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Aug 12, 2013 01:57 PM


I know that there are lists of everyone's favorite donuts - includes Kanes others, in the burbs - but where can I find the best donut in Boston......North End, Waterfront, Downtown, Back Bay, etc.? I'm talking about a real donut, not the stuff they palm off as donuts at Starbucks or Dunkin.......

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  1. I would suggest checking out the Union Square Donuts table at the farmer's market in Dewey Square on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the summer.

    6 Replies
    1. re: A.A.

      Second for Union Square donuts. I tried them at SOWA this weekend and they were phenomenal--great texture, tasty glaze without being cloyingly sweet, really just perfect.

        1. re: catsmeow

          I believe they are in the Farmer's Market section... Last time I saw them they were on the far side against the edge.

        1. re: A.A.

          I just walked over to the farmer's market in Dewey Square and tried Union Square Donuts. And boy am I glad I did. These are the real deal and despite the limited hours/days, these are easily the best donuts available in Boston proper. I think they would do very well if they could find a small brick and mortar location in or near the Financial District. There simply are no donuts like these available downtown. Thanks for the suggestion A.A.!

            1. re: StriperGuy

              None of which are in Boston, and freshbarry had asked specifically about shops in Boston.

              Unfortunately, there are very few independent donut shops left in Boston - off the top of my head I can only think of Twin Donuts in Allston, Mike's in Mission Hill, and Betty Ann Food Shop in East Boston (closed since May due to family health problems per their FB page.) A number of folks on this board have raved about Betty Ann's donuts, although unfortunately I never made it there myself; I would not send anybody out of their way for either Twin Donuts or Mike's.

              1. re: Allstonian

                Yeah, I wanted for so long for Twin Donuts to be good, because it seems like it should be. But they're just lackluster at best, and they usually taste oily.

                1. re: Allstonian

                  In addition to those two, I would call Doughboy in Southie a proper donut shop. All of these places (Eastie, RX, Southie) are still rather out of bounds for Boston proper. There are just no donut shops in or around downtown. But they're legitimately old-school, if that's what you're looking for. You're going to pay like $3.50 or something at a Farmers Market for Union Square, whereas you'll pay a buck or less at the three aforementioned.

                  I'll add that Flour does fancy donuts on the weekend and Cafe Japonaise has a red bean paste donut that is just awesome.

                  1. re: Allstonian

                    Didn't know that about Betty Ann - those were great doughnuts. I do like Union Square quite a bit, especially the cherry hibiscus and caramel ones, though I've only sampled the ones at Dewey Square. Apparently at the shop they have many more varieties, including cake-based and filled ones.

                    1. re: Allstonian

                      What about Anna's in West Rox? Black Raz jelly stick ftw!

                      1. re: JPrime

                        Anna's are OK - the honey glazed are similar in style to a KrispyKreme - very light and melty - without much substance. All of the others have more to them and are better to me -

                  2. You may wish to scan the BOS CH threads for local farms, they'll begin to make cinnamon apple cider donuts soon, yum! now those are real donuts.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: treb

                      But again, they are not in Boston...

                    2. I sympathize with your quest to find a good donut in or near downtown. The only good ones I've ever had were the buttermilk donuts that the Clover Truck had for ONE WEEK when they were promoting their new coffee. It is very good coffee, yes, but the donuts were outstanding...and then they were withdrawn because, as one Clover acolyte said, "We need to serve you HEALTHY food!" If ever there was cause to burn a food truck, that would be it.

                      But I digress. I got nothin' in downtown, the closest is Mirror Cafe in Brighton Center, which is decent and much better than Twin Donut. I'd say Linda's and Ohlin's is better, but Mirror Cafe is quite good. Also Lyndell's in Cambridge, again not quite up to Linda's and Ohlin's, but quite decent, and easier to get to than the quadriumvirate.

                      (incidentally, my main data point is a scientifically conducted donut taste-off we had at work, with a dozen each from Ohlin's, Linda's, Lyndell's and Verna's. It was epic.)

                      19 Replies
                      1. re: LilBrownBat

                        Okay I'll get specific. And I don't care if you are in Pawtucket, in my book a good donut is worth a schlep:

                        Ohlin's: Best plain glazed raised donut. Period. Just amazing. Also best butter crunch I've ever had, period. Just ate a coconut this morning (someone brought them in today) great.
                        Chocolate donut with glaze is just okay. Apple Fritter is amazing and breakfast for two. The rest of the donuts are very good, but not exemplary.

                        Linda's: I like their plain cake, the rest are all very good (WAY better then Dunkin' Donuts cardboard), but no real standouts.

                        Verna's: Glazed chocolate (rich dense moist), Jelly (I don't even like Jelly donuts, but I love these), and their sour cream which I tried recently is just amazing, dense, moist and rich as well.

                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          StriperGuy, have you tried Ohlin's chocolate frosted with maple drizzle? Just look at my avatar! It's quite yummy. I do agree the plain glazed is awesome and I also like the sugar jelly. And unfortunately I can eat a whole apple fritter without a problem!

                          1. re: Jpan99

                            I like how at Ohlin's the Buttercrunch and coconut are based on raised donuts, and not cake donuts. I would agree that Mirror Cafe's donuts are better than Twin Donuts, though I do have a soft spot for the marble cruller at Twin Donuts (the only one I'll get there).

                            1. re: Jpan99

                              Both the maple and the chocolate maple are very good I agree.

                              Crazy, but it is just a tad too much goo for me, strictly a preference issue and lacking alternatives I would inhale either in a heartbeat.

