Donut Debate: Bouchon Bakery v. Caffe Falai

There had been a recent quarrel about finding a good donut in New York City. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to the Doughnut Plant and if memory serves me well, it was inspiring that Mark Isreal (the guy who owns and created the place) created innovative, gourmetized flavors for a donut. But I didn’t like the texture too well. It was too chewy, a bit dense, and leathery. But that’s my opinion…

As most of you know, I frequent Bouchon Bakery and Caffe Falai pretty often as of recent. Last time when I visited Caffe Falai for breakfast I was deprived of donuts, or what they would call it, bomboloni. As for Bouchon, they don’t make donuts during the weekdays; only the weekends. Since I had the opportunity to have some before classes for the past week, I had my filling of (in the voice of Homer Simpson) “Mmmm….donuts.”

Starting with Caffe Falai’s bomboloni; they sell these by the pair for $4.

Bombolonis (Italian donuts)

Don’t they look goood (and a bit adorable)?! The one on the left is filled with vanilla custard and the one on right is raspberry jelly. These deep fried, sugar coated balls of dough are delicious. They’re feathery-light, sweet, and slightly chewy but still tender. It’s about the size of a tennis ball.

The jelly one was a bit too gelatinous for me but I LOVE the custard, especially with the tiny specks of vanilla floating around it is a plus. To tell you honestly, I love a good Boston Cream donut but since it doesn’t have a chocolate glaze or coating it’s still good in my book. Here’s the innards shots…

Vanilla Custard filled Bomboloni Custardy with vanilla bean specks…

bitten Jelly…

When it comes to Bouchon, it’s a lot more expensive than your average donut for $4.25 each. Even though it’s about the same size as you would get from Dunkin’ Donuts it just tastes a lot better (If not, I think Thomas Keller needs to find a better pastry chef but he definitely needs to find a macaron chef trained by Pierre Herme.) and it feels heavier in weight. They only make two types here: Boston Cream and Raspberry Jam. Here’s the goods.

Boston Cream Donut Boston Cream

Raspberry Jam Donut Raspberry Jam

They are BIG, as the photos insinuate. The Boston Cream was tasty and not too sweet. My few gripes about this donut though is that it is too dense in texture, a bit too greasy, and I don’t know if my taste buds are going insane (or is it my mind?) but it tasted a bit…off. Hmmm…I don’t know about the latter but the first two was definite.

Boston Cream Donut Boston Cream; innards

The raspberry jam fared so much better. Despite its immensity, it was light in texture, slightly chewy but tender, and it was sweet. For every bite, your lips (and clothes) would be coated with granulated sugar. The raspberry jam was tasty too; a vibrant, tart, and slightly sweet raspberry flavor.

in half Raspberry Jam; in half

innards Raspberry Jam; innards

So who has better donuts? I’m more for *gasps* Caffe Falai! It tastes good and it’s a lot more inexpensive. It also helps that you don’t feel like you ate sweet, fried dough bricks by the time you’re done eating them.

Addresses: (Not like you need them; you’ve probably memorized them by now if you read this blog so often)

Caffe Falai
265 Lafayette St New York, NY 10012-4035

Bouchon Bakery
10 Columbus Circle; 3rd Floor New York, NY 10019-1158


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.

  1. thewanderingeater says:

    Front Studio: No, I don’t go to Brooklyn that often even though I do want to go out there…

    Kathy: I’m skeptical for going to Donut Pub for some reason but I’ll give it a whirl when I’m in the nabe.

  2. susannah says:

    ooooh yummy =) I don’t remember the last time I had a doughnut, but I made it one of my goals for 2007 to get to doughnut plant, as I’ve never been there. The bomboloni look so cute!!

  3. thewanderingeater says:

    Susannah: I can totally will go with you to Doughnut Plant! It’s been too long since I’ve been there. Even though there are critics and I’m still a bit skeptical, I’ll give them another whirl.

    Lyna: I ate two donuts each sitting right after I purchased them at each location. But those locations were visited at different days of the week.

  4. thewanderingeater says:

    Adam: LOL! I sometimes wish I do but…no. :(
    They even don’t pay me for being their frequent patron! As of recent, I’m getting a bit disappointed in their products that I’m thinking of “moving out” of Bouchon (except for their coffee since I don’t like Starbucks coffee and I want to try the sliders that Robyn had photos of the other day).

  5. thewanderingeater says:

    Reine de Saba: Whoops! It’s supposed to be bomboloni. My bad! It’ll be edited now!

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