Best Overall: Ladurée
Best overall macarons go to Ladurée (where we couldn't find a single bad macaron) with La Masion du Chocolat a fair second. Not surprising (though still embarrassing) is the fact that the macarons for both these places are made in Paris and shipped to New York. For NYC-made macarons, consider Payard, Bosie Tea Parlor, Epicerie Boulud, and Mille-Feuille.
Best Pistachio Macaron: Ladurée
Real pistachios only (we discovered many impostors using almonds and green dye!) and a perfect composition, with the quiet shatter of a ground nut shell and silky and not too sweet pistachio ganache. Smooth filling occasionally speckled with ground pistachios, a comforting reminder that this is, indeed, the real thing. Macarons are $2.70 each.
Best Chocolate Macaron: La Maison du Chocolat
Let's be clear, all of La Maison du Chocolat's macarons involve chocolate. Whether it be salted caramel folded into chocolate ganache, or raspberry puree, or the essence of coffee, chocolate backs up the flavors of every macaron. The Quito—their plain chocolate macaron—nestles silky dark chocolate ganache between two milk chocolate shells. Perfection. Macarons are $2.75 each.
Best Vanilla Macaron: Ladurée
You can see the speckles of vanilla beans in both the macaron's delicate shell and the smooth pipe of matching ganache. But more importantly, you can taste it. It's straight-up vanilla through and through in a pure, balanced macaron. There's nothing to hide behind when working with such a basic flavor; either you have it or you don't, and Ladurée sure does. Macarons are $2.70 each.
Best Caramel Macaron: Mille-Feuille
Mille-Feuille's caramel macaron comes speckled with tiny caramel shards all over the almond cookie's exterior. Certainly not classic, but incredibly delicious. (Handle carefully; this one is delicate and cracked a bit in its journey to the photoshoot.) Regardless, the caramel filling is smooth, decidedly buttery, and well-rounded, with just enough of a salty kiss for balance. Macarons are $2.10 each.
Best Raspberry Macaron: Ladurée
At Ladurée the raspberry macaron is not filled with a raspberry ganache or buttercream, but instead, straight-up jam. We love it best this way, the itty-bitty seeds visible in the jam, which is glossy, vibrant, and just thick enough to hold shape. The shells for these macarons are extra-moist, so take care, as that translates into extra-delicate. Macarons are $2.70 each.
Best Wild-Card Flavor, Passionfruit: Francois Payard Bakery
Passionfruit macarons (third from right) are a standout at Francois Payard Bakery, where the gentle, sunny yellow cookie shells are speckled in brown and filled with an easy-to-love ganache. After you crack through the paper-thin shells, the tropical sweet and subtly tart flavor of passionfruit is tucked into every nibble; it finishes with a clean bite. Macarons are $2.25 each.