Visitors to Los Angeles often discover what Angelenos know deep down: donuts can be a perfect way to start the day. Southeast Asian immigrants are partly responsible for the high concentration of donut shops in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is also known as the mecca for some of America’s best donuts. Thus, L.A. is on almost every list of America’s Top 10 Best DonutsCities, ranking second on some of them.
Where to find the best donuts in the United States?
I’m all for answers that enthusiastically endorse particular stores (i.e. blind rooting for the home team), but I don’t think we can really answer that question until we will not have heard from experts who have visited several dozen independent stores. donut shops across the US (though I think it’s reasonable to include a chain like Krispy Kreme in our analysis). It may be more productive to focus on specific markets.
Additionally, there are several ways to approach and refine this question:
Are certain regions more likely to produce better donuts? Some have argued that historical demographic patterns may help explain why certain cities are overrepresented when it comes to big Best Donuts . For example, a mid-sized city like Louisville arguably contains three nationally significant donut shops (Nord’s, Bussman’s, and Jeff’s) and has historically had a large German immigrant population.
If you’re following this topic, you’re already nodding your head because you know Germany is a big player on the international donut circuit. The “best donut” is a different question from the “best donut shop”, although there is clearly a relationship between them. How do you balance donuts against the stores that sell them? Generally, form follows function, but it’s hard to believe that atmosphere doesn’t inform the dining experience to some degree.
The “best donut” is also too broad a question; compare old school donuts to new school donuts, they are apples and oranges. Here’s what might be the best answer currently available: Grubstreet recently put together a thoughtful list that includes 101 donut shops across the United States: Sweet: 101 Amazing American Donut Shops With Serious Street Cred California is a big state, but it should be noted that approximately of these stores are in the Golden State.
Best Donuts in Los Angeles-
Mochinut is perfect for Los Angeles. It is a store specializing in the following products: Korean rice flour hot dogs, bubble tea, soft serve and mochi Best Donuts . The latter was born in Hawaii by combining traditional donuts with mochi.
WHERE? – 7217 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
PHONE – (323) 413-2488
2. Holey Grail Donuts
This Tony Hawk-backed Hawaiian Best Donuts chain started out in Hanalei, Kauai, selling taro donuts out of a small trailer. Now a Pacific Coast phenom, 2018-born Holey Grail has two Los Angeles outposts in Larchmont and Santa Monica, with more on the way. The most popular item remains the original taro donuts .
WHERE? – 148 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004
PHONE – (213) 598-9774
3. Cafe Dulce
“Apple-interchange-newline”>This Little Tokyo shop cooks up racks and racks of donuts in fresh flavors including green tea, cinnamon toast crunch and fruity pebbles. Open since 2011, James Choi’s shop is also renowned for its excellent coffee and bubble tea. The Dinosaur Egg Best Donuts, Choi’s version of a fluffy Korean bakery bread, is worth a try.
WHERE? – 134 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles, CA 90012
PHONE – (213) 346-9910
4. Bub and Grandma’s Restaurant
Though a daytime spot for breakfast, lunch, focaccia, and baguettes, Bub & Grandma’s makes fantastic doughnuts. The flavors can change varying with cinnamon sugar, blueberry, strawberry, or cherry doughnut.
WHERE? – 3507 Eagle Rock Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90065
5. Foster’s Donuts
This long-running La Crescenta donut shop towers over Foothill Boulevard and is one of the area’s top morning destinations. Foster’s serves a wide range of fluffy, deep-fried donuts and also manages to be open 24/7. The glazed twists are fried to perfection, while the maple bars are so light and easy to eat that there is never enough.
WHERE? – 2601 Foothill Blvd, La Crescenta-Montrose, CA 91214
PHONE – (818) 249-1533
6. Amigos Donuts
Generations of families have Amigos Donuts on their radar. This is due to the friendly service, mango boba, cafe de olla, ham and cheese croissants and classic Best Donuts.
