After years of running Le Gourmand with her husband, Sara Naftaly opened her own bakeshop in Chophouse Row, drawing from her British upbringing and years in France—croissants, a brownie macaron the size of a slider, sultana malt loaf smeared with butter. The shop itself has minimal seating, but go up the rear stairs and you’ll find the perfect laptop-working hideaway on the mezzanine. Amandine shares its space with Empire Espresso, where the housemade cashew milk latte is straight-up decadent.
Inspired by their Scandinavian heritage, founders and dough whisperers Brian and Michelle Morck stock their Nickerson Street bakery with breads and pastries like limpa, lefse, stollen, semlor, croquembouche. Indeed a whole lineup of cakes and treats await, ready to unlock flavors from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.
This Japanese bakery slings matcha macarons and savory curry buns, but the sugar coated hero is the Crunchy Cream: filled with vanilla custard and covered in cereal cornflakes—the real breakfast of champions. Then there's green tea danishes and green tea cookies, as well as a cache of glossy tarts and treats touched with a bit of Asian influence, all of which issue from the ovens of Fuji Bakery in Bellevue, Interbay, and Chinatown–International District.
Almond croissants spring forth from many a local oven, but few as masterful as the flaky and fluffy and chewy ones with the intense nutty flavor at this Eastlake French bakery. Beyond a lineup of the aforementioned laminated dough–based pastries, find classic French breads such as baguettes and rounds of boule, plus a smattering of custard fruit tarts.
Down in Georgetown, on a quiet street off Sixth Ave, lies this cafe that, ever so briefly, transports you to a warmer and decidedly laid-back place. Hawaiian reggae music gently booms out of the speakers inside its recently expanded space, where a case full of cakes and pies of all sorts, both whole and by the slice, make you think dessert for lunch is gravely underrated. Nab something like a slice of their passion fruit cake or coconut cream pie, or go the full-on pastry route with custard-filled Long Johns, aka America’s eclairs, and a lineup of malasadas. Malasadas, a holeless, Portuguese-style yeasted doughnut, will come coated in sugar, dusted in cinnamon sugar, or filled with various custards. And one is rarely, if ever, enough.
The Northern Italian dessert game is strong at this bakery, where golden brown pastries glow behind the pastry case glass. At both South Park and South Lake Union locations, usual offerings include fresh cannoli, cinnamon rosetta, cornetti, tiramisu, short bread fruit tarts, and a good helping of something imbued with Nutella. Besides sweets, handmade pasta—from lasagna to ravioli—round out the savory menu.
Unlike Western-style baked goods, breads and pastries that emerge from this famous Taiwanese bakery and cafe chain are subtly savory and sweet, with a light, pillowy texture. In the Seattle area—Tukwila, Lynnwood, and soon Bellevue—gluten gluttons queue up, tray in hand, to get in on the likes of coffee bread, marbled taro paste–filled rolls, and "calamari stick," a savory pastry darkened with squid ink and stuffed with cheese.
Beneath strings of colorful papel picado, lives shelf after shelf of bright pink sweet rolls known as conchas, plus a myriad of other Mexican treats: sugar-dusted butter bread, puerquitos, flan, and more. But be warned, if you want to go home with any of these baked goods, it's cash only.
Sweet barbecue pork buns, durian pastries, egg custards, spongecake, and a whole manner of Hong Kong–style desserts reside inside this Chinatown–International bakeshop—you can't miss its lemon-yellow awning.
Just beneath the Pike Place Market skybridge lies Ludovic Guillaume and Elizabeth Bastoni’s Choukette, in which the humble bakery focuses on the pâte à choux dough-based eclair. After 18 years of living in France, the husband-and-wife duo brought a piece of Paris to Seattle: Inside a glossy pastry case, you’ll find 10 or so flavors such as hazelnut praline, classic chocolate, huckleberry marscarpone, and one with lychee, raspberry, and rose water. Some of the Northwest-meets-French combinations come and go with the seasons, but each eclair’s artful construction is steadfast.
Husband-and-wife power couple and pastry pros, Keiji Koh and Etsuku Minematsu, supply their beloved bakeries—four in all across Seattle—with many a Japanese-inspired pastry, among them: yuzu macarons, azuki bean mini bars, and black sesame tea cookies.
Editor's Note: Updated 11:15 am on October 12, 2018 to reflect that Choukette has closed.