If I had to name my absolute favorite dessert in the whole world, I’d answer it with zero hesitation – macarons. After studying in Paris for a year, I have become a complete fiend of the delicate French cookie-like pastries, and I’m not embarrassed about it. I once flew from Paris to NYC with a bag of macarons in my lap for the entire eight hour flight, in fear of crushing my little treasures – I almost cried when French security practically manhandled them at the gate!
I am fairly certain I have eaten at every shop that offers macarons in Manhattan, because no matter how hard I try, I just can’t pass one up when I see one (just kidding, I never try). That’s my birthday cake from last year up there, by the way – I told you, I’m obsessed!
Over the past year or so, macarons have been climbing their way up the ladder of Manhattan’s latest food trends, and it’s surprising that they just recently started gaining popularity – they’re tasty, adorable, and they come in practically every color of the rainbow.
Macarons are a tricky treat to master – if not done correctly, they don’t have that certain charm. They’re supposed to be light and airy, with a crackly shell and a chewy interior, a ratio difficult to master – which is probably why they are a bit pricier than regular cookies. As you can see with the cupcake trend, there are bound to be good ones and bad ones – and someone has to be the one to sift through them all.
After rigorous and extensive research on my part, here’s are my top 3 favorite places to get macarons in NYC – take a visit and let me know what you think. Don’t forget to pick some up for me!
This makes the top of the list on principle alone – they are the inventors of the macaron and a favorite of French royals (and the favorite of NYC’s own UES princess, Blair Waldorf).
You absolutely cannot go to Paris and not visit Ladurée. Here, macarons are practically treated like jewelry, and even come in special boxes – Ladurée has collaborated on these with names such as Lanvin, or even Hello Kitty. They have their standard flavors, like vanilla and chocolate, but they often come out with specialty flavors such as bubble gum, strawberry candy, and blackcurrant violet.
The Upper East Side shop sits among stores such as Gucci and Prada, and since its opening, there has never not been a line out the door – passersby often exclaim to themselves, “this line is for cookies?!” They’re pricier than usual here – but that’s what you have to do to get the best, and besides, you’re here for the experience and a little bite of French history.
Word on the street is that a SoHo tearoom is opening up soon – keep your fingers crossed!
864 Madison Avenue
New York, NY
These are my favorite native New York macarons. They’re “meaty” – a strange word to describe such a delicate confection, but you’ll see what I mean when you get one. To me, they are a bit more substantial than most macarons I’ve had, yet they still retain their daintiness. Salted caramel is my favorite at any macaron shop that offers them, especially here, and their chocolate macaron is the best I’ve ever had (maybe even – dare I say it? -better than Ladurée) , with an extremely rich and decadent filling.
You can also get lunch and coffee here, though the shop is extremely tiny, with very little sitting room. However, Mille-Feuille is conveniently located just a couple steps away from Washington Square Park, so get a couple to snack on while sitting in the fountain during the summertime – one of my favorite things to do in this city!
552 Laguardia Place
New York, NY
La Maison du Macaron
I come in here often if I’m giving macarons as a present – something people should do more often, trust me, macarons is a gift anyone will love. If you want to have some for yourself, it’s a cute little tearoom like shop where you can sit down for some coffee, too. They have an extremely interesting array of flavors here that change from time to time, such as key lime pie with graham cracker crumbs, pink champagne, white russian, pumpkin, apple cider, pistachio lemon-coconut, the list goes on and on. In my opinion, the key to figuring out if a macaron place is worthy is by sampling their chocolate, vanilla, and salted caramel flavors – this place passes the test.
The macarons here are kept in a cold shelf, which isn’t normally ideal (and maybe the only con) but it does ensure that they are kept good enough to eat. The only downside of this is that they warn you to wait a couple minutes so that the macaron is room temperature, before you can eat it – not happening for me! Luckily, the treats are delicious and of the right consistency whether they are cold or not. A big upside is that the ladies that work behind the counter are incredibly pleasant – something Ladurée often lacks in (you could always blame this on the French). They are extremely patient while you choose which flavors you want, which, trust me, is a hard decision!
La Maison du Macaron
132 West 23rd Street
New York, NY