Where to Find the Best Desserts in Boston
Where to Find the Best Japanese Restaurants in Boston
Where to Find the Best Japanese Restaurants in Boston
Boston is filled with decadent desserts for any occasion—to reward yourself, to celebrate someone else, or just as a midday pick-up. We’ve rounded up quite the list of sweet treats with entries from specialty shops, mom-and-pop bakeries, and James Beard Award-winning chefs and restaurants. Whether you’re ending a meal or eating dessert first, here’s where to go for the best desserts in Boston.
Best Desserts in Boston
Dine in at these special spots to savor plated desserts by pastry pros.
A seat at Giulia is one of the most coveted in Porter Square, sought for homemade pastas as well as a substantial selection of Italian desserts by pastry chef Renae Connolly. The homemade gelati is the star of the show, as seen in dolci like a sundae of cherry stracciatella topped with poached cherries, ricotta, and cocoa crumble; and the house Affogato with cafe latte ice cream, hazelnut streusel, and chocolate cake. Pro tip: get a pint or two of homemade gelati to-go—and check out sister restaurant Moëca for even more delectable desserts from Connolly’s team. Take me there.
It’s hard to think of a dessert that makes a statement quite like a Baked Alaska. It’s also synonymous with legendary Cambridge spot Oleana. There, the classic dessert is filled with coconut ice cream and passion fruit caramel, with a lofty meringue peaked high and torched to perfection. In addition to the Baked Alaska, acclaimed chefs Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick craft additional Mediterranean-style desserts like Pistachio Baklava; Turkish-style Profiteroles; and Kunefe, a sweet cheese pastry soaked in syrup. Enjoy these sweet delights on one of the city’s best patios. Take me there.
Known for integrating Japanese izakaya and Spanish tapas vibes, Pagu also makes desserts that are highly influenced by chef-owner Tracy Chang’s worldly experiences. The Central Square spot demonstrates this culinary contrast with desserts like Matcha Soft Serve with a twist of maple; gluten-free Basque Burnt Cheesecake with Maine blueberry sauce; and gluten-free Black Sesame Tofu with hojicha tea-syrup and tofu foam. Get yourself a seat on the patio and savor these unique spins. Take me there.
At Sarma, there’s always room for dessert: The Somerville restaurant sizes all dishes for sharing so you can try a bit of everything. The homemade Ricotta Loukamades (Greek doughnuts) and seasonal flavors of frozen yogurt are dessert staples here, both offered with toppings like halva caramel. Alongside the tried and trues, Sarma also offers Mediterranean riffs on classic desserts, such as Turkish Coffee Tiramisu, Chocolate Halva Bites, and Pistachio Baklava. With the bar open late and available to walk-ins, head over for a nightcap and a little something sweet before calling it a night. Take me there.
A perfect excuse to head out of the city, Sycamore in Newton Centre serves up excellent farm-to-table fare, from handmade pastas to sausage boards and one of our favorite burgers. But no stop at the suburban bistro is complete without the Warm Sugared Beignets. Dipped in a luscious, warm milk jam, the pillowy fried dough is fluffy on the inside and just crisp enough on the outside. In addition to the beignets, the neighborhood spot also features rotating, seasonal desserts such as Winter Citrus Cheesecake and Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars with poached banana ice cream. Take me there.
While acclaimed chef Tiffani Faison’s first Fenway spot is well-known for big biscuits and trays of Texas-style barbecue, you’ll want to save room for the “sweet” at Sweet Cheeks Q. Pastry chef Deanne Steffen Chinn, who oversees desserts for Fool’s Errand and Tenderoni’s, too, dishes desserts with Southern swagger for the Boylston Street standby, such as silky Banana Pudding, homemade Giant Nutter Butter Cookies, and tart slices of Key Lime Pie. As a nod to the neighborhood, naturally, there are also “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” Brownies on the fun menu. Take me there.
Jamaica Plain newcomer Tonino became a fave on day one. The neighborhood spot has an Italian bent (fresh pasta, puffed-up pan pizzas, outstanding salads) and an incredibly thoughtful beverage program (think: a yuzu sake spritz). Among the showstoppers is the tiramisu. Like everything on the menu, it starts with high-quality ingredients. Every component is made in-house, from the cake-like lady finger cookies soaked in espresso, rum, and amaro to the mascarpone cream. The flaky salt on top? Chef’s kiss. Take me there.
Whether you’re craving a perfect slice of cake or a couple of chewy cookies, try these bake shops.
