Best of Boston

2009 Best Bakery, North

A&J King Artisan Bakers

Set foot inside a great restaurant, and the feeling is usually admiration, even awe. Enter a great bakery like A&J King, and it’s more like giddiness. Everything looks as good as it smells, and tastes even better, courtesy of the New England Culinary Institute grads working the ovens. Andy King bakes the breads—tangy North Shore sourdough, airy ciabatta—and wife Jackie creates the toothsome pastries, which range from flaky croissants and custardy bread puddings to the dense and intense chocolate cakes called bouchons. They also plate fresh-made sandwiches and flatbreads and pour what just might be the North Shore’s best espresso. Did we say giddiness? We meant love.

48 Central St., Salem, 978-744-4881,