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Best Bakery In America: Ken’s Artisan Bakery

Ken’s Artisan Bakery has been consistently named as one of the best bakeries in America by the likes of Food & Wine, New York PostThe Daily Meal, and Travel + Leisure.  Located in Portland’s Northwest neighborhood, Ken Forkish left a twenty-year career in the tech industry to open this bakery in 2001.  I had come to know about Ken’s Artisan Bakery when they were named for serving one of the Best Croissants in America.  So while I was in Portland this past fall, I decided to check out Ken’s Artisan Bakery and try out some of their famous baked goods.

Best Bakery in America: Ken's Artisan Bakery in Portland Oregon

Note:  None of the food and drinks in this review were complimentary.  This review is done anonymously.  Opinions are my own.

Jame’s Beard Award

In 2012, Ken Forkish translated his passion for artisan baking into a book called Flour Water Salt Yeast for which he won a James Beard Award.  Check out this great video below:


Coming in on a Sunday morning, there was actually a line up past the front door.  A large group of tourists had arrived before me resulting in a bit of wait.  It was a bit of a “torturous” wait with the mouthwatering array of baked goods in sight.  The sweet smell of baked goods permeating the air added to the “torment.”

I must say that for a bakery that has received so many accolades the interior of Ken’s Artisan Bakery is pretty ordinary.  It’s your typical neighbourhood cafe with dining tables for two, a communal table and a few tables outside.  Too bad there wasn’t much more put into the design of the space such as to add more character to such a praised bakery.

Best Bakery in America: Ken's Artisan Bakery in Portland Oregon

Ken’s Artisan Bakery Menu

Ken’s lineup of baked goods includes rustic artisan breads, croissants, brioche, fruit tarts, cakes, cookies, sandwiches, salads and more.  They serve Stumptown Coffee.

Best Bakery in America: Ken's Artisan Bakery in Portland Oregon

What I Tried

The wait was worth it as everything tasted ah-mazing!  I ordered the Plain Croissant, Pain au Chocolate, Raspberry Rose Croissant and a Blueberry Nectarine Tart to share with my family.  The croissants really hit the spot with their beautiful flaky layers, buttery goodness and crispy golden shell.  The Blueberry Nectarine Tart has a fresh fruit filling with the perfect sweet glaze and butter crust.  I also appreciated how beautifully presented it was.  I also ordered a Chai Latte which was pretty good: hot, creamy, fragrant and a bit spicy.

One of the Best Bakeries in America is Ken's Artisan Bakery in Portland, Oregon. The croissants really hit the spot with their beautiful flaky layers, buttery goodness and crispy golden shell. 

Overall Impression of Ken’s Artisan Bakery

I loved trying out the different baked goods from Ken’s Artisan Bakery and would love to revisit again on my next trip to Portland.  I’d also be interested in trying out the sister restaurants, Ken’s Artisan Pizza and Trifecta Tavern.  The ambiance didn’t have much appeal to me so I wouldn’t mind grabbing treats to go.  Rating: 4.5/5

Ken’s Artisan Bakery
Address: 338 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR
Website: ‎

Ken's Artisan Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Beautiful flaky layers, buttery goodness and crispy golden shell. Find out why Ken’s Artisan Bakery in Portland is one of the best places for a croissant in America.</div

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Deborah Lynne

Thursday 24th of December 2020

I have lived in Portland for 5 years, however I discovered Ken's a few years before that during visits to the city. As you stated, everything is wonderful. Sadly, I feel you did not take advantage of your experience there. You complained about the space being "ordinary', but then ordered ordinary things (with the exception of the tart). Plain and chocolate croissants can be had at many bakeries, but there is no place you can get the one-of-a-kind, too good to describe, Oregon croissant packed with Oregon blackberries and almond cream. As many times as I have eaten one (an embarrasingly large number), I cannot figure out how they can contain those sweet juicy blackberries and still be remarkably flaky. One of life's mysteries. They also make the best vegetable quiche this side of Paris. Most of all you missed the character and ambience that is SO Portland. We don't do fancy here. We do local, neighborhoody, feel welcome and hangout. From the cafes to the food carts, in Portland it is all about the food.