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Apr 26, 2004 12:20 AM

Boston's best bakeries

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I'm looking for peoples recs for their favorite bakeries in the Boston area and surrounding towns. I'm in love with Clearflour in Brookline but want to find out more about other bakeries that might have comparable pastries, bread and the like. Anybody been to Flour? Is it worth the trip? Thanks.

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  1. For general purpose French pastries, CF's my favourite.

    Japonaise Bakery (usually go to the branch in Porter Exchange) is also good for a pastries made with that certain kind of rarified Japanese delicacy. Also a number of Japanese flavours e.g. adzuki/red beans or macha/green tea. (Also check out a number of HK/Cantonese bakeries, e.g. Yi Soon, Ho Yuen and Maxim. The one at Super 88 near the South End is also quite respectable, but haven't been in a long time.)

    Flour's pretty good, maybe a little pricey.

    Hi Rise is also another popular place. Good baked sweets, scones, muffins etc....

    I really like the crusty and sticky muffins at Rosie's Bakery, as well as their fudgy brownies. Their boom boom (brownie with cream cheese) is one that I often get at Cafe Podima, which sells a few things from Rosie's.

    Sel de la Terre's bakery makes more than competent stuff, but I much prefer CF. One thing to get at SdlT is the fig anise bread -- awesome with butter, and pretty good with cheese. (a little off topic, but Rialto also serves an excellent version of this bread that they bake themselves).

    Also on the bread side, Bread and Butter in JP has a very good raisin pecan. Iggy's bread is also excellent, they're easily found at the farmer's markets and supermarkets.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Limster

      .....and of course the Italian ones in the North End.... e.g. Modern, Napoli, Mikes, Maria's.

      Portuguese (Casal, O Cantinho) in East Cambridge; I like the latter for their pateis de natas, even though the place is really a sandwich shop.

      and also forgot to mention the cookies at Darwin's Limited in Harvard Sq; they get them from Lakota (sp?) bakery.

      1. re: Limster

        What foes it take to woo me? Not just a gift of food, but food I can dissect and compare to a like object!!! So Cabinboy knew when he brought me a Florentine from Lakota this weekend, I would be doubly excited, because I could compare it to the Holy grail of flerentine's, Modern Pastry..

        The verdict? This Florentine was damned good.. Smaller that Modern, more refined if you will, but not the crispy little imposters one sees ready-made in other places....Rather, it was as tho one had taken the luscious ingredients from Modern, and chopped and mixed them a little further...While the almonds weren't whole and halves like M, they were more thoroughly intergrated thru the cookie...The coating of chocolate wasn't quite as thick, but was respectable, and the caramel was just as buttery...Basically, it was a toss-up tastewise, tho I prefer my sweets a little bigger, chunkier, and rougher around the edges....


        1. re: galleygirl

          Lakota makes damn fine shortbread too.

          1373 Mass Ave, Arlington Heights (near Trader Joe's)

      2. re: Limster

        Just a note:

        Clear Flour has excellent bread, croissant, brioche, etc. but not pastries in the real French sense: gooey moussey chocolatey wondrous things.

        Unfortunately Boston really lacks that.

        1. re: StriperGuy

          The hazelnut almond dacquoise at Flour is pretty gooey moussy chocolatey etc. Best to order 24hrs ahead if you want more than 1 piece (they can bake any size). But I agree, it would be nice to find a good liquor-soaked Opera cake or something like that around here.

      3. Got to put in a plug for Athan's at the intersection of Washington Street and Beacon in Brookline.

        2 Replies
        1. re: StriperGuy

          We were, sad to say, disappointed in Athans. The Jamaica (chocolate cake with cherries and crushed pistachios) was a hit with all parties. The cookies were quite good, too. Sarah Bernhardts (another chocolate cake variation) had a nice, dramatic, look, but the taste was lackluster. Tiramisu wasn't worth finishing; I wondered if perhaps the maker were on the wagon, or boycotting the marscapone cartel, or perhaps both. Lemon cake, as previously suggested here, was overly sweet. I am blanking on the name, but a layered vanilla cake someone had recommended specifically had a nice texture, but seemed bland as well. Maybe I would have been more impressed had we paired it with fresh berries. Overall, the presentation was nice, everything was visually appealing, but only the Jamaica will lure us back to Athans,and then we would get some cookies, too, since we were there.

          1. re: BarefootandPregnant

            The other good item at Athan's is the Panacotta. When I am lokking for supersweet Greek pastries, they are good, but sometimes I fear I will get a toothache from all the sugar and honey in the baklava.

        2. Flour is still my mecca for the cheddar scones, almond-crusted brioche, the crazy fat, crisp, sugary doughnuts filled with sweetened whipped cream. And it's such a pleasant place to sit and enjoy the sunlight and the good coffee. But Bread and Butter is great too and worth a pilgrimmage to Green Street--lots of varieties of wonderful hearty, chewy bread, crumbly, not-too-sweet scones, and almond croissants to die. And we had some little apricot filled cookies this weekend that were heavenly.

          Iggy's holds a permanent place in the Hall of Fame--they always have wonderful stuff at their farmer's market cart in the summer too. I wish I got to go to Hi-Rise more often. I think Mike's pastry is totally overrated, but the Modern is a gem--especially those rough little cinnamon-scented Florentines...

          1. The original comment has been removed
            1. How about Sugar in West Roxbury?
              Great stuff.

              1 Reply
              1. re: janzy

                Just want to make sure people realize that this is a 5-year-old thread!