Whether you’re in the mood for something sweet or on the hunt for a freshly baked, crusty baguette to complete your picnic spread, Santa Barbara abounds with bakeries that cater to every imaginable craving. From French, Danish, and Mexican specialties to gluten-free creations and All-American classics, buzzworthy bakeries can be found throughout the South Coast and into the Santa Ynez Valley. Buttery croissants, flaky kringle, colorful pan dulce, gourmet cupcakes, artisan bagels, and superfood breads are just some of the many treats awaiting you at our regional outposts of baked goodies. Following is a guide to the decadent and delicious must-try bakeries in The American Riviera®.
Bakeries in Santa Barbara
A downtown State Street staple for more than 40 years, Andersen’s Danish Bakery is a family-owned and operated establishment in La Arcada Plaza known for sweet and savory kringles and traditional danishes. They also offer full-service European-inspired restaurant menus. The bakery is worth a stop for Danish butter bread, cakes, petit fours, and pastries.
Jeannine’s is another longtime Santa Barbara favorite. The family-run operation has expanded over the years with multiple locations, including the newest on the waterfront where State Street meets Cabrillo Boulevard. Jeannine’s cookies are legendary and their scones are to-die-for. And then there’s the freshly baked bagels, muffins, and gluten-free cookies and brownies. Beyond the bakery case, Jeannine’s offers breakfast and lunch service daily—the banana Kahlua French toast and house made granola are a couple of standouts on the sweeter side. Additional locations include Montecito, Goleta, and Uptown Santa Barbara.
Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro quickly made a mark upon opening in Loreto Plaza and today has three bistro locations in Santa Barbara as well as bakeries inside Gelson’s. Renaud hails from France and his meticulous technique shines through in the croissants (the almond is particularly incredible!), sticky buns, cakes, and tarts. For breakfast and lunch fare, the French-style omelets are perfection, and the grilled cheese is heavenly.
D’Angelo Bakery has been supplying the local community with artisanal loaves and pastries since 1991. The smells wafting out of their Gutierrez Street bakery and café are known to draw customers in for a scone, pretzel, or tart. Their breakfast and lunch café menu makes great use of their breads baked daily in dishes like the Eggs Rose served on their Kalamata olive toast and their egg salad sandwich on pumpernickel rye.
Down in the Funk Zone, Helena Avenue Bakery dishes out organic breads made with locally milled flour, seasonal pastries, and made-to-order breakfast and lunch fare. Try simple pleasures like the buttermilk biscuit with salted butter and jam and the wildflower honey ricotta on sourdough toast, or one of the hearty breakfast sandwiches on brioche. Weekends bring out fans of their Challah French toast and sour cherry and pistachio levain, available exclusively on Saturday and Sunday.
A newcomer that’s been drawing crowds since day one, the Presidio District’s Alessia Patisserie is the brainchild of a native Santa Barbaran, Alessia Guehr. The talented pastry chef grew up in her parents’ successful local restaurants and apprenticed under several masterful pastry artists before returning to her hometown to share her craft. Alessia is a treasure trove of beautiful candies, chocolates, cakes, and croissants, and you can also order sit-down breakfast and lunch fare such as quiche, brioche French toast, and savory crepes.
Award-winning Lilac Pâtisserie is a completely gluten-free bakery and café where the treats are so good, you’d never know they are missing certain ingredients. Best known for their stunning cakes in a range of flavors, Lilac Pâtisserie also serves breakfast and lunch daily. Gluten-free benedicts, quiches, and sandwiches are on the menu along with granola, pancakes, salads, and soups. On the sweet side, cookies, macarons, and cake slices will hit the spot.
Oat Bakery is a health-conscious bakery that specializes in whole grain superfood breads infused with nutritious farmers’ market produce, seeds, and nuts. Think creative flavors like charcoal sesame sourdough, shiitake shallot, and date almond. They also make a limited number of super seed gluten-free loaves. House made spreads like truffle cashew cream cheese and cilantro walnut pesto are the perfect complement to breads like the sourdough focaccia. If you don’t want a whole loaf, go for the cozy Hygge buns filled with, organic dates, cinnamon, cardamom, agave, organic coconut oil, and hemp seeds.
Gipsy Hill Bakery is a weekly pop-up with an ever-changing menu. British chef and owner, Sandra Adu Zelli, channels her extensive culinary experience into her creations that showcase produce from the local farmers’ markets. Items like savory pastries and sweet cardamon buns reflect her British heritage, while cookies in unexpected flavors like orange and pistachio, sourdough chocolate chip, and hazelnut shortbread appeal to gourmands.
Australia is the influence behind Recipes Bakery, a homey coffee house and bakery on Santa Barbara Street where you can get a proper flat white or long black with your breakfast. Pop in for ricotta pineapple pancakes, cinnamon rolls, sweet and savory scones and muffins, or porridge.
Crushcakes and Café specialize in more than their signature cupcakes, which put them on the map when opening their first location in downtown Santa Barbara. Nowadays, the popular dessert bar with a secondary location in Goleta is also filled with cinnamon rolls, sweet breads, scones, iced cookies, macarons, and chocolate-covered strawberries.
If it’s traditional Mexican baked goods you’re after, you’ve got options aplenty. The Milpas Street corridor is home to Panaderia Veronica, where you can find a wide range of treats ranging from pan dulce to barritas. La Tapatia Bakery bakes conchas daily along with sweet empanadas. On Haley Street, Los Tarascos Bakery and Deli bakes breads daily for their tortas and serves slices of house-made flan and tres leches cake. Over on the westside, La Bella Rosa Bakery is renowned for their tres leches cake and sweetbreads.