Bomboloni are just doughnuts, but very special doughnuts. Round, bulbous, and often made with brioche dough, they conceal a reservoir of thick custard in various flavors. The custard often peeps out through a hole in the top, and that top is more often sprinkled with granulated — not powdered — sugar.
The pastry is enjoying mini-fad status in NYC currently: There’s no better breakfast at the moment, washed down with a good strong cup of coffee. And it is unsurpassed as a late-afternoon snack. You’ll be licking your fingers afterwards.
This multi-branch Italian bakery is much better than anyone suspects, and any branch produces a range of bomboloni, which change from time to time. The version filled with pistachio pudding is perfectly turned out, so redolent of pistachios that you can smell them even before the pastry reaches your lips. 1675 Broadway, near West 52nd Street, Times Square
Sullivan Street Bakery
Sullivan Street Bakery has been making bomboloni since it was located on Sullivan Street, which was a long time ago. Their bomboloni are of modest size, and available in chocolate and vanilla, of which the latter is preferred. A perfect snack-size pastry, but so filled with custard you may be wearing a splotch of it on your shirt when you’re done. 533 West 47th Street, between 10th and 11th avenues, Hell’s Kitchen
Casa Toscana, with branches at Urbanspaces in Union Square and West 52nd Street, and a booth in Bryant Park, specializes in bowls and sandwiches that aren’t really very Tuscan, but they are quite good. It also offers bomboloni in multiple permutations, including Nutella, chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, and stuffed with various jams and jellies. 124 East 14th Street, opposite Irving Place, Union Square
Pane Pasta is a real Sicilian focacceria run by real Sicilians, which means small sandwiches on round rolls, pastries like cannoli and napoleons, slices of thick focaccia bearing things like olives, cheese, and salami, and most important of all — bomboloni. They come in two sizes, filled with either vanilla custard or chocolate, and the small one is perfect for a dash-in-and-eat as you walk down the street. 58 West 8th Street, near 6th Avenue, Greenwich Village
L’Industrie West Village, and its parent L’Industrie Williamsburg, both offer bomboloni in the large size. The chocolate version is thickly mantled with chocolate fondant speckled with sea salt, The vanilla version has copious filling inside, mildly flavored with lemon while still retaining much vanilla flavor — that is the one to get. 104 Christopher Street, near Bleecker Street, West Village
Nothing in NYC feels as much like sitting in an Italian coffee shop than Bar Pisellino, a wedge-shaped space across the street from Via Carota. Pastries are presented along with espresso beverages and aperitifs. Tiny bomboloni are the heart of the program, filled with either raspberry jam or vanilla custard — though both are not always available. 52 Grove Street, at 7th Avenue South, West Village
Settepani doesn’t carry its elaborately decorated bomboloni in its retail store in Williamsburg all the time, with squiggles on top and other decorations — so call ahead. But they do sell what they call a bombolini kit that includes eight bomboloni, and all the elements to fill them, frost them, sugar them, and decorate them with miniature cookies or pastries on top. 602 Lorimer Street, near Skillman Avenue, Williamsburg
Cerasella, founded in 2020, is a modern Neapolitan bakery, like Pane Pasta, and managed to survive the pandemic under the elevated N and W trains at 36th Avenue. Bomboloni there are made with potato flour, and come in a variety of flavors, which change according to the whim of the baker: vanilla, raspberry, Nutella, white chocolate, pistachio, orange, apricot, and strawberry. 36-27 31st Street, near 36th Avenue, Long Island City
Bread & Salt
Obscurely located, the Jersey City Heights is home to neo-Italian bakery Bread & Salt. Bomboloni are nearly always available Friday through Sunday, filled with vanilla custard or rhubarb jam, along with other Neapolitan pastries, bread, focaccias, the occasional pizza, and Italian groceries, olive oils, and sodas. (Disclosure: Eater NY editor Melissa McCart is Bread and Salt owner Rick Easton’s partner and co-author.) 435 Palisade Avenue, near Griffith Street, Jersey City