Photo courtesy of Five Points Artisan Bakeshop, Point Breeze.

Pies. Cakes. Donuts. Cookies. Biscotti. Baguettes. Sourdough. The list goes on.

We realize everyone has their favorite, and sometimes the best bakery is the one that’s closest to you at a given moment. But there are true standouts in this city filled with good bakeries. We’ve chosen these 17 for their excellence and variety.

Did we mention your favorite? If not, leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.

La Gourmandine, various locations

There are a lot of things to love at La Gourmandine’s many locations, including this: Given Pittsburghers’ penchant for cramming everything under the sun into a bun and calling it a sandwich — how about a sandwich you can actually walk and eat, and not have explode all over you? Sacrebleu! A little taste of Lyon on the Mon, La Gourmandine makes some of the best sandwiches in town, and somehow they’re also among the cheapest ($5). They slice fresh baguettes down the middle, put in something simple, like prosciutto and cornichons, or ham and butter, and that’s all you need. One more thing we love: the Eclairs au Chocolat, which are soft buttery pastries filled with chocolate cream and topped with chocolate fondant.

la gourmandine baguettes
Fresh-baked baguettes at La Gourmandine bakery. Photo by Tom O’Connor.
Fresh-baked baguettes at La Gourmandine bakery. Photo by Tom O’Connor.

Five Points Artisan Bakeshop, Squirrel Hill/Point Breeze

This is a great all-around bakery for both sweet and savory items. Their seeded fougasse baguettes, dark rye sourdoughs and challah can take even a forgettable dinner into exciting territory. Don’t sleep on their croissants, pastries and cookies, either. Every neighborhood needs a bakery like this. Five Points is expanding into the space next door (tentatively opening in November), adding a cafe and coffee shop in partnership with Espresso a Mano. Soon you’ll be able to sip some of the city’s best coffee here, as well.

Jean-Marc Chatellier’s French Bakery, a destination in Millvale. Photo by Brian Cohen.
Jean-Marc Chatellier’s French Bakery, a destination in Millvale. Photo by Brian Cohen.

Jean-Marc Chatellier’s French Bakery, Millvale

For the longest time, Jean-Marc’s was one of those charming Pittsburgh oddities — an authentic French bakery anomalously dropped into an otherwise industrial neighborhood. Now, there are a lot of great reasons to go to Millvale, from rock concerts to breweries to record shopping–and this bakery makes each trip a little sweeter. You can’t go wrong with the macarons here, but you can also get savory Quiche Lorraine and chocolate, almond or vanilla cream-filled croissants, perfect for breakfast.

Pink Box Bakery & Cafe, Squirrel Hill

This Taiwanese-style bakery features cakes, cupcakes and pineapple buns plus unusual items like pork taro buns and a hot dog-in-a-croissant type of pastry that seems to break all the rules. A great place to start is with a strawberry coconut layered bun or a savory green onion pork bun.

Enrico Biscotti.

Enrico Biscotti Bakery and Cafe, Strip District 

I always thought biscotti were a bit too dry to be delicious until I had them from Enrico’s. It turns out that they’re amazing when made fresh and by masters of the craft. Flavors range from anise and almond to white chocolate with macadamia nuts. Bonus: The cafe next door is one of Pittsburgh’s best Italian restaurant treasures.

Colangelo’s Bakery & Cafe, Strip District 

Attached to the Strip District coffee institution La Prima is this little Italian bakery, which makes everything from cookies to spinach and tomato focaccia from scratch. You can also get a hearty pepperoni roll and enjoy it as a meal (I do this).

Photo courtesy of Gaby et Jules Patisseries et Macarons.

Gaby et Jules Patisseries et Macarons, Squirrel Hill and East Liberty 

French-born Master Pastry Chef David Piquard makes melt-in-your-mouth macarons (they’re meringue sandwiches with buttercream inside, but you probably know that) with flavors so bright and punchy that you’ll ride that sugar high all the way home. You can’t go wrong with sea salt caramel, maple pecan or pistachio, nor can you lose if you sample one of every variety at Gaby et Jules.

Prantl’s burnt almond torte is one of America’s best cakes.
Prantl’s burnt almond torte is one of America’s best cakes.

Prantl’s Bakery, Shadyside

High rents and a preponderance of expensive chain stores on Walnut Street in Shadyside probably should have priced out Prantl’s a long time ago. But Prantl’s bet everything on its secret weapon — its miraculous sugar-crusted, light-as-air burnt almond torte — and wow, did it pay off. Now, Prantl’s has a second location Downtown in Market Square, plus a third in Greensburg. And they ship these delicious tortes all over the country via UPS.

Better-Maid Donuts, Crafton Heights

I can never wake up early enough to go get donuts here myself (they tend to sell out early). But I’ve had enough of them brought to various offices by saintly coworkers to pass judgment — and these are the best in the city. On par with Oram’s in Beaver Falls and Duck Donuts in the South Hills, the donuts here have a thick, substantial exterior with a soft cake interior, and classic flavors like chocolate-glazed, cinnamon and jelly-filled. Set your alarm!

Michael Machosky

Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife, Shaunna, and 10-year old son.