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New York City knows a thing or two about dessert. Where else can you find a store that sells nothing but rice pudding (Rice to Riches), a sweet shop with a namesake romcom (Serendipity 3) and a cupcake mecca where legions of TV fans queue around the block for a taste (Magnolia Bakery)? There’s no shortage of places to curb your sugar cravings in New York, but here are six of the best.
If it’s a restaurant experience you’re after, Mario Batali’s Babbo is a great place for a sweet bite late at night. Sit at the bar and order an imaginative Italian dessert — like saffron panna cotta — from the dolci e formaggi menu. Love your dish? Purchase the Babbo pastry cookbook, Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen, and try to create it at home. For classic American desserts, head to Tribeca and enter Bubby’s (which is also a top brunch spot). The popular restaurant started as a pie shop in 1990 and still makes some of the best pies around. As you walk in, check out the diner-style dessert display case and make a mental note of your favorite find.
Ice cream is a summer staple in New York, and there are plenty of upscale ice cream trucks to prove it. But when it comes to ice cream shops, I particularly like Il Laboratorio Del Gelato on the Lower East Side. Flavors are on rotation — with 48 on the menu each day — so there’s always something new to taste. The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is another place that specializes in uniquely flavored cones; go for the taro or red bean ice cream.
For a grab-and-go treat, the chocolate chip cookies at Jacque Torres’ five locations are hard to beat. You won't see chips in these warm cookies, but rather thick layers and ribbons of high-quality chocolate. Finally, for your best New York cupcake experience, my money is on Billy’s Bakery. There are three locations, including one at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Plaza Hotel, at which you generally won’t find the lines you’ll see at that other beloved cupcake bakery — but the cupcakes are amazing. Take a few mini cupcakes with you and you'll be set for sustenance while sightseeing.
La Maison du Chocolat has great dark chocolate, desserts. It’s close to my house. And then I eat dessert in the restaurant most of the time. Yesterday at Balthazar, I had my two canelés, and then they brought me profiteroles. I didn’t say no.