Helmed by award-winning pastry chef Brian Mercury, it’s no surprise that the sweet treats at Café Beatrice are not only appealing to the eye but also beyond satisfying. From the layers of flaky pastry in the Cinnamon Roll and the Puffs filled with seasonal fruit to the hearty Breakfast Cookie (truly the ideal morning meal), there’s plenty to choose from. The all-day cafe and bakery is among a trio of restaurants from chef Will Gilson at Cambridge Crossing, and select pastries can also be found on the menu at Central Square’s stellar Viet coffeehouse, Cicada. Take me there.
You know you’ve found the right place to satisfy that sweet tooth when there’s a line out the door. Clear Flour Bread is one of those spots. And while the name suggests the focus is on savories, the menu is filled with dessert options—everything from seasonal rustic fruit tarts and Baked Red Currant Doughnuts to assorted cookies and a weekly rotating schedule of tea cakes. See what’s available via the Brookline bakery’s website—or just pop in on a whim to see what tempts you today. The line moves fast, we promise. Take me there.
The overloaded pastry counter at Flour Bakery + Cafe is always something to be marveled. Visitors to the local bakery empire will have no problem heeding the motto, “make life sweeter, eat dessert first,” with options such as TCHO Chocolate Chip Cookies, Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie, and the highly desirable Sticky Sticky Buns. Award-winning pastry chef Joanne Chang has also redefined the Boston Cream Pie: Her version, available in single slices or as a festive dessert to share, is layered with sponge cake, vanilla cream, and coffee syrup and dressed in a rich chocolate ganache. Take me there.
In the North End, Italian pastry abounds. Despite what you may have heard elsewhere, there’s one place, in our minds, for cannoli (and it’s not Mike’s Pastry). Modern Pastry is an iconic Hanover Street bakery that fills these crispy shells to order, whether you want one or 100. Our go-to is a chocolate-dipped shell with the traditional ricotta filling and sprinkled pistachios on the end. In addition to the classic cream-filled desserts, Modern is loaded with Italian cookies like pizzelle, biscotti, pignoli, and more, as well as assorted cakes. In the neighborhood for dinner? Modern is open late for you to swing by for dessert. Take me there.
Nine Winters Bakery
A long-term pop-up at Somerville’s Bow Market, Nine Winters Bakery uses creative sweet treats to explore the Korean heritage of owner Marisa Ferola. That means cookies like Peanut Butter Chili Crisp and Double Chocolate Hot Honey; Gochujang Spice Cake by the slice; and even savory milk breads. Take me there.
For cozy home-cooked vibes, head to Petsi Pies in Somerville. Over the course of 20 years, Petsi has been baking sweet and savory pies year-round in flavors such as Mississippi Mud, Cherry Crumb, and Classic Apple, as well as vegan fruit pies. The bake shop is open daily for all your pie needs and desires. Can’t make it over to Petsi? No problem: The brand sells wholesale to local businesses in and around the city, including Allandale Farm in Brookline and City Feed & Supply in Jamaica Plain. Take me there.
Before La Saison hit the Boston scene, pastry chef and chocolatier Soheil Fathi grew his business in Tehran with high-end chocolates and American-style baking. Fast-forward to life in Cambridge, Fathi is producing wonderfully indulgent cakes and desserts. Served by the slice (or call to order whole cakes), try flavors like Honey Apple, Chocolate Pudding, Cheesecake, and Vanilla Rosewater. The bakery offers a plethora of other treats, from beautifully layered pastries like kouign-amann and croissants to crusty boules of sourdough, plus luscious mugs of hot chocolate. Take me there.
Open less than a year, Salt Patisserie has made quite the splash. The Newton Centre bakery fills the dessert case with individual fruit tarts, Rocher Eclairs, tiramisu, decadent Valrhona chocolate bonbons, and more—no need to share here! Founder and chef Thiago Silva is also known for stunning custom cakes for birthdays, weddings, or any occasion. Cake lovers can expect (but aren’t limited to!) 3D sculpted elements and flavors like chocolate cremeux, strawberry shortcake, and Black Forest Cake. Take me there.
You know the dessert game is strong at Sofra: The bakery-cafe comes from the same culinary minds as Oleana and Sarma, which have both made this greatest-hits list. Different from its sibling spots, Sofra’s focus is on counter service and baked goods with Middle Eastern flair. From Syrian shortbread cookies to almond-rose cakes and nutty baklava, dessert is a must-order addition to a savory meal or house-made chai. For us, we can never leave without a soft and crumbly, rich and chocolatey, powdered sugar-covered Earthquake Cookie. Take me there.
