Salt & Wind Travel

Best Dessert In Los Angeles

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When you travel to Los Angeles, there is a LOT to explore. And, if it’s good food you’re searching for, the issue is not if you’ll come across deliciousness but how to try it all. We advise breaking it up by neighborhood and food, starting with these five iconic spots for the best dessert in Los Angeles.

If you’re part of our Facebook Group, Salt & Wind Society, you may have caught our chat with LA-based dessert expert Nastassia Johnson, where we discussed this topic. A native Angeleno and a sweets aficionado, Nas has dedicated her career to mastering the LA food scene. As such, she is our go-to source for all things sweet be it her pick of the best morning buns to where to find perfect ube cupcakes to if the Rock’s favorite french toast is in fact delicious (yes it is)!

Blame it on Hollywood and our celebrity culture, but there is a lot of hype in Los Angeles that can extend to the food. So, we asked Nas to let us know her pick of iconic dessert spots in LA that are worth the hype.

Top Tip For Exploring Los Angeles

Whenever we talk about Los Angeles, we have to throw out a big warning about how bad the traffic gets. To avoid it, we recommend dividing the city by your interest, be it Santa Monica for beach vibes, downtown Los Angeles for a creative arts scene, or Beverly Hills for all things luxe. 

And Nastassia recommends you do the same when you are ISO, the best dessert in Los Angeles. She suggests you match up geographically adjacent spots, like pairing a visit to The Apple Pan with a stop by the Santa Monica Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee shop. Or heading to the mid-city Cake Monkey location and the West Hollywood Bristol Farms. 

Cake Monkey Mini Cakes

Best Dessert In Los Angeles Worth The Hype

If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll want to make time for tastes at the following spots on your next trip to Los Angeles. 

Cake: Cake Monkey Bakery

Nastassia’s social media handle is “Let Me Eat Cake,” which is her namesake category. Cake Monkey Bakery is her go-to for any cake, from mini cakes to gluten-free to vegan. Yes, she is biased since they are one of her PR clients, but she was a fan before she worked with them. It’s a female-owned spot in mid-city Los Angeles, and they’re best known for their mini layer cakes, which are decadent, delicious, and always a party favorite!

Nastassia’s go-to flavor of the mini layer cake is the Chocolate Malted Crunch Cake, but we’re also into the Triple Berry Crumble and the Coconut Cake. And don’t sleep on their other retro pastries like their cakewiches, the Inside Out S’mores, the Sticky Toffee Brownie, or the L’il Merri cookie, which was voted the #1 cookie in LA Magazine!

Cake Monkey Bakery, 7807 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Cookie: Bristol Farms

Head to this California gourmet grocery chain for everything from their cheese counter to their bakery. And while they have everything from tarts and caramel cheesecake to scones and coconut cake, they’re best known for “The Cookie.” 

Yes, that’s “The Cookie” with a capital “C” because, here in California, it has a reputation that precedes it. Made with Belgian dark chocolate and toasted walnuts, this is a buttery, soft cookie that’s served warm at most Bristol Farms stores. TLDR: If you’re craving a classic chocolate cookie, do not pass go and head directly to Bristol Farms. 

Various locations across Southern California

Sidecar Doughnuts And Coffee

Donuts: Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee

We’re now getting into controversial territory because a doughnut shop is on nearly every corner in Los Angeles. They range from mom-and-pop to chain, terrible to great, and locals have major allegiance.

While Randy’s (the spot near LAX with that giant donut on its roof!) is the most recognized donut shop in Los Angeles, Nastassia’s pick is Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee. Despite its prominent presence on social media, they are 100% worth the hype. Sidecar is a SoCal-based company that started in Orange County’s Costa Mesa and now has locations in San Diego, mid-city Los Angeles (near Cake Monkey!), and Santa Monica. 

Nastassia credits their success to everything being super fresh. Sidecar sells mostly cake doughnuts though there are a few raised doughnuts and even an egg-filled doughnut that is savory. They rotate flavors monthly, but one glance at Instagram will prove that the Huckleberry doughnut and the Butter and Salt doughnut are the crowd favorite. Nastassia loves their Vanilla Bean raised doughnuts. 

Three locations across Southern California

Ice Cream: McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams

Though you can find a lot of beloved ice cream shops from out of state, like Jeni’s and Salt & Straw, Nastassia is partial to the Southern California company McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream. 

They started as a dairy in Santa Barbara in 1949, so the milk is of the highest quality. The result is ice cream with a creamy and clean flavor. McConnell’s now has scoop shops across Southern California with four Los Angeles locations. Find them at Third Street Promenade, Pacific Palisades, Studio City, or the historic Grand Central Market in downtown LA (one of California’s most iconic food halls)

Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Peanut Butter Chip, and Eureka Lemon & Marionberries are some of the most beloved flavors. But Nastassia is partial to a cone of the Sea Salt Cookies and Cream or the Santa Barbara Strawberry. 

Various locations across Southern California

Apple Pan Pie Slice

Pie: The Apple Pan

The most historic spot on this list is The Apple Pan, a homey 1940s institution in West LA. Their motto is “quality first,” which may explain why some Angelenos are die-hard loyalists. Nastassia calls it a double hitter since you can get your burger and pie fix there. On the menu are classic pies like Banana Cream Pie, Apple Pie, Coconut, and, in the summer months, strawberry. The location and classic food combination are as Americana as it gets in Los Angeles.

The Apple Pan, 10801 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

All Around Bakery: Porto’s Bakery

When you visit LA, Porto’s Bakery is not to be missed. What started out as a typical Cuban bakery has now expanded to what Nastassia calls a “Disneyland of desserts.” You can get anything from cookies to muffins to cakes and, of course, Latin baked goods. They’re known for their Guava Cheese Roll though the Churro Croissants are quickly becoming favorites. Fans wait in line (it goes quickly) to get large boxes of an assortment of baked goods that are surprisingly affordable.

Various locations across Southern California

Have Us Plan Your California Trip

Did you know we’re also a boutique travel agency specializing in California vacation planning? If you want to plan a trip to California, our California trip planner services are here to help you plan your perfect itinerary.

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