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Top 10 Bakeries in the 5 Boros? [moved from What's My Craving?]

howyoudoin80 May 25, 2009 11:13 AM

Hello,

My family and I are baked-good obsessed. Being originally from Pittsburgh, I guess that comes with the territory.

Therefore, It only makes sense that I'm flying my mother and her best girlfriend out for a New York City bakery tour on the occasion of her 54th birthday.

The goal is to show her the best NYC has to offer in bakeries of every sort . . . cakes, pastries, pies, doughnuts, brownies, cookies . . . while mixing it into some great neighborhoods in New York.

I'm renting a car and have the entire day to spend traveing from one to the other.

I"d love the opinion of fellow hounders on which bakeries should be "must visit" for a tour like this . . . also, if there is a "must buy" at each, that would be helpful as 10 bakeries in one day will likely limit us to one or 2 bites per bakery.

The two conditions are:
1) in one of the 5 Boros,
2) does at least one thing wonderfully, better than anyone else!

So far my list consists of:

Alba 7001 18th Avenue Queens
Andre's Hungarian Rego Park, Queens
Mitchel London, UES

Thanks in advance!!

  1. n
    NYCviaPDX Feb 26, 2011 10:31 AM

    Rudy's in Ridgewood has my all time favorite Linzer Cookies and fabulous old fashioned, Raspberry filled doughnuts.

    1. c
      ConnieC Jan 19, 2011 07:03 PM

      You can't really get the original bagel anymore, but you can still get the original bialy! Kossar's, on Grand St. between Norfolk and Essex. Yes to City Bakery, where you will find originality combined with old-fashioned big flavor. You might not want to miss their state-of-the-art hot chocolate while you are there. It's Ruby et Violette, on W. 50th St., for a cookie experience you'll never recover from.

      1. daffyduck Oct 30, 2010 11:18 AM

        Artopolis ! Baklava and many greek treats

        1 Reply
        1. re: daffyduck
          Striver Nov 1, 2010 09:40 AM

          We were just in Artopolis in Astoria last weekend for the first time - and were very impressed by both the store itself (which is very attractively designedl) and the quality of the baked goods - not just Greek (excellent baklava selection and galaktoboureko, among many choices), but French-style and Italian (large selection of different flavors of taralle) as well.

          On the savory side, we took home a spanakopita and a tyropita - both crisped up perfectly in the oven and were delicious. We'll return soon!

        2. daffyduck Aug 28, 2010 03:25 PM

          lots of great recs here. i'd like to add locanda verde.

          1. m
            mirandabrooklyn Feb 21, 2010 04:50 PM

            Almondine

            In Dumbo across for Jacque Torres.
            Really French. Great pastry, croissant, sandwiches and the most amazing cakes! Madeleines to tempt Proust. Gorgeous and delicious.

            1. p
              Pookipichu Jan 16, 2010 08:47 AM

              I was at Kee's two days ago and a man literally kicked me because he wanted to buy macaroons. Yes, they are that good. He told the shop girl to pick out four and threw money on the counter and told her to keep the change, eating them on the way out.

              Kee's lavender macaroon is better than Fauchon in Paris.

              1. howyoudoin80 Nov 17, 2009 11:41 AM

                Dear all - sorry for the delay . . . but I wanted to take some time to encourage any like- minded individuals to take a tour like this! It was one of the best experiences of my New York life (7 years now).

                Advice: For a group of four choose 2-3 items at max at each stop. Nibble accordingly. Bring Water. Plan on zero actual meals during the day. You will need a car to cover all of this and should start no later than 9am.

                My Final Journey Included:

                1) Donut Plant - One Cake and One Jelly Filled - both marvelous . . . part of me hated the schtick of eating bougie flavored donuts . . . but I can't argue with the fact that they are damn good.

                Doughnut Plant
                379 Grand St, New York, NY‎
                (212) 505-3700‎

                2) Le Brioche Cafe in Brighton Beach. This was a stop partially for the "scene" which is unlike anything my Pittsburgh kin had ever seen and partially for the baked goods themselves. The walls virtually spill out with pastries that appear to be teetering on counterops that might, at any moment, topple over and kill you with sweetness. There was an older woman working there with very dark hair and memorable makeup - I wasn't sure if she was happy to see me or not, but it ads to the Brighton Beach mystique.

                la brioche cafe - brighton beach
                1073 Brighton Beach Ave, Brooklyn, NY‎ -
                (718) 646-8010‎

                3) Cammereri & Monteleone's in Caroll Gardens. We went there 100% for the lard bread. If you haven't had it then you really don't know. if you are lucky, you get there early and they have little finger sized mini-loaves that provide the perfect savory bite. Essentially an artisan bread with chunks of prosciutto and fat . . . stellar. Even though they have dropped the Cammereri's name in favor of Monteleone, I will always call it Cammereri's . . b/c it reminds me of Moonstruck.

