Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Places in L.A. to Take a ‘Treat Walk’
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Places in L.A. to Take a 'Treat Walk' - Old School Favorites for Nostalgia Lovers
There's nothing quite like the nostalgic flavors of childhood to transport you back to simpler times. For those seeking a sweet taste of yesteryear, Los Angeles offers plenty of old school favorites that will have you reminiscing in no time.
Make your first stop Yogurtland on Melrose for a swirl of tangy, tart frozen yogurt piled high with your favorite toppings. This self-serve paradise lets you customize creations, but we recommend sticking with the classics - rocky road, cookies and cream, cheesecake - for maximum nostalgia. Grab a spoon and let the memories wash over you with each creamy, dreamy bite.
For an iconic ice cream experience, cue up under the giant plaster cone outside Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour in Burbank. Farrell's has been serving up hearty sundaes and scrumptious sodas since the 60s. Challenge yourself to tackle the Zoo, complete with bananas, nuts, chocolate fudge and more, or take it easy with a single scoop waffle cone. Either way, it's sure to provide a healthy dose of nostalgia.
When a chocolate egg cream or phosphate soda calls your name, make a beeline for Galco's Old World Grocery in Highland Park. This century-old soda shop stocks hard-to-find sodas and candies that'll rocket you back through the decades. Try a refreshing celery soda or an old fashioned candy cigarette for a truly vintage treat.
For an authentic malt shop experience, the Apple Pan on Pico Boulevard should top your list. This tiny counter-service spot slings classic burger and shakes in a setting straight out of the 1950s. Take a seat at the U-shaped counter, order a thick grasshopper malt and let the ambience overwhelm you. The decades melt away with each creamy sip.
And you can't talk old school sweets in LA without mentioning the legendary Original Pantry Cafe downtown. Open 24 hours a day since 1924, this cash-only diner dishes out retro fare all day and night. Belly up to the counter for flapjacks drowned in syrup, or finish off your meal with a towering slice of their famous fruit crumb cake.
What else is in this post?
- Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Places in L.A. to Take a 'Treat Walk' - Old School Favorites for Nostalgia Lovers
- Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Places in L.A. to Take a 'Treat Walk' - Hidden Gems Off the Beaten Path
- Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Places in L.A. to Take a 'Treat Walk' - Ice Cream and Gelato Galore
- Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Places in L.A. to Take a 'Treat Walk' - Picture-Perfect Pastries and Cakes
- Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Places in L.A. to Take a 'Treat Walk' - Cookies and Brownies by the Batch
- Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Places in L.A. to Take a 'Treat Walk' - Churros, Beignets, and Other Fried Treats
- Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Places in L.A. to Take a 'Treat Walk' - Candy Stores Overflowing with Sweets
- Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Places in L.A. to Take a 'Treat Walk' - Local Chocolatiers Crafting Decadent Delights
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Places in L.A. to Take a 'Treat Walk' - Hidden Gems Off the Beaten Path
While LA's major tourist attractions get most of the hype, some of the city's tastiest sweets are tucked away in lesser-known spots off the beaten path. Venturing into LA's hidden neighborhoods reveals a treasure trove of delightful local bakeries, mom-and-pop ice cream parlors, and candy shops offering treats you won't find anywhere else.
Make your way to Mar Vista for scoops and cones at Van Leeuwen Ice Cream. This artisanal ice cream shop uses high quality ingredients like grass-grazed milk and fair trade chocolate to craft intense flavors like Sicilian pistachio and wild blueberry cheesecake. The occasional brown butter cookie special induces raptures - keep an eye out to try this blissful bite. Visitors consistently rave over the intense flavors and ultra-creamy texture of Van Leeuwen's small-batch ice creams.
For exquisite French pastries, Tarzana's Vive La Tarte is a destination worth the drive. Their Polynesian pear tart with almond cream is the perfect balance of crispy shell, luscious custard and fresh fruit. Or opt for their signature Kouign-amann, a caramelized French pastry guaranteed to elicit involuntary yums with every flaky, sugary bite. Vive La Tarte's pastries would hold their own against Paris's finest.
Over in residential El Segundo, Randy's Donuts delivers classic conveyor-belt donuts 24/7. Their gigantic donut sign is a landmark visible from LAX, but nothing beats biting into one of Randy's fluffy, glazed treats hot off the line. Sneak away with a box of their classic raised and cake donuts for a taste of old school goodness.
For artisanal confections, Sweet Bu Candy in Monterey Park whips up incredible hand-crafted candies and brittles. Their peanut brittle is perfectly crisp without any burnt bits. Flavors like black sesame peanut brittle and matcha white chocolate peanut brittle give a modern twist to a classic. Sweet Bu also excels at fruit-flavored hard candies, sour belts and taffies in fun flavors like dragonfruit and passionfruit. It's candy nirvana for the child in all of us.
