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the great croissant hunt

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  • gutterman Mar 9, 2006 09:51 AM
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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.

thanks

g

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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
        s
        slowcookedbeef

        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.

          ENJOY!

          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.

          Link: http://www.russos.com/home/map.html

          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.

        http://www.lalouettelexington.com/

        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.

                        2. I second Quebrada in Arlington (next to the Capitol Theatre on Mass Ave)-- a co-worker from Spain exclaimed "These are the best croissants I've had in the States." They also make them in a mini-size, which is great for brunch, etc.

                          I like the croissants at Iggy's (Fawcett St, Cambridge, behind Alewife): plain, chocolate, spinach and ham (I think...)

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Maine Red

                            I agree, Iggy's croissants are delicious, and they're widely distributed. But it looks like I have many croissants to try after this great thread!

                            1. re: Maine Red

                              I third Quebrada - I've heard (second hand) similar comments from French visitors.

                              1. re: Mary V.

                                Having just samples the Quebrada croissants based on the above recs, I must say I think Clear Flour has nothing to worry about. As for the comments from visitors, I'm not sure what to say except I have had a great number of pretty bad croissants in Paris.

                                -g

                            2. Clear Flour on Thorndike St. in Brookline, very flakey and buttery.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: chuck s

                                I second Clear Flour. And despite the fact that I am typically a croissant traditionalist, I also really enjoy their appricot version. Not too sweet. Just right.

                                1. re: Al-B

                                  i know canto 6, in jp, has baguettes from clear flour. are their croissants from there as well, or are they proprietary?

                                  1. re: Al-B

                                    Another vote for Clear Flour, and my real weakness is for their cheese croissant.

                                2. I'm not a croissant expert, but I had a very good almond croissant this morning from the Danish Pastry House in Medford (I believe there's also one in Watertown). They also have ham and cheese, chocolate, and plain butter, but I haven't tried any of those yet.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: dabbler

                                    Having consumed a great many Danish Pastry House (Watertown location) ham and cheese croissants over the past 18 months, I have to say they are quite erratic in the way they are composed, baked, and served. I'm glad to hear they're good in the Medford store.

                                    I have pointed this out to the owner/manager who is really nice and responsive, and then seems to implement proper corrective actions by the next visit. They do care and it shows. They have great potential and eventually I think they'll nail it, but be careful.

                                    When they're good, they're excellent, but they have never been warm as in fresh from the oven, the amount of ham has varied from overflowing to the size of a thin quarter, and the shop in Watertown now keeps them in cold storage due to some arcane local health regulation (for which they are applying for a variance).

                                  2. I'm a total croissant fanatic and I prefer Japonaise Bakery. They're really crispy, flaky and butterlicious. The doughnut's rock as well.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Pernod

                                      What do folks think of the croissants at Savoy Bakery across the street? I found them to be quite nice, but not as good as the ones at Japonaise, but I've only had them once.

                                    2. Clear Flour is my favorite, followed by Iggy's and Quebrada. The gruyere cheese croissant at Clear Flour is worth a trip for.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: fenian

                                        I agree wholeheartedly about Clearflour's croissants. They are consistently available on weekends but best to call ahead if you're going during the week. They used to have pain aux raisins on Mondays and Thursdays, but I believe that schedule may have changed.

                                      2. I like Savoys raspberry croissants (good texture, small size) and the occasional cherry turnovers they make. I have never had anything I didn't like from Clear Flour. I don't like oversize croissants and that lets out Athans though I do like many of their baked goods.

