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Welcome to the best of baking in metro Atlanta

Bread is the staff of life, but the world of baked goods is far bigger than a loaf of sourdough fresh out of the oven.

For this season’s Dining Guide, we’re giving in to the temptation of bagels and baklava, buttery croissants, chocolate cakes and cookies galore.

While the guide highlights dozens of sweet treats, it also includes savory baked delights — from chicken pot pies to vegetable-studded tarts to herb-coated pita chips.

Also, folks who want to sink their teeth into gluten-free muffins and scones, or vegan cinnamon rolls and cakes, will find a list of 11 metro Atlanta bakeries who specialize in those baked products.

In total, the guide singles out 48 baked goods worth the calories, driving time and price. And, it points the way to six dozen bakeries, cafes, restaurants and pop-ups where you can get your fix of baked treats, ranging from Southern favorites (such as buttermilk biscuits and pecan pie), to offerings with origins from as far away as Estonia, Lebanon and Brazil.

You’ll also meet a baker’s dozen of the local talents behind some of your favorite breads, biscuits and other doughy delights. While they range from the self-taught to the professionally trained, each chef brings his or her own approach to the art and science of baking and patisserie — be it a focus on nutrition and health, a reverence for heirloom grains, or, as chef Vivian Lee of Leftie Lee’s put it, “a drive to perfection.”

Meet the bakers

Erika Council

Bomb Biscuit Co.

Raised by a home baker who made everything from scratch, Erika Council started cooking at a young age. After college, her cooking hobby took off, including neighbor dinners. At Bomb Biscuit Co., she is known for sweet to savory biscuit perfection, but her favorite item to make (and eat) is a cinnamon roll. “You can be super creative with yeasted bread,” Council said. What makes a great biscuit? “Really good buttermilk, full-fat and fresh,” she said. And, Council said that she wants to “do more complex bread making, be more creative to challenge myself.”

Vivian Lee

Leftie Lee's

Chef Vivian Lee is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute’s bread program, but her new Avondale Estates bakery-sandwich shop is named after her daughter. Lee has passed down her love of croissants, especially chocolate-filled beauties. “Croissants are my favorite to eat and make,” she said. “I get lost in the process of making the laminated pastry. It’s one of those things that take a lot of time and effort. There is a drive for perfection.” The same can be said for the construction of her sandwiches. “Bread plays an important part, as an ingredient, in a sandwich,” Lee said. Her milk bread is more than just what the sandwich is built upon; it’s the product of training and technique.

Jen Almanza

Three Lolas

Lola means grandmother in Tagalog, spoken in the Philippines, where Jen Almanza was born. “I wanted to name my business after the core of my family,” she said. Just as she played around in the kitchens of her grandmothers as a child, Almanza now has fun with flavors, putting her twist on traditional Filipino recipes. She moved to Atlanta after college, and her love of baking grew into a pop-up shop. Almanza is known for ingredients — such as ube, yuzu, rosewater, cashew meringue and Earl Grey — used in unexpected ways in traditional pandesal, puto and buko hand pies, as well as cookies and cakes.

Alon Balshan

Alon's Bakery & Market

“I focus on the flavor first,” Alon Balshan said of his mostly self-taught style. The native of Israel’s original bakery and market, which opened in 1992, was built on the best ingredients. “Valrhona chocolate and 83% butter are what I use for the best final product,” he said. Besides the food and desserts, he strives to satisfy customers with a comfortable feeling in his two shops. “The bakery is my toy, what I do for fun,” he said. “My effort is in guiding my team and letting them be the stars now.” If he were to choose something from the display case, he said, it would involve vanilla and fruit — a flaky, piled-high Napoleon, or his favorite flavor, passion fruit.

Ashley Thomas and Morgan Perkins


Finding joy through cooking led Ashley Thomas and Morgan Perkins to baking after college. Thomas impulsively applied to the French Pastry School. Perkins, meanwhile, dabbled in food blogging, while attending law school. The self-described “recovering attorney” met her business partner while teaching at Sur La Table, where Thomas cooked after a stint in Michelin-starred restaurants. Thomas specializes in creams and custards, while Perkins concentrates on doughs, bread and crusts. “Our strengths and talents make each other better,” Thomas said. “We work well together and let each other go nuts,” Perkins added. The truth of that is obvious in their pastries, whether it’s the perfect structure inside a crackly croissant, or a rustic galette with a flaky crust and a sweet-tart filling of seasonal berries.

