The flavors and name (meaning “a small dining table”) of Ana Sortun’s Sofra have Turkish origins; fittingly, this small bakery in West Cambridge resembles a bazaar. It’s stacked full of Middle Eastern treats, from Syrian Shortbread Cookies to Almond-Rose Cakes, as well as house-made preserves and spice blends to take home (or ship). For lunch, take out or stick around on the covered patio to sample baked savories like a bagel-like Turkish Simit made with locally milled flour, Shawarma, and stellar dips (with pita chips) from the meze menu.
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Sometimes, you just have to treat yourself. Whether it's a breakfast pastry before a big meeting in the morning, an afternoon-enhancing chocolate chip cookie, or a special-occasion cake, Boston-area bakeries are there when you need a sweet treat (or savory baked goods). When you want freshly baked flavor, check out the best bread and pastry shops in Boston.
We didn’t know how much we needed a dedicated English muffin bakery until Vinal Bakery came into our lives. With flavors by the four-pack such as French Toast and seasonal Jalapeño-Cheddar, this friendly Somerville spot creates craveable sandwiches and pizza muffins. We usually can’t resist other treats to go with our morning cup of coffee, either. Try this hefty slice of Banana Bread; a tender, glazed Wild Blueberry Muffin (a sweet and cake-y take on the American kind); or a frosted Maple Walnut scone.
Before opening La Saison Bakery in Cambridge in late 2020, pastry chef and chocolatier Soheil Fathi built the brand in Tehran, where he introduced both American-style baking and high-end chocolates to the Iranian public. Discover these fudgy Marble Brownies and Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies—along with expertly layered croissants, crusty boules of sourdough, and handcrafted chocolate bonbons—at the buzzy bakery in North Cambridge.
The whimsical, Boston-area baking company Flour Bakery + Cafe is best known for its indulgent, buttery sticky buns, but it actually does a remarkable job catering to all types of eaters. That inclusiveness may have something to do with its runaway success (and founder Joanne Chang’s James Beard award for Outstanding Baker)—Flour now boasts nine bakeries in Boston and Cambridge. The pastry menu is chock-full of tempting treats, as well as ample options for people with nut allergies or gluten intolerance. There are also excellent lunchtime sandwiches, most of which can be made on gluten-free bread or in salad form.
Clear Flour Bread serves a handful of pastries every morning, but the real draw to this European-style bakery in Brookline is 26 rotating varieties of expertly crafted bread. Essentials like a French Baguette or Rosemary Focaccia can be found any day of the week, while rarer picks like Challah or Soft German Pretzels only rise on certain days (the bread calendar is updated online). For the freshest loaves, clear your morning; lines tend to form before opening time, particularly on weekends. Clear Flour also frequents a few local farmers’ markets in season.
We usually find ourselves at this Cambridge bakery around lunchtime, seeking satisfying sandwiches built on sturdy, just-baked whole wheat or sourdough. Hi-Rise Bread Company knows loaves—and that goes for sweet bakes, too. Lunch may have brought us there, but we often leave with a slice of Vanilla Bean Loaf (a truly perfect pound cake) or a Chocolate Almond Chunk Cookie.
For sweet treats both beautiful and satisfying, head to Café Beatrice in Cambridge. Award-winning pastry chef Brian Mercury helms the baking program across chef Will Gilson‘s trio of restaurants at The Lexington, but the all-day cafe really shows his skills. From the layers of tender pastry and crunchy sugar of the Maple Kouign Amann to the meaty, sesame seed-speckled Italian Grinder Danish, all the baked goods are as memorable as they are delicious. There are gluten-free choices, with substantial breakfast sandwiches and lunchtime options to round out the menu.
A 2022 debut in the Newton Centre area, SALT Patisserie has made quite a splash. Founder and chef Thiago Silva’s incredible cakes and chocolate bonbons have previously impressed celebrities and viewers of food TV, but locals are here for SALT’s everyday breads and laminated pastries. Along with super-crisp croissants, cookies, muffins, and beautiful fruit tarts, we can’t get over the kouign-amann. This French delicacy is larger than we typically see around here (shoutout to Flour Bakery!), with a crunchy caramel coating and custardy insides. Try a slice along with a latte inside the chic cafe.
Updated by Jacqueline Cain