                                        1. The best I've had recently was at Athans in Brookline; very lovely, light, crispy, all the right things, and you can get a great cup of coffee there to go with it. I also like Japonaise for their ham and cheese croissants. I didn't find the ones at Savoy to be as good as either of those.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Zatan

                                            Good news about the Savoy! There are new owners and things are definitely looking up. We went in Sunday morning at 8:30 and there was a big selection and a cheerful couple behind the counter. I had a ham and cheese croissant that was big and flaky. However the filling wasn't baked in it, instead they had sliced a plain croissant in half and added the ham and cheese. It was really delicious and had more ham and cheese than the usual concoction. My husband went for a danish pastry and he was really happy- the filling was not the usual gooey jammy stuff but real fruit. The baker had just put some baguettes in the oven. I have to go back today and will post more about this bakery, which is at St. Mary's T stop on the C line on the Brookline/Boston line..

                                            1. re: ginnyhw

                                              Good to know! I lived nearby when they first opened, and they were excellent back then, but the place has been kind of dispirited for a long time and the counter help often rather unfriendly.

                                              (Although personally if I get a "ham and cheese croissant" I do expect the ham and cheese to be baked into the croissant, even if the amount isn't as much - I don't necessarily want a ham and cheese croissant sandwich.) However, a good plain croissant and great danish are very good things indeed. Hm - I may plan a morning to walk to work and stop there on my way...

                                              1. re: Allstonian

                                                That woman was always very sweet to me or our lab when we used to order stuff for breakfast. Any idea if they run out of things as quickly as they used to? Sometimes I'd go at 9:45 and they'd be out of halfl the stuff.

                                                And I too want the ham/cheese baked in.

                                                1. re: Allstonian

                                                  I went back after work and they were closed- too bad because we wanted to try the baguette. I think they are aiming for breakfast lunch crowd as they close at 3 weekdays, 2 on Saturday and noon on Sunday. We've only lived in this neighborhood for a few years and understand one of the partners died several years ago and it was very sad. So this new couple is a fresh beginning for the bakery and peeking in the window tonight I saw lots of goodies in the display cases. We'll be back there on the weekend and ask about the croissant assembly and check out the muffins and get that baguette.

                                            2. im also looking for the best croissants in boston. i was at CANTO6 on washington st in jamaica plains today, they have a GREAT flaky, buttery plain croissant. their almond croissant is really popular as well.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: kweesee

                                                YES! I love Canto 6's croissants. the almond-chocolate one is ridiculously sinful and worth every bit.

                                                My other votes go to:

                                                Clear Flour--Gruyere
                                                Flour--Almond
                                                Quebrada-plain

                                                the best non--Parisian croissants I've ever had, oddly, were made in Lexington KY. That they were made by an Algerian makes it less odd, but still.

                                              2. The pastry chef who was at Sandrines in Cambridge is currently at the Buttery in the South End. She makes the best croissants, I would call to see if they are making them there...

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: gardgen

                                                  If you can go a little outside of boston to the northshore in salem there is A&J King Artisan Bakers, they make excellent handmade croissants and breads, among other things and are worth the trip. www.ajkingbakery.com

                                                  1. re: gardgen

                                                    The Buttery in the South End (314 Shawmut Ave) does make croissants! They are very flaky and crispy, without that soggy/doughy/popover-like center. I've only sampled the plain, but the chocolate looks tempting... The only thing you need to get over is the brusque counter service at the Buttery...

                                                  2. Patisserie Francaise caught my eye, I did my apprenticeship there in 1970 until 1975, its long gone. I also opened Savoy in Brookline in 83 with Carol.
                                                    Sold it to Pat. she sold it to the current owner and its just been sold again.!
                                                    It just doesn't work to try selling iggy's croissant there.
                                                    I did offer to supply him but he's convinced Iggys is great, the customers aren't.
                                                    Over-processed, machine rolled, over-proofed = not flaky.

                                                    Heres the bad news , most of the places listed sell frozen proof n bake.
                                                    I was the pastry chef at the meridien, frozen again. I hate hotels.
                                                    There simply aren't that many people around who can bake period.
                                                    I got out of baking and started catering. Soo much easier.
                                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOTayu...

                                                    btw, if you happen to one of those customers I screamed at over the yrs,
                                                    you deserved it.