Sarah O’Brien

Little Tart Bakeshop

When Sarah O’Brien was 14, she tasted her first croissant in Paris. From then on, her mission in life was “how to get back to Paris,” and how to re-create that croissant. She got a degree in comparative literature and a master of fine arts degree, and, after teaching and baking in Paris, she moved to Atlanta to focus on pastry. O’Brien opened Little Tart in 2011. She now has three locations, all serving a variety of pastries, including her perfected, shatteringly flaky croissant, which boasts a honeycomb interior to rival any in Paris. She has taught this craft to her talented team, “who have made our pastry better than I ever could have on my own,” she said.

Cristina Kisner

Cristy’s Kitchen

Cristy’s Kitchen aims for more than delectable sweets and savories. “My recipes are to nourish and heal,” baker Cristy Kisner said. In her gluten- and dairy-free kitchen, “it is not about taking out one ingredient, but adding other ingredients for nutrition,” she said. The journey to being a self-taught baker for this native of Peru began with a quest to cure her eldest daughter’s autoimmune disorder. Her brownies, a longtime favorite, now are made with antioxidant moringa leaf powder, 100% chocolate and adaptogenic mushrooms. She shares recipes in her new cookbook, “Cristy’s Kitchen” (William Morrow, $37.50).

Christian Castillo

The Chastain

On a backpacking trip to Peru, Argentina-born Christian Castillo found his calling when he tasted an intense dark chocolate. He enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu and graduated with a degree in patisserie and baking. But, he said, his real schooling was the three and a half years he spent working at Cherokee Town & Country Club, where his baking ranged from bread to wedding cakes. Now at the Chastain, he considers the seasonality of ingredients first, then balances flavor, sweetness and technique. “The greatest thing is to tell a story with a dish, and to show love about an ingredient,” he said. While his specialty is laminated pastry, he said, “chocolate is my love,” and his kitchen is equipped with a melanger for making it.

Emma Schacke

Evergreen Butcher & Baker

Emma Schacke first made biscuits in an 8th-grade home economics class, “and it was the first time I realized you could bake goodness,” she said. She went to the French Pastry School, and spent 15 years working in professional kitchens, with a goal of opening a bakery. “I knew I wanted to make bread,” she said. When she met her husband, Sean, who wanted to open a butcher shop, they combined forces. She makes pastries — using traditional techniques, like in a French boulangerie — and bread that is leavened naturally, using wild yeast, with grains from local mills. Rye breads are her personal favorite, Schacke said. “They require a little more technique, and have so much complexity of flavor.”

Stacie Antich

Buena Gente Cuban Bakery

Miami-born Stacie Antich started out selling baked goods to co-workers and friends. That led to a food truck, and then her own store, swiftly lauded with a James Beard award nomination. A suggestion that she “make something different” put her on the track of Cuban baking. She makes every batch of guava preserves that is piped into her famed pastelitos. And, while those are her favorite pastry to eat, arroz con leche is her favorite to make. “It requires constant stirring for almost an hour, so it has become my ‘me time,’ when I get to zone out to music and slowly stir away,” she said

Betsy Gonzalez

Osono Bread

Betsy Gonzalez had an interest in baking when she was growing up, because “there is so much of a connection to be made through food,” she said. “I fell in love with the craft, both the scientific approach and the natural intuitive process.” In making her bread, she works with small wheat farms and local millers. “I love sourdough,” she said. “It’s a song and dance between you and another creature, a lively thing that relies on natural occurring bacteria, where things are always changing.” Gonzales started her business in 2018, with bread subscriptions, and she shares her knowledge, and the joy of baking, by teaching hands-on classes.

Jonathan St. Hilaire

Douceur de France

After years of working on the savory side of cooking, Jonathan St. Hilaire got a part-time job at a bakery in North Carolina and instantly fell in love with pastry. He worked at broadening his baking range by training at the French Culinary Institute in New York, after which he moved to Atlanta, where he eventually opened the now-closed Bakeshop. At his bakery, he said, “I love using different types of flours, when it comes to making croissants and danishes, such as buckwheat or spelt or kamut or even different whole wheat flour.”

48 of our favorite metro Atlanta baked goods


Chocolate-filled cruffin

This pastry showcases the combined expertise of the baking team of Morgan Perkins and Ashley Thomas. It’s an exercise in lamination, the rolling of butter between sheets of dough to form crumbling layers that are then shaped into a muffin pan for proofing, allowing it to open up even more than a croissant, into a soft flaky cloud. As if that weren’t enough pleasure, rich, ganache-like chocolate gets piped into the middle. Part croissant and part filled muffin, it is fluffy, yet crunchy, and leaves a telltale trail of brittle pastry shards that you won’t want to waste.

