The Best San Francisco Bakery? We’ve Got 16 to Satisfy Every Sweet & Carb Craving
Buttery, flaky croissants from Arsicault. Cinnamon toast on Josey Baker bread. Or a jam-packed Berliner doughnut from Hahdough. The San Francisco bakery scene is hard to beat. Whether you’re craving sweet or savory, our roundup of 16 of the best bakeries in SF will no doubt make all of your carb-loving dreams come true.
Award-winning pastry chef Belinda Leong shows off her fine-dining pedigree at this delightfully down-to-earth Pac Heights bakery. Go for the sweet, buttery, perfectly flaky kouign-amann (roughly pronounced koon-ya-mon) and check out the case of beautifully made croissants, bostock (brioche topped with frangipane and baked), coffeecake, 10-hour apple tart and vanilla cassis cake. We dare you to choose just one treat to try.
2821 California St., 440-1700
Locals have long known where to find the best croissant in SF, but after Bon Appétit named Arsicault the number one spot for this classic confection back in 2016, visitors and tourists have come flocking. Try your luck at the new Tenderloin outpost and maybe, just maybe, you’ll nab a coffee and croissant (chocolate, almond, ham & cheese), morning bun, kouign-amann or scone—minus the lines.
397 Arguello Blvd., 750-9460 and 87 McAllister St., 926-5155
Yes, Tartine is the gold standard for all its breads, pastries and baked goods, but for us, it’s the humble morning bun that reigns supreme. The buttery-rich knot of croissant dough rolled in sugar and citrus zest is sweet simplicity on a plate. And with sourdough, tarts, cookies and cakes also on offer, you’ll never leave empty-handed.
The Bakery, 600 Guerrero St., 487-2600; Inner Sunset, 1226 Ninth Ave., 742-5005; Tartine Manufactory, 595 Alabama St.
This Inner Richmond institution has been slinging desserts to loyal customers looking for a sweet fix for more than a century. Founded in 1911 by German immigrants, the bakery is known for its many old-world European cakes (including the fuerst pueckler, made with chocolate and vanilla cakes, raspberry filling and chocolate ganache), but the Swedish Princess cake is royalty. Fluffy white cake layered with kirsch custard, raspberry filling and whipped cream that’s wrapped in signature pale-green marzipan—it may not sound traditional, but it’s the cake of our dreams.
521 Clement St., 752-1580
5. HAHDOUGHBest For: Berliner Doughnuts
This small-but-mighty German bakery, which opened at the beginning of the pandemic, not only survived but is thriving. Chef-owner Ha Do (who was born in Vietnam but grew up in Germany) wanted to bring her favorite sweets to San Fraciscans, and she quickly gained a loyal fan base who can’t get enough of her cakes (black forest, of course, along with many other German classics) and tortes. But we have a soft spot for the sugar-coated Berliners stuffed with seasonal jam, vanilla cream or Nutella. You might as well try one of each, right?
1221 Fell St. and 509 Laguna St.
6. BOB’S DONUTSBest For: Glazed Doughnuts and Apple Fritters
At this local legend, famous for its fried dough, there’s always a line—whether you go at noon or midnight. It’s worth the wait for the giant and insanely sweet, glazed doughnuts but go early if you want to get your hands on an apple fritter (they sell out quickly) and are so rich that they’re best shared with friends. You also can’t go wrong with maple glazed, old-fashioned, chocolate bars, cake crumb and whatever other doughnut creations Bob’s has fried up for the day.
1621 Polk St. and 601 Baker St., 776-3141
There’s no question that Josey Baker (yes, that’s actually his real name) knows bread, and you can’t leave The Mill without walking home with a loaf or two. But while you’re at this hip cafe, be sure to order up one of their signature toasts. You can’t go wrong, whether you’re hankering for the avocado mash on country bread, the ricotta + jam on dark mountain rye or the almond butter on whole-grain wonder bread. It may not look like much, but we’re obsessed with the simple cinnamon sugar slice—one bite and you’ll feel like a kid again.
736 Divisadero St., 345-1953
8. NORTE 54Best For: Conchas
The city is in the midst of a concha craze, and we can’t talk conchas (cookie-topped sweet rolls) without mentioning La Mejor Bakery in the Mission. But right now, we’re smitten with newcomer Norte 54’s modern take on the traditional Mexican pan dulce. Former Nopa pastry chef Raquel Goldman makes hers soft and fluffy with organic ingredients and seasonal flavors inspired by the farmers’ market bounty—like vanilla with blueberry compote. Also on offer: granola, tres leches cake, cookies and churros.