                                                     
                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: jonesg

                                                      Flour in the SouthEnd
                                                      or
                                                      Clear Flour in Brookline

                                                      1. re: jonesg

                                                        Hi,

                                                        So are you saying the big cottony croissant my husband picked up at Savoy last Sunday morning was from Iggy's? And the new couple from Natick have sold the business?

                                                        1. re: ginnyhw

                                                          Yep, big n cottony is correct. He was the former production manager at iggys' thats the connection and why he feels they are good.

                                                          Whilst it looks like theres a resurgence of bakeries, there really isn't.

                                                          I dropped into new paris bakery a few weeks ago, they tell the same story, its a losing battle to try and compete against the machines.
                                                          I would never open a bakery again but I do still make a decent amount of croissants for corp catering and my accounts.

                                                          Flour is going to open a restaurant, the bakery will probably go away if the restaurant works out. Sadly, theres simply no money in pastry.
                                                          I enjoyed baking, its fun work but when you hit 50 and don't have any retirement to speak of and are still stuck in an apt...
                                                          I know I made the right move.

                                                          1. re: jonesg

                                                            Yup, I left the business years ago for the same reasons. Back in the late 80s I worked at a tiny place next to the first Olives in Charlestown, called Sorelle. Maybe it was Sorelle's. Who remembers? Anyway, I used to make croissants and danish from scratch there; I loved working there for that reason, as I'd never gotten to do that before. Everywhere else I worked in Boston, including the Ritz etc., just used frozen proof-and-bake from La Vie de France or Au Bon Pain. There are far fewer unique croissants in the naked city than y'all think!

                                                            1. re: jonesg

                                                              The bread we love from Iggy's is the crusty baguette but the baguette we tried from Savoy was generic and cottony (I like this word) white bread shaped in a batard, not even close to super market French bread, let alone Iggy's.
                                                              I hear you about the uphill battle bakers face but when I go to a bakery like Canto6, owned by 2 Brookline High graduates, I wish someone with lots of youthful energy would buy the Savoy.

                                                          2. re: jonesg

                                                            Have any of the bakers that worked with Maurice continued to make those unique Croissants? They were the best I have ever had, and that includes Paris.

                                                          3. I used to be addicted to Sel de la Terre's Ham and Cheese croissant. Now though, they make it with a with a ham that's made in house so it's less salty, probably a good thing, but less of a guilty pleasure. The rest of them are great too. Good tomato and goat cheese one.

                                                            B & R in Framingham (also at Formaggios) has great ones. I have to agree with the Danish Pastry House. I've only been to the one in Medford.

                                                            1. i happen to be by japonaise bakery at porter square bldg. i picked up crossiant and was really delighted. it was buttery, very flaky and really tasty. I also picked up a donut twist, an azaki cream and some other goodies. after a long morning of errands, none of these lasted the few blocks to my house......and they were all fresh and tasty. i would definitely go back for the crossiants!

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: bernie71

                                                                where can i buy iggy's crossants? i dont see it when i go to whole foods.

                                                                1. re: kweesee

                                                                  At Iggy's.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Iggy's
                                                                  130 Fawcett St, Cambridge, MA

                                                                  1. re: kweesee

                                                                    They also serve them at City Feed in JP.

                                                                    1. re: Joanie

                                                                      And at Evergood market on Mass Ave between Harvard and Porter; at the Science Center on the Harvard campus; at Lily's French Bakery in Watertown; they seem to be everywhere.

                                                                2. B & R Artisan Bread in Framingham still makes each and every one by hand fresh daily and they are phenomenal! Their bread is off the hook too.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: odaivilo

                                                                    where are they located?

                                                                    1. re: bakerboyz

                                                                      B & R is in a small strip mall @ 151 Cochituate Road (Route 30) in Framingham right after Route 30 intersects with Route 126. The signage isn't very good but if you see the KFC/Taco Bell, turn in there. It's across the parking lot from them. If you're coming from Boston, take Exit 13 off the pike and go about 2 miles on Route 30. It's on the left. Their products are excellent.