The Pie Hole

Pecan Pie

According to the folks at the Pie Hole, the secret to their pecan pie is all in the nuts. The Roswell pie shop gets its nuts from a premium grower in Georgia, and ensures that they are much fresher than what you might find at the grocery store. The slice of pecan pie served to you could be a picture in a baking textbook — it’s rich, decadent and almost bursting with heaps of fat, gorgeous pecans. The sweet, earthy flavor of the nuts isn’t overshadowed by the sweetness. The quality of the ingredients gives this pie balance, but there’s no mistaking the fact that it is an indulgence.

Mediterranean Bakery


This Lebanese restaurant includes a grocery store and bakery selling an array of products, including hard to find spices, cheeses and frozen items. The bakery’s mastery of phyllo is evident in savory spinach and cheese pies, borek and a number of sweets. The classic baklava is a sticky confection, filled with honey and nuts spread between the crispy layers of phyllo. You can get various shapes, and some are made with pistachios.

Sweet Hut Bakery & Cafe

Portuguese egg tart

This local, family-operated Asian bakery offers a huge selection of sweet and savory buns, cakes, toast and other baked goods. Portuguese egg tarts have been a bestseller since the bakery’s debut in 2012 — prompting folks from out of state to order as many as 250 at a time! What’s the fuss? The crispy, buttery shell, beautifully bruleed top and creamy, silky custard will leave you swooning.

Breadwinner Cafe & Bakery

Chocolate chip cookie

What makes the chocolate chip cookie here a standout among the local renditions of this timeless sweet treat? There’s no skimping on melty milk chocolate chips. It is baked to a just-right chewy-crispy balance. It’s thick enough to hold its structure during dunking sessions with a glass of cold milk or a cup of hot coffee. And, at $2.99, this massive cookie is a steal. As the sign near the register warns you: “Caution: May become addictive.”

Humble Pie

French onion hand pies

For his new west Midtown restaurant, Humble Pie, chef Ron Hsu nailed a recipe that captures all the flavors of French onion soup in a handheld format. The flaky hand pies are filled with caramelized Vidalia onions and Gruyere cheese, and are served with a heady sherry au jus, for dipping. They come two per order, but good luck sharing.

Paul’s Pot Pies

Classic chicken pot pie

Do one thing, and do it well. In 2011, Paul Lubertazzi took that adage to heart when he switched from running a restaurant and catering business on historic Marietta Square for more than 25 years, to focus on the chicken pot pies that patrons kept asking to buy and take home. Paul’s Pot Pies has more than a dozen pies on its roster, but that homestyle chicken pot pie remains the best of the take-and-bakes. Where other pot pies are chintzy on the fillings, Paul’s savory number is piled high with well-seasoned fresh chicken and veggies. The puff pastry top is light and flaky. And, there’s none of that annoying runniness that makes some pot pies a hot mess to cut and serve. The pies are available in cute 6-inch rounds, or as 10-inchers that make great presents for occasions, happy or sad.

Rio Steakhouse and Bakery

Bolo de brigadeiro

Rio Steakhouse and Bakery is like a food court plucked from Brazil and dropped into east Cobb. This buzzy hangout has separate order counters for the bar, grill, salad station and — the destination for those with a sweet tooth — the bakery. Among the myriad cakes, the bolo de brigadeiro is a chocoholic’s dream. This decadent, Brazilian-style truffle cake features three layers of moist chocolate cake, interspersed with an airy, mousse-like chocolate frosting that is so distinct from heavy buttercream. And, then, on top are the namesake brigadeiro (round chocolate truffes) and a shower of chocolate shavings. Sold for $10.99 a pound, whole or by the slice, the size you order is a matter between you and your waistline.

Buena Gente Cuban Bakery

Guava pastelito

Don’t ogle the pastry case at Buena Gente for too long. The treats go fast, especially the pastelitos, where Cuban flavors meet buttery French pastry. The shape of the “little pastries” (the translation of pastelito) indicates which filling is inside — rectangular for guava and triangular for guava and cream cheese. Stacie Antich makes the guava preserves piped into the pockets of flaky, layered puff pastry. Pulp from the sweet, slightly tangy tropical fruit is the definitive filling for a pastelito, and it’s the perfect counterbalance to the rich dough and sweet glaze brushed over the surface. Since it garnered a James Beard Foundation award nomination, lines are long for the treat — and most customers don’t make it to their cars without indulging in a bite.

