The saying goes that there’s always room for dessert, and with all the amazing desserts that we have in L.A., saving room is definitely the way to go. Perhaps the mood calls for a refreshing (and gluten-free!) Korean shaved ice, or perhaps a classic pie is the order of the day. From restaurants with outstanding baked goods to standalone bakeries and confections boutiques, here are the best places for desserts in L.A., along with what to order at each of them.
The 17 Best Desserts in L.A.
Cento Pasta Bar has combined two of the best desserts out there, and has done so marvelously. Think of a creamy banana pudding, but combined with Kahlua and Nilla wafers, dusted with cocoa powder and served in a fun tableside presentation. It’s a sweet treat that’s enough to share, but we wouldn’t be surprised if you want to finish the whole thing on your own.
4921 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90016; centopasta.com
Dinner at this high-end seafood restaurant would mean dropping quite a bit of dough, but it’s worth it even for this sundae alone. The creamy milk soft serve is topped with outstanding, ember-smoked salted caramel sauce and cacao nibs. It seems like a simple dessert to have at an upscale restaurant, but this is the best soft serve in town.
8500 Beverly Blvd. Suite 117, Los Angeles, CA 90048; www.anglerrestaurants.com/los-angeles
When the weather is warm, there are few better desserts than shaved ice, and Oakobing in Koreatown has turned the summer standard into an art form with their beautifully constructed bowls. The mango melon is made with fluffy shaved ice flavored with real mangoes, then topped with small balls of fresh melon that are meticulously arranged. All of this is served in a bowl carved out of real melon for a treat that’s both refreshing and stunning.
3300 W. 6th St. Unit 2, Los Angeles, CA 90020; www.oakobing.com
Millet Crepe’s crème brûlée crêpe has gone social media viral, but it’s worth the hype. The crêpe is rolled like an ice cream cone, then filled with custard and another filling of your choice, then topped with sugar that’s brûléed with a torch for the final finish. It’s a rich and messy dessert, so be prepared.
2011 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025; www.milletcrepe.com
Pizzeria Mozza’s butterscotch budino is one of LA’s most iconic desserts, and has been a mainstay on the menu for years; many have tried to replicate but never quite nailed it. It’s a seemingly simple dessert—rich and creamy, and topped with warm caramel, a bit of sea salt and whipped cream for a taste that’s both sweet and salty. Pastry chef Dahlia Navarez also pairs the budino with rosemary pine nut cookies, for a little something extra.
641 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036; la.pizzeriamozza.com
Winston Pies is named such because the owner grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and the menu also features an outstanding Carolina Classic. Our favorite cherry pie in town, the flaky double crust is overflowing with plump, whole dark cherries and we like that the filling is not overwhelmed with sugar and instead showcases the natural flavors of the fruit. This pie (and some of the other flavors) is also available gluten-free or vegan if you pre-order.
Multiple locations; www.winstonpies.com
They claim that the key lime pie is Jon Bon Jovi’s favorite dessert, and while that is unverified, it certainly is easy to see how it may be true. Fishing with Dynamite’s key lime pie is served as a mini whole pie, made with graham cracker crust which pairs well with the custard. The pie is then topped with brûléed Italian lime meringue for a finish that’s, dare-we-say, even better than anything you’d find in Florida.
1148 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, CA 90266; www.eatfwd.com
Sweet Lady Jane has grown from a neighborhood bakery that opened in 1988 to six locations around the LA area, and one of their most famous cakes is the triple berry, a yellow butter cake with three layers of lightly sweetened whipped cream filled with blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. A classic Angeleno dessert that remains fresh and elegant.
Multiple locations; sweetladyjane.com
This small Japanese-owned patisserie in Lomita has been around for almost two decades, and customers keep returning for the delicately French desserts, including the cream puffs. They offer three flavors, but we recommend the black sesame, where the freshly made pâte à choux is filled with earthy and nutty black sesame cream.
2383 Lomita Blvd. unit 104, Lomita, CA 90717; www.patisseriechantilly.com
73-year old former caterer Giovanni Bolla started selling his tiramisu through social media in 2019 to get by after falling on hard times. The homemade tiramisu, hand delivered by Giovanni himself or picked up from his house in the San Fernando Valley, quickly became the talk of the town. Giovanni’s take is quite traditional and comes in aluminum foil trays, and each bite of ladyfingers, mascarpone and coffee (dusted with cocoa powder) is a perfect bite.
Delivery or local pickup; giovannistiramisu.com
Chocolate is always a good way to end a meal, and even better when it comes with a show. The chocolate dome at Fia is a ball of dark chocolate filled with a cocoa biscuit bottom topped with caramelized dark chocolate mousse, coffee cream and almond praline. Upon serving, the dome is set on fire on the table, revealing the inside as it melts.
2454 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403; www.fiarestaurant.com
The Apple Pan has been around since 1947 and customers don’t come just for the burgers—they come for the pies. “Apple” name aside, we recommend the banana cream here instead. Filled with generous slices of banana, sweet custard and topped with whipped cream, there’s nothing fancy about this guy, but the old-fashioned pie is nostalgic in the very best way.
10801 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, 90064; theapplepan.com
Margarita Manzke’s pastries and desserts at Republique are all so good it feels blasphemous to even attempt to choose one, but if we must then the vote falls for the bombolonis, which are fluffy, pillowy fried brioche, typically offered with a couple of different fillings every day. Our favorite is the crème brûlée bomboloni, filled with pastry cream and encased in brûléed sugar.
624 S La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036; republiquela.com
A traditional Middle Eastern dessert that’s recently gone big (Trader Joe’s even carries one in their frozen section), knafeh is made with a sweet cheese topped with shredded pastry dough called kataifi. It’s then baked until the dough is golden and the cheese is melted and stretchy, and finished off with some rose water syrup. The perfect dessert for cheese-lovers, Jack’s Bakery serves up the best version, made fresh to order.
10515 W. McFadden Ave., Garden Grove, CA 92843; Jacksbakeryeatery.com
Many say Antico Nuovo’s freshly spun ice cream is the best in the city and customers happily pay up to $18 a pint for it. The pints to-go are not always in-stock, but the ice creams are still available as dessert when you dine in at the restaurant. The seasonal flavors are great, but the honeycomb ice cream is a signature standby. When in season, consider splurging for white truffle shavings on top.
4653 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90004; www.anticonuovo-la.com
The desserts at Artelice are some of the most beautiful and delicious in L.A. (pastry chef Farid Azarang has even made sweet treats for The Grammys). Any of them would make a wonderful gift or a self-care treat, but if we have to pick a favorite it would be the Sophia, a stunning cube of dark chocolate filled with layers of chocolate mousse, vanilla creme brulee, crunchy hazelnut and liqueur-soaked cherries.
Multiple locations; artelicela.com
A cool slice of tropical paradise in the middle of downtown L.A., the frozen creamsicle torte is composed of yellow butter cake, coconut ice cream, sour tangerine sorbet, Meyer lemon and topped with torched Italian meringue. Unfortunately, this dessert is only available during citrus season, but if it’s not on the menu, the “coffee & donuts” featuring spiced chestnut zeppoles is a very close second.
2121 E. 7th Pl., Los Angeles, CA 90021; bestiala.com