                                                                  2. French Memories in Duxbury... worth the drive. the only place i've found that compares to real french bakeries. i'll drive there just for a good baguette

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: budgetfoodie

                                                                      French Memories in Duxbury also supplies(and I believe is involved in the ownership) of Cafe Vanille on Charles St in Boston as well as the one at the Chestnut Hill Mall. You can get their coissants and baked goods there. Very very good!

                                                                    2. I noticed a few people mentioning the Danish Pastry House in Watertown/Medford. FYI that ain't butter you're tasting, it's shortening. The owner discussed it candidly. My family is Scandinavian and was quite excited when it first opened, but they have since ditched it. Due to an illness, my father has trouble digesting trans fats, so we avoid any place that doesn't use real butter.

                                                                      And most don't!

                                                                      1. I have had a couple of good experiences with La Riviera which replaced L'alouette in Lexington and has another location (Wellesley?). The croissants are a bit fancier than L'alouette, but very flaky with a pronounced taste of butter. Like L'alouette they tend to run out, so I haven't been able to hound them quite as much as I would like, but they do offer discounts on frozen croissants (you proof and bake) -- L'alouette sold the leftover baked croissants frozen for the same price as fresh. I had the opportunity to eat their croissant one day and Canto 6 the next day of different varieties, and thought they were on a similar par (canto seemed more bready, but they were different varieties). I still miss L'alouette who's croissants were a tinge more sour perhaps due to pre-ferment and even more La Patisserie Francais (in the early days there was another french bistro and patisserie on the other side of the square (Downstairs where Dolphin,Zoe's, etc are), but times change and these are pretty good for the times.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: itaunas

                                                                          About Danish Pastry House -- I wanted to love it, but now I know why I don't -- thanks for that info about the shortening!!!!
                                                                          I too remember La Patisserie Francais (sp?) in Cambridge -- where was it exactly?

                                                                        2. Iggy's Bakery hands down.

                                                                          1. Oh, what the heck, as long as this thread is revived and growing...

                                                                            Ever since discovering the wonders that are frozen, unproofed croissants, I seldom buy a croissant when I'm out. Even the best croissants in Boston are no match for croissants that come hot and fresh out of your own oven. You simply take them out of the freezer the night before, let them thaw and rise overnight, and bake for 15 minutes. For better or worse, keep them around and watch your house guests extend their stays.

                                                                            You can order them online from any number of sources, but living in the Northeast, I like to return from trips to Montreal with a cooler-full of them. Montreal's Premiere Moisson (a small bakery chain) has the best I've found, but they're available throughout that fine chow city.

                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                            1. re: finlero

                                                                              Patiserrie Francais was downstairs on JFK street, opposite Bombay bistro, its planet records now, used CD's etc.
                                                                              After MAurice sold it we moved up MAss ave to open Autre Chose and I did all the baking there for him.
                                                                              Savoy Bakery just closed down, I saw the windows covered with paper, the (next) new owners are doing reno, I suspect it'll be another pizza joint or something.
                                                                              It lasted less than 6 months trying to sell Iggy's croissants.

                                                                              A pal has taken over the smaller Au Bon Pain in harvard sq and he wants my croissants, its Iggy;s everywhere in the square. I'll just help them get started , its up to them after that. Construction begins January 6.

                                                                              BTW, I think the cafe vanille on charles is gone.
                                                                              Its the rent, the product was excellent.
                                                                              Rents are pushing $10-15K a month for prime areas.
                                                                              Why all these people open bakeries is beyond me,
                                                                              they seem to make a small fortune by starting out with a large fortune.

                                                                              1. re: jonesg

                                                                                Are you sure the Savoy was selling Iggy's croissants? When I went after the new owner, they seemed even less flaky than before and I always thought Iggy's were quite decent on the flakiness scale. That's too bad about the Savoy. On the other hand, the St. Mary's area hasn't had a pizza place since Taurus closed years ago, so it might be useful. If I could take my condo and move it to my old apt. building on Ivy St., I would in a second. No need for a car, 3 subway lines, 2 bus lines, but I digress.

