Is there a more satisfying way to start off your day than with a piping hot cup of coffee paired with an airy, flaking, melt-in-your-mouth croissant? You might say that there is, but you’d be mistaken. Few places are as magical a morning spot as a bakery; the hustle and bustle as workers move around the shop; the smell of fresh pastries being pulled from the oven; and the murmur of patrons sharing an early morning conversation over a scone and tea.
Whether you want a traditional bakery or something more inimitable, there are dozens of bakeries in San Diego, California worthy of your patronage. Below, we’ll take you on one of our virtual San Diego tours of all the hotspots and hidden gems for baked goods. But before you dive in, it’s crucial that you immediately forget what the dieticians and so-called “health experts” recommend— carbs are love, carbs are life!
Do you crave Cuban-inspired baked goods? Azucar, run by owner and master baker Vivian Hernandez-Jackson is an amazing fusion of French and Cuban baking. Located at 4820 New Port Avenue, some San Diego residents claim that Azucar is not only a match, but a superior product to Los Angeles’ famous Porto’s bakery/cafe.
This Cuban style patisserie offers guava pastries, meat pies, cheese rolls, guava cheese, quiches, Cubanos, and a whole lot more on their menu. Whether you want breakfast, lunch, or a coffee to go, this delicatessen is sure to please.
- What we recommend – Café con leche, mango cheesecake, and Cubano pie. Each one of these treats will immediately transport you to the streets of Havana.
Le Parfait Paris
Looking for the best of the downtown San Diego bakeries? Le Parfait Paris has been in the running since it opened in 2014. And by 2019, the people had spoken. Le Parfait Paris was awarded the 2019 Best Desserts by San Diego Magazine, making it one of the best dessert places in Downtown San Diego. With three locations to choose from, you can eat these award-winning desserts at:
- The Gaslamp Quarter – 555 G Street
- Liberty Station Public Market – 2820 Historic Decatur Road
- Fashion Valley Mall – 7007 Friars Road
This cozy French bakery brings its savoir-faire to the streets of San Diego, serving a wide variety of delightful treats and bites. Whether you want some macaroons or more hearty fare like a smoked salmon crepe with Canadian bacon eggs Benedict, you’re sure to walk away feeling pleasantly stuffed.
- What we recommend – Le Parfait Signature, the shop’s namesake will make your taste buds sing with delight. Made with dark chocolate, this creamy, rich cake practically melts in your mouth.
Sugar and Scribe
Sometimes it’s the chef who creates a name for the restaurant, and this bakery is lucky enough to have Chef Maeve. Describing herself as part laughter and butter and part Navy Seals hell week, Chef Maeve was voted the 2019’s Chef of the Year by the California Restaurant Association.
An honorable prize for a chef who has beaten Bobby Flay and also been the Food Network’s Holiday Baking Champion. Come here to experience the full range of her expertise. At Sugar and Scribe, you can enjoy everything from customized cakes to a full Irish breakfast and everything in between.
- What we recommend – If you’re here early, be sure to pair your morning coffee with a pastry that’s been baked fresh. The cinnamon croissant roll or the cheese and chive scone promise to bring a wonderful day.
Bread and Cie
As San Diego’s first artisan bakery, Bread and Cie have a reputation to live up to. And as any of you who have seen and bought their flaky baguettes in stores across San Diego know, they do well for their namesake.
If you want bread straight from the source, they have a dedicated café in Hillcrest, located at 350 University Avenue. For a delicious breakfast in Hillcrest, you can order coffee, fresh pastries, or any of their rustic European breads straight from the stone-hearth oven.
- What we recommend – The French Metro Tea Service. It’s a unique service offered daily between the hours of 2pm and 5pm. Enjoy a pot of tea with scones, finger sandwiches, and pastries, and be sure to practice your best French accent before ordering. Oui oui!
As the name suggests, this is, without doubt, the best bakery in San Diego for cakes. Cake, located at 3085 Reynard Way in Middletown, produces mesmerizingly beautiful works of baking art that will be sure to cause a splash at your wedding, bridal shower, or birthday. The winner of the Food Network’s Cake Wars, it’s the premier bakery in town for all things cake-related.
Although they specialize in fabulous cakes, this bakery also produces a variety of delicious desserts, such as cookies, cupcakes, raspberry streusel bars, creamy lemon bars, and brownies, to name a few.
- What we recommend – The Heavenly Sugar Cookies are so buttery and light that you might melt or float away with just the first bite. If you want to become popular at work, snag a couple of these and the Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies, and you’ll be sure to win employee of the month.
Black Market Bakery
This fun bakery does it all: baked goods, lunch, coffee, cider, wine, and tap beer. You name it, they probably got it. Black Market Bakery is nestled at 4686 30th Street and is perfect for a morning snack or a cozy date night in San Diego. Both the interior and exterior has plenty of seating with nice views, so feel free to bring a party.
The founder won the Golden Foodie Award for Best Pastry Chef two years in a row, so you know that when you walk in this shop, you’re only getting the best. From scones to cookies, to sandwiches, to parfaits, Black Market Bakery has it all.
- What we recommend – Look away if you’re on a diet! The cookie sundaes offered here are to die for. Try the Abominable which has Yeti chocolate coconut cookie, toasted marshmallow, toasted coconut, ice cream, and chocolate ganache.
One of the top downtown San Diego bakeries, Extraordinary Desserts lies at 1430 Union Street in the heart of Little Italy. The name says it all, everything created by Master Pastry Chef Karen Krasne is simply divine. This must-visit shop has regularly appeared in the news and been featured on Food Network.
A lively environment, this shop is always filled to the brim with sweet-toothed patrons, so be sure to get their early! It offers an assorted mix of lovely, handcrafted desserts that are not only eye-catching but delicious as well. Whether you want cookies, Trifles, or Bundt Cakes, whatever catches your fancy is sure to please.
- What we recommend – The signature Banana Cream Pie looks like a work of modern art and tastes even better than it looks. Seriously, after one rich slice of this heaven, you’ll be wondering why it isn’t on display at the Louvre.
Whatever your fancy, the bakeries above are guaranteed to satisfy the cravings you have for something sweet or savory. That said, the only way to truly pick the best local bakeries in San Diego California is to try them for yourself. So, dig in and enjoy! If you like any of the bakeries on this list, be sure to check out our San Diego tours for other things like food, wine, and beer!
Eater. The Fascinating History of Porto’s, A Southern California Cuban Legend. https://la.eater.com/2017/2/27/14751390/portos-cuban-bakery-history0