                Cammereri's
                355 Court St, Brooklyn, NY‎
                (718) 852-5600‎

                4) Damascus Bakery for Lahmajun, Spinach Pie, Zahtar Bread and Baklava. I love Damascus and will often bike from my home in harlem to Atlantic Avenue just to have a snack from there. I am a Lahmajun fanatic and therefore was instantly drawn to the place. I added it to the tour for 2 factors (another savory lunch time stop) and . . . the middle eastern aspect made for a unique point.

                Damascus
                195 Atlantic Ave # 1, Brooklyn, NY‎ -
                (718) 625-7070

                5) La Guli in Astoria. The more time I spend in Queens, the more I realize it may just be the boro I was born to live in. La Guli is a monument to that fact. La Guli feels old b/c it is old. They still have the tin canisters of bakery twine in red and white hanging from the ceiling that is used to tie purchases. They have great Baba Rhum . . . homemade elephant ears and, my favorite, homemande Torrone (nougat and almond artisan candy).

                La Guli
                2915 Ditmars Blvd,
                Astoria, NY

                6. Artopolis in Astoria. When I first ventured into the shopping plaza in which Artopolis resides, I must admit that I was not expecting much. It looks like a place where a doctor's office might be! I was flat out WRONG. Artopolis is everything I didn't know a Greek bakery could be. It is both fantastically welcoming and exotic at the same time. Like La Brioche, you get the feeling that baker's assistants arrive at 5am to artfully arrange the selection of Greek pastry. I felt as though I was in a boutique and not a bakery. You are fearful of getting too close to any individual item b/c it is both gorgeous and delicate. Had Baklava, a powder-sugar-covered pastry knot and a sesame covered cookie . . bought an almond cake for the road.

                Artopolis
                2318 31st St, Astoria, NY‎ -
                (718) 728-8484‎

                7) St Honore . . . we figured, well, we are in Astoria. The honest thing here is that we didn't find anything to knock our socks off. Admittedly, this was our 7th bakery of the day. We had a croissant and enjoyed the butter and dough alright, but didn't have a remarkable experience. I imagine I should have paid more attention in planning this stop.

                St Honore Patisserie
                3318 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, NY‎ -
                (718) 278-3558‎

                8) S&S Cheesecake in the Bronx. Yep, we went there and yep, it was closed. Sucks to be us.

                S&S Cheesecake
                222 W 238th St, Bronx, NY‎ -
                (718) 549-3888‎

                9) Momofuku Milk Bar was a great stop. It was so different and irreverant compared to the other choices. We had the kitchen sink cookie and some ice cream. It was awesome. Milk bar should be part of any tour as it represents what a modern bakery can evolve into.

                Momofuku Milk Bar
                207 2nd Ave, New York, NY‎ -
                (212) 228-0031‎

                10) Sullivan Street Bakery. By this point, it was definitely time for something savory. We had little pitzetta-style-breads with olive oil, fennel and tomato.

                Sullivan Street Bakery
                73 Sullivan St, New York, NY‎ -
                (212) 334-9435‎

                2 Replies
                1. re: howyoudoin80
                  p
                  Pan Nov 17, 2009 06:20 PM

                  Awesome!

                  Did you do this on a Saturday? That would explain why S&S was closed. I believe they're kosher, but someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

                  1. re: howyoudoin80
                    g
                    gspeed Aug 27, 2010 09:13 AM

                    Stopped by the Donut Plant the other morning. OMG!!!!! The Creme Brule donuts (and all the yeast-type we tried (6 kinds) were absolutely fabulous. So happy to have found this place. Thanks for the recommendation.

                  2. Asumnuthin Aug 20, 2009 08:25 AM

                    My Top two, in no particular order

                    Sugar Sweet Sunshine for the Pistacchio Cupcakes
                    Fortunato Brothers for the Canollis

                    1. Rmis32 Aug 19, 2009 04:38 PM

                      Did you mean Alba Pastry Shop 7117 18th Ave, Brooklyn, NY?