Yafa Bakery & Cafe
New to the Spring Hill neighborhood of Somerville, Yafa Bakery & Cafe operates under the slogan “artfully delicious”—and boy, oh boy, does that ring true. Inspired by ingredients from Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco, and Italy, the bake shop is filled with beautiful confections like Qairawan, an orange blossom-scented, honey-coated dough filled with sweet dates; and buttery, braided Chocoltine, a croissant-like treat with rich, melty chocolate. The humble date gets a glow-up here: It’s featured in many recipes and is the star of a chocolate-covered bite garnished with 24-karat gold. Take me there.
Beautiful bonbons, exquisite French-style cookies, and ice cream—oh my!
Seeking dairy-free desserts? Look no further than FoMu, maker of a plant-based frozen treat that uses coconut milk instead of cow’s. Ice cream lovers will enjoy small-batch flavors like Grasshopper Pie and Birthday Cake, as well as seasonal specials like Pancake Breakfast (maple ice cream with a latte swirl and house-made pancake pieces). Novelties like Ice Cream Cookie Sammies, Peanut Butter Popsicles, and a mocha frappe made with George Howell Coffee are the coolest vegan desserts in Boston. With three shops in Boston—Jamaica Plain, Fenway, and the South End—you’re never too far from a FoMu fix. Take me there.
Gâté Commes des Filles
Gȃté Commes des Filles makes for true “treat yourself” moments. By Paris-trained pastry chef Alexandra Whisnant, it’s a chocolate shop with a tiny kitchen and takeout window at Bow Market, which also produces rich hot cocoa and small-batch desserts. The Moelleux au Chocolat avec Glace Au Miel Sale is a fancy name for wonderfully warm and melty molten chocolate cake (which happens to be gluten-free), baked to order and served with Maine-based Parlor Ice Cream Salty Honey. Craving more? Take a spin over to sister-spot Zuzu’s Petal in Inman Square for a dessert and wine bar experience. Take me there.
No need to leave the city to find that small-town ice cream shop: Just visit Honeycomb Creamery in Porter Square. The goods here are made with high-butterfat Jersey cow’s milk from Hadley, Mass., pasteurized in-house. The list of frozen treats includes scoops such as Honey Lavender and Salted Caramel Crackle, plus seasonal flavors like Matcha Lemon using local MEM Tea and Alfajores, a sweet cream base with homemade Argentianian cookies, toasted coconut, dulce de leche, and hot fudge. Even if you usually opt for a cup, check out the house-made cones. There is also frozen yogurt, soft serve, artisan ice cream tacos on Tuesdays, and pints to bring home. Take me there.
Macarons, a delicate confection made with almond flour, are what Maca is built upon. Simple in style yet difficult to perfect, these delightful treats are made in small batches by founder Tamy Chung at the Bow Market macaronerie, which gives regular opportunity for new and exciting flavors. Choose among the likes of Black Sesame, Honey Lavender, Matcha Green Tea, and Fruity Pebbles to fill your perfect mix-pack (most flavors are gluten-free!). Also keep an eye out for special collaborations like maca ice cream sandwiches. Maca also takes custom orders for cookies and maca cakes. Take me there.
While this Jewish deli is best known for cured pastrami and smoked salmon, the sweet treats at Mamaleh’s should not be overlooked. Top of our list is the Chocolate Layer Cake, stacked five tiers high and covered with premium Valrhona chocolate frosting. Of course, this spot also does deli favorites like black and white cookies, classic milkshakes and floats, babka, and a rotating selection—literally spinning in a glass case—of assorted pies. Satisfy sweet tooth cravings in Kendall Square, Brookline, and at High Street Place. Take me there.
Toscanini’s is not your average ice cream shop. Established in 1981, this Cambridge creamery has racked up some serious accolades, even being called the best ice cream in Boston. Forty years and counting, Tosci’s now has two locations in Central and Kendall, which both scoop ever-changing, unique flavors such as Goat Cheese Honey, B3 (brown sugar, brown butter, and brownies), and Vienna Finger Cookie (calling all ’90s kids!). Can’t imagine a special occasion without an ice cream cake? The Kendall location offers custom cakes and pints to-go. Also look for Toscanini’s at local restaurants and shops like Coppa and Formaggio Kitchen. Take me there.