Zakia Modern Lebanese Restaurant


Restaurants seem to be getting more expensive, yet bread service appears to be going the way of the dinosaur. That makes the pita bread at Zakia even more special. Served alongside the restaurant’s excellent Lebanese fare, it’s almost impossible to get a pita anywhere else that is as fresh and perfect as you’ll find here. Cooked to order in about 90 seconds, the pitas hit your table puffed and hot from the oven. Like heavenly little clouds, Zakia’s pitas are fabulous on their own, and a highlight at a restaurant with no shortage of excellent food.

Three Lolas Bake Shop

Almond cream scone

Jen Almanza has been putting her twist on traditional sweets since launching her Three Lolas pop-up in 2020. For her take on British scones with clotted cream, she fills her almond cream scones — which deftly avoid the curse of dryness that befalls many other scones — with Asian-inspired flavors, including persimmon and matcha whipped cream. Sliced almonds sprinkled on the top provide the scones with a nutty texture, and an edible flower adds a touch of whimsy. Almanza shares her baked treats every Friday at Kinship in Virginia-Highland, though it’s best to keep an eye on her Instagram account, to see where else she’ll be popping up, and what she has on offer.

Bernhard’s German Bakery & Deli

Pretzel ecke

Bernhard Blecken has been cranking out pastries, breads and other baked goods for more than 20 years. The native of Germany showcases several kinds of pretzels in his compact Marietta cafe, and all provide a taste of his home country. A highlight is the pretzel ecke, also known as a pretzel corner. The triangular triumph is a little bit pretzel, a little bit croissant and a whole lot of tasty. It’s brown, with a slight crunch on the outside, an interior that’s buttery and the perfect amount of flakiness. Ask one of the employees behind the counter to warm it up for you before you leave, because it’ll be hard to resist eating the whole thing on your drive home.


Honeymoon cupcake

It’s called a honeymoon cupcake, because owners Henry and Kascha Adeleye thought that sounded “islandy.” Adorned with a fresh cherry and a hunk of pineapple, it stands out from all the frosted beauties in the bakery’s glass case. It’s available only on Sundays, but people have found out. The cupcake is not huge, and that’s a good thing. Kupcakerie cupcakes are the perfect size for a snack. The almond cake interior is impossibly moist, with chunks of fresh cherry and pineapple throughout. It’s bursting with sweet-bitter almond flavor that continues to shine in the smooth buttercream that crowns the tropical treat.


Montreal-style bagels

Some people think Atlanta really lags when it comes to bagels. B-Side, the sister cafe to Decatur’s the Deer & the Dove, does its best to change that perception on a daily basis. The small, hand-rolled bagels are baked in a wood-fired oven each day, ensuring that each bagel is as unique as a snowflake. The quick baking at a high temperature and the wood smoke give these little beauties a wonderfully crisp exterior, and unusual depth of flavor. The interesting flavors of schmear available only add to the appeal. It’s easy to see why this little cafe is bustling from the moment it opens.

Le Bon Nosh

Pistachio Cake

Le Bon Nosh is reminiscent of a posh Parisian cafe, from the high, airy ceilings to its French-inspired dinner menu, featuring such dishes as steak au poivre and confit duck leg. But, chef-owner Forough Vakili also manages to incorporate her Persian background into some of her pastries. The cardamom cake and pistachio cake both pull in influences from her native Iran, with the latter showcasing a flavor profile similar to baklava. The buttery, moist cake gets a subtle kick from pistachio flour and ground nuts, along with a touch of rosewater. It’s perfect with a quick cup of tea, and can be amplified into a decadent treat with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. Get it by the slice, or as a whole cake.

The Chastain

Almond croissant

Few all-day restaurants in metro Atlanta can boast a baking program as strong as the Chastain’s. The new American bistro’s A.M. Cafe should be part of your morning routine — especially Saturdays, the only day that Executive Pastry Chef Christian Castillo and his crew turn out dozens of almond croissants. You’ll appreciate the textbook lamination. All that rolling and folding of dough to create the super-thin layers yields a gorgeous honeycomb interior and a terrific flaky texture, making it the kind of croissant that begs to be pulled apart delicately and eaten in nibbles. You’ll also appreciate how this viennoiserie is filled end to end with sweet almond paste, as well as the stunning sheen on the golden exterior that comes from an egg wash, and the exacting decoration of almond slivers and powdered sugar along one side. One look at, and bite of, the Chastain’s almond croissant, and you’ll understand why this line of work is called the culinary arts.