                              1. re: Jpan99

                                Try the Verna's jelly if you get a chance, the quality of the filling they use is top notch.

                              2. re: StriperGuy

                                Sour cream donuts are fabulous things. Why don't more places have them? If any of y'all ever get out to Greenfield MA, the place to get donuts is Adams Donuts on Federal Street (but be there early). Their sour cream donuts are a real standout.

                              3. re: LilBrownBat

                                Clover had turnip fritters one afternoon this Spring. Hot sweet not too greasy. Delicious. I pretended that they were healthy.

                                1. re: LilBrownBat

                                  Completely forgot about those buttermilk donuts from Clover. Those were actually some of the best donuts I've ever had. I'm going to start campaigning for those to come back every so often.

                                  1. re: FinnFPM

                                    And if they refuse...we burn the food truck. PEOPLE ARE YOU WITH ME???

                                    1. re: LilBrownBat

                                      For fans of the Clover donuts, I was there yesterday and noticed they are doing a coffee and apple cider donuts event on April 10. 8am in Harvard Square, 10 am in Kendall. I didn't try the buttermilk but, given the raves, maybe I'll give these a try.


                                  2. re: LilBrownBat

                                    lbb, do we have to beg to get the unofficial results from that unofficial taste-off?! i do like O's moist and flavorful apple cruller, but i found nada to like at verna's. nada. and i did my homework before we went.(posted afterwards too.)

                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                      We actually tested by categories: plain cake, glazed, jelly, chocolate frosted, chocolate honey dip, and "wildcard" (one other of any flavor that seemed especially neat). Linda's had a slight edge overall, Ohlin's won in a couple of categories, Verna's won for chocolate honey dip IIRC, and Lyndell's was last but not by much. I liked Lyndell's jelly donut best - I thought it had a nice crunch and the best jelly.

                                        1. re: LilBrownBat

                                          lbb, do you remember who won the cake donut version?

                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                            I think Ohlin's. Horrible as it sounds, we trashed the data. You know what that means...


                                            1. re: LilBrownBat

                                              If you do a do-over please post your results! I'm an Ohlin's fan. Tried Linda's and didn't really like them at all.

                                              1. re: Jpan99

                                                I did have a good cake donut at Linda's a few years ago, but tried again 6 mos. ago and, meh. It's strictly Ohlin's for us now. Really like the blueberry filled donuts at Ohlin's. I've never tried Lyndell's donuts, but we give them a lot of our cake business.

                                                1. re: Chef Bwana

                                                  The blueberry donuts at Ohlin's surprised me. They were shockingly good. I thought they would be more ordinary. Dangitall, I should have gotten some today!

                                      1. re: LilBrownBat

                                        Ya know, folks have been bringing Lyndell's to work and I have been pretty impressed. The cinnamon cake, Boston Cream, and raised glazed have all been top notch.

                                      2. Sportello bakery features Donuts / Cronuts at least once a week - I think you have to check the website or give them a call - they have always been REALLY good when they are serving them - and it's right in Fort Point. They run out so get there early.

                                        12 Replies
                                        1. re: rlh

                                          Great tip. Not sure why I've never explored this. Per their website, this is their Thursday special:

                                          Thursday – donuts – now serving DOSSANTS – the donut/croissant breakfast pastry!

                                          Mayhap I will avail myself of a Hubway and cruise over tomorrow morning.

                                          1. re: FinnFPM

                                            I went at 8:15 yesterday - they were long ago sold out. Not sure if I need them badly enough to get up that early. A colleague of mine from Worcester told me that Sweet Bakery in Worcester has had these years before their "invention" in New York.

                                            1. re: nsenada

                                              I did the same thing. They told me that next week they're going to fry (bake?) them up for 8am instead of 7am, so there's some hope for non-Fort Pointers.

                                            2. re: FinnFPM

                                              I took a trip down to Sportello this morning. It was comically crowded. People seem to start lining up at 7:00 - 7:15am; they go on sale at 8:00am.

                                              There's a four-per-customer maximum and a lot of people were ordering four. I got there at 7:55am and by the time I got to the front there were two left. IMO if that's as many as they're inclined to bake, they should be charging a lot more for them. I think mine was $4 or something.

                                              Anyways, delicious stuff. Today was Boston creme. But I won't be back. Not sufficiently delicious to justify spending all that time in line.

                                              1. re: FinnFPM

                                                Thanks for posting this. I was just in another window Googling around trying to figure out how early to show up next week. Guess I won't show up at all -- I don't make it down to the area until around 9:00.

                                                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                  Alternately you could pay someone to stay in line for you, like they do in New York.

                                            3. re: rlh

                                              Wait a sec. With all the nyc cronut craziness we are inundated with, there is a cronut knock- off vendor right here in boston and it hasn't had its own thread on CH?! (did i miss something maybe?)

                                              1. re: rlh

                                                Looks like Sportello stopped selling them a few months ago. However, I did find some cronuts (or whatever they call them there) at Crumbs on Federal street. I had a Bavarian creme filled one, and while not fresh out of the grease, it was very good.

                                                1. re: nsenada

                                                  Thanks for the report on that - right near where I work. Any idea whether it's a daily thing?

                                                  As an aside: I saw a "doughnut croissant" for sale in the pastry section at WF (Melrose) last night. Did not try it. I guess said pastry has completely jumped the shark. Or will that be when it shows up prepackaged at 7-11?

                                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                    HEB and Central Market stores in Texas have had glazed croissants in their bakeries since at least the early 1990s, so the idea is older than many realize.

                                                    1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                      Not sure - next time I'm in I'll ask. They're right around the corner from my office.