                                                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                                                  I personally don't have an answer for you about Savoy but Iggy's croissant are best enjoyed FRESH from their bakery. If stored improperly or overnight, their flakiness does take a hit. Buy them the same morning at their bakery and they hold up to the best croissants in France. Same with their pain au chocolat.

                                                                                2. re: jonesg

                                                                                  Did cafe vanille close as of the new year? I was there about two weeks ago and it was still open.

                                                                                  1. re: Fort Point

                                                                                    Cafe Vanille on Charles St. was open when I walked by yesterday and today.

                                                                                  2. re: jonesg

                                                                                    I saw the paper on the Savoy bakery windows yesterday, however I was not too surprised. With the previous owners they tended to run out, but I kind of liked the croissants and coffee. I stopped to get coffee a couple of weeks ago after dropping stuff off at the dry cleaners. Instead of nice dark roast coffee, it was weak and flavored (maybe hazelnut - at least that was the familiar taste from my college cafeteria days?). :-(

                                                                                    1. re: jonesg

                                                                                      Per the Brookline TAB the new bakery in the Savoy site is opening in February with a new name. Owner/baker is from Israel and she already has a line of nut pies that she sells at the Copley Square Farrners market. The bakery will feature cakes and pies.

                                                                                      1. re: ginnyhw

                                                                                        Oh, I've seen her stand at the Copley farmer's market - Tatte Fine Cookies and Cakes. Lovely looking baked goods, but pretty expensive. Here's the TAB article (with a bunch of other Brookline food news):
                                                                                        http://www.wickedlocal.com/brookline/...

                                                                                        BTW, am I the only one mildly surprised to learn that the owner of the Rod Dee is named Osmin Hernandez?

                                                                                      2. re: jonesg

                                                                                        The spot in Harvard Square that you mention is going to be an independent coffee shop/cafe - correct?

                                                                                    2. I know it's not the same as local but if you want to have amazing croissants ready to go in your house, Williams-Sonoma sells them in their food catalog (on-line). You have to let them defrost if frozen but they are really delicious. We had them Christmas morning one year and we all raved about them.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: CanIHaveABite

                                                                                        After reading your post, I ordered some from William Sonoma. I got the petite croissants(2/3 the size of a regular). They were $39.00 for 24. FANTASTIC!!!!!! Even with shipping, they don't cost any more than a bakery and are 100% better. Their buttery flakiness, freshness......the best! Thanks for the tip!

                                                                                      2. Quebrada in Arlington make a darn fine croissant!

                                                                                        25 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: thehb

                                                                                          Personally, I find Quebrada's croissant as heavy as brick.

                                                                                          1. re: joebelt

                                                                                            As long as no one wants to let this thread die, and if gutterman is still in the USA and trying croissants, how about the Patisserie in Winchester. They've got a nice butter ham and cheese to die for (literally, I guess). I don't think it's been mentioned here, but I'm not sure I've read it all.

                                                                                            1. re: raddoc

                                                                                              I've tried La Patisserie in Winchester and they weren't winning any prizes in my book. Iggy's is still the only place that I found in Boston that makes an AUTHENTIC French croissant or pain au chocolat.

                                                                                              1. re: joebelt

                                                                                                Quelle d'hommage

                                                                                                1. re: raddoc

                                                                                                  yes, it is dommage.

                                                                                                2. re: joebelt

                                                                                                  Although if "tasty" is more important to you than "authentic," as it is to me, it's very hard to beat Clear Flour.

                                                                                                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                    I don't think one has to be exclusive of the other. Authentic and tasty can live in the same phrase.

                                                                                                    1. re: joebelt

                                                                                                      This was removed the last time I asked for some reason, but I'll ask again: ARE Clear Flour's croissants considered inauthentic? If so, how?

