Hearty American breakfasts are great and all but sometimes we just want to start the day with an espresso and the buttery, flaky creation known as the croissant. For purists, the only way to enjoy this shatteringly crisp viennoiserie is the unadorned croissant au beurre. For others, a bit of almond paste or Valrhona seals the deal. Regardless of which side you stand on, there is no denying that LA has some seriously good croissants. From the new wave baklava mashup at Gjusta to the classic at République, here are our 5 favorite croissants in the City of Angels.
Croissant at République
Margarita Manzke is arguably one of the best pastry chefs in the city. If you have any doubts about that, they’ll disappear the moment you bite into one of her impeccably layered croissants. Though there are several creative creations in the case at République, the croissant is an ode to simplicity. Crispy exterior, supple interior and just the perfect amount of butter. It’s hard to ask for much more.
Pain au Chocolat at Chaumont Bakery & Café
The key to a great croissant lies in its lamination. Frederic and Laila Laski, the French husband and wife team behind Chaumont Bakery, know this better than anyone. The first thing you’ll notice about the pain au chocolat at Chaumont is its multiple, flaky layers. Peeling them off one by one, you’ll eventually make your way too the warm, slightly melted chocolate at the center of the croissant. It’s decadent without feeling over the top. You’d be hard pressed to find a better way to start the day.
Almond croissant at Proof Bakery
More often than not, almond croissants are too soft, too sweet, or too heavy. That’s far from true at Proof Bakery where owner Na Young Ma has perfected the art of the almond croissant. Somehow Ma has found a way to keep the exterior of the croissant crisp and the interior light, while still adding a healthy amount of almond paste to the pastry. Add an excellent cup of Four Barrel espresso to your order and you’re bound to have yourself a fine morning.
Baklava Croissant at Gjusta
There isn’t much you can’t find at Gjusta. They’re well stocked with everything from pizzas to pies but you won’t find an almond croissant in their pastry case. Instead, you’ll see a textbook shaped croissant that has been dusted with just a touch of pistachio. No, this isn’t a pistachio croissant either. It is something far more. The pastry geniuses at Gjusta have mashed together a baklava and croissant. By layering pistachios and honey between each fold of laminated dough, they’ve created a pastry that has become an LA legend.
Sonora Wheat Croissant at Friends & Family
Friends & Family is the long awaited solo project from pastry chef/baker Roxana Jullapat and chef Daniel Mattern. At the 4,000-square-foot location, which primarily functions as a breakfast and lunch spot, Jullapat is finally allowed to fully flex her pastry prowess. Though the case is stocked with plenty of goodies, a standout is the perfectly formed croissant. Baked with Sonora wheat, the croissant has a nuttier and richer flavor than its common counterparts. As you bite into the croissant, hundreds of little flakes will begin to break off and sprinkle over your clothes. This is something that you’ll fail to notice as you go in for a another bite, polishing of the entire buttery delight in a couple minutes. We wouldn’t judge if you immediately order a second one as we’ve done the same countless times before.
This Best Of was written by In The Loup contributor Ash Narayan, follow him on @everybytee!