                      1. j
                        jinthek Aug 15, 2009 07:33 PM

                        maison du choclate on 80 & madison, the finest chocolatier bar none in nyc had many extremely well done chocolate pastries, cakes and cookies.
                        Venieros is a patiserrie on 11st and first ave. Huge variety of attractive, delicious Italian pastries, cookies, pies, cakes. Not ultimate quality but fair priced and cafe is open late..(do not go on weekends).

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jinthek
                          Asumnuthin Aug 20, 2009 08:26 AM

                          I use to just be obsessed with Venieros but I find the quality has dipped the past few years, plus them being shut down by the health department last year skeeves me a bit.
                          Im no clean freak, but I have limits for food.

                        2. r
                          RedVelvet Jun 28, 2009 06:21 PM

                          In Queens: Cannelle and Nita's European Bakery for something totally different.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: RedVelvet
                            t
                            tigerwoman Aug 11, 2009 08:28 PM

                            there are two things worth driving for at Andres in Forest Hills - their cheese danish and their rugelach. Now another place I would really recommend is called Reichters Bakery in Little Neck on the Horace Harding Service Road of the LIE - one block past Bally's and on the same block as the post office. They make great old fashioned Jewish rye and corn bread but the family favorite there is their mandel bread with chocolate chips and walnuts - it's not hard like biscotti, but sliced to order with chocolate drizzled over the top - it's worth the ride - Reichters hamantasen are also fabulous !

                            I think Lazzizza's is out of business... alas - they had great middle eastern bakery items - some standard stuff (but excellent quality) and many unusual things too.

                            1. re: tigerwoman
                              l
                              Love to Eat Aug 12, 2009 08:38 AM

                              Is this the place?
                              http://www.richersbakery.com/

                              I want to reiterate some of SweetFreak's & others' recommendations:
                              - Levain, Upper West Side - I prefer chocolate-chip cookie
                              - Patisserie Claude, West Village - also try the peach or pear square "tart", can't remember what it is actulally called
                              - Kee’s, Soho - creme brulee chocolate, but call ahead to reserve
                              - Little Red hen, UES - blackout cake

                              And add:
                              - Little Pie Company, Midtown west - warm slice of sour cream apple walnut pie a la mode
                              - Clinton St Bakery, LES - svaory scones, slice of cake, anything really (and don't need to wait in horrific line for a take out pastry

                              )

                              Please do report back with your final schedule...
                              -

                              1. re: Love to Eat
                                t
                                tigerwoman Aug 19, 2009 08:27 PM

                                Yes that's the place in Little Neck
                                and I do sooo second the Little Pie Company's Sour Cream Walnut Apple Pie

                                have you tried the donuts from Donut Planet on the lower east side - whacked out owner but some very good donuts.

                          2. f
                            farago Jun 28, 2009 12:19 PM

                            I agree with Pan that Andre's is not great and may not even qualify as good -- both Manhattan and Queens -- if the standard one uses is the great Hungarian bakeries of Yorkville in the 1950s-1980s. On the other hand I disagree that one can easily find better pastry in Budapest...

                            The truth is that there is some very good pastry in Budapest, including some that rivals what, say, Rigo or Nemeth's was doing in NYC when it had a Hungarian neighborhood, but it requires long, hard work, and downing lots of very bad baked goods to separate the wheat from the ergot. Andre's and Budapest cukraszdas (pastry shops) suffer from the same problem: 60 years -- three generations of cooks separation from the great recipes and ingredients of the golden age of Hungarian cooking. The Andre's chefs and thos in Budapest today were all trained after the start of WW II, indeed all or almost all were born after the War started, and so have no personal memories of, or deep attachment to, the pastries that one wishes continued to thrive somewhere, anywhere.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: farago
                              p
                              Pan Jun 28, 2009 05:34 PM

                              OK, to be fair, my remarks on Budapest are dated, because I visited that beautiful city in 1994. What I said was certainly true then, however.

                            2. c
                              cmocva Jun 23, 2009 10:23 AM

                              this isn't in the 5 boros, but it's about a block out of the Bronx, (Woodlawn), in Yonkers.
                              Anna Artuso's Pastry Shop at 969 McLean Ave. It's on the corner of McClean Ave and what would be Martha Ave coming up from the Bronx. My favorite item there is the cherry cheese danish. It's huge, more like a cherry cheese danish coffeecake. Everything they sell there is great. I don't know if they still do, but they also sold hand scraped Italian ices in paper cups during the summer months. I live out of state now and everytime I go back to Woodlawn, I always bring something back with me from Artuso's.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: cmocva
                                Striver Aug 20, 2009 07:26 AM

                                For the Bronx I recommend De Lillo's on 187th just off Arthur Ave for sfogliatelle and biscotti, and Morrone's on Arthur around 186th for their small lobster tails (NOT the big ones); good sfogliatelle, too.

