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Au Bon Pain-What Do You Think of the Place?

  • j

How would you rate the food and quality?

I personally think a couple of their soups are good (french onion, tomato floretine and pumpkin), they have the worst and smallest salads, sandwiches are hit or miss and the bakery items are not good. Thoughts?

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  1. Oh I love their raspberry cheese croissant. I've always loved their chicken tarragon sandwich, but the last time I had it the chicken tasted ancient and the sauce was bland. For fast food, I'll choose it over anything else.

    1. Au Bon Pain kinda gets a big "meh" from me. Their sandwiches aren't too impressive for me. I like their soups ok, but I don't feel like soup often. And their baked goods are cceptable. For a chain, it's not bad, but I don't really seek it out.

      1. I remember as a child, going to one in NJ. My lunch would be a ham and cheese croissant and a chocolate one for dessert. Then again, I was about 10 so Friendlys was 'upscale' for me. As an adult, I went to one in MA. I know I loved the scone I had but the rest was no better or worse than Panera.

        1. Au Bon Pain is just OKAY. I do agree their soups are usually decent. Their salads are pretty lame. They are mostly lettuce with barely any vegetables in them! All of their salad dressing options are SO fattening and you cant get just balsamic vinegar and oil!

          I will admit however that one of my all time favorite things from there is the Chicken Caesar wrap. There is something about it that just hits the spot sometimes!

          1. Never had lunch there. But there's one between baggage carousels and security in Pgh Int'l, so would usually pick up some muffins and/or filled croissant on return. For a chain, very good.

            1. Not usually good, particually the salads/produce on the sