Indulge Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Spots in L.A. for a Delectable Treat Walk
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Spots in L.A. for a Delectable Treat Walk - Old School Favorites with a Twist
Los Angeles is a city that loves its classic treats, but it also isn’t afraid to put creative spins on time-honored favorites. When you want the comfort of an old school dessert paired with innovative new flavors, there are plenty of places to indulge.
Milk Bar first originated in New York City, but Angelenos are just as obsessed with Christina Tosi’s wild takes on nostalgic desserts. The soft serve at Milk Bar isn’t just vanilla or chocolate - you can get flavors like cornflake crunch or cereal milk flavored soft serve swirled with crunchy cereal pieces. Milk Bar is also known for its famous Crack Pie, which puts a spin on classic chess pie with its oat crust and gooey filling.
République has some of the best classic French pastries in the city, like croissants, pain au chocolat, and macarons. But their signature baked good is the chocolate chip cookie. This is an amped up version made with high quality chocolate and sea salt flakes on top. The outside edges get crispy in the oven while the inside stays fudgy. It’s the perfect balance of a traditional chocolate chip cookie with an upscale twist.
Magnolia Bakery originated in New York but expanded to L.A. with their banana pudding as the star of the show. The classic combination of vanilla wafers, fresh bananas, and creamy vanilla pudding is topped with whipped cream and crunchy nib sugar here. It’s the epitome of comfort food made from simple, quality ingredients done exceptionally well.
Ladurée brings Paris to L.A. with their double baked almond macarons sandwiched with decadent ganache fillings. While the macarons stay traditional, they offer more unique flavors like rose petal, licorice, and violet. You can get your macaron fix while exploring inventive new flavor combinations.
Salt & Straw is quintessentially West Coast with the use of local, seasonal ingredients in their ice cream. While you’ll see common flavors like chocolate and vanilla, most of the options are highly creative like honey lavender, avocado & strawberry sherbet, and brown butter pecan brittle. The wacky flavor combinations and high quality ingredients put a whole new spin on ice cream.
What else is in this post?
- Indulge Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Spots in L.A. for a Delectable Treat Walk - Old School Favorites with a Twist
- Indulge Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Spots in L.A. for a Delectable Treat Walk - Hidden Gems Off the Beaten Path
- Indulge Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Spots in L.A. for a Delectable Treat Walk - From Doughnuts to Decadent Desserts
- Indulge Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Spots in L.A. for a Delectable Treat Walk - Satisfy Your Late Night Cravings
- Indulge Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Spots in L.A. for a Delectable Treat Walk - Local Artisanal Chocolatiers
- Indulge Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Spots in L.A. for a Delectable Treat Walk - Delight in Delectable Ice Cream Creations
- Indulge Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Spots in L.A. for a Delectable Treat Walk - Indulge in L.A.'s Sweetest Treats by Neighborhood
- Indulge Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Spots in L.A. for a Delectable Treat Walk - The City's Best Bakeries and Patisseries
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Spots in L.A. for a Delectable Treat Walk - Hidden Gems Off the Beaten Path
Beyond L.A.’s famous dessert destinations, there are plenty of hidden gems serving up sweet treats off the well-trodden tourist path. Venturing to these lesser-known spots lets you experience the diversity of desserts across L.A. while avoiding the crowds.
Sweetart in Echo Park is a tiny bakery with huge flavor. This is the place to go for beautifully decorated, Lebanese-inspired layered cakes. The Rose Cake has a floral aroma from its rosewater-infused whipped cream frosting. Each tender layer soaks up the lightly sweet syrup, making every bite melt-in-your-mouth decadent. Sweetart rotates their cake flavors daily, so call ahead to see what’s available. With only a few small tables inside, be prepared to get your cake to go and find a nice outdoor spot to dive in.
Delicious Little Cakes in North Hollywood is a true mom-and-pop shop, with the owners hand-making each cake and cupcake themselves. Their banana pudding cupcake is next level, with chunks of fresh bananas swirled into the frosting and creamy banana pudding as a surprise filling in the center. The red velvet cupcakes are iconic, made from scratch with premium chocolate and topped with perfect swirls of cream cheese frosting. With a constantly rotating menu, you never know what uniquely delicious creations you’ll find on your visit.
For homemade ice cream in new and unexpected flavors, head to McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams. The location in Grand Central Market downtown is conveniently located for dessert after exploring the stalls. Go for ice cream flavors you won’t find anywhere else, like Brazilian coffee made with fair trade beans, or honey walnut with crunchy candied walnuts swirled in. The creamy texture and intense flavors make this an unforgettable ice cream experience.
Nat’s Early Bite Coffee Shop in Sherman Oaks is a delightfully old-fashioned diner with mile-high meringue pies that are works of art. The lemon meringue pie piles fluffy meringue taller than the filling itself. Each sweet-tart bite melts smoothly on your tongue. The chocolate cream pie is intensely chocolatey while still light. With a crispy, flaky crust and clouds of meringue, it’s an American classic executed to perfection.
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Spots in L.A. for a Delectable Treat Walk - From Doughnuts to Decadent Desserts
Los Angeles packs a serious punch when it comes to desserts, with indulgences ranging from humble old fashioned doughnuts to upscale French-inspired pastries worthy of true patisserie connoisseurs. In a city this diverse, your sweet tooth can take you on a journey all over the world without ever leaving town.
To start your L.A. dessert tour on the classic side, head to California Donuts in Koreatown. This no-frills spot cranks out hot, fresh doughnuts 24/7. Watch the doughnut machine in action through the front window as your order gets fried up. Glazed, maple, and chocolate old fashioneds are crowd pleasers, with a light yeast dough and just the right amount of chew. Locals rave about the apple fritters, encasing tart green apples in cakey dough for the perfect balance of flavors. With a box of still-warm doughnuts and a cup of coffee, you’ll be ready to keep exploring L.A.’s sweeter side.
For Fortune Cookies that live up to their name, seek out the unassuming storefront of Monarch Cupcake in Downey. This tiny bakery churns out some of the most gorgeous, elaborate custom cakes in L.A. The designers can bring any theme or character to life in edible form, from a stack of Tiffany’s signature robin’s egg blue boxes to an underwater fantasy scene complete with candy coral and a fondant octopus. Even if you don’t have a special occasion, stop by to see their cake creations on display or pick up a few artfully-decorated cupcakes. Each one looks too good to eat.
When your sweet tooth craves something more luxe, a visit to Bottega Louie in Downtown L.A. feels like stepping into a Parisian patisserie. Display cases brimming with macarons, eclairs, tarts, and artisan chocolates offer a visual feast before you even take a bite. Bottega Louie has mastered both flavor and presentation, with edible works of art plated for the ‘gram. Don’t miss their signature Saint Honoré Cake, a true showstopper crowned with caramelized cream puffs that gets sliced tableside with crisp ceremonious flair.
The desserts at République, also downtown, rival those of Paris’ best bakeries as well. Pastry chef Margarita Manzke honed her skills in France before bringing her passion back to L.A. The Paris-Brest here encapsulates her attention to detail, with a perfect ring of choux pastry encasing hazelnut praline cream made from scratch. The chocolate éclairs have an ethereal lightness to the puff pastry and rich intensity in the chocolate ganache filling. Upgrade breakfast with one of République’s patisserie-level pastries served alongside expertly-prepared café crème.
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Spots in L.A. for a Delectable Treat Walk - Satisfy Your Late Night Cravings
Los Angeles is a city that never sleeps, with restaurants and bakeries staying open late to satisfy those after-dark cravings. When hunger strikes in the wee hours, you’ll find plenty of spots ready to deliver a sugar fix.
Sweetfin Poke is beloved for their super fresh, customizable poke bowls. But late at night, it’s all about their Soft Serve Sundae. Load up your sundae with your choice of ube, matcha or vanilla soft serve, then pile on toppings like mochi, hazelnut crunch and strawberries. The ube soft serve in particular is crave-worthy, with its vibrant purple color and subtle coconut flavor. Sweetfin keeps the sundae bar open until close, so you can drop in post-bar hopping to create your own decadent masterpiece.
For homemade ice cream in exciting flavors until 1am, head to McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams in downtown L.A.’s Grand Central Market. The salted caramel chip is a signature flavor, with crunchy bits of housemade caramel nestled in velvety cream. The chocolate covered pretzel swirls salty crunchy pretzels right into rich chocolate ice cream. With always-rotating options, late night is a great time to sample flavors before they’re gone.
If you’re seeking a true old fashioned ice cream parlor vibe in the wee hours, make your way to Fosselman’s in Alhambra. This 1930s throwback shop serves made-from-scratch ice cream in classic flavors like cherry vanilla and mocha almond fudge. The real treat is their specialty sundaes like the Black & Tan, with chocolate sauce “drafted” slowly over dense vanilla bean ice cream. Grab a stool at the neon-lit counter for a late night sundae the way they used to make ‘em.
Nothing satisfies a 3am sweet tooth quite like a warm, fresh doughnut. California Donuts is open 24 hours for piping hot old fashioneds, crispy apple fritters, and pillowy maple bars. True night owls flock here in the post-last call hours, when hot trays of doughnuts roll out nonstop. Go for a decadent ube taro doughnut or classic glazed - either will hit the spot on your way home after a long night out.
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Spots in L.A. for a Delectable Treat Walk - Local Artisanal Chocolatiers
While global confectionery companies flood grocery store shelves with mass-produced chocolate bars, L.A. is also home to passionate artisanal chocolatiers meticulously crafting cacao into edible works of art. Seek out these small batch makers for an elevated chocolate experience that feels worlds away from a standard Hershey's bar.
Mignon Chocolate crafts gorgeous, jewel-like chocolates as carefully composed as the finest pastries. Each ganache-filled bonbon features thoughtful flavors and decorative hand-painted designs. Try the coffee bonbon with its delicate wafer-thin chocolate shell revealing rich espresso liqueur cream within. The Earl Grey bonbon balances bergamot notes against dark chocolate. For a real showstopper, the gold leaf-adorned champagne bonbon wraps the effervescence of bubbly in velvety dark chocolate. Mignon's dazzling gift boxes make perfect edible souvenirs.
For socially-conscious chocolate, look no further than LetterPress Chocolate. This artisanal bean-to-bar maker directly trades with cacao farmers to ensure fair wages. Their single origin bars spotlight the unique flavor profiles of cacaos from Peru, Guatemala and beyond. The Peru 70% bar bursts with tangy fruit notes, while the Guatemala 80% bar reveals cardamom and black pepper complexities. Beyond supporting ethical cocoa sourcing, LetterPress' distinct geometric packaging makes their bars stand out. A square of their rich chocolate makes a thoughtful host gift or anytime treat for yourself.
At Compartés Chocolatier in Brentwood, Jonathan Grahm sources rare heirloom cacao to craft distinctive single-origin chocolate bars for true cacao aficionados. Standouts like the Marquesas Dark bar made from 100-year-old cacao trees reveal tasting notes of apricot and tobacco for an unexpected flavor experience. Compartés' chocolate bars double as edible art, with colorful, vibrantly patterned wafers distinguishing each origin. For limited releases, Compartés collaborates with artists, designers and celebrities on specialty packaging. The bars' hip vibe has garnered Compartés chocolates a loyal Hollywood following.
For bonbons with inventive flavor juxtapositions, Le Bon Gourmet delights with unexpected taste combinations like saffron-rosewater or passionfruit-hibiscus cream enrobed in chocolate. Proprietor Peggy Leong sources organic and fair trade ingredients to craft textures as diverse as the fillings, from creamy ganaches to fruit-studded jellies. The hand-painted chocolate exteriors resemble miniature works of edible art. For a truly tailored sweet experience, you can consult with Le Bon Gourmet's chocolatiers to have customized bonbons created just for your tastes. Whether classic or unexpected, Le Bon Gourmet's fusions showcase chocolate's versatility.
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Spots in L.A. for a Delectable Treat Walk - Delight in Delectable Ice Cream Creations
Los Angeles dazzles with boundless creativity, and this innovative spirit infuses the city’s artisanal ice cream scene. In just the last few years, L.A. has seen an explosion of small-batch ice cream makers bringing unconventional new flavors and ultra-premium ingredients to a once-staid dessert. These new creameries are far cries from the neon parlors of yesteryear. Scooping experimental, chef-driven ice creams with unique local twists, they offer glimpses into L.A.’s culinary future through the frozen fare.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams pioneered the artisanal ice cream movement nationwide, and their Los Angeles outposts let Angelenos delight in Jeni’s one-of-a-kind flavor combinations. Jeni’s revels in balancing sweet with savory, smokey with bright, floral with earthy. Their Goat Cheese with Roasted Cherries incorporates fresh cherries and tangy goat cheese into each cream-filled bite. The combination of sweet and salty in their Lemon & Buttermilk with Blueberry Jam swirl keeps you returning spoonful after spoonful. Jeni’s limited edition offerings change with the seasons, ensuring there’s always a new distinctive flavor creation to try on each visit.
Coolhaus pushes ice cream innovation even further by pairing inspired flavors with entirely unconventional delivery methods. This roaming ice cream sandwich truck lets you dive into wild inventions like the Fried Chicken & Waffles ice cream pressed between fried chicken-flavored cookies. The Cuban cigar ice cream mimics a real stogie’s components in frozen form, with vanilla tobacco ice cream, chocolate cigar “wrapper”, and crushed vanilla wafer “ash.” Coolhaus’s mind-bending, Insta-worthy flavors make wacky ice cream creations an edible reality.
Wanderlust Creamery stems from the whimsy of husband and wife team Adriano Paganini and Chelsey Luger. Each artfully swirled pint echoes the couple’s passion for exploration. Sitting down with a Wanderlust pint feels like embarking on an ice cream odyssey, from the hoppy IPA flavor inspired by craft beer to the honey goat cheese with bee pollen “Beeslice” flavored like cheesecake. Wanderlust even makes CBD-infused ice creams for the chill seeker. Their ever-changing flavor list guarantees euphoric new taste discoveries with each visit.
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Spots in L.A. for a Delectable Treat Walk - Indulge in L.A.'s Sweetest Treats by Neighborhood
Los Angeles spans over 500 square miles, so narrowing down where to find the city’s best sweets can be a challenge. Luckily, L.A.’s neighborhoods each offer their own sweet specialties. Exploring by area makes sampling the city’s decadent desserts much more manageable.
Downtown L.A. tempts with some of the most lavish French patisserie outside of Paris. Bottega Louie impresses with edible works of art like Saint Honoré cake and artisan macarons in flavors like lavender and salted caramel. Nearby République crafts equally stunning creations, with picture-perfect éclairs and Paris-Brest pastries transporting you straight to France. The Grand Central Market stalls add diversity, with homemade McConnell’s ice cream in adventurous flavors and Mikawaya’s classic Japanese mochi treats.
West Hollywood satiates cravings morning to night with Sweetfin’s late night sundaes, Milk Bar’s cereal milk soft serve, and Randy’s Donuts’ 24-hour piping hot treats. Applaud this classic glazed ring king, but also try Randy’s online-famous options like the ube taro donut with purple yam glaze.
Beverly Hills dazzles at B Sweet Dessert Bar, where glittery, too-beautiful-to-eat unicorn cakes get sliced tableside with dramatic sparkler flares. Massimo Riccioli handcrafts edible luxury at Rita’s Italian Ice, with flavors like Tahitian vanilla bean and medjool date. Cupcake ATM vending machines provide gourmet cupcake fixes in a pinch.
Abbot Kinney in Venice promises handmade bliss at Sweet Rose Creamery artisanal ice cream shop. Their small-batch flavors like honey lavender and brown butter cinnamon roll capture the essence of peak season ingredients.
Silver Lake’s Lula’s exemplifies organic, sustainable ingredients in vegan ice creams like toasted coconut chip and chocolate hazelnut fudge. McConnell’s also brings bold frozen creations to Silver Lake, like Eureka lemon and marionberry pie ice creams.
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Spots in L.A. for a Delectable Treat Walk - The City's Best Bakeries and Patisseries
With a culinary heritage rooted in Mexican, Japanese, Armenian and French influences, it’s no wonder Los Angeles boasts such a vibrant bakery scene. From old school favorites to innovative newcomers, the city offers no shortage of exceptional breads, pastries and sweets.
The French tradition shines at Bub & Grandma’s Bread Co. in West Hollywood, where fluffy croissants get their signature flakes from a 72-hour fermentation process. Their sourdough batards have developed a cult following for their crispy crust and springy, stretchy interior. For the full French bakery experience, grab a ham and cheese croissant and loaf of country bread, then find a sunny café table nearby to channel a Parisian morning.
The cheese pockets at Porto's Bakery & Cafe evoke memories of hand-held Latin American street foods, but on a grander scale with an endless selection of fillings. Their locations draw huge crowds craving their specialty Cuban pastries like guava-cheese strudel. The potato balls bring mashed potato joy to pastry form, while their custom cakes impress with intricate fondant details worthy of any quinceañera.
For a Japanese take on French sweets, follow the crowds to Mikawaya in Little Tokyo. Flaky-soft cream puffs get filled with matcha or chocolate custard, with seasonal options like sakura cream in spring. Their mochi menu features both traditional and inventive flavor combos, in fillings from azuki bean paste to honeydew melon. It’s easy to sample widely with Mikawaya’s freshly made bite-sized treats.
Newcomer Proof Bakery emerged as one of L.A.’s most buzzed-about young artisan bakeries, with James Beard-nominated baker Na Young Ma at the helm. Their signature sourdough loaves develop rich depth of flavor over two to three days of fermentation. Every morning’s pastries sell out quickly - the kouign amman’s caramelized sugar layers have a cult following.
For gluten-free sweets, Sweet LaLa’s in Studio City makes tasty indulgence accessible to all diets. Their flaky fruit galettes encase seasonal fillings from stone fruit to persimmon in tender, naturally gluten-free buckwheat dough. Even their chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon rolls could fool any gluten-loving tastebuds.