My Top 5: Best bakeries on the island

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Top bakeries

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By Ed Morita
Nonstop

I'm going to be brutally honest. Honolulu has some crappy bakeries. Some of the items sold at grocery stores, discount superstores and even gourmet markets are appalling. People buy Costco croissants that have no flakiness. They pick up pies out of a supermarket freezer, and the last time I visited Whole Foods, I found a basket filled with dense, over-proofed baguettes.

Yet, despite the proliferation of mediocre bakeries, there are a few standouts that I regularly visit, usually for a specific pastry or dessert. I was asked to list my top five favorite bakeries on the island, but in the tradition of the baker's dozen, I'm going to give you a bonus.

33 comments
getsomecake
getsomecake

There is a new bakery in town that brings the old fashioned goodness. G.I. Cakes is owner by Pastry Chef Patricia Arnold, who is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has worked at the Famous Trelis in Williamsburg, as well as owned a pastry company in Historuc Julian, California. Don't take my word for it, they recently won People's Choice and Judge's Choice Awards at Dessert Fantasy 2011. Try them out today.

harrycovair
harrycovair

Anyone remember Alexander and Young Bakery on Bishop Street? They made the BESTEST Palm Leaves!!! Hard type of crunch and so buttery. Slightly sweetened too. No other bakery I've been to has even come close to matching A&B's Palm Leaves.

hanabanana
hanabanana

Help! I'm looking for an old fashioned chocolate fudge cake with fudge frosting. (not the chiffony type). We miss that cake from the now closed 9th Ave Bakery.

hanabanana
hanabanana

Where can I find an old fashioned chocolate cake with fudge frosting? (Not the chocolate chiffony ones? ) Do you remember the old fashioned chocolate cake from the now closed 9th Ave. Bakery? That's the texture we've been looking for.

turkfontaine
turkfontaine

here's a list with street cred. here's a list with a pedigree. here's a list you can take to the bank, print, fold and stash in your wallet next to your bus pass. i'm on this list like a hobo on a ham sandwich.

bettydalycity
bettydalycity

Having lived in San Francisco for so many years I miss old fashion style bakeries back in Hawaii. Here in San Francisco you cannot find doubash cake any where or orange chiffon cake. Too many usscale bakeries with European style pastiries out there no much now in all American types anymore.

Kam bakery on School St. with their hapia donut was awesome back then and still is now and HCC own baking class make the best ever and such a good price for public all fresh made every day . Looking for good deal check HCC.

808pooh
808pooh

I have to agree with you Ed about the scones at the Alley. Way better than the ones at Diamond Head Market although the banana flavor one is very very yummy. Have you tried the strawberry shortcake at the Alley? Heavenly! Perfect! not sweet at all and it hits the spot. Lemon crunch da bomb. But i must say the scones do run out quick.

mochicrunch10
mochicrunch10

Donuts??? What about Deluxe Bakery in Kaneohe... or Kam Bakery in Kalihi... Missed some of the best kept Hawaii secrets.

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

i also like the simple cream puff at palme d'or. u taste pate a choux and fresh cream, and that's it. also like fendu bc u can get a fresh-baked pizza at the same time. and liliha bakery's pumpkin pies!!! can't take coco puffs bc they're too heavy and sweet for me, but i'm always thinking abt the pumpkin pies.

lihinggirl
lihinggirl

*drool* thanks ed for sharing! =)

svache
svache

The thing I miss most ever since I moved here from Europe? Well, good bread and bakeries sure are on my top list lol. I don't know exactly what's wrong with the bread here, but it misses something.. it's just not the same tasty stuff I was used to. I don't care too much about pastries and such, but good bread surely is hard to find here. It's sad I never got to try the German bakery that used to be Dillingham blvd, I found out about them after they just closed :(

btw, about the flakiness of the Costco croissants, that's easily solved by placing them in the oven for a short bit, it really helps a lot :)

808guy
808guy

So where do you get a great flaky croissant and a crusty, not over-proofed baguette?

john.p
john.p

What about Paalaa Kai, Kilani, Ted's, and Sunnyside?

yuenhdz
yuenhdz

I want to try that lemon crunch cake!

docrock
docrock

Dude awesome post, DH Market has the best scones so now i wonder what @Melissa808 is talking about. Now not to question your authority because I'm not a baker and I know there could only be six... was Watanabe's or Saint Germaine's one the list. I have tried all of the bakeries except "The Alley" so i agree they are all good. Maybe I'm spoiled in SG's because it was across from Apple Store Ala Mo so I ate it a lot.

johngarcia
johngarcia moderator

Great stuff, Ed! Love the first line. :) Need to try HALF of these bakeries... some of my favorites include:

- Liliha Bakery — coco puffs are probably one of my favorite things in the world

- I actually really like @zippys Napoleon bakery. Can't eat anyone else's dobash

- When I was young, we used to get butter rolls from a small bakery in Waianae called Myles Bakery. I loved those things.

Not very gourmet, but those are a couple of my faves!

Melissa808
Melissa808 moderator

Don't be modest! Tell your readers where Diamond Head Market's (now The Alley's) scone recipe came from!

edmorita
edmorita moderator

@mochicrunch10 Kam Bakery's yeast donuts and an pans are great but I don't care for any of their fried stuff. They taste like the iron kettle they were fried in. Also, this was a top 5... Well six... so a lot of great bakeries were in consideration, but I had to wittel down the list. There are a lot of hotels like Helekulani that have phenomenal bake shops, there's JJ's, Manny's, Nanding's, Sunnyside, all of which are list worthy. I had to pick five, I squeezed in a sixth. Just because they didn't make the list doesn't mean that I don't think that what they do isn't great.

harrycovair
harrycovair

@nonstopmari Took me a short while to understand why the Puff Pastry shell was called a "Little Cabbage". Then I saw a picture of a real cabbage still growing on the ground then I understood what the "Choux" was in reference to. Of course this was pre internet days we're talking about.

harrycovair
harrycovair

@svache Fritz's European Bakery. They had the best Black Forest Cake, hands down!

edmorita
edmorita moderator

@svache but, if I'm paying for croissants, I shouldn't have to go home and re-bake them. If I'm firing up my oven, I may as well make them myself.

edmorita
edmorita moderator

@808guy Fendu has some crusty breads. The bakery at the super safeway on Kapahulu has some good bread too. As for croissants, I love the ones from Halekulani. Bale and Nanding's bakery also have great croissants.

edmorita
edmorita moderator

@john.p I'm sure that many people will disagree with me, but I'm not really a fan of Ted's pies.

harrycovair
harrycovair

@yuenhdz Aiea Bowl. Go shopping downstairs at Times. Run upstairs for dessert or a meal from Glenn.

edmorita
edmorita moderator

@docrock what @Melissa808 was not-so-subtly hinting at was that the Diamond Head Market/Aiea Bowl scones are my recipe. The pastry chef, Shane Masutani, was my junior apprentice after culinary school and I gave him that recipe. So, I know how the scones are supposed to be. Shane makes them correctly at Aiea Bowl while whoever it is that is making them at Diamond Head Market is over mixing the dough which causes them to flatten out and get cakey when they bake.

harrycovair
harrycovair

@edmorita @mochicrunch10 I'm not sure if Sunnyside qualifies as a Bakery. Their main product line is still the plate lunch although their pies are quite good. The crust stay dry and moist even when filled with a pudding filling.

As for Kamehameha Bakery, the Taro Haupia is the bomb and is one of the few things that make that isn't deep fried as you pointed out Ed.

svache
svache

@edmorita I agree we shouldn't have to re-bake them in order to get some flakiness back but at the other hand is it not uncommon in Europe to shortly re-bake croissants (or other breads, such as the German Kaiser breads). I know we did it a lot, even when they were still flakey, it tasted way better because they became warm again, it was common practice. Besides, placing them in the oven to get the flakiness again only takes a short time, it's nothing compared to actually having to bake them yourself imho :)

harrycovair
harrycovair

@edmorita @808guy Nanding's Spanish Rolls. So ono. Too bad there's only limited parking in the area. Never go to Nanding's during the morning rush hour. Wait till traffic has subsided a little before going there.