While Los Angeles may have a reputation for being extremely health-conscious, there are some incredibly good pastries available if you know where to look. We’ve got you covered in all of L.A.’s best neighborhoods: Cookies, cakes, tarts, croissants, they’re all here in tip-top form.
Milo & Olive
Where: Santa Monica
Arrive early to snag a seat at the bar or one of the few communal tables at the tiny (but soon-to-expand) Milo & Olive. While there’s a full menu to choose from, set your sights on the pastry case at the front of the restaurant. It’s usually filled with croissants, scones, fruit tarts, and other tasty treats. Or, if you’re in a savory mood, the 20-minute wait for the garlic knot ($7.50) is worth it—trust us.
Can't-miss treat: If the fruit is to your liking, the seasonal fruit scone ($2.75) is out of this world, particularly when made with persimmon. Pair it with a honey soy latte ($5.25) for pure bliss.
Where: Silver Lake
This hip café is famous for its delicious and creative rice bowls, but the small pastry case at Sqirl is nothing to sniff at. Actually, you should take a whiff—and then several bites—of items such as whole wheat toffee date cake ($4.50), almond financiers with seasonal fruit ($3.00), and vegan poppy seed cake with blood orange glaze ($3.00).
Can't-miss treat: The malva pudding cake ($4.00) is like nothing you've ever tried. Ooey and gooey with a brown butter vanilla flavor, it will have you begging owner Jessica Koslow for the recipe.
Where: Atwater Village
Named by several local chefs as their favorite bakery, Proof Bakery has a stellar reputation, with their sweet-and-savory croissants stealing the show. Canelés ($2.50), cookies (from $1.75), a chocolate caramel tart ($4.75 for individual size), and vegan tea cake ($3.50) round out the offerings. They also serve brioche toast with housemade jam ($2.75).
Can't-miss treat: Feel transported to Paris by a Valrhona chocolate ($3.75) or almond croissant ($4.00) that’s crispy on the outside and oh-so buttery and flaky on the inside.
Where: Culver City
Chef Rose Lawrence bakes rustic sourdoughs and ryes (from $5.00), as well as gourmet sweets like seasonal pies ($7.50 for a slice) and homemade poptarts ($4.00) at Red Bread. Plus, 5 percent of every sale goes to the L.A. Food Bank.
Can't-miss treat: The famous oatmeal chocolate chip cracked cookies ($2.00) are hearty and delicious, chock full of rolled oats and TCHO chocolate.
Opened in 2012 as a companion to the critically acclaimed restaurant Hatfield’s, The Sycamore Kitchen showcases Karen and Quinn Hatfield’s pastry prowess. Grab a seat outside and try delicacies like the buttercup ($3.25), a kouign amann cake, a rosemary sugar cookie ($1.75), or the blackberry lemon polenta cake ($3).
Can't-miss treat: Locals make a beeline for the salted-caramel pecan babka roll ($4.00), a cinnamon bun on steroids.
Where: Beverly Grove
What are fōnuts you ask? Why, vegan and/or gluten-free doughnuts (from $2.75) of course! These come in swoon-worthy flavors like vanilla latte, coconut passion fruit, and banana cinnamon. If you aren't yet impressed by the lack of eggs and dairy, they have a delectable non-vegan selection as well, with funky options like blueberry earl grey and rosemary olive oil complementing more traditional choices like red velvet and salted caramel.
Can't-miss treat: If you’re not a vegan, the strawberry buttermilk is bursting with so much real-fruit flavor, it’s almost juicy. For vegans and those who can’t have gluten, our choice is peanut butter chocolate.
Joan’s on Third
Where: Beverly Grove
This gourmet mini marketplace has everything from gourmet salads and sandwiches to muffins and cupcakes. But those in the know go to Joan’s on Third for the gigantic, chewy cookies (from $2.95), with flavors ranging from classic chocolate chip to peanut butter and snickerdoodle.
Can't-miss treat: The classic chocolate-chip cookie is a must, literally oozing with melty-chocolate goodness. Try it with a latte ($4.25).
Where: Glendale, Burbank, and Downey
Cuban bakery Porto’s Bakery & Cafe has been a mainstay since 1960, and once you sample the goods, it’s easy to see why it’s lasted so long. Offering everything from savory pies to decadent wedding cakes, locals flock here from all over the city. Did we mention the prices are satisfying as well?
Can't-miss treat: If you’re in the mood for something savory, the potato balls ($.90) are famous for a reason. If it’s your sweet tooth that needs satisfying, order a refugiado—a flaky pastry filled with guava and cheese ($.75).