Husband and wife Ariel and Daniela Oyarzabal opened Amarena Bakery & Bistro three months ago and already find their shelves empty by the end of the day. They aren't newbies in the biz, though, having run a successful bakery, also called Amarena, for eight years in Venezuela before they fled violence there. "I woke up with the cold muzzle of a gun to my head," Ariel remembers. "They wanted to kidnap our young daughters. It was very intense." Two months later, the family had packed up and left, leaving their business behind and taking their baking expertise to Florida.
Ariel is Argentine, and Daniela is Venezuelan. The bakery is a reflection of both cultures. Find flaky Argentine empanadas ($2.50 each or $25 for a dozen) made from scratch daily in traditional flavors such as meat and chicken, along with more inventive takes like caprese. If you crave the Venezuelan ham bread cachito ($2.50), you'll find it here. There are also Argentine pastries, or facturas, for $1.15 each or $10 for a dozen. Amarena also offers savory breakfasts items, salads, and sandwiches.
4613 N. University Dr., Lauderhill; 954-908-1898.
A Korean-French bakery, this quiet Davie spot offers an assortment of cakes, pastries, and doughnuts. Paris Morning also offers shaved ice, bubble tea, and coffee. Cakes are so pretty they look almost too good to eat and come in flavors such as fresh cream, mocha, and green tea. Prices range from $24 for a small to $32 for a large, or enjoy a slice for $5.79. There are plenty of breads and pastry items to choose from, all individually wrapped and displayed on tables as you walk in. Favorites include chestnut bread ($4.95), sweet potato bread ($2.45), and a red bean doughnut ($2.25). For cuteness overload, order the hamster bread ($2.99), made to look like a pet rodent and filled with sweet bean paste. Plans for locations in Boca and Doral are in the works.
4900 S. University Dr., Davie; 954-234-2838.
Jonathan Grotsky boasts a loyal following built on his pastry expertise. A Culinary Institute of America-trained native New Yorker, Grotsky broke away from working at large hotels and restaurants to open JW Pastry in 2010. His forte — aside from killer croissants, apple-stuffed brioche, cookies, and danishes — is customer service. He is proud to say he built his business one client at a time, something he still enjoys doing at the numerous farmers' markets where he sells his pastries. When he's not setting up his stand and chatting with regulars, he's at his small shop in Davie, where you can enjoy an array of breakfast pastries ($2 to $4), cakes ($35 to $45), and artisanal-style breads ($4 to $6).
5665 S. University Dr., Davie; 954-251-4243.