The Daily

Coconut matcha banana bread

Vegan and gluten-free baking sometimes gets a bad rap (often unfairly), but this slice of breakfast perfection should quiet the naysayers. Executive Pastry Chef Jessica Olin uses a base of house-blend gluten-free flour, brown rice and tapioca, and gives the bread a big, earthy boost with the addition of matcha, helping to create a treat that feels indulgent without getting bogged down by sugar. The matcha is added with a heavy hand, so those who don’t appreciate the flavor might want to steer clear. For the rest of us, it’s the perfect accompaniment to one of the Daily’s over-the-top coffee drinks — including the honey-lavender or orangesicle latte — for a balanced way to start the morning.

Esto Etno

Cabbage tart

Estonian baked goods have been a farmers market treat since Tiina D’Souza launched her Esto Etno cottage baking business in 2017. First signing on as a vendor at the Alpharetta Farmers Market, she since has added booths at the Avondale Estates, Grant Park and Piedmont Park farmers markets. While you can make a beeline for D’Souza’s dense rye bread, or her pastries, cakes, pies and buns that don’t lean on sugar for their deliciousness (some are even gluten-free), the cabbage tart is a must when savory is what you crave. Each square is packed with the simple flavors of cabbage and onion, while sour cream, cottage cheese and eggs combine for an almost quiche-like texture. If you plan to save it as a snack for later, you might as well buy a couple of slices — there’s no way you’ll make it out of the market without wolfing one down.

Hero Doughnuts

Bread pudding doughnut

This Alabama-based doughnut chain offers a robust selection of fried doughnuts, alongside its menu of sandwiches, savory breakfast options and salads. But, one of the few baked offerings is a bread pudding doughnut. The pretty, spiral-shaped treat is made with doughnuts left over from the previous day, so it is an indulgence that you can feel a little better about, because it cuts down on food waste. It’s dense, but a light vanilla glaze provides enough moistness to make it a delight. Order a cup of coffee on the side for dunking purposes, and you have yourself a perfect way to kick off a lazy weekend (or any day off). They’re not available every day, so call ahead to make sure they’re in the display case at Hero’s Summerhill location or the new Trilith Parkway shop.

Mezza Luna

Limoncello layer cake

This cake is a delightful surprise, thanks to its airy sophistication. Sandwiched between layers of soft, delicate cake is a thick layer of mascarpone, whipped to an ethereal lightness. With its touch of tartness, Mezza Luna’s cake feels like a dessert you could keep eating forever. Like limoncello itself, this cake is the perfect way to end an Italian feast — except, in this case, you’ll be able to drive home afterward.

Nothing Bundt Cakes

Lemon tart cake

The name says it all. This cheerful shop, newly opened in Reynoldstown, offers a small selection of bundt cake flavors and sizes. Besides the cakes, the shop also offers cards, candles, cake stands, pottery and gift-wrapping. The chocolate bundt cake always is a popular choice (it’s almost like lava cake after a quick zap in the microwave), but it seems that everyone loves the sweet, tart and super moist lemon version.



It’s listed on the menu under rishon, or “firsts,” but Aziza’s kubaneh is dessert at its finest. The Yemenite pull-apart bread tastes like a blend of croissant and brioche. It’s light, tender and fluffy. You can imagine the pieces of dough getting stretched, buttered, rolled, buttered again and baked to a crown-like rise. The pieces are glossy, golden, supple, airy — and so much fun to tear and share with friends. Dip one into the grated tomato with herby and spicy schug, or spread with more butter. Better yet, take some home and dip them in chocolate. It’s a squishy wonderbread that is both savory and sweet.

Dulces Suenos Cakes


You wouldn’t be faulted for driving past Dulces Suenos, which sits in an unassuming location next to a Citgo. But, driving past it would mean missing out on a colorful space packed to the brim with baked sweets and Mexican pastries that will make you feel like you’re at a fiesta. Here, the seashell-shaped conchas are oversized and decorated with sugar in a delicate spiral pattern. A bite of the sweet bread will have you wanting to return, to try Dulces Suenos’ other offerings.

Rhodes Bakery

Cheese straws

There’s something to be said for simplicity when it comes classic Southern cheese straws. Rhodes Bakery, which has been serving metro Atlanta since 1930, uses just five ingredients — extra sharp cheddar cheese, margarine, flour, salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper — to make its version, which delivers just the right balance of saltiness and spice, along with a satisfying crunch and crumble. The longtime Cheshire Bridge Road location of Rhodes closed in 2021, but the Roswell store thankfully continues to be a pipeline for these addictive snacks (which come in packs of two dozen). The store also has other beloved baked goods, including a gooey caramel cake and apple cinnamon coffee cake.

