At Paradise Pastry & Cafe, size matters. Having expanded over the years since it opened in 1994, the Armenian-owned store (currently being renovated after a fire in 2013) takes up nearly an entire block, and includes a separate, small restaurant across the street that serves hot and cold meals. A place that carries everything from greeting cards and birthday candles to charcoal and kabob skewers is truly a one-stop shop: deli, bakery, café, confectioners. For Armenians, lavish entertaining is a national pastime, so most come here for the special-occasion cakes, trays and trays of glistening and flaky individual pastries, traditional baklava and tea cookies, as well as warm, baked goods like lavash bread, stuffed turnovers and flatbread lahamajune. If you want to do as the Romans, the store even sells its own book featuring some of its cakes. And if you find yourself undecided and staring for too long, grab a cup of coffee until you hit an aha! moment.

LA Weekly