To start my search for the best bakeries in New York City, I decided to begin with a local spot, easily accessible to Barnard and Columbia students, making it that much simpler to find the sweet treat you’ve been craving.
While en route to an Environmental Science lab at West Harlem Pier, I stumbled across Chokolat Patisserie at 122nd and Broadway and was intrigued by this little bakery and the assortment of pastries I could see from outside. I promised myself that I would have to return once I had some money in my pocket, and it turned into the perfect excuse to enjoy the brisk fall weather and indulge my sweet tooth.
Due to the patisserie’s proximity to campus, I had the chance to simply take a walk and clear my head without ever leaving the neighborhood or having to deal with the subway. Upon entering the space, I found it to be small, yet cozy and inviting, with sturdy wooden tables accompanied by the gentle murmur of small talk and the scent of freshly brewed tea. Because there are only three small tables within the patisserie, it is a better option to take your items to go, but if you come in at the right time, it could be used as a valuable study space.
The rows of pastries and desserts, including flourless chocolate cake, croissants, and crème brulee, drew me in, but it was the chocolate mousse cake that eventually caught my eye. Topped with chocolate and berries, the delicate dessert offered just enough sweetness to satisfy my craving and distract me – at least for the moment – from the stress of midterms.
While I came for the desserts, I stayed for the tea. As I am not well versed in the art of tea, I was initially overwhelmed by the rows of flavors – both traditional and unique – proudly displayed upon the blackboards, from Candy Apple Green to Hibiscus and Ginger Swiss Green. I quickly realized that the patisserie is very serious about its teas, giving customers the chance to choose the temperature and sweetness of their beverages and even the option to add bubbles or lychee jelly. Feeling adventurous, I chose the sweetened Pomegranate Jasmine Green and was presented with a steaming 16-ounce cup full of sweet yet tangy tea, with rich fruity undertones – all for only $4.
Although there is an abundance of bakeries in New York City, I recommend keeping Chokolat Patisserie on your radar as a local and inexpensive option to quickly grab a croissant or a large cup of tea to keep you warm during the upcoming months.