With its wide avenues, picturesque brownstones, and relative quiet, you might expect that the Upper West Side is the ideal location for a bakery or cafe. And you’d be right. This neighborhood is a dessert-lover’s paradise, with internationally renowned locations that provide sweet treats for every craving. Here are 10 of the best places to get dessert on the Upper West Side:
Levain Bakery has hands-down the best chocolate chip cookies in New York City. They’re simply everything you’d want in a cookie: over-sized, gooey, filling and yet always leaving you craving more.
2. Cafe Lalo
Earning its reputation as “The Cafe Europeans would love to have in Europe,” Cafe Lalo has desserts from all around the continent: Italian affogato, French brioche sandwiches, and Belgian chocolate mousse, to name a few. If you’re feeling less sophisticated, there’s always the cookie monster – a jumbo cookie with ice cream and whipped cream.
Whether babka, mandel bread, or halvah are foods you’ve loved since childhood, or delicacies you’ve never tried, you have to get them from Zabar’s. A family business for over 80 years, the goodies at Zabar’s are hearty, rustic, and a great alternative to artificial and over-sweetened alternatives.
The genius of Big Gay Ice Cream is in using the tools of the ice cream parlor to create an array of unique iced desserts. From their “Dorothy” – a caramel-infused vanilla ice cream cone covered in ground-up Nilla wafers – to the “Mermaid” – their ice cream sundae version of Key lime pie – the shop transforms ice cream in ways you’ve never seen before.
Acclaimed French confectionary chef Jacques Torres is often called “Mr. Chocolate,” and in the cafe that bears his name you can have a taste of everything chocolate — from chocolate pretzels and cookies to hot chocolate. But best of all are the Jacques Torres hand-crafted bon bons, which are truffles infused with ingredients such as fine red wine, premium tea, and pineapple pate de fruit.
With a selection of goods made entirely from scratch, By the Way Bakery’s magic extends to the countless number of custom-made cakes they offer. With options including a rainbow dip, a watercolor texture, and rainbow filling, they can do things with cake that you didn’t know were possible.
Owner Zohar Sasson studied gelato making in Italy before opening his popular Upper West Side store with 100% kosher and non-artificial ingredients. He’s used his expertise to craft rich, creamy, authentic gelato with ingredients you’ll find nowhere else, such as Mojito, Guiness & Dark Chocolate, and Panna Cotta.
You won’t find a cheesecake more gorgeous than the ones sold at Billy’s, whether it’s topped with blueberries, raspberries, or caramel pecan. In fact, everything here — from the espresso cake to the cookie sandwiches — look as good as they taste. To try your own skills, they sell DIY cookie, cupcake, and cake decorating kits.
This cafe’s name refers to a cake made with alternating layers of puff pastry and cream. It’s one of the most difficult sweets in the Pâtisserie française, but the Mille-feuille Bakery Cafe excels at it. Equal parts authentic and delectable, this is the perfect stop for anyone who wants to feel like they’ve spent an afternoon in Paris.
10. Tea Magic
Bubble tea lovers rejoice, with over 15 flavors of milk tea, plus fruit teas, protein shakes, slushes, and smoothies, Tea Magic is perfect for anyone craving a refreshing drink. And if that doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, Tea Magic offers four kinds of dessert crepes.