Comfort food has no greater friend than dough and San Francisco has some of the greatest bakeries in the world. Here now are our favorite places in the city that use yeast and flour to make magic.

Victoria Pastry Company
When you need a princess cake (because of course you do, princess) there's simply no better destination. On days when you're feeling less regal, pair a cup of coffee with a slice of custard layered with flaky dough. — Andrew Dalton
700 Filbert (between Columbus & Powell)


La Victoria Mexican Bakery
A great bakery is more than just the carbs in the window, and La Victoria is a little community of its own on 24th Street. It's the go-to spot for Pan Dulce, but you'll also find baked empanadas from EL Porteño and free bagels every Monday morning. — Andrew Dalton

An impressive lineup at Craftsman & Wolves. (Photo: Seek New Travel)

Craftsman & Wolves
At his thoroughly modern take on the neighborhood bakery, Chef William Werner turns out deliciously evil creations right alongside traditional and seasonal baked goods. When you've had your fill of the Rebel Within bring some Challah home for bubbe or make a light weekend breakfast out of morning buns and flaky pear, almond, and yuzu croissants. — Andrew Dalton
746 Valencia (at 18th Street)

Morning buns at Tartine. (Photo: Janice C. /Yelp)

Tartine Bakery
It's all been said enough times in enough publications before that tourists actually make their way to the Mission just to get in line. The bread is, we admit, fantastic and chewy and delicious. The morning buns are fucking insane. The cakes, cookies, open-faced sandwiches, gougeres, croissants, you name it. All of it's good. Great even. Do we like standing in line for things? No. Especially not before coffee. But if you happen by this place and the line isn't too far out the door, just get in it. You know you want it. And it does go pretty fast. — Jay Barmann
600 Guerrero (at 18th Street)

Knishes! (Photo: 20th Century Cafe)

20th Century Cafe
One of the newest baked-goods emporia to splash on the scene is this modest storefront in Hayes Valley, opened by former Range pastry chef Michelle Polzine. After years at Range, Polzine is a master at making the best use possible of seasonal fruit in things like tortes, strudels, jams, and cookies. Her bakeshop specializes in the pastry styles of early 20th century Vienna, Budapest, and Prague, and as such she's fondest of all things layered and flaky, but also she makes her own bagels, knishes, and a tart with apples and sauerkraut. — Jay Barmann
198 Gough Street (at Oak)

b. patisserie's (Photo: Facebook)

b. patisserie
Belinda Leong's one-year-old patisserie serves perfect macarons, cheesecakes, mousses, and elegant little individual cakes that looks straight out of a Parisian pastry case. She specializes in Viennoiserie, specifically croissants and her signature kouign ammans, which if you haven't had one, we just ... ugh... just go have one. The shop also serves lunch in the form of tartines (sandwiches), and at holiday time Leong's amazing buches de Noel are not to be missed. — Jay Barmann
2821 California (at Divisadero)

Tout Sweet cake. (Photo: Frankie Frankeny)

Tout Sweet
Top Chef: Just Desserts winner Yigit Pura opened this mod little pastry shop at Macy's last year to much acclaim, and it's still going strong. Greatest hits include his pates de fruits, whimsical and colorful macarons, house-made marshmallows, and inventive creations like his Tesla Tart (Meyer lemon, yuzu, and passion fruit), and the 5th Element, available either as an individual petit gateau or a party-sized cake and consisting of vanilla bean genoise cake, raspberry cream, oolong tea-infused white chocolate, and fresh raspberries. Also don't miss his salty and excellent chocolate chunk cookies. — Jay Barmann
Macy's Union Square, 3rd Floor

Arizmendi Bakery
Good luck with that diet at Arizmendi, where rotating pizza options and sweet treats beckon even the most resolute passerby. Pastries like the sourdough croissant and pecan rolls shine, but the savory focaccia, cheese sticks, and piping hot pizza slices are what make Arizmendi an institution (check their handy bread schedule and pizza calendar to see what's on offer day-to-day). They've also got a holiday menu of fruit cake, marzipan Stollen and Bûche de Noël to meet all your gifting (and senseless eating) needs. — Rose Garrett
1331 9th Avenue, 1268 Valencia

Liguria Bakery keeps it simple. (Photo: Ann T/Yelp)

Liguria Bakery
Located on a North Beach corner, this is the undisputed hotspot for focaccia in San Francisco. Run by a crew no-nonsense Italian ladies (read: they're usually grumpy), Liguria lists 8-10 flavors of focaccia bread daily, from mushroom to rosemary garlic to raisin. Pick up your focaccia of choice for a picnic in Washington Square or a stroll through Chinatown, or grab $3 frozen focaccia to pass off as your own effortlessly delicious home cooking. — Rose Garrett
1700 Stockton (at Filbert)

Boston Cream-filled cupcake. (Photo: Matt G/Yelp)

Noe Valley Bakery
This place has been serving cupcakes and bread for Noe Valley residents since 1995. But the highlight, at least for me, is the storefront window featuring a train, cakes, and other kid-friendly amusement for family passersby. It changes seasonally, more or less, but proves loads of fun for children and adults alike. — Brock Keeling
4073 24th Street (at Castro)

It's cute. It darling. Its pink. It's Miette! Located in Hayes Valley, this sugary gem started at the Berkeley Farmers' Market in the fall of 2001. Now an institution boasting sleek pastries and highly detailed cakes, it also features an impressive array of ye olde time candies and assorted treats stacked in big beautiful jars. And just look at these cookies! LOOK AT THEM! Glorious. — Brock Keeling
449 Octavia (at Hayes) & Ferry Building, #10

The virginal caramelized shallot and gruyere brioche waits.

A savory pastry is one way to my heart. Pinkie's knows this, which is why their savory brioche, brimming with caramelized shallots and stuffed with gruyere, is one of our favorite things in the city. Cheryl Burr brings her signature breads and desserts to this SoMa bakery located next door to (another frequent SFist award winner) Citizen's Band. Perfection.
1196 Folsom (at 8th Street)

Honorable Mentions:

Marla Bakery
Boudin (of course, since it's an SF institution)

(Photo: Thomas Hawk)