at the end of the month and I'd like to visit some cafes that have some great little baked things or any great bakeries (please nothing cupcakes). I have a bakery that bakes for some high-end espresso bars in my city and I'd like to see the best that your city has to offer. Any help would be great, I'm looking forward to my visit and can't wait, also what are the best places to check out food-wise that aren't a really expensive restaurant, but also aren't some off the beaten path ethiopian restaurant.
Here are some of my absolute favorites:
Pain au chocolat, croissants, and apricot tarts at Patisserie Claude were great. The place has now passed to Claude's longtime assistant, Pablo. Some say the quality is the same, some say it's slightly different, but nevertheless, it's definitely one of the best, if not THE best croissant and pain au chocolat in the city. I personally also love the tarts and the quiche is also superb!
187 W 4th St
New York, NY 10014-3855
Phone: (212) 255-5911
Bomboloni at Sullivan Street Bakery (also sold at 'wichcraft now) are fantastic! Crisp with a slight crunch on the outside and the inside is chewy, yet meltingly tender. If we could combine that with the filling from the Bouchon Bakery raspberry-custard doughnuts, it would be THE PERFECT thing ever made.
Their pizza bianca (savory, yes) is also to die for....
533 W 47th St
Many love the gargantuan chocolate chip cookie at Levain Bakery on 74th and Amsterdam. It's the size of a large scone and though it looks like it would be uncooked and gummy on the inside, it is not so. Many also love (on the other side of the spectrum) the City Bakery chocolate chip cookie that is much thinner and more crisp. It's on 3 West 18th Street and also carries a plethora of other delicious baked goods that I haven't had the chance to try. MY favorite chocolate chip cookie is actually at one of my favorite coffee shops: Jack's Stir Brew Coffee on 138 West 10th Street. Crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside. When they're warm, they make me melt. Right next to Jack's is Pichet Ong's bakery, batch, which I haven't tried personally, but have heard a lot about. It has a lot of things in it, so you should check it out.
My other favorite coffee place sells this fantastic olive oil loaf and ricotta fritters along with other top-notch savories and sweets, including a rosewater pain perdu, fritattas, and a savory/sweet cured olive shortbread. It's called Abraco and it's teeny tiny. It's on 7th Street between 1st and 2nd avenues (closer to 1st). Very friendly owner and FABULOUS espresso. Jaime also makes his own homemade almond milk.
You cannot forget to visit Bouchon Bakery at the Time Warner Center at 59th Street and Broadway. It's on the third floor and their baked goods are really top-notch. If you can get there on a Saturday morning, their raspberry and custard filled doughnut is just RIDICULOUS. It competes with the Sullivan Street bomboloni for my favorite doughnut. Their signature chocolate bouchon is yummy, as are their danishes, brioche, and sticky buns. The nutter butter cookies are decadent as well. I haven't tried any of their fancier pastries. The only thing I don't care for there are their macarons. FANTASTIC bakery. You cannot miss this.
You should also make a visit to Amy's Bread that has locations all over the city. Good, solid American bakery.
If you're looking for the best muffins, go to Blue Sky Bakery in Brooklyn.
53 5th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Italian bakeries - well, you probably have to go up to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx for good Italian pastries. Veniero's and the other Italian pasticcerias in Manhattan aren't the best.
Jewish/Eastern European bakeries - most of the good ones are out in Queens and Brooklyn. For a quick fix, I usually go to
Moishe's for hamentaschen
115 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
Andre's European Bakery for their yummy strudels and layered poppyseed/walnut pastries.
1631 2nd Ave
New York City, NY 10028
As far as Asian bakeries go, the best are either out in Queens or in Fort Lee. I don't really have a favorite as they don't compare to the pastries I've had in Japan and Korea. Most of them will do for a quick fix. Koryodang on 32nd between 5th and 6th Avenues has really good glutinous rice doughnuts, bean paste pastries, cream filled pastries, and their blueberry cheese danish is not bad at all. Beard Papa's Sweets Shop (several locations) has GREAT cream puffs. You must try these. They have a special technique where their pate a choux is given an outer layer of pie crust to give it extra flakiness and texture, and the cream filling is velvety and delicious....
Hope this helps and have a wonderful trip!!