WHERE? – 6418 Santa Fe Ave, Huntington Park, CA 90255
PHONE – (323) 581-6101
7. Big Jim’s Donuts
Open 24 hours a day, Big Jim’s has developed regulars over the decades still making great donuts. Big Jim’s sits on an iconic street corner, directly across from LA’s must-see Pioneer Chicken. Order donuts, sandwiches or even elote at this classic East LA restaurant.
WHERE? – 2401 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90023
PHONE – (323) 261-9744
8. Dale’s Donuts
A Compton staple, Dale’s Donuts is home to another of Los Angeles’ giant donuts on its rooftop. The owners split the donut-making crews into two. They are open from 4 a.m. to 11 a.m. then 3:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.
I have tried to visit every independent donut shop in the five boroughs for the past two years. TL/DR: Dough in Bed-Stuy gets my vote. More thoughts below:
For “old fashioned” donuts, the consensus view would include 1) Peter Pan in Greenpoint, 2) Donut Pub on W. 14th in Manhattan, 3) Shaikh’s Place in Sheepshead Bay, and maybe 4) 7th Avenue Donuts at Park Slope.
These four places are going full throttle when it comes to authenticity, vintage atmosphere, and no-frills donuts. Peter Pan probably garners the most votes from self-proclaimed critics and actual food journalists. In my opinion, these are solid old-school spots but not necessarily nationally significant on the American donut map.
For “new school” donuts, there are wonderful options. These donuts are large in size and come in a range of flavors and inventive shapes. They’re creative, but sometimes you find yourself wanting a simple glazed donut. Donut Plant on the Lower East Side and in Chelsea deserves credit for pioneering the new school donut in the early 1990s.
It consistently takes the top spot on lists, and that’s a fair verdict. More recently, Dough moved to the edge of Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn; his donuts are outstanding. Right now, I think it’s the best donut in the five boroughs. Dun-Well in Williamsburg and Dough-Loco on the Upper East Side are other “new school” spots that get frequent nods and deserve them.
In my opinion, these “new school” shops in New York are important landmarks on the American donut map. In other words, if you’re visiting New York or a resident who rarely eats donuts, you should take advantage of the city’s relative strength, which is new school rather than old school.
Places like Donut Pub are charming but not unique; most towns have a treasure like that. But Donut Plant is special. There are many restaurants and bakeries that stand out for serving a small number of excellent donuts, often as post-prandial desserts, but I think these fall outside the scope of a standard definition of a donut shop.
Brooklyn’s independent “All You Can Eat” press has published a New York City Donut Map. It can be ordered here (All You Can Eat Press), and it’s accurate and informative and includes three dozen spots, so it’s more comprehensive than various lists you can find online (see next point).
This topic has been covered quite well by various journalists and bloggers, and I don’t disagree with their findings, and you’ll see what I mean by consensus.
Where are the best donuts in Mountain View, CA?
If you’re willing to drive, there’s a place just around 680/Berryessa, east of the freeway on Berryessa across from the Safeway mall, in a strip mall area, in San Jose that does these “cream beignets” which are not quite like donuts, but more like a soft cream choux pastry with a custard filling. I can’t eat wheat anymore so I can’t have any and I can’t guarantee they’re still there, but I’m guessing they’re still there because it’s a unique and delicious treat. Bay Area in 1995.
In Canterbury, England.
There was a small bakery with a storefront in a town alley run by a man and his mother. To my young eyes, he was old…his mother even more so. This little bakery made the best donuts I have ever tasted.
I went to the store to buy donuts so often, I found they were made at the same time every day, between 11am and 12pm. So I would go there as close to 12 as possible to get them freshly made and still hot. Sometimes I was a little early, or they were a little late and I was invited into the back bakery to watch while they were being made.
The store and the bakery closed when the baker died, it happened when I was about 18. I don’t know exactly when. When I was 17 I was involved in a serious car accident and it was about 2 years later before I could visit the store and bakery again… only to find there was none more.
As I write this…Memories of the sights, sounds…the memory of the warmth and smell of that bakery…the warmth and friendliness of the baker and his mother come back…and the taste of the most delicious donuts EVER.