                                (just north of the Bronx is Patisserie Lulu in Scarsdale, one of my all-time favorite bakeries for just about everything. Off topic here, though).

                              2. p
                                Pan May 26, 2009 11:18 PM

                                Andre's is merely good, not the least bit great (based on their Manhattan location). If their Hungarian pastries are the best in New York nowadays, that would be a sad commentary and not something to celebrate, because there are probably literally thousands of hole-in-the-walls in Budapest that make better strudels and dobos tortes than Andre's.

                                You have to get cheesecake at the marvelous place in the Bronx, S&S:

                                http://www.sscheesecake.com/

                                I agree on Kee's and would recommend a selection of her chocolates, though I have nothing whatsoever against macarons (I just always get chocolates when I'm there).

                                1. E Eto May 26, 2009 01:19 PM

                                  *Laziza in Astoria for middle eastern baked goods. Very good kanafa.
                                  *Patisserie Cannelle in Jackson Heights. Very good french pastries for around half the price as you'll get in Manhattan, and often better too. Especially the croissants. I don't care for Claude's.
                                  *Peter Pan donuts in Greenpoint. Arguably the best donuts in NYC. While Doughnut Plant use great ingredients and often combine good flavors, the donuts themselves are never the sum of the parts. Peter Pan's donuts, though, are just right for the orthodox donut. I haven't had better in NYC.
                                  *Cafe Zaiya in midtown for Japanese pastries. While the competition is pretty lame, Zaiya offers the best of the bunch (you'd have to go to the west coast for better). While I don't offer the best justification for being on the list, if you've never had these kinds of sweets, it's a good introduction. The new Korean bakery in Flushing called Paris Baguette (?) or something like that offers the Korean versions of pastries similar in style to Zaiya, and might be worth exploring.
                                  *Egg Custard King in Chinatown. This recommendation also includes a caveat. They offer several different kinds of egg custards, but I only think one is worth recommending, and it's really good when it's still warm. Not the regular yellow custard, but the slightly paler version with the slightly caramelized top.
                                  *Djerdan in Astoria. Probably not what you're looking for, but if you want savory pastries, try the boreks at Djerdan. They're very flaky pastries filled with meat (especially recommend the special buredjiki... I'm sure I'm butchering the language, but what they call the special burek), or big flat rounds of flaky pastries filled with potatoes, spinach or cheese, that look like pizzas.
                                  *Sullivan Street Bakery / Grand Daisy. Pretty much following the same recipes from the original Sullivan Street bakery, but the breads are great, as well as the Roman style pizzas.
                                  *Rio de la Plata Bakery in Corona. My favorite of the Argentine pastry shops. Anything that involves fruit and cheese, or dulce de leche might be freakishly sweet, but oh so tasty. They also have savory empanadas, but don't get those here. Go across Junction Blvd to La Esquina (or Don Chicho or whatever it's called nowadays), which is an Argentine pizza shop and get empanadas there.
                                  *Pan de Bono shop on 82nd/Roosevelt in Jackson Heights/Elmhurst. They're always cooking them, so get one hot or warm out of the oven. A really great cheese-flavored snack. It's not quite as dense as a pao de queijo but very similar in flavor.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: E Eto
                                    jen kalb Sep 1, 2010 03:54 PM

                                    just to add links

                                    -----
                                    Djerdan
                                    34-04 31st Ave, Queens, NY 11106

                                    Egg Custard King
                                    76 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                                    Grandaisy Bakery
                                    73 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

                                    Peter Pan Donut & Pastry
                                    727 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

                                    Laziza of New York Pastry Shop
                                    25-78 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103

                                    Cafe Zaiya
                                    18 E 41st St, New York, NY 10017

                                    Cannelle Patisserie
                                    75-59 31st Ave, Queens, NY 11370

                                    Rio de la Plata
                                    94-65 Corona Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                                    Grandaisy Bakery
                                    250 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                                    Egg Custard King
                                    5317 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220