Munster Cravings

Frosted birthday cake cookie

For an instant celebration, take that cookie hankering to Munster Cravings for a frosted birthday cake cookie. Baker Veronica Dalzon brings the party in every bite. To start with, the cookies are rainbow sprinkled, and as big as a hand span. Made from scratch daily, the soft, chewy cookies have a buttery sweet base, similar to a chocolate chip cookie, only with white Belgian chocolate chips. Dalzon folds in sweet sprinkles, and a house-made buttercream anchors a generous scattering of colorful jimmies. Please note that the sprinkled cookies go quickly on weekends.

Pastries A Go Go


Located in a strip mall near downtown Decatur, Pastries A Go Go is an old-school cafe and bakery that serves traditional Southern-style cathead biscuits. Classic in every sense of the word, the biscuits look like plenty you’ve had before, but they also might reset your expectations for this soul food staple. These biscuits manage the difficult task of being incredibly buttery and tender, while remaining substantial enough not to crumble under the weight of such breakfast staples as eggs, cheese and sausage. Anyone who has baked biscuits at home understands this delicate balancing act, and will appreciate the achievement at Pastries A Go Go.

TGM Bread

English muffins

A spinoff of the General Muir at Emory Point, TGM Bread makes great bagels, ciabatta, burger buns, brioche and more. For many, though, the English muffins are the thing. Laboriously hand-turned on a flat-top griddle, they look like fluffy pillows. TGM claims to use a secret ingredient that gives the fat orbs a sublime, bready aroma. Alas, they’re offered only on weekends, mainly on Saturdays at Peachtree Road Farmers Market and Sundays at Grant Park Farmers Market. Or, you can pre-order by emailing and pick up at the bakery.

Little Tart Bakeshop

Pain au chocolat

A three-time semifinalist for the James Beard Outstanding Baker award, Sarah O’Brien owns and operates three Little Tart Bakeshop locations in metro Atlanta, plus the soft-serve ice cream shop Big Softie. From the beginning, O’Brien’s French-inspired chocolate croissant has been the bestseller. The buttery, flaky, chocolate cream-filled pastries are almost always available at the Grant Park store.


Japanese green tea creme brulee

Creme brulee isn’t the expected dessert at a Japanese restaurant, but Nakato puts a Japanese twist on the decadent French dish. Adding sencha green tea to the silky-smooth custard produces a richer, more balanced filling. The savory quality of green tea doesn’t overpower the vanilla notes of the custard, but it does temper the cream’s sweetness and richness. It is served artfully, in a long, thin dish, similar to an olive tray. Not only does the dish make sharing with table mates easy, but it also provides so much more surface area for the caramelized, crunchy sugar crown. There’s no need to decide who gets to break the candy shell first.

I Canita Cake

Strawberry-rhubarb pie bar

How many times have you rounded the bend on busy Alpharetta Street, headed south toward historic downtown Roswell, and whizzed past I Canita Cake? Stop the car, mom! Tucked into a small strip mall is a hidden gem that backs up its claim as “Roswell’s Sweet Spot” with the likes of cutesy iced cookies, oatmeal cream pies, vanilla bean cupcakes, chocolate ganache brownies, coconut macaroons, cookie dough truffles and slice upon slice of red velvet cake. But, it’s the pie bars that have us hooked. I Canita Cake bakes a variety of them — from pecan to peach to apple — but the sweet pie bar of this spring is strawberry-rhubarb. Each bite offers a thick layer of sweet-tart fruit filling on top of rich, buttery shortbread. Will it be one for $4.75, six for $28, or a full tray that feeds a dozen for $55? Hurry, this offer won’t last long, because the pie bar menu changes monthly. Avoid disappointment and call ahead. If it’s not in the rotation, you can place an order — full tray only.

Cafe Vendôme

Ham croissant

Whether or not Cafe Vendôme’s floor-to-ceiling trompe l’oeil tricks you into believing you’ve been whisked to a Parisian square, the croissants will have your taste buds confirming that founder Hamid Rouchdi’s bakery-cafe is legit. The regular and chocolate-filled croissants have a superior chew and flaky texture, but, for a real-deal French meal, order the ham croissant. A few thin slices of ham get tidily tucked between halves of a buttery, crescent-shaped roll swiped with béchamel. Next comes a shower of mozzarella on top, followed by a trip into the oven until the cheese is bubbling. At $16.99, this might be the most expensive ham croissant you’ve ever eaten (hey, at least it comes with your choice of side salad or roasted potatoes), so savor every morsel.

