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Mar 9, 2006 09:51 AM

the great croissant hunt

  • g

I am embarking on a hunt for the best croissant in the boston area. Where should I go? I know about the big places, the cafe vanille's, and the flours but where else would you go. Is there a small out of the way place that you think should be on the list.



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  1. I think Russo's in Watertown makes wonderful pastries and their chocolate croissants are absolutely divine.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Gretchen

      I know this sounds ignorant but I live on the N.Shore. Where exactly is Russo's? Anywhere near Sevan, Arax etc.?? TIA!

      1. re: 4chowpups

        Blue Frog Bakery in JP makes a plain croissant that asymptotically approaches the Platonic ideal. Its tasty too.

        1. re: slowcookedbeef

          Make that another thumbs up for Blue Frog; beautiful pastries.

        2. re: 4chowpups

          A. Russo and Sons is in Watertown on Pleasant St (near Bridge St.) as you almost enter Waltham -- see detailed link below.

          It's worth the trip -- it's the best selection to price to value option I know of in the entire Boston area.

          It's often very crowded on weekends, but still generally orderly, well-stocked, and a friendly, even fun shopping experience. Be patient in the parking lot and get your cart (wagon) before entering the store.

          Don't miss Dave's Pasta, Dewar Applewood bacon, and lots of great Italian specialty foods, many of which are on the shelves UNDER the produce.


          PS -- BTW, I don't think their croisssant (or bakery, actually) is worth making it a destination, but it's fresh -- the toll house cookies are perfect comfort food.


          1. re: rlh

            Thanks a ton RLH, I will have to check it out, I've read many posts on here (mostly good) regarding the store.

      2. Great idea and I look forward to hearing your results. If you could find an excellent Cafe Au Lait, that would be wonderful too! Although there has been some progress in french food here, we still seem to lack good basic pastry, omelette, and coffee places. Just a few years ago we had La Patisserie Francais in Harvard. And previously there were two other french breakfast type places at the central end of the square, one of them excellent too (it was more of a bistro). And Coffee Connection had great cafe au lait. (And Chez Henri was Chez Louis...)

        I guess my choice today would be L'Alouette on 4/225 in Lexington. I come up with excuses to drive by there several times a year.

        The Beantown Cafe in Kendall until recently carried an excellent flakey american style croissant (more sourdough), but only seem to carry coffee cake and bagels now. If their baker is still open (this was after G Case closed that they still carried them), that might be one good place.

        The boulangerie at Sel De La Terre had an excellent croissant a few years ago and Le Meridien hotel also.

        Italian croissants tend to be more cakey and I don't know anybody who makes them fresh, but lots of places in the North End bake frozen croissants from Bindi which are tasty, especially the Apricot. Caffe Paradiso in the NE always has them hot and their Harvard Sq location has a pretty good ham and cheese if you get it hot.

        Japonaise Bakery also does some very good Croissants and other variations, but when they were in Lexington it didn't compare to L'Alouette. I am pretty certain it closed, but there also was a coffee shop tucked into the Inn across the street from the Charles hotel that I remember as inconsistent, but sometimes having a good croissant. Lastly in the random ideas, I have had some excellent pasteries in the cafe in the Romance Language Department at Harvard (Boylston Hall), but would need someone who has been there more recently to comment if they have croissants and are still good. Unfortunately I don't think Finale has croissants, but its worth a visit for petit fours and you could check out Holyoke Center (near Au Bon Pain in Harvard) in general.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Itaunas

          Thanks so much for your rec of L'Alouette - my husband used to work in Lexington and would sometimes bring home his lunch leftovers from there. Didn't realize that they had croissants - but will make it a point to check them out.

          1. re: phoebek

            I will second that THANK YOU! I have to go to Lexington twice a week and have been here once but not for croissants. Today I picked up a bag of plain and in the freezer apple and a chocolate brioche. I spoke with one of the owners and he said they are made daily. I love the salads here, especially the artichoke variations, this time it was vinegarette, olives, red peppers, very good.

          2. re: Itaunas

            The shop at the Harvard Square Hotel (across from the Charles Hotel) was C'est Bon, which has since moved.

            I like the croissants at Pronto, the little Italian place in the courtyard of the Charles -- they are very fresh in the mornings and are big, buttery, and flaky. They also carry some filled croissants. I'm addicted to the spinach and cheese, which has a rich, creamy filling.

            1. re: Itaunas

              the cafe in boylston has been closed for over a year now - v. sad.

              1. re: Itaunas

                I miss La Patisserie Francaise! I haven't heard anyone mention it in years. Yum.

                1. re: Itaunas

                  I second Sel de la Terre. Really nice French croissants.

                2. The croissants and twice baked croissants filled with almonds at Bread and Butter Bakery on Washington Street in Jamaica Plain are excellent, as are the pine nut crostata and well, pretty much everything.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: emdb

                    Bread & Butter is now Canto 6, and their croissants are to die for. Sooooo light and buttery. Mmmmmm!

                  2. It may be a predictable response from me, but I love the croissants at Cafe Arpeggio in South Boston.

                    1. I like the croissant at Quebrada in Wellesley( with a branch in Cambridge, Arlington or Somerville- not sure). They are quite large and not as greasy as most. In addition to the usual- rasberry, plain, chocolate, almond etc. they have, especially early in the day, brocolli. mushroom, ham and cheese etc.
                      Also in Wellesley- lovely, more typical very buttery croissant(as well as good breads and pastrys) is Stephans French Bakery. They are off of Linden Street-down a driveway- there is a big flag on the street that says "OPEN"- a block before Roche Brothers.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: emilief

                        Another Quebrada fan. They are very good.

                        1. re: emilief

                          I'm pretty sure Stephan's is gone-last time I drove by it was empty. But, what I prefer over Quebrada in Wellesley are the croissants from La Riviera Groumet on Washington St. Their pastry chef is French, and the chocolate and plain croissants are flaky and crunchy. The brioche is also great a La Riviera.