                                  2. s
                                    Sweet Freak May 26, 2009 09:45 AM

                                    Oh, you're gonna have fun!
                                    Momofuku Milk Bar, East Village, for the cornflake marshmallow chocolate chip cookie
                                    Trois Pommes, Park Slope, for the whoopee pie
                                    Butter Lane and/or Sugar Sweet Sunshine, East Village & Lower East Side respectively, for cupcakes (explore the flavors and frostings)
                                    Billy’s Bakery, Chelsea or Tribeca, for the banana pudding
                                    City Bakery, Flatiron, for a peanut butter cookie
                                    Levain, Upper West Side, for the chocolate-chocolate-chip cookie
                                    Patisserie Claude, West Village, for a croissant and pain au chocolat
                                    Café Margot, Upper West Side, for the almond croissant
                                    Alice’s Tea Cup, Upper West Side or Upper East Side, for the scones
                                    Poseidon, Hell’s Kitchen, for baklava
                                    Kee’s, Soho, for macrarons
                                    Dessert Truck for chocolate bread pudding
                                    Doughnut Plant, Lower East Side, for a cake doughnut
                                    Beard Papa, Greenwich Village, for cream puffs

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: Sweet Freak
                                      howyoudoin80 May 28, 2009 07:50 PM

                                      So terrific, thank you!
                                      Any recs for Queens?

                                      1. re: howyoudoin80
                                        j
                                        jhopp217 Jun 3, 2009 01:21 PM

                                        I really don't love desserts or go crazy for fresh bread for that matter, but the smells when you walk into Rose and Joe's bakery are to die for. The hidden treasure in this neighborhood place is the sicilian pizza in the back.

                                        I hate sicilian slices. Rose and Joe's is not only my favorite sicilian slice, it's one of my two or three favorite pizzas in NY. Dough, Sauce, Cheese, Salt and Rosemary. It appears that is all that is on them, but the flavor is amazing. What's amazing to me is it almost tastes better the next day heated up or cold. The flavors seem to brew. I was so skeptical before trying it, but now it's a special treat 5-6 times a year.

                                        Rose & Joe's Italian Bakery
                                        22-40 31st Street
                                        Astoria NY 11105

                                      2. re: Sweet Freak
                                        Miss Needle Jun 29, 2009 12:48 PM

                                        I haven't had the peanut butter cookie at City Bakery, but their melted chocolate chip cookie is awesome.

                                        And I've only had it once but didn't care for the macarons at Kee's. It was too brittle and dry. Too bad Mitzy's is no more in NYC. That would have been the ultimate place for macarons. I would have to say that the best macaron in NYC would be at Madeleine in Chelsea. They keep them refrigerated. Be sure to let them thaw to room temperature before eating as it changes the flavor and texture of the macaron dramatically.

                                        To the OP, I would also add Two Little Red Hens Bakery on the UES or Ladybird Bakery in Park Slope (same bakery) for their chocolate blackout cake. One of the most delicious, richest fudgiest creations out there.

                                        1. re: Miss Needle
                                          a
                                          allieb2031 Nov 13, 2009 05:48 PM

                                          Will second Two Little Red Hens - DELISH Brooklyn Blackout and Carrot Cakes!
                                          My friend swears by Eileen's Cheesecake down off of Spring St, too!

                                          www.earthlyepicurean@blogspot.com

                                          1. re: allieb2031
                                            l
                                            linsue Oct 30, 2010 09:19 AM

                                            I Don't care for the donut planet. Andre's is located in Manhattan and also on Queens Bl"vd in Forest Hills next to the Knish Nosh. Great strudel. round babka(I love the cinnamon raisin) and great ruggleah.

                                            -----
                                            Knish Nosh
                                            5th Ave E 106th St, New York, NY 10029

                                        2. re: Sweet Freak
                                          jen kalb Sep 1, 2010 03:47 PM

                                          posted to add links only

                                          -----
                                          Patisserie Claude
                                          187 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

                                          Trois Pommes
                                          260 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

                                          Almondine
                                          85 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

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

                                          Doughnut Plant
                                          379 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

                                          Billy's Bakery
                                          184 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                                          Levain Bakery
                                          167 W 74th St, New York, NY 10023

                                          Alice's Tea Cup
                                          102 W 73rd St, New York, NY 10023

                                          Alice's Tea Cup
                                          156 E 64th St, New York, NY 10065

                                          Poseidon Bakery
                                          629 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036

                                          Sugar Sweet Sunshine
                                          126 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                                          Dessert Truck
                                          , New York, NY 10003

                                          Butter Lane
                                          123 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                                          Beard Papa's
                                          5 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

                                          Billy's Bakery
                                          75 Franklin St, New York, NY 10013

                                          Momofuku Milk Bar
                                          251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

                                          Almondine
                                          442 9th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

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