Popping up at Nopalito, Mission Mercado and Ferry Plaza Market throughout the week
We love Thorough Bread and Pastry for the name alone, but this beloved Castro spot also knows its way around authentic French-style pastries. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu here, but we love Thorough for its vast selection of viennoiserie (think sweetness of a pastry with the flaky texture of buttery croissants). The cream puffs, quiche and spinach-artichoke turnovers are pretty amazing too.
248 Church St., 558-0690
The husband-wife duo behind this Dogpatch bake shop is all about morning pastries, sourdough bread and a killer cup of Bay Area-based Proyecto Diaz coffee. Chef-owner Greg Mindel was even named a James Beard Award semi-finalist for outstanding baker in 2019. The blueberry-vanilla brioche tart is to die for, but we also love the inventive menu offering specialties like a chocolate pudding “doughp” bun, guava-and-cream-cheese pastelito and kimchi-and-carrot croissant.
2343 Third St.
There’s no shortage of incredible breadmakers in the Bay Area, but we couldn’t do a bakery roundup without including Bay Area mainstay Acme Bread Company. The husband-and-wife team behind the iconic bakeshop has been supplying restaurants (including Chez Panisse, where Steven Sullivan started baking bread in the ’70s) and carb-loving locals with its breads since 1983. Come for the sourdough and leave with loaves of pain au levain, sweet baguettes and pain de mie and challah.
1 Ferry Building Plaza, 288-2978
You’ll find all the sugary treats your heart desires at this charming family business that’s been satisfying the neighborhood’s sweet tooth for more than 20 years. Kids flock here for the mini cupcakes and holiday specialties (seriously, the bakery goes all out for every occasion—Easter, Mother’s Day, Halloween, Christmas), and adults savor exquisite pastries, breads and cakes. Noe Valley Bakery even offers bake-at-home kits, so you can enjoy a warm cranberry Meyer lemon scone or an oatmeal cookie fresh out of the oven.
4073 24th St., 550-1405 and 28 West Portal Ave., 592-8785
13. JANE THE BAKERYBest For: Giant Cookies
Jane has long been the go-to coffee shop for weekday co-worker meetups and weekend brunch with the girls. And every now and then, we’ll treat ourselves to one of their giant cookies along with our coffee and smoothie bowl. The sprinkle cookie is our personal fave (and makes us feel like a kid again), but you really can’t go wrong with a lineup that includes chocolate chip toffee, salted white chocolate oatmeal, chewy triple ginger and an assortment of gluten-free options too. A full menu of freshly baked breads, pastries, scones, muffins and cakes are also on offer.
This upscale patisserie is baking up pastries and elaborate confections that are as much works of art as they are decadent delights, from piña colada kouign amann and cocoa nib financiers to Japanese milk bread and sake pound cake with rose petal mousse. But the must-try (if you haven’t already) is the signature Rebel Within, a sausage-and-asiago muffin stuffed with a soft-boiled egg that takes breakfast to a whole new level.
746 Valencia St., 913-7713 and 1598 Yosemite Ave., 423-3337
15. WHOLESOME BAKERYBest For: 7-Layer Bar
You’ll feel good about anything you order from Wholesome, which prides itself on using ethically made, sustainable ingredients. We love their beautiful holiday pies, cupcakes, brownies and rich marzipan truffles, but it’s the 7-layer bar that really won our hearts. An almond cookie crust is layered with housemade caramel, coconut chips, brownies pieces, dark chocolate chips, walnuts and sea salt. It’s salty and sweet, chewy and crunchy…and you’d never guess such deliciousness would come from a fully vegan and gluten-free bakery.
299 Divisadero St., 343-5414
16. LIGURIA BAKERYBest For: Focaccia
You know it’s gotta be good when a bakery sells one thing and one thing only. At Liguria, the old-school North Beach bakery that’s been around for more than 100 years, it’s focaccia. Bring cash and get in line early for a deliciously chewy slice topped with onions, garlic, rosemary, mushrooms, tomatoes or black olives—the bakery is only open from 7 a.m. until noon Tuesday through Saturday, and they almost always sell out.
1700 Stockton St., 421-3786