In partnership with Hilton, we're sharing all the bakeries we look forward to visiting every time we're in Los Angeles. On the menu: life-changing almond croissants, blueberry roti buns, Instagram-famous ricotta toast, and so much more.
I don't know about you, but whenever I plan a trip I organize my schedule around food. Whether that means making a dinner reservation weeks in advance or allotting an extra 30 minutes to stand in line for the best [insert popular food item here] in town, you can bet I know exactly where I'll be eating and drinking for just about every meal of the day.
Turns out, most of the people I work with at Food52 are the same way. And since I'm planning a trip to Los Angeles—and haven't visited since I was in grade school—they were just who I asked for recommendations.
I already had my evenings mapped out (can't wait to meet you, Pizzeria Mozza and n/naka), but there were serious gaps in my daytime plans, so I polled them for their favorite bakeries with excellent pastries, sandwiches, and more.
Their suggestions, some of which double as all-day cafes (in case you're in the mood for more of a sit-down vibe), did not disappoint. From a gem in Little Tokyo to an out-of-this-world croissant in Culver City, here are 10 of our favorite L.A. bakeries.
This can't-miss, uber-popular bakery in Venice is VP of Finance Victoria Maynard's favorite spot in the city. So much so, that she went every single morning during her last trip in August. "The food is great, I love sitting in the back garden, and the people-watching is amazing...lots of beards, people who can pull off hats, and turquoise jewelry," she says. She's ordered just about everything on the menu, but her go-tos are the egg sandwich and Mediterranean bowl. "Be sure to get a few salads or roasted vegetables for the table, and don't forget to buy bread and pastries to go," she adds.
2. Proof Bakery
"Proof Bakery is a little more off the beaten path, and everything they make is just so good," says Software Engineer Micki Balder. "For breakfast I love their chocolate croissant with a cappuccino, but I always get a slice of chocolate espresso cake to go. I have dreams about that thing."
"More than simple things done well, it's complicated things done simply that inspire me," Associate Editor Coral Lee says. "Don't let first impressions of Konbi deter you—the offerings seem simple, homey even, but they're executed with an insane attention to detail." Her order, always: the egg salad sandwich.
There's little not to love about this Santa Monica bakery and cafe, which serves up an all-day menu of pancakes, breakfast burritos, grain bowls, and more. But in my opinion, the best time to go is Thursday or Friday evening for their Hot Chicken Night, starring—you guessed it—plates and sandwiches with spicy, extra-crispy fried chicken and a rotating selection of chilled pies, like passionfruit meringue.
5. Cafe Dulce
"When I used to work in Downtown L.A., going to this sweet spot in the Little Tokyo neighborhood was the perfect break in the day," says Managing Editor Brinda Ayer. "Cafe Dulce specializes in classic Asian sweets—like the Malaysian roti bun and a chewy tapioca-flour roll from Korea—and turns them on their head." The result: delicious mash-ups like the blueberry roti bun, green tea brick toast, and “dino churro” (Brinda describes it as "a sesame-studded tapioca batter that’s extruded in an orb shape, deep-fried, and covered in cinnamon sugar, ultimately resembling a very tasty dinosaur egg"). And if you're in need of a caffeine pick-me-up, "Their Hong Kong milk tea and Vietnamese iced coffee are forces to be reckoned with," she adds.
The husband-and-wife team behind République on La Brea Avenue have been churning out top-notch pastries, sandwiches, and brunch dishes, plus a much-loved dinner menu, since 2014. "The lines can be long, especially on the weekends, so get there early," says longtime fan Grace Renner, our brand strategy manager. "You can’t go wrong, but my personal favorite treat is the banana nutella crostata—it's unreal!"
"The almond croissant at Destroyer changed my life," says Ella Quittner, our Absolute Best Tests columnist. "I think about it at least once a week—sometimes more. The cookies are also worth obsessing over."
traveling in eating my way around L.A., home of vibrant vegetables that just taste better there, I try to avoid the trappings that I associate with New York, namely pizza," says Account Manager Mollie Doherty. It couldn't possibly be better, she always tells herself, but at Lodge Bread Company, it is. Why? "It's because of the way the tangy tomatoes and melty mozzarella are laid upon a soft, sour canvas—perfectly crunchy-crusted," she explains. "I always grab a loaf of one of their top sellers, seeded country, on my way out and stuff it into my carry-on to show the bread heads back home. I'll never follow my own rules again."
This Cuban bakery with locations around the city is one of Ad Operations Director Joyce Kim's must-visits when in town. "Their cheese rolls, guava strudel, and Cuban sandwich are all so delicious," she says. Bonus: If you find a pastry you absolutely can't get enough of, the bakery will ship them to you frozen and unbaked, so you can have them fresh at home.
Just about every time Sales Director Lizzie Greene goes to Los Angeles, she makes a visit to Superba Food & Bread. "This spot is the perfect place to grab a bite before you start your day in Venice or take a nice break from the beach at lunch," she says. "I usually have a sandwich while I'm there and take some cookies and croissants to go!"
1. Spend the afternoon at an art Museum
After fueling up with a pastry or two and a cappuccino, take in a bit of the city's art scene with a day at the museum. There are a lot to choose from, but contemporary art fans will want to make a trip to The Broad (it currently houses two of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms), Kohn Gallery in Hollywood, and Artspace Warehouse (which features affordable original artworks from emerging artists). For a mix of iconic artworks, architecture, and stunning gardens (not to mention, sprawling views of the city), head to The Getty Center, where admission is free.
2. Take a scenic hike
One of the best things about visiting Los Angeles (or, you know, living there) is being able to take a break from the city and enjoy a bit of nature and fresh air with a hike. Where you're located (and whether or not you have a car) will probably dictate which trail you choose, but this list from Modern Hiker breaks down all of the best trails (and the breathtaking views that come with them) throughout the county. If you're just looking for a quick trek, Runyon Canyon is probably your best bet, as it's both easy and accessible (plus, there's a special area for dogs, and who doesn't love that).
3. Hit the Beach
Another great thing about Los Angeles? It's many, many beaches. Whether you're into surfing, sun-soaking, people-watching, sand sports, or sunset strolls, Los Angeles is one of the best places to do it.
You've probably heard of Venice Beach, the Santa Monica Pier, Malibu, and Manhattan Beach (all of which are worth visiting, by the way), but there are also quieter beaches to choose from, like Nicholas Canyon Beach and Will Rogers State Beach. For a beach with a little bit of everything, including spots for making bonfires, head to Dockweiler State Beach, which just so happens to be minutes from LAX airport (in case you want to get your ocean fix right when you land).
4. Check out the city's best shopping
Remember Pretty Woman? The city has a reputation for being a—if not the—destination for world-class shopping, and luckily, there's something for everyone. For upscale and designer buys (or browsing), look to the obvious choices, like Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Fred Segal's main outpost in West Hollywood, and The Grove (a shopping and dining complex that just so happens to be next to The Original Farmers Market). For vintage finds, check out Melrose Trading Post (a weekly outdoor marketplace), Jet Rag (which has $1 sales on Sundays), Foxhole (denim is their specialty), or Amsterdam Modern if you're hunting for furniture instead of fashion.
5. Snag tickets to a show
Los Angeles may not have Broadway, but seeing as it's home to Hollywood, it does have a ton of excellent options for live entertainment—from stand-up comedy to award-winning theater. See who's on at The Comedy Store or watch improv at The Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre for a few laughs from well-known comedians and new up-and-comers. Or get tickets for a play at The Geffen Playhouse, which showcases world-class theatrical performances, new works, and more. If you're looking for something a bit more whimsical (and know someone who's a member), visit the infamous Magic Castle for dinner and, of course, some magic.
If music's your thing, there are plenty of venues. A few ideas: The Forum for concerts (starring everyone from Blake Shelton to Billie Eilish); the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for the classics; and the legendary Troubador for catching a glimpse of the next big act.
We're teaming up with Hilton to share our go-to spots for the very best baked goods—from croissants and crostatas to sandwiches and pizza—in Los Angeles. When planning your trip, make sure to add these Food52-approved bakeries and excursions to your itinerary (not sure how to get into the Magic Castle? Our partner Hilton can help with that). Oh, don't forget to book your hotel: Hilton has super-comfy, amenities-filled locations all around Los Angeles.