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Places in L.A. to Take a 'Treat Walk' - Ice Cream and Gelato Galore
Los Angeles is home to a wealth of ice cream and gelato shops serving up inventive flavors and velvety-smooth textures. Gelato, in particular, has exploded in popularity in recent years, with L.A. gelaterias churning out artisanal versions that rival anything you’d find in Italy. The key to great gelato is an extremely low churn rate that results in a dense, almost elastic mouthfeel. Higher butterfat and less air whipped in means gelato tastes richer than ice cream, though it’s lower in calories. For the ultimate study in contrasts, embark on an L.A. ice cream and gelato crawl to discover your personal preferences.
For starters, hit up McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams for a classic ice cream experience dating back to 1949. This local favorite sources milk and cream from family farms for timeless flavors like double fudge brownie and Eureka lemon with graham crackers swirled in. The texture is silky and buttery - old school ice cream perfection. Or try inventive flavors like toasted coconut crunchy bits or double peanut butter chip for a new take. McConnell’s also serves up paletas, Mexican popsicles made with fresh fruit and cream.
Next, check out Gelato Bar, which keeps things small-batch with just 12 flavors rotating daily. Standouts include sea salt caramel and nutella sea salt, swirled together for salty-sweet perfection. Gelato Bar gets rave reviews for nailing the ideal gelato texture - dense but still silky. Or try unique flavors like rose gelato with pieces of Turkish Delight mixed in. The quality of ingredients and attention to technique really shine through.
For a true taste of Italy, Gelato Festival Los Angeles winner Leo’s Gelato earns raves. Flavors range from creamy pistachios from Sicily to zippy lemon sorbetto. The limited-edition avocado gelato - rich, nutty and faintly sweet - is a local favorite. Cantucci cookies give each bite extra crunch. Leo’s churns their small-batch gelato daily the traditional way. One reviewer declares theirs simply the “best gelato I’ve had since being in Italy.” High praise for this L.A. newcomer!
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Places in L.A. to Take a 'Treat Walk' - Picture-Perfect Pastries and Cakes
L.A.’s pastry and cake scene thrills the senses as much as the tastebuds. For those craving a visually stunning treat, the city offers plenty of picture-perfect pastries and cakes that look almost too beautiful to eat. But you’ll be glad you indulged once these edible artworks melt onto your tongue.
Ladurée on Beverly Drive brings a taste of Paris to L.A. with their melt-in-your-mouth macarons available in pistachio, rose or seasonal flavors. Flavors rotate frequently, but the lavender and violet macarons make regular appearances. Ladurée gets rave reviews for the perfectly smooth, crisp shells and lightly chewy interior. But most of all, people love taking photos of the row upon row of brightly-hued, flawlessly-constructed macarons. These elegant French confections are as much art as food.
For a modern twist on French pastries, stop by République in Hancock Park. Their signature kouign-amanns get a creative local kick with flavors like matcha-white chocolate or ube taro. The cross-section reveals layers of flaky, caramelized pastry that simply begs to be photographed. Or try République’s stunning berry or lemony tarts piled high with fresh fruit and flowers. Their pastries rack up the Instagram likes as fast as they sell out daily.
At Proof Bakery in Atwater Village, you can watch the bakers roll out buttery croissants by hand through the glass bakery walls. Order one warmed up and pull it apart for that perfect Instagrammable flaky layer shot. For more photos ops, try one of their vibrantly-colored fruit galettes or the cross-section of their banana cream pie. With Proof's photogenic pastries, your feeds will delight both your followers’ and your tastebuds.
L.A. also excels at sculptural layer cakes swirled with flowers, sprinkles and frosting. At Primo’s Donuts & Burgers, it’s not just the donuts that earn raves - their cake slices stacked sky-high with frosting rosettes in shades like lavender honey earns gasps of delight. Over at Cupcake ATM in Sherman Oaks, watch creamy frosting glide out onto cupcakes through a glass window. Their towering crunchy chocolate cupcake cake coated in sprinkles looks straight out of a fantasy. For a bite of unicorn magic, Sugar Feil’s fluffy Japanese souffle pancakes swirled with pastels and fruit make for a particularly Instagrammable breakfast.
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Places in L.A. to Take a 'Treat Walk' - Cookies and Brownies by the Batch
When a cookie or brownie craving hits, resist the temptation for a measly single portion. In a city like Los Angeles, go big or go home! L.A. offers plenty of bakeries and eateries churning out cookies and brownies by the irresistible dozen. Why settle for one when you can sample your way through a tray of assorted flavors? Embark on a cookies and brownies crawl for a captivating afternoon treat.
At Milk Jar Cookies in Century City, satisfying your sweet tooth comes easy with their lineup of colossal cookies in rotating flavors. The chocolate chip remains a classic, with well-distributed chunks throughout chewy dough. Meanwhile, the snickerdoodle and sugar cookie pack big cinnamon flavor into each outsized bite. Can’t decide? Go for the sampler and munch your way through four huge cookies for the perfect sweet break.
For gluten-free goodies, Sweet Laurel’s plant-based cookies and brownies prove you can healthify your treats without sacrificing flavor. Their chewy chocolate chip cookies deliver rich chocolate intensity. Even better, the brownies come loaded with mix-ins like salted peanut butter or rocky road chunks. Sweet Laurel skips refined sugar and gluten without missing a beat - or a morsel.
At Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, don't overlook their freshly baked cookies and blondies available by the half or full dozen. Sink your teeth into chunky chocolate chip or chewy oatmeal cookies just begging to be dunked into a scoop of ice cream. Forgo utensils and grab one of their ooey-gooey brown sugar blondies to eat on the go. Warm from the oven with melty edges, Van Leeuwen’s scratch-made cookie batches satisfy cravings in a single serving...or three.
Finally, for an iconic bakery experience, hit up Diddy Riese Cookies in Westwood. This late-night campus haunt slings doughy cookies and dense, fudgy brownies to bleary-eyed Bruins. Cookie staples like chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin keep students coming back, as do seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice. But it’s the hefty, chewy brownies that earn the most drools. Grab them a la carte, or go nuts and sandwich your cookies between brownie halves. Diddy Riese satisfies any late-night study session munchies.
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Places in L.A. to Take a 'Treat Walk' - Churros, Beignets, and Other Fried Treats
Los Angeles offers plenty of places to indulge in deep-fried delights like piping hot churros, beignets smothered in powdered sugar, and old-school carnival treats. These crispy, warm confections satisfy cravings in a nostalgic, comforting way. As Torsten Jacobi of Mighty Travels writes, “fried treats have a magical quality unmatched by other desserts.”
At the Original Pantry Cafe, their fresh-made churros deliver crunch on the outside and fluffy, tender dough inside. Rolled in cinnamon sugar while hot, these churros pack a one-two punch of textures. Jacobi recommends getting them on the side of a hearty Pantry breakfast. The contrast between hearty savory dishes like steak and eggs against the light sweetness of churros is a match made in heaven. Or visit for late-night snack, when hot churros pair perfectly with steaming cups of hot chocolate or coffee.
For beignets, Bottega Louie hits the spot with golden, puffy squares straight from New Orleans. Their fresh beignets nearly eclipse the plate under mounds of powdered sugar. Sinking your teeth into the crispy exterior reveals a light, eggy interior. Jacobi suggests sharing a plate of beignets for the table - they're the perfect pre-brunch appetizer to the restaurant's gourmet entrees. Just be ready for the powdered sugar drifting onto your clothes!
At California Donuts, every donut is deep fried to order and hits that ideal balance between greasy and sweet. Sink your teeth into old fashion cake donuts, apple fritters, and good old glazed for a perfect dose of fried and sugary. As Jacobi describes, the smell of frying donuts first thing in the morning is guaranteed to jolt your senses awake. Get there early on weekends to sample their tiramisu and chocolate bacon donuts - LAist named California Donuts the city's best for good reason.
For an iconic carnival treat, head straight to the Santa Monica Pier and grab a paper cone filled high with piping hot kettle corn from TJ’s Kettle Corn. Jacobi highlights the nostalgia of munching this fluffy, salty-sweet popcorn as you take in views of the Pacific and stroll the pier. The secret is in the handmade copper kettle cooking process, which yields extra crispy, perfectly popped kernels. TJ’s kettle corn masters the ideal balance of sweetness and saltiness in this beloved boardwalk snack.
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Places in L.A. to Take a 'Treat Walk' - Candy Stores Overflowing with Sweets
Los Angeles boasts its share of major candy retailers like Dylan’s Candy Bar or Rocket Fizz with their wide assortments of packaged sweets. But for something beyond run-of-the-mill selections, LA's independent candy shops overflow with diverse, high-quality offerings at every turn. These mom-and-pop storefronts reveal a world of confections, from handcrafted chocolates to nostalgic candies of yesteryear. You’ll find indulgences unavailable anywhere else, whether artisanal liqueur-filled chocolates, or shelves packed with glass jars of sour ribbons, taffy, and saltwater taffy. Prepare for a sensory overload of aromas and colors running floor to ceiling. But pace yourself - with samples galore, you’ll want to leave room to take some sweet souvenirs home.
At Stuff 2 Eat in Arcadia, you can watch their small-batch peanut brittle handmade on antique equipment, stretched impossibly thin to a see-through sheet before cutting. The flawless consistency and caramelized flavor make it some of LA’s finest. Treat your tastebuds to their chocolate-dipped version enrobed in a layer of silky dark chocolate. Lofty Pursuits in Orange County also excels at old-time candymaking, with potato chip cashews that crunch like the real thing. Watch employees pull and twist cotton candy into bouffant shapes, demonstrating candymaking flare at its finest. Touchscreen dispensers let you fill custom pinata boxes with your own assortment of sours, while kids delight in the store’s whimsical ambiance.
For more wacky candy inventions, stop by IT’SUGAR on Hollywood Boulevard, where you’ll find entire aisles dedicated to giant pixie sticks, sodas bursting with Pop Rocks, and dirt gummies in chocolate pudding cups. Alfalfa’s Market in Burbank also stuns with entire walls of bulk dispensers full to brimming with every candy imaginable. Peruse the selection of offbeat international candies like Ramune soda gummies or Scottish tablet fudge imported from across the globe. Or stick with childhood throwbacks like dots, jujubes, nonpareils and candy necklaces transporting you back through the decades.
Of course, what visit to a candy shop would be complete without sampling their chocolate offerings? At Compartés in Mid City, everything centers on chocolate, with entire collections inspired by old Hollywood and Palm Springs. Try their champagne truffles with edible gold flecks, or a custom chocolate bar packed with your favorite add-ins. Over at Mar's in Glendale, handmade creations like truffles with sangria flavor and champurrado hot chocolate caramels show incredible finesse. At their tasting bar, you can sample various chocolate confections and sip specialty drinking chocolate for the ultimate chocolate immersion. Amaze your loved ones by gifting them signature ingots molded into the shape of California or the Los Angeles cityscape.
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: 14 Places in L.A. to Take a 'Treat Walk' - Local Chocolatiers Crafting Decadent Delights
Los Angeles boasts its share of renowned chocolatiers crafting scrumptious confections that rival the finest sweets of Paris, Brussels, or Geneva. From bean-to-bar operations roasting their own cacao to French expatriates importing time-honored techniques, LA offers no shortage of masters devoted to the fine chocolate arts. As Torsten Jacobi of Mighty Travels observes, “great chocolate provides a multisensory experience, engaging all your senses with its look, aroma, taste and texture.” At LA’s premier chocolate shops, prepare to be captivated as their delicate bonbons and rich truffles transport your tastebuds on a blissful journey.
Mignon Chocolate in Culver City remains LA’s gold standard for artisanal chocolate. They import premium couverture from Belgium and France to craft award-winning ganaches, caramels and more. Their passion fruit bonbons surprise with a tangy liquid center, while the Earl Grey ganache truffles envelope your tongue in citrus-bergamot flavor. At Mignon, expect flawlessly thin shells giving way to decadent fillings. Or opt for a box of their of sea salt caramel squares, Jacobi’s personal favorite. The contrast of creamy and salty in each demure square makes for an exquisite morsel.
Over at Z Cioccolato in Beverly Hills, Oaxacan-born chocolatier Zuleyka Strasner fuses Mexican and European techniques for truly original creations. Her paletas, hand-carved chocolate pops, mimic flavors like mango chili. Jacobi raves over her signature Xangô truffles with Brazilian jackfruit and lime ganache in a single bite. At Z Cioccolato’s tasting bar, you can sample an entire rainbow of bonbons and sip drinking chocolate like spiced horchata. Strasner takes an artistic, avant-garde approach for chocolate far beyond the ordinary.
For bean-to-bar purists, LetterPress Chocolate in Pasadena roasts and grinds their own cocoa beans sourced directly from single estates. Tasting your way through their Origins collection highlights how terroir and varietal influence flavor. Their bars shine with fruity, floral notes unmatched by industrial chocolate. Or try their complex blended bars like Dulce de Leche with layers of flavor and velvety mouthfeel. Jacobi praises LetterPress for opening people’s eyes to the incredible diversity and nuance possible with fine chocolate.
ChocoVivo in Venice excels at chocolate’s potential for unique spicing and flavor accents. Their lively moles feature cinnamon, pasilla and ancho chiles. Jacobi recommends their chocolate-covered hazelnuts enrobed in tingling cinnamon and cayenne for an invigorating kick. Owner Patricia Tsai also prepares drinking chocolate Mayan-style with volcanic salt, whipped until frothy for true authenticity. At ChocoVivo, expect chocolate front and center but tailored distinctly for the California palate.