Evergreen Butcher + Baker


Evergreen Butcher + Baker in Kirkwood offers whole-animal butchered meats and lots of sweet and savory baked goods. There are multiple takes on rye bread, with vollkornbrot one of the favorites. The dense, dark, 100% rye bread makes a perfect base for an open-faced sandwich, and also would be great as part of a smorgasbord with pickled herring, air-dried meats, radishes and Danish havarti or blue cheese.

Star Provisions

Pan epi

James Beard award-winning chef Anne Quatrano’s acclaimed restaurant Bacchanalia shares space with Star Provisions Market & Cafe, where the bakery offers breads, cakes, cookies, pies and pastries. Among all that, the pan epi, an artisan twist on the classic French baguette, beckons with its stalk-like loaf. Not only is it beautiful to behold, but its pull-apart sections also are perfect for making mini sandwiches or fancy hors d’oeuvres.


The Bonzo

The Bonzo has been a mainstay on the menu at Murphy’s in Virginia-Highland for more than 20 years, and with good reason. Named after a customer who tried it and said, “I love it. It makes you go bonzo,” it actually is three desserts in one. On the bottom is a perfectly baked brownie, rich with fudge; in the middle, you get a light and creamy New York-style cheesecake; and, on the top is a layer of airy, velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a thin layer of whipped cream. It’s an intensely rich, flavorful — and efficient — treat that rightly earns its place among Atlanta’s best desserts.

Brazilian Bakery Cafe

Empada de palmito

Only a little larger in diameter than a U.S. dollar coin, the empada de palmito from Brazilian Bakery Cafe still packs a flavorful punch. The Brazilian version of a pot pie sees a meat or vegetable and sauce encased in a buttery shell made of wheat flour. Brazilian Bakery Cafe has a version made with chicken and tomato sauce, but I’m partial to the empada that makes use of house-made bechamel sauce and hearts of palm that are harvested from palm trees that often grow in Brazil. They make for a larger-than-life savory bite that fits in the palm of your hand.

White Windmill Bakery


Biting into a perfect macaron is like nibbling a cloud. At White Windmill, a Korean bakery, you first must decide which flavor to pick from a glass case chock-full of colorful choices. Like jewels on display, individually wrapped selections include blood orange, salted caramel, green tea, strawberry, mango and chocolate. Classic pistachio is an impeccable choice. Faultlessly smooth, shiny and round outer shells have a slight crunch as you bite and chew through the toasty nuttiness. A creamy white chocolate and pistachio filling adds more nutty richness. It’s a delightfully textured sandwich of cakey discs that are light as air, yet strong enough to hold a richly flavored cream as you bite through the crisp exterior. If you can’t decide which one you want, get a six-pack box. They hold their crispness for a few days.


Milk chocolate chip cookie

This national chain of small shops turns out an extraordinary amount of cookies. They have a texture somewhere between a cake and a decadent cookie, and Crumbl offers more than 300 flavors on a rotating basis. Some flavors are retired and then return with fanfare, but the milk chocolate chip cookies always are available, and always are perfect with a glass of chocolate milk for dunking.

Pala Bakery


Not easy to find in Atlanta, sfogliatelle is a pastry that immediately will catch your eye at Pala Bakery. The sandwich and pizza shop from maestro Gio DiPalma feels authentically Italian, down to its sparsely stocked shelves, and the sfogliatelle hits all the right notes. The clamshell-shaped pastry combines the best aspects of a croissant and a cream puff, with a crisp exterior encasing layers that have a light, buttery crumb. At the center is a dollop of cream that’s not overly sweet, allowing the pastry to do most of the talking.

Buttery ATL

Jen Yee’s dream cookie

To taste a dream come true, head to the Buttery in Atlanta’s Morningside-Lenox Park neighborhood. Jen Yee, the former executive pastry chef of Hopkins & Co. hospitality group, focused her prodigious skills on making a cookie that is busy in the best way. Her dream cookie hits every part of the palate, thanks to dark chocolate, shredded coconut, espresso and vanilla. The complex flavor and addictive texture might have you seeing Yee’s cookie in your dreams.

Douceur de France

Bacon asiago sourdough

At the heart of Douceur de France’s sourdough is a 30-year-old starter that Jonathan St. Hilaire has been tending to with what he calls “the utmost love.” He uses the French pain au levain natural method, relying on wild fermentation to achieve the rise, as well as that distinctive sourdough tang. The process also lessens the gluten content and glycemic load, making the bread both tasty and easy to digest. For his new bacon asiago sourdough, shredded asiago cheese and applewood smoked bacon nuggets are folded in. The acidity of sourdough complements both the salty meatiness of bacon and the sweet nuttiness of asiago. These flavors are encased in the caramelized, thick, crunchy crust and the bread’s chewy, light interior.

