While there’s no denying the appeal of the hipster doughnut—maple, apple, and bacon really do taste great together—sometimes you need a break from doughnuts that make you think. (Not to mention the steep price tags and long lines.)
A longtime fan of old-school doughnut shops, I picked the five of the city's best and bought a glazed from each (glazed being the true benchmark of a doughnut shop). Here are the taste test results.
1. Happy Donuts, 3801 24th St. (Noe Valley)
Appearance: Big and puffy, with a crackly glaze.
Sweetness level: Pretty darn sweet, but not achingly so.
Melt-in-mouth factor: Excellent. It’s light, airy, and super fresh.
2. Allstar Donuts, 2095 Chestnut St. (Marina)
Appearance: Medium-puffy with a nice sheen.
Sweetness level: Off the charts.
Melt-in-mouth factor: Fair. This one was a bit cakey.
3. Bob’s Donut and Pastry Shop, 1621 Polk St. (TenderNob)
Appearance: Charmingly misshapen.
Sweetness level: Medium. Detected a bit of saltiness, too.
Melt-in-mouth factor: Good. It’s the densest one of the bunch, but still maintains lightness.
4. The Jelly Donut, 3198 24th St. (Mission)
Appearance: On the smaller side, not as much puff.
Sweetness level: Just right.
Melt-in-mouth factor: Good. Slightly chewy, with a delicious fluffiness.
5. Eagle Donuts, 3303 Mission St. (Bernal Heights)
Appearance: Puffy and well-glazed.
Sweetness level: Almost too sweet. Almost.
Melt-in-mouth factor: Fair. Sadly, it’s a bit on the dry side.
Happy Donuts. Out of all of the contestants, it has all the hallmarks of a great glazed: It’s puffy, fresh, not toothache-sweet, and literally dissolves in your mouth.
The Jelly Donut. A solid contender that’s light and airy. Plus, they give you free doughnut holes.
What’s your favorite doughnut shop? Let us know in the comments.