Alongside legendary Philly stalwarts like Sarcone’s and Kaplan’s, new bread bakeries are popping up like so many brioche buns left to proof. If the humble loaf is in hiding nationally from the double-whammy of carb-phobia and gluten intolerance, Philadelphia’s bread footprint shows little sign of retreat. Innovative artisan bakers are diving into the mix, continuing and broadening the city’s rich tradition. Looking for cookies and cannoli instead of sourdough and rye? Bakeries excelling in the sweet side of things are here.Read More
13 Essential Bakeries for Bread in Philly
A baker’s dozen bakeries for the best loaves
1. Metropolitan Bakery (multiple locations)
Opened in 1993, Metropolitan Bakery perhaps holds the title of grand dame of Philadelphia artisanal bread shops. It still lovingly churns out a multiplicity of loaves — from raisin nut to organic spelt — and all of them are top notch.
A bonus feature of dining at Parc is the bread basket, a contender for the city’s best. But eating at the restaurant isn’t a requirement: Parc sells loaves to go.
3. Artisan Boulanger Patissier
Philadelphia, PA 19148
James Beard Award nomination letters dot the wall at this French bakery owned by a Cambodian couple. The baguettes and country loaves are given a properly long and slow eight-hour rise and finished in a steam-injection oven for supreme crust and crumb. Don’t skip the divine almond croissants either.
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4. Faragalli's Bakery
Philadelphia, PA 19147
This is where to go for dense, old school Sicilian-style bread out of a wood-fired oven. Does the wood fire matter? It does. The rough-hewn texture feels like access to a Sicily (and Philadelphia) of another age.
5. Mighty Bread Company
“Handmade sourdough” pretty much says it all about Mighty Bread Co. and owner Chris DiPiazza’s special baked goods. He worked in a rented space for a couple years before opening this South Philly bakery where he employs a natural fermentation process to create crusty sourdough in varieties that include seeded, chocolate, rustic olive, cheese, and more.
6. Essen Bakery
Baker Tova du Plessis makes desert island babka. Last rites babka. Stick-’em-up-give-me-the-babka-and-nobody-gets-hurt kind of babka. But since babka for every meal is frowned upon, there’s also excellent rye bread and challah here.
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The story goes that French baker Bastien Ornano moved to Philadelphia for love. Tasting his line of viennoiserie, including his swoon-worthy croissants, confirms this is true. But also swing by (come early) for baguettes and a very popular country loaf.
Gluten-free bread that holds its own against traditional loaves? Believe it. Taffets offers loyal fans everything from challah to bagels, but it’s items like the pumpernickel boule that keeps them lining up.
9. Sarcone's Bakery
For nearly a century, Sarcone’s has represented the gold standard in Philadelphia bread baking. Freshly made plain and sesame-seeded loaves line the walls of this small, cash-only Italian Market shop. Tearing into a warm loaf of crusty Italian bread while strolling down Ninth Street is a unique Philly pleasure.
10. High Street on Market
Part bakery, part all-day restaurant, High Street on Market sells some of the best artisanal bread in town, like squid-ink bialys, a buckwheat cherry loaf, and brioche buns. The bread baked here is also for sale in a few other locations, including A.Kitchen and the Headhouse Farmers’ Market.
11. The Kettle Black
Philadelphia, PA 19123
This Northern Liberties spot makes serious bagels, but also a seasonal loaf that is a top contender for the best bread in Philadelphia. It’ll likely be something sprouted, and will go well with butter or schmear.
12. Lost Bread Co.
After spending a few years at High Street on Market, celebrated baker Alex Bois launched Lost Bread Co. Find his hearth-baked bread at the retail shop on Howard Street, which was the original bakery; Craft Hall, where the baking now happens; farmers markets; and several local grocery stores. Don’t miss Lost Bread’s pretzel shortbread cookies — they might be the best way to enjoy Philly’s favorite carb.
13. La Colombe (multiple locations)
La Colombe’s breadmaker, John McGrath, makes a mighty fine baguette. The outside is crisp and the inside is as open and airy as the coffee brand’s flagship location in Fishtown. Baguettes and draft lattés make a great pairing.
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