                                                                                                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                        I have not personally tasted Clear Flour's croissants. :(

                                                                                                        I can tell you that a fresh croissant from Iggy's bakery is very authentic where as a croissant from Quebrada for example is not.

                                                                                                        1. re: joebelt

                                                                                                          Oh, I see. Well, you need to get yourself over to Clear Flour immediately, because I've had both and their croissants put Iggy's to shame. They're not even in the same league.

                                                                                                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                            Have you had Iggy's croissants from their bakery?

                                                                                                            1. re: joebelt

                                                                                                              Many times: it's just behind one of my favorite record stores, the Newbury Comics in the shopping center next to Alewife.

                                                                                                              Iggy's makes a fine croissant. But Clear Flour's croissants are better.

                                                                                                              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                OK, I will let you know once I taste Clear Flour in terms of authenticity. Taste is more subjective.

                                                                                                                I actually went to Clear Flour this weekend but sadly they were all out of all kinds of croissants.

                                                                                                                I can comment on their bread, we tried an Italian rustic loaf and a baguette. Both were very good though too light (I was actually surprised at their weight when I picked them up!), which turned them into dry cardboard by breakfast time the next day. Excellent crust in both breads. The baguette was superior to Iggy's but not nearly as good as B&R.

                                                                                                                1. re: joebelt

                                                                                                                  you have to go early usually to get the good stuff

                                                                                                                  1. re: kweesee

                                                                                                                    Easier said then done, when you live nowhere near the place.

                                                                                                            2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                              Ditto to that sentiment.

                                                                                                    2. re: joebelt

                                                                                                      Ah nostalgia, i grew up in Winchester and used to ride my bike to La Patisserie on Sunday mornings to get croissants for family brunch. The owners were so sweet and always gave me a little something extra to fortify me for the "long" ride home (.75 miles!). I remember those croissants being amazing, but we're talking quite a while ago! Might be time for a return visit...

                                                                                                      1. re: heathermb

                                                                                                        La Patisserie would fall in the non-authentic French croissant category.

                                                                                                        1. re: joebelt

                                                                                                          But for an 8-year-old girl it fell right into the "this is yummy" category! And nostalgia is a powerful thing so I might still like them!

                                                                                                          1. re: joebelt

                                                                                                            But perhaps still the "tasty" category? At least for me.

                                                                                                            1. re: raddoc

                                                                                                              Someone mentioned La Riviera awhile back and upon that recommendation I visited the one in Lexington which is the sister site to the Wellesley one. Got a bag of frozen croissants, a variety pack of my choosing--plain, chocolate, almond, apple, lemon--as a Christmas gift for my husband. Also got a couple from Iggy's. Hands down, he favored La Riviera which probably had an edge from the get go having been proofed overnight and baked fresh in the morning. According to the woman with whom I spoke (and mentioned CH to) they are made fresh from scratch on site in Wellesley and don't come frozen from Canada as many do.

                                                                                                              1. re: tweetie

                                                                                                                So just to verify: La Riviera's frozen croissants are unproofed? If so, this is terrific news.

                                                                                                                1. re: finlero

                                                                                                                  The first time they did have frozen already baked croissants (just like L'alouette), but the next two times I went they were unproofed and I noted it in: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/15576... . If you want a specific type, I would call ahead as they don't have all varieties and Wellesley might be a better bet to stock up.

                                                                                                                  1. re: itaunas

                                                                                                                    Awesome. I totally missed this first time around. Thanks itaunas and tweetie!

                                                                                                        2. re: joebelt

                                                                                                          la Patisserie: very nice owner, ugh products on all counts.except a few breads.

                                                                                                  2. Yes, finlero. You proof them at home and they puffed up beautifully each time. About 20 minutes in the toaster oven (for 1 croissant, instead of heating the oven) and out comes golden, buttery, flakey goodness. They also have savory ones, at least ham and cheese, but we haven't tried them. Forgot to mention the price! I think I got 5 for $7!! What a deal.

                                                                                                    1. The Biscuit on Washington and Beacon in Somerville!

                                                                                                      1. if you are west of the city, concord teacakes croissant aren't too bad. they have traditional and also almond, choco, etc. my mom lived in france for a number of years so i am spoiled but once i while you find one that is passable.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: mr mangia

                                                                                                          Yep, that's how I would describe Concord Teacakes' croissants: passable. Far from authentic as well. Nice little store though.

                                                                                                        2. I had an amazing croissant at Burdick's chocolates in Harvard Square recently.

                                                                                                          Closest to the ones that I had while in France.

                                                                                                          SO good!

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: laboobun

                                                                                                            Who supplies them? I don't recall seeing croissants at Burdick's in the past.

                                                                                                            1. re: joebelt

                                                                                                              I work at Burdick's, and from what I see- the croissant dough we use comes from our main location in Walpole, NH. It's made there and not from an outside bakery. I like ours, but I prefer "blonde" croissants. I'm going to have to start trying all the other bakeries around town!

                                                                                                          2. Before I went to Paris I would have considered au bon pain to have good croissants. Now I can't eat there without ranting about how they are so inauthentic and comparably terrible they are. I am letting you in on a gigantic secret. The best croissants in the area are surprisingly at the elephant walk only for breakfast. If you have never been to Paris than these croissants will blow your mind and forever change your idea of what a croissant should be. There are only two places in America that I have been to that have had authentic croissants and the other one was the metro in porter square which was better but now doesn't exist. I am in the process of hunting down the pastry chef that used to work there and am also going to new york to the top rated croissant places in search for authentic croissants. Wish me luck. But oh if you want to have an authentic croissant before you die (which none of these places mentioned have) go to the elephant walk. P.S. I haven't eaten at burdick which I respect and will be going there shortly to see how the croissants compare, oh and if you are ever blessed enough to go to paris eat your heart out with pastries, french pastries are the most impressive food I have ever had.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: theperfectpalate

                                                                                                              MOST people still regard au good pain to be good croissants, all they know is frozen. heres a pic of mine.

                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              1. re: jonesg

                                                                                                                Russo's in watertown, ....frozen.
                                                                                                                Look at the pics on their website, when you see croissants lacking in layer seperation like that its a sure sign they are proof and bake.(from frozen)

                                                                                                                Now look around, most places are doing just that whether they make the dough or buy it.

                                                                                                            2. I got a croissant at Petsi's(Putnam St location) and it was surprisingly good....light and flakey. FYI...Cafe Vanille now has a cafe/bakery in Sharon Center(the others are Duxbury, Charles St, Boston, and the Chestnut Hill Mall.

                                                                                                              1. Wow, this is an old post. Anyway, Canto 6 in JP makes an amazing croissant. Definitely not frozen.

                                                                                                                1. Croissants... mmmm.... Sunday morning breakfast with a cup of coffee in my sun room.

                                                                                                                  You should try Trader Joe's frozen croissants. They have two kinds, plain and chocolate. You'd have to bring it out at room temperature and proof it for 9 hours. Then it only takes 20 mins or so to bake. It took me a few times to get it right. Sometimes I overslept and let it over-proofed and it'd become too soft. On dry days I have to put a layer of cling wrap over them so that they don't dry out. Turning on convection makes the pastry even more crispy, but my BF doesn't like it being crispy (weird).

                                                                                                                  I haven't tried any high-end artisan chocolate croissant in the Boston area. However, I don't think anything can beat a fresh out of the oven croissant when you're still in PJs.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: cutipie721

                                                                                                                    Yowie! I just tried the TJ's frozen chocolate croissants this morning, and boy, were they great! As good as any I've had. Maybe because it was right out of the oven? The one my husband had a few hours later he said wasn't as good.

                                                                                                                    1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                                                                                                                      I had leftover once. I stored them in the fridge. Took them out the next morning. Turned on my oven to around 200F, and let them warm up till everybody woke up... probably 30mins, and they were as good as the day before, just a bit dryer.

                                                                                                                  2. I've had the ham and cheese croissant at Bread & Butter twice while still hot. Not authentic, but one of the best I have ever had.

                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                                                                                                                      Add me to the B&B ham and cheese croissant fan club.

                                                                                                                      1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                                                                                                                        sigh ghost threads are a pet peeve but i have to bite... what makes the ham & cheese croissant not 'authentic' ?

                                                                                                                        1. re: valcfield

                                                                                                                          Just don't seem to see them very much in France. Plain, almond and chocolate, but maybe I'm not looking the right place. Don't care if they are authentic or not, because this crossant is awesome.

                                                                                                                          1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                                                                                                                            aaah so it was referring to the ham and cheese nature. wasn't sure if that's what you were referring to, or the pastry itself (i recently stumbled upon a 'croissant' that was more like a crescent shaped piece of challah. not bad mind you, but, even as someone who doesn't like the term 'authentic,' definitely felt like i'd been mislead in that case!)

                                                                                                                      2. OK, this is a VERY old reincarnated thread (2006 vintage), but for the record I will reiterate what has been said many times in it over the past seven years: nothing in town can top the ones from Clear Flour. These are true Paris-quality croissants.

                                                                                                                        13 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                          ...and still the best baguette in town.

                                                                                                                          1. re: hyde

                                                                                                                            yes on the baguette (especially the ancienne) but I prefer Japonaise for croissants.

                                                                                                                            1. re: hyde

                                                                                                                              I like Clear Four baguettes but prefer Bricco's Panneteria's

                                                                                                                            2. re: BobB

                                                                                                                              bob, i have long appreciated clearflour so i don't doubt that they make terrific croissants, but i would be interested to hear your reaction to Lee Napoli's croissants at Bread and Butter and ChocoLee. She is a very well respected and long-experienced classical pastry chef and she really knows her stuff. For me, i like it that she puts so much filling in her ham and cheese croissants- one can really make a satisfying breakfast.

                                                                                                                              *And keep in mind, you croissant-loving travellers: Mirabelle bakery in Burlington VT. has tremendous croissants.*

                                                                                                                              This is a recent thread on Almond Croissants:
                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/902601

                                                                                                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                Just wondering how Quebradas compares? Also, don't laugh at me but I was wondering if anyone has ever had one of the croissants that are sold on In the Kitchen with David on QVC. David Venable entertains me..have never bought a thing and don't have plans to. But very curious about the croissants they sell that are from France and you bake from frozen. I have never seen people go crazier for any food item in my life as they do on that show for those croissants, so wondering if its possibly really something good...

                                                                                                                                1. re: chompie

                                                                                                                                  Well, the Trader Joe's frozen croissants are pretty delicious, so I bet the QVC product is pretty good. Hot, buttery goodness.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: bear

                                                                                                                                    And I'm a fan of the William Sonoma crossaints, they come frozen and unrisen. let 'em thaw and rise overnight, then brush them with an egg wash and bake. Pretty great!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: justbeingpolite

                                                                                                                                      Yep, the TJ's frozen croissants work the same way and they are startlingly good.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                                                        Probably cheaper, too

                                                                                                                                        1. re: justbeingpolite

                                                                                                                                          I've had the TJ and they are solid and certainly better than a mediocre bakery, but I am curious if anyone has done a head to head vs the William Sonoma ones. Are they marginally or significantly better given the price difference? Or do they just have the normal WS name markup?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Klunco

                                                                                                                                            So glad this question was asked, I've been wondering this myself for a long while. I'm always on the search for great chocolate croissants (I prefer Canto 6 to Clear Flour, by the way), but didn't know if it's worth it to splurge on the WS ones. Anyone know?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: winedude

                                                                                                                                              I live close to Canto 6 and while theirs are superior, the WS version are actually pretty good.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                                                          yes, startlingly good is an excellent descriptor!