167 W. 74th St.
Upper West Side
The delightful aroma wafting from this unassuming neighborhood shop lures passersby from the sidewalk down into a subterranean nook where they can buy a limited but inspired array of baked goods. With its gooey--and if you're lucky, warm--interior, the scone-sized, walnut-chocolate chip cookies are unquestionably the store's crown jewel. But Levain's has other crowning achievements like the inventive breads: raspberry bomboloncini, a powdered sugar-dusted white flour roll oozing with raspberry jam, and a savory olive-herb semolina. The space is spare, but countertops with stools allow a few to linger over a cup of coffee and a pastry.