10 Best Cinnamon Rolls in Los Angeles
The scent of warm cinnamon rolls -- or buns, the terms are interchangeable -- wafting through the air can either transport you to a happy place or trigger severe mall anxiety. But either way, it's an American specialty that comes in two very distinct iterations. Built from a bread-like dough, or whirled from super flaky butter-enriched laminated dough. The variations don't end there, but it is a good launching point for a top-ten list.
And before anyone starts crying foul -- Cinnabon is not on this list. We focused on house-made, local products, not mass produced food-court fare. Did we try one? Yes. Was it good? Sure. They built a whole business around it, so that's not a surprise. But it didn't meet our criteria, so it isn't making an appearance here.
We traversed the city, bought and sampled as many as possible and came up with a list of the best of the best. The aim was to find one that met our expectations of being chewy, sweet, not dry and doesn't treat the spicy cinnamon as an afterthought -- in other words, one everyone would want to eat. After trying tall ones and flat ones, sweet ones and savory ones, we were able to appease our inner Goldilocks, and truly found one that is just right.
10. Tarte Tatin:
Rachael Narins Tarte Tatin
In this Beverly Hills café you're always faced with a caseful of baked goods where nothing you choose will ever be wrong, but the cinnamon roll will for certain be oh-so-right. The gently twisted and twirled puff-style pastry is looped back upon itself, given a light dusting of cinnamon, then baked to a fragrant crisp. Is it really a cinnamon roll? That's debatable, but it is outstanding and works as the perfect French-influenced foil to your morning café au lait. 9123 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills; (310) 550-0011.
9. Jamaica's Cakes:
Rachael Narins Jamaica's Cakes
This shop, known for its funky-fun, high-quality cakes, also has a chestnut-toned, photo-friendly, cinnamon roll. It stands alone on our list for having the thick frosting on the side in a little cup, allowing that extra step of sweet, sweet personalization. When they emerge from the oven, the rolls are ready to be taken home. Hours later, if any remain, they should be reheated to bring back that initial spring. 11511 West Pico Blvd., West Los Angeles; (310) 478-1971.
8. Bob's Coffee & Doughnuts:
Rachael Narins Bob's Coffee & Doughnuts
Weave through the Original Farmers Market and your senses will be bombarded with something to eat from every corner of the world, but probably none is as enticing as what's beckoning you from Bob's Doughnuts. No frill, no fuss, no muss, the option here is just a gigantic swirl of sticky dough that's been dipped in finger-licking glaze. Cash only. Smiles guaranteed. 6333 W. Third St., # 450, Los Angeles; (323) 933-8929.
Turn the page for picks 7 through 5...
9123 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA