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May 25, 2009 11:13 AM

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


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!!

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  1. 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

      So terrific, thank you!
      Any recs for Queens?

      1. re: howyoudoin80

        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

        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

          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!

          1. re: allieb2031

            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

          posted to add links only

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

          Trois Pommes
          260 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

          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

          442 9th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

        3. *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

            just to add links

            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. 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:


            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. 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

                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. 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

                  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.