Belen de la Cruz

Beef empanadas

This sturdy-looking, half-moon handheld, with “beef” emblazoned into its golden crust, is meal-sized. Each empanada is baked to order and made with recipes that chef Belen de la Cruz cooked all her life in Argentina, a country with a long tradition of high-quality beef. The flaky, bronze exterior encases a tender, juicy Angus beef filling. The dough is thin and extra crispy — the heftiness comes from the meat. There are onions, paprika and other seasonings, too, but they’re more of a hint, allowing all the beefiness in the savory pastry to shine through.

Saint Germain French Cafe & Bakery

Trompe l’oeil pastries

Saint Germain, a pastry shop from husband-and-wife team Heather and Mathieu Jourdan-Gassin, offers sweet and savory delicacies that would be at home off the Place Vendôme in Paris. You’ll find a rainbow selection of macarons, hand-dipped chocolates and classic cookies, such as crispy palmiers. But, it’s the display of trompe l’oeil (tricks-your-eye) pastries that elicits the ooh-la-las. Over-the-top fabrications replicate peaches, lemons and apples, and the flavors of the sponge cake and filling inside mirror the outside.

Momo Cafe

Filled croissants

Momo Cafe, the cozy little coffee shop attached to sister restaurant Momonoki in Midtown, has turned out fun, inventive pastries and other sweets since opening in 2018, including black sesame soft-serve ice cream and chocolate citrus Earl Grey cheesecake. The beautiful, delicate croissants made by pastry chef ChingYao Wang, one of the owners, are no exception. The circular shape of the croissants allows them to stand upright, creating an eye-catching display. But, it’s what’s inside each croissant that really elevates it — decadent creams that incorporate Asian ingredients, including black sesame and matcha. The strawberries and cream is a standout, with berries mixed into the cream, creating the illusion of biting into freshly picked fruit. And, the choux pastry is lovely, with a golden brown finish on the outside and a light, buttery interior.

Haifa Bakery


Haifa Bakery is known for its Iraqi flatbreads, which are baked daily. Traditionally used as an eating utensil, by breaking off a piece and scooping up stews, these flatbreads also are perfect for dipping in hummus and other spreads. Flatbread also makes a nice pizza base and, if it is a bit stale or toasted, is good in a fattoush salad.

Piece of Cake

Carrot cake

There’s something nostalgic about carrot cake, and Piece of Cake has a recipe that apparently matches what most people expect in the dish. This version has the right density and sweetness, and the bakers are not shy with the baking spices. The rich cream cheese frosting gives the not-too-sweet cake an air of decadence, without throwing the whole equation out of balance. For a little extra texture, spend another dollar and spring for the walnuts.

Muss & Turner's

Evil Cookie

What makes these cookies so “evil”? It could be that the masterminds at Muss & Turner’s have brought a treat into the world that is as addictive as it is tasty. These huge cookies are a buttery, textured dream, even before you get to the gigantic hunks of chocolate. They’re crisp on the exterior and chewy in the middle, with a perfect little edge of saltiness. At least, Muss & Turner’s is upfront about its sinful treats. Once you develop a habit, it’s hard not to order an evil cookie every time you cross the restaurant’s threshold.

Sweet, Sweet Syria

Baked pita chips with za’atar

Syrian refugees Ruwaida and Khaled brought only what they could carry when they left Damascus. Here, they have become known for traditional Syrian baked goods at underground supper clubs and farmers markets. A sample of their baked pita chips forced me back in line to buy a full plastic container. Their homemade Syrian flatbread is coated in olive oil and za’atar, cut into bite-sized pieces, and baked. Both the bottom and top are golden and crisp. The herbs thyme and marjoram are subtle, the toasted sesame seeds have a nutty savoriness, while the sumac in the za’atar provides tangy, citrus vibes. Dip them in labneh or smoky baba ghanoush, or enjoy the chips by themselves.

Little Bear


On an ever-changing menu like Little Bear’s, where dishes often last only a matter of days, a permanent item better be good. The blondies and milk have been served at Little Bear since it opened, and customers no doubt would protest if they were removed. The blondies are sweet and savory, with sesame adding extra complexity to the flavor. They are served alongside a small glass of whiskey milk for dipping, a whimsical touch in line with the restaurant’s playful attitude. It might be fun to eat, but this is a serious dessert that has reached perfection in Little Bear’s kitchen.