From Dorchester to Chinatown, Boston is star-studded when it comes to bakeries. Timeless classics like North End stalwart Bova’s, and Flour — perhaps Boston’s most famous bakery chainlet — will never go out of style, but there are plenty of other picks on this list that have developed their own local cult followings and are worth checking out. Whether you’re looking for the tangiest naturally leavened sourdough, a pretzel chocolate croissant, or a tres leches birthday cake, start with this list of 15 essential bakeries in and around Boston.Read More
15 Essential Bakeries Around Boston
Get your fill of savory za’atar flatbreads, buttery croissants, sweet cupcakes, and other goodies
Iggy’s Bread is all about natural leavening and fermentation methods. Husband-and-wife team Ludmilla and Igor Ivanovich opened the bakery in 1994 and have been supplying Boston with internationally acclaimed bread ever since. Visit Iggy’s flagship location in Cambridge to try their ancient grain loaves, bagels, or one of their flaky sourdough croissants, or pick up a ciabatta, brioche buns, or a baguette at local Roche Brothers’ or Whole Foods outlets. You can also catch them at the Union Square Farmers Market, and at their summer pop-up on Martha’s Vineyard.
La Saison Bakery
Owner Soheil Fathi founded La Saison Bakery in Tehran, Iran in 2007. When the United States toughened economic sanctions against Iran a decade ago, Fathi didn’t know how his business would survive. So he decided to move to the U.S. and bring La Saison with him. After working as a pastry chef at Flour, he finally reopened the Iranian-born shop in 2020. Six years later, La Saison continues to bring a taste of Iran to Cambridge, and Fathi has built a fanbase for his exceptional pastries, brownies, and sourdough loaves. Be sure to try new menu items, too, like their croissant with roasted pistachios and saffron mascarpone.
Lolly’s Bakery is an East Boston staple that opened in 1997. Operated by Patty Guzman, this Latin American bake shop is known throughout the neighborhood for its array of Mexican, Colombian, and Guatemalan pastries. Look no further than Lolly’s for some of the best conchas and guava-filled pan dulce the city has to offer. Lolly’s is also famous for its custom wedding and birthday cakes, which come in flavors like tres leches, flan, and mille-feuille, which is made with vanilla cream in between layers of puff pastry. The bakery has a second location in Lynn.
Sofra Bakery & Cafe
Need an excuse to get up early on a Saturday? Let Sofra be that excuse. Lines form early before their 8 a.m. opening, but the glorious aromas of za’atar and perfectly caramelized kouign amann make the wait to get inside worth it. James Beard award-winning pastry chef Maura Kilpatrick offers an array of Turkish-inspired pastries made from New England grains, like the simit, a braided bagel covered in toasted sesame seeds. The shop also offers a brunch and mezze menu featuring Turkish çilbir (poached eggs over green garlic yogurt with fingerling potatoes and chili butter), olive oil granola sprinkled over labne with local honey, and baked feta among others. Browse their selection of Mediterranean spices, dips, and prepared foods while you wait.
Bova’s is nothing short of a Boston tradition. Founded in 1926 by Antonio Bova, the bakery continues to operate as a family-owned business in the North End nearly a century later. With a selection of breads, cookies, and prepared foods like arancini and stromboli, Bova’s is Boston’s go-to for Italian bakes. Stop in for their famous chocolate mousse brick (an extremely popular menu item at Bova’s, the bricks are large square-shaped slices of cake that come in a variety of flavors), lobster tails, and sfogliatelle. You can also make Bova’s the last stop to cap off a night out in the North End — the bakery is famously open 24/7.
Bao Bao Bakery & Cafe
Located in the heart of Boston’s Chinatown, Bao Bao Bakery & Cafe serves a playful variety of pan-Asian sweets, breads, custom cakes, as well as bubble tea. Founded in 2005 by the Chin family, Bao Bao is now owned and operated by sisters Emily and Gloria Chin. The menu at Bao Bao is chaos cooking unleashed, with savory offerings such as their pork sung bun, sweet treats like the ube crepe cake (which has an ube-flavored boba topping), and spins on dim sum classics like nutella-filled sesame buns. The menu at Bao Bao is constantly changing; right now, you can find Thai tea boba-filled mochi and Dierdre’s almond cookies, which are inspired by the film Everything Everywhere All At Once. Looking for more than dessert? The adjacent Double Chin, Bao Bao’s sister restaurant, serves a similar array of inventive pan-Asian fare such as the Hong Kong hot chicken katsu “boluobao-wich,” served on a pineapple bun.
Clear Flour Bread
Clear Flour Bread & Bakery was established in 1982 and is owned and operated by Nicole Walsh and Jon Goodman. The shop sits on a small residential corner in Brookline with room for no more than three customers to stand inside at one time. Known to many for having some of the best bread and pastries in Massachusetts, the line outside can often reach upwards of 30 people, even on weekdays. If you’re looking for Italian and French classics, along with an abundant selection of German specialties such as their soft pretzel, Vollkornbrot (rye bread), and chocolate pretzel croissant, this is the place. Don’t sleep on the rustic olive rolls, 100 percent whole wheat loaf, or their award-winning chocolate chip cookies.
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Flour Bakery + Cafe
Flour started out as a single shop in the South End in 2000, and has now expanded to nine locations in Boston and Cambridge, all headed by decorated pastry chef, author, and local celebrity Joanne Chang. Whether you’re a long-time resident or just visiting Boston for a few days, Flour should be on your list of spots to hit for breakfast, lunch, or a decadent honey-flavored sticky bun. While sweet and savory pastries are the star here, Flour does not fall short on their breakfast and lunch meals, including salads, bowls, and sandwiches like the chicken tikka masala naan sandwich, and smoked salmon and potato bowl. Each of the cafes stock vegan and gluten-free options, too.
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Rosenfeld Bagel Co
Hidden in a tiny basement in Newton’s Piccadilly Square, Rosenfeld’s is a Jewish bakery paradise. Bagels by the dozen, chocolate and cinnamon babka, challah, and copious amounts of smoked fish and schmear, Rosenfeld’s has been doing it all in the same tradition for 50 years. (So, no, you won’t find jalapeño bagels here.) The bakery was opened in 1973 by Marc Rosenfeld, and is now owned and operated by Mike Lombardo. Rosenfeld’s continues to produce freshly boiled bagels with a perfectly chewy interior in all the classic varieties like marble rye, sesame, and potato. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Rosenfeld’s is known for their famous whole wheat challah, bialys, and specialties such as hamantaschen and round challahs during the high holidays.
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Auntie Vie's Restaurant and Bakery
Known across the city for exceptional Montserratian fare, Auntie Vie’s is a family-owned restaurant and bakery in the heart of Dorchester. Violet Francis, known to friends and family by the nickname Auntie Vie, opened the restaurant in 2013 after running her own catering business for years. While the restaurant is known for savory entrees like their goat curry and jerk chicken, Auntie Vie’s also has a selection of house-made meat patties, not to mention an eye-catching lineup of dessert items like the pineapple turnovers, potato pudding, and Black Cake, a popular Caribbean dessert made with dried fruits that have been soaked in rum and red wine. Keep an eye out on their Instagram account for their special bake sales around Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving.
Blue Frog Bakery
Located in Jamaica Plain on the corner of Centre and Green Street, Blue Frog Bakery serves up some of the most raved-about eclairs, scones, and croissants in the neighborhood, as well as an impressive selection of breads. Chef and owner Brad Brown has operated the shop since 2004, and has become known to locals not only for supplying the neighborhood with outstanding pastries, but also for his leadership in the community. When the shop celebrated its 15th birthday in 2019, Brown was awarded with an honorary citation from both the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The shop doesn’t skimp on holiday items throughout the year, offering specialties like king cake during mardi gras, buche de noel and stollen at Christmas time, and tsoureki for Greek Easter. Blue Frog is worth a visit even when there’s a line out the door, and in the warmer months the customers can enjoy goodies on the patio. Stop in to try their weekend specials, or give them a call the next time you have a birthday coming up. The shop offers a selection of decadent decorated cakes and tarts, too.
Third Cliff Bakery
Third Cliff Bakery started out as a pop-up cart (aka the “Third Cliff Trike”) at the Egleston Farmers Market in 2015. The bakery only opened in its sunny, permanent corner spot in Jamaica Plain in 2020, but has quickly established itself as a neighborhood staple. Third Cliff, which is owned by Meg Crowly, is known for its ever-changing menu and unique spins on classic French pastries such as the kimchi cheddar croissants and lavender kouign amann. They even have vegan laminated pastry offerings, like the orange and cardamom morning bun. The espresso drinks are exceptional.
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Fornax Bread Company
At Fornax in Roslindale, bread is the star. Kim and Chris Fallon opened Fornax — named after the Roman goddess of baking — in 1997, and have been providing their community with high-quality breads and pastry ever since. A few menu highlights include the English muffins, or any of their loaves such as the sfilatino or rye. If you’re in the mood for a sandwich, be sure to try the unbeatable salami and onion, which can be ordered on your choice of their house-made breads. Catch them at the Roslindale Farmers’ Market or at one of their many restaurant wholesale partners like Sophia’s Grotto in Roslindale or Antonio’s Bacari in Hyde Park.
Greenhills Irish Bakery
Greenhills Irish Bakery of Dorchester was opened by Dermot Quinn in 1993, and soon became known as Boston’s staple for Irish bakes. After emigrating from Ireland, Quinn founded the bakery to bring a taste of his hometown to Dorchester. Now, 30 years later, he continues to offer Irish breads and treats that his grandmother made back home, like her brown bread. Greenhills churns out four types of soda bread, Irish barmbrak (a slightly sweetened yeasted bread made with raisins that is particularly popular in Ireland around Halloween), and Irish biscuit cake, as well as a variety of sweets, sandwiches, and soups made in-house daily. They also offer Christmas specials during the holiday season, so keep an eye out for their Christmas pudding and Christmas cake.
Bay Sweets Market
Tucked away in the basement of a Middle Eastern grocery store, the bakery at Bay Sweets Market turns out a daily assortment of exquisite breads, cookies, and pastries. Located in West Roxbury and in operation for over 20 years, Bay Sweets (currently run by Foodie’s Market owner Victor Leon, Jr.) is a local favorite for Lebanese-style baked goods such as baklava, spinach and meat pies, and za’atar manakish. Stop in to stock up on grocery goods, pickles, and house-made kibbeh, and be sure to order a sandwich on their pita to go with hummus, tabbouleh, or baba ganoush.