Slideshow: The Best Croissant in New York

Honorable Mention: Bakeri ($1.50)
Honorable Mention: Bakeri ($1.50)
These tiny croissants weren't of the right size and shape to be formally considered in the tasting, but they won points for the "tender, creamy-sweet" interior and "great toasty-flake" crust, even if some found a lack of butter flavor.

Bakeri: 150 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (map); 718-388-8037; bakeribrooklyn.com

14. Madeleine Patisserie ($1.85)
14. Madeleine Patisserie ($1.85)
This charming Chelsea cafe won points for its croissants' flaky, light interior, but more than half the tasters sensed an "acidic," "tart," or "sour" taste, as if the butter weren't quite right.

Madeleine Patisserie: 132 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011 (map); 212-243-2757; madeleinepatisserie.com

13. Margo Patisserie ($2.75)
13. Margo Patisserie ($2.75)
With a flaky brown and buttery crust and "a flavor that gets better the longer you chew it," this Williamsburg bakery definitely had some fans, though others found it a bit dense and bready ("more like a tasty dinner roll") and the butter seemed to have picked up a flavor that multiple tasters described as "strangely savory."

Margo Patisserie: 667 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11211 (map); 718-384-1212

11. Cannelle Patisserie ($1.60)
11. Cannelle Patisserie ($1.60)
We'd heard this Jackson Heights patisserie recommended from all corners of the Internet, but the croissants didn't quite blow us away: they were light and elastic, with a flaky interior, but a flavor that scored low on the charts as downright bland. "I wish this tasted like butter," wrote one taster.

Cannelle Patisserie: 75-79 31st Avenue, Flushing, NY 11370 (map); 718-565-6200; cannellepatisserie.com

10. Financier ($2.00)
10. Financier ($2.00)
This small bakery chain bakes up croissants our tasters liked for their "rich, but not heavy" mouthfeel, though several wished they had "more shatter going on" and others found the taste hiding "hints of coffee--as if it were stored near the espresso machine." Croissants with coffee, we're all about, but the tastes should definitely be distinct.

Financier: Multiple Locations in NYC; www.financierpastries.com

9. Colson Patisserie ($2.25)
9. Colson Patisserie ($2.25)
This Brooklyn bakery scored more highly on taste and "crispy" exterior texture than it did on the "slightly chewy," "slightly dense" interior. But it had a gorgeous "spiraly shape" and a "definite butter taste," to its credit. Might be better with jam--or in the shape of a morning bun.

Colson Patisserie: 374 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (map); 718-965-6400; www.colsonpastries.com

7. Almondine Bakery ($2.15)
7. Almondine Bakery ($2.15)
It's a classically French croissant you'll find at Almondine, with "light, pull-apart layers" and a crunch that's nicely crispy," but flavor-wise, it wasn't what we wished--with notes called "metallic," "funky," "meaty," and "unfortunately rancid," it seemed clear something had gone wrong with the butter. We've had great croissants from Almondine, but even a spot check the next day yielded slightly off-tasting pastries.

Almondine Bakery: DUMBO and Park Slope Locations; www.almondinebakery.com

6. Patisserie Claude ($2.00)
6. Patisserie Claude ($2.00)
Patisserie Claude is to croissants as Levain is to chocolate chip cookies. What do we mean? While Levain's enormous, gooey doorstops of cookies had almost none of the characteristics we were looking for in our perfect specimen, they were so intrinsically delicious that tasters tended to throw our criteria out the window. Same thing with Claude. They're chewy and dense, a little heavy, without the feathery layers of a perfect croissant. But wow, are they buttery and satisfying.

Patisserie Claude: 187 West 4th Street, New York NY 10014 (map); 212-255-5911;

5. Balthazar ($2.75)
5. Balthazar ($2.75)
Often cited as one of New York's best croissants, Balthazar's pastry put in a pretty strong showing, ranking highly for a "pronounced butter flavor" and a "yummy exterior crisp." That said, it scored much lower on the inside texture, which some found "dense," others "almost tough, without the flake I was hoping for."

Balthazar Bakery: 80 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012 (map); 212-965-1785; www.balthazarbakery.com

3. François Payard ($2.50)
3. François Payard ($2.50)
This just-opened bakery from highly acclaimed François Payard had one of our top three croissants--a "feathery flaky" crust shattering to reveal a "near-perfect, tongue-melting" interior, "distinct and light." Hardly a word was said against the textbook-perfect croissant structure, and most tasters found a "sweet, buttery" flavor, though many wished it were more pronounced.

François Payard Bakery: 116 West Houston Street (map); 212-995-0888; www.payard.com

2. Petrossian ($2.75)
2. Petrossian ($2.75)
With a "great butter flavor" and a "satisfying flake," "perfect shatter" and "absolutely delicious" inside layers, Petrossian's croissant ranked a solid second place. Some found the interior a bit dense, but other than that, zero complaints. One taster was ready to abandon the taste test altogether: "This is my perfect croissant. Yes please. I'm going to stop now."

Petrossian: 911 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10019 (map); 212-245-2217; www.petrossian.com

And the Winner... Ceci-Cela ($2.00)
And the Winner... Ceci-Cela ($2.00)
Buttery, light, flaky, and all but perfect, Ceci-Cela's croissants won this taste test with the most decisive victory we've ever seen. Every single taster ranked it first or second; on an "overall satisfaction" scale of 1 to 10, averaged between all the tasters, it bested the second-place croissant by a full point and a half. Some comments: "Great butter flavor!" "Perfect flaky shatter!" "Pull-apart layers!" It's a croissant that inspired exclamation points--and it's hands-down our favorite croissant in New York.

Ceci Cela Patisserie: 55 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012 (map); 212-274-9179; www.cecicelanyc.com