Where to Find the Best Restaurant Bread

Places where the bread is so good, you almost forget about the meal.

Gratis fresh bread, baked daily on-site, is a rich tradition at Antonello, where owner Antonio Cagnolo serves the michetta of his hometown, Bistango, Italy. The fist-sized rolls come with herb-flecked olive oil for dipping.

Glistening, melting ranch butter drips down the domed center of just-baked country bread at the new Bosscat Kitchen in Irvine. Nicely crisp and oh so fluffy on the inside, the pull-apart loaf vanishes quickly once the ripping and dipping commence. $6

A customer favorite at The Ranch since opening day in 2011, the complimentary bread wheel is a variety of rolls baked in a flower shape with a whole-wheat rye bread center. Pluck the flavor you favor and slather with soft butter.

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Splurge on a surf-and-turf dinner at Capital Grille and poof, a stellar breadbasket appears for free on your linen-draped table. Just try to avoid spoiling your appetite with lavosh, white bread, and pumpernickel raisin rolls.

When Gulfstream advises that its oven-hot Heavenly Biscuits are “worth the wait,” accept that patience and $5 is a small price to pay for four of the lightest rosemary-flecked buttermilk biscuits you’ll have this year. Add butter and honey to hear angels sing.

Far too lavish to be a side carb, the Truffle Cheese Bread at INI Ristorante (see Page 22) is worthy of center stage—a pyramid of soft, toasted cubes stacked with whipped truffle-tinged ricotta and shaved mozzarella. Drizzle with honey—or not. $12

For years, home bakers have tried to duplicate Bandera’s almost custardy sweet-savory cornbread. Now sold in cubes as finger food, the rich bites will have you wondering, is this bread? Is this dessert? Does it matter? $4 

To be its very best, focaccia must be eaten soon after leaving the oven, as it is at Cucina Enoteca. The bouncy, dimpled bread is jazzed up with toasted garlic, a shower of grated Parmesan, and a crock of soft butter. $9

The stout-spiked Guinness Brown Bread at Fable & Spirit stands above mere pub grub by virtue of its elevated accompaniments: rich European butter, delicate clover honey, and flakes of hand-harvested Jacobson sea salt. $10

Virtuoso pizza dough is the star at Artisan Café, where sourdough is carefully “ripened” at least 48 hours to attain the soulful flavors and crispy-meets-chewy crust on three new specialty pizzas just added to the existing trio of more conventional pies. $14 to $16

Read More from our November 2022 Bread Issue!