In the notoriously trend-heavy, gluten-and-dairy intolerant, vegan-and-vegan-esque, weight-watching, juice-cleansing, post-dinner-coconut-oil-pulling Los Angeles, pastry aficionados and butter-lovin’ Francophiles gotta band together, and typically the areas which they together defend are the fragrant, woodpaneled cafés and pâtisseries scattered around corners of the city. More power to them, because the art of pastry ought to be preserved – nothing so singularly comforts and heightens the senses like butter cut with sugar and flour, flaking and baking and emitting those otherworldly aromas. Go to these bakeries, they’ll ease your soul, we promise.
They don’t make pudding often, but the Proof is in their sublime, flaky double-baked and almond cream-filled almond croissants, blood orange chocolate cardamom cake, seasonal galettes and never-not-popular sandwiches. Located in the diverse, charming Atwater Village neighborhood, Proof has quickly risen to national fame, having been admired by such publications as Travel + Leisure, Kinfolk Magazine, Bon Appétit and others for their perfectly sweet and always fresh offerings. Proof is a largely European-inspired bakery, which is apparent in their simple, clean design that centers around a long counter of daily-made pastries, but every so often, there’s a little surprise, like their occasional black sesame financiers or empanadas.
The child of an American Italian baker, The Village Bakery and Café in Atwater Village leaves no biscotti or cannoli-lover wanting (they even make their own Cannoli shells), but there’s certainly also an idea pastry to be found for every kind of sweet tooth. The cakes are traditional and comforting, like the lemon rosemary olive oil cake, brown sugar cake, chocolate brioche and others; while eccentric eaters are drawn to their maple bacon scone and donut muffins. The bakery specializes in sunny, sweet breakfasts and regulars often drop by in the morning to take a seat on their patio to enjoy calorie-laden brioche French toast dripping with maple syrup before a walk around the village.
Angelenos and visitors walking down the busy commercial stretch of Wilshire Boulevard in West LA near Brentwood would be remiss not to pop into the curious green Amandine Café, an inviting ivy-covered pâtisserie, with white umbrellas and tables set up in the front. The taste of this place is just as comforting as the design – fresh seasonal fruit tarts, clafoutis and gâteaux prettily arranged like the cake displays in Japan (where the owner hails from) and counters loaded with flaky, buttery pastries filled with cinnamon, almond paste or chocolate. The elegant displays and irresistible aromas transport you far from the grey concrete surroundings outside on the street, and that first bite? You’ll be in the Paris of your dreams.
The elegant and earthy European-style Susina Bakery & Café, marked by an iron-draped entrance is giving its neighbor Starbucks a run for their money. After all, if it’s a competition between a green omelette freshly assembled with goat cheese, pesto, avocado and roasted zucchini and a toasted-from-frozen breakfast sandwich stuffed with powdered egg and a few tissue-thin strips of bacon, the omelette is going to win pretty much every time. For those on the go along industrious Beverly Boulevard, a quick pop in for an easy and delicious spinach and cheese croissant and a big cup of quality java will do just the trick. Or, really, anything under their long glass case of cakes, Italian shortbread cookies, bear claws, biscotti, salads and more.
From an early business bent on survival based in a Cuban kitchen to a 300-square-foot Sunset Boulevard bakery to a 20,000-square-foot facility with outposts in Burbank, Downey and Glendale, Porto’s Bakery has fully achieved the American Dream and their loyal supporters are never less grateful for it. Still run by the same family, the bakery offers traditional opera, strawberry shortcake, red velvet and carrot cakes as well as tamales, empanadas, tuna puffs, croquettes, meat pies and a local favorite, the Potato Ball, a potato stuffed with ground beef. Their coffees are also as diverse as the rest of the menu, offering all kinds of espresso beverages, plus white chocolate mochas, pumpkin lattes and Cortaditos.