Slideshow: The Best Bakeries in New York: French-Style

Petrossian
Petrossian
We love their croissants: the plain, our second favorite in New York; their marzipan- and nut-laden pistachio croissant, perhaps even better. But there's a lot more to consider: insanely chocolatey, crispy chocolate chip cookies, this gorgeous blackberry-almond danish, and a blueberry tart whose crisp, flaky crust is nothing short of perfect.

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

Cannelle Patisserie
Cannelle Patisserie
It's not every bakery that would have us ZipCar-ing to Queens, but Cannelle has done just that. Their filled croissants are standouts, superby butterly, flaky dough amply filled with passionfruit, in one case, or ham and cheese; the raspberry muffin is all butter, like a tender muffin-shaped pound cake. Classics like a Gateau Breton and a St. Honoré, "simple and complicated at once, with bites of soft cream, custard, and the crisp butter-rich pastry," are also done perfectly.

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Cannelle Patisserie: 7559 31st Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11370 (map); 718-565-6200; cannellepatisserie.com

Colson Patisserie
Colson Patisserie
Colson Patisserie first caught our attention with their morning bun, a croissant dough snail with a scant sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar; but since then, it's their other treats that have had us coming back. We're particulary fond of the liege waffle, with soft, elastic dough, pearls of sugar, and a perfect crust; and an actively buttery palmier that's way more than just sugar on lifeless pastry, the way so many can be.

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

Ceci-Cela
Ceci-Cela
We can't write about French bakeries without pausing to nod to the best croissant in New York. But that's not all this patisserie does well; try their gorgeous plum tart, frangipane-filled pear tart, or seasonal treats like a tiny, charming Bûche de Noël.

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

François Payard Bakery
François Payard Bakery
One of the first things we loved here was the "Papa Payard," an apple-pear-cranberry tart with crystallized sugar and pistachio; it's got a beautifully browned and particularly tasty crust. Their pastries are strong, too, including our third-favorite croissant in New York and an almond version that we like even more. The Hazelnut Roll is perfect for those who love salty-sweet desserts, the entire surface brushed with cream and studded with crushed toasted nuts; it was one of Kathy's favorite desserts of 2010.

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

Almondine
Almondine
Their croissants are excellent, their chocolate chip cookies some of our favorite in New York—but don't overlook their flaky-crusted, not-too-sweet squares of fruit tarts, superior oat streusel-topped raspberry muffins, or weekend jelly doughnuts.

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

Desserts by Michael Allen
Desserts by Michael Allen
While not everything we've tried at this friendly Clinton Hill bakery has blown us away, their croissants (in our NYC Top 5), tarts (like this not-too-goopy, crispy-topped pecan tart) and canelés are more than good enough to have us coming back.

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Desserts by Michael Allen: 1015 Fulton Street, Brooklyn NY 11238 (map); 718-230-3360; michaelallendesserts.com

Balthazar
Balthazar
We love Balthazar's seasonal sweets, like the delicate, spicy-crusted linzer tart pictured here; but all year, you'll find one of the best coconut cakes in the city, with a tender and loose crumb; hearty but tender extra-buttery scones; and irresistible mini profiteroles filled with vanilla, caramel, or chocolate pastry cream.

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