I have a soft spot for bakeries—there's always something about the smell of butter and bread, and the look of pastries displayed so pristinely in glass cases that captivate me. Recently, I've been exploring the bakery game in Berkeley, and I was surprised at the diversity of bakeries here. I've compiled a small list of some of my favorite places to visit whenever I start craving pastry. 

Ono Bakehouse

Located just a minute's walk from Trader Joe's, Ono Bakehouse boasts a wide selection of Hawaiian-inspired items, which range from sweet desserts like the lilikoi poppyseed poundcake to savory spam musubis and umami onion rolls. The specialty bakeshop also offers vegan "butter" mochi for those with stricter dietary restrictions.

For the more adventurous foodie, try the miso rice krispy. If you're looking for a celebratory cake, check out their Queen Emma cake, which consists of guava and passionfruit layers.

In addition to the amazing baked goods, the service here is always exceptional; every time you stop by, the workers go the extra mile to make you feel welcome. The next time you're downtown, make sure to pay a visit to Ono Bakehouse!

La Farine

Tucked in between the shops of College Avenue, La Farine is a hidden gem that can be easy to miss. Although it looks small from the outside, it boasts an impressive variety of bread, pastries, and pies, and its rustic interior gently invites you in. Surrounded by bundles of baguettes, jars of cookies, and baskets of croissants, it's hard to decide what to try first.

To overcome this choice overload, I highly recommend the morning bun and raspberry croissant. The flaky pastry combined with the tart fruit filling pairs perfectly with any morning coffee or tea. 

Sheng Kee

Sheng Kee is more than just a childhood favorite—it offers cheap, classic Asian pastries that are perfect for a broke college student missing home. From egg tarts to pineapple buns, this bakery operates like a self-serve restaurant—pick up some tongs at the front and load up your tray! My personal favorites are the matcha roll cakes (great for a sweet breakfast or small dessert) and the mini fruit tart.

Whether you're looking for a little taste of home or looking for an affordable snack to get you through your next class, Sheng Kee is a staple bakery to satisfy any craving.

Fournée Bakery

You can't go wrong with the tried and true—Fournée Bakery offers traditional pastries like almond croissants, choux au craquelin, and canelés (a cylindrical pastry with a custardy center). All of the pastries are beautifully laminated and perfectly flaky. If you're in the mood for something more savory, try the ham and manchego croissant.

The line can get quite long, so make sure to go early if you want to secure your favorites!

Sunday Bakeshop

If you're looking for modern twists on Asian flavors - Sunday Bakeshop is the hottest new location to visit. Part of the Sunday Family, a Bay Area-based restaurant group, Sunday Bakeshop offers distinct items like matcha white rabbit cookies, hojicha croissants, and strawberry pocky cruffins. 

They also regularly come out with seasonal flavors and combos, like their St. Patrick's Day box featuring a matcha bun, matcha tangerine tart, and other green-themed goodies. This bakery skillfully combines French and Asian inspirations to bring you exciting new pastries. 

Berkeley's bakeries have so much to offer. Each one is uniquely delicious, making every visit a new experience. Whether you're looking to get a treat for yourself, exploring with some friends, or buying a gift for a get-together, I highly recommend checking out these bakeries!