San Francisco, CA
Some of the best bakeries in San Francisco are listed below. You’ll find that I know my cookies :). Also see our SF Bakeries Map for precise locations.
Tartine Bakery, corner of 18th & Guerrero St, Mission
The pastries here are outstanding and generally regarded to be the best in San Francisco. In fact, in 2009 the co-owners were selected by their peers to win the national James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef and Baker. That’s why there is often a long line. Parking can be difficult too. But, if you have some time and patience this is definitely the place to go.
Vive La Tarte, 1160 Howard St, SF
Excellent Belgium baked goods in a new modern setting. However, this is a smellier part of town that won’t appeal to some. Still, the quality of the food makes this cafe worth a visit.
La Boulangerie Bakery & Cafe, various locations
The original bakery once known as Bay Bread is still located at 2325 Pine St off Fillmore St. Started in 1996 by a French trained baker this local chain has rapidly expanded … to nine SF cafes plus four more in Marin & East Bay. We particularly like the La Boulange de Hayes, La Boulange de Cole (1000 Cole St, SF) and La Boulange de Polk (2300 Polk St, SF) locations. La Boulange de Palo Alto (151 University/High, Palo Alto, near Stanford) has a nice decor. By the way, Starbucks bought the La Boulange chain then closed it down … the original owner bought it back and renamed it La Boulangerie
It has obviously hit the sweet spot for San Francisco locals. The setting is cute, food excellent, almond croussaints outstanding, and lattes are soup bowl sized.
Hot Cookie, 407 Castro St (just south of Market St … see map), Castro
One of the richest tasting chocolate chip cookies around. Excellent and freshly baked, i.e., “hot”. I rarely visit the Castro area without buying one. They also have cookies with shocking names to entertain tourists.
Arizmendi Bakery Cooperative, 1331 9th Ave (see map), Inner Sunset
Baked breads, pizzas, & basic pastries. Very popular locals’ place in an interesting neighborhood two blocks south of Golden Gate Park. Has won a lot of recognition by local newspapers for “best” bakery in SF.
Specialty’s Cafe & Bakery, 22 Battery St & 1 Post St, Financial District
This was my most frequented lunch place when working in the SF Financial district. Specialty’s is a good soup & sandwich chain but I really go for the fresh baked cookies. There are several other locations in San Francisco district and even a few on the Peninsula, e.g., 1886 S Norfolk St/Fashion Island Blvd, San Mateo. Note that Specialities is closed weekends.
b. Pattiserie, 2821 California St west of Divisadero
We haven’t been here (yet :) but their Kouign Amann was highly recommended to us as a possible “best.” See more.
#1 Coffee Dipping Cookie
After years of serious research, in probably a hundred different San Francisco coffee shops, I finally found my favorite biscotti of them all. Very tasty, crunchy but not too scratchy or hard, nuts, chocolate, excellent both dipped in coffee or au naturel. Outstanding! But, alas, they could be found in only a few coffee shops.
To our surprise we eventually discovered this treasure of a biscotti at Trader Joe’s Grocery Store. They were cheap too, at about $4/bag of eight as compared to coffee shop biscotti which run from $1.50-$2.50 each. Even at Trader Joes you’ll need to search to find them. Look for the private label “Trader Giotto’s chocolate almond Biscotti”. If you are a cookie monster like me it will be well worth your effort.
House of Bagels, 5030 Geary Blvd/Park Presidio, Outer Richmond — The best bagels in San Francisco using a recipe imported from Brooklyn, New York. Better than Noah’s Bagels though not as good as what I remember in Boston (but who can compete with memories of one’s first real bagel :). We usually pick up a baker’s dozen on the way back from Sausalito. The deli service is pleasant and competent.
They sell their bagels wholesale too; you can tell who made them by the taste. And, there are a few other locations with the same name and a similar taste, e.g., 526 University Ave, Palo Alto, and 605 Laurel St, San Carlos. However, these other locations are no longer affiliated with the Geary Blvd bakery.
Yes, these are some of the best San Francisco bakeries around. You’ll definitely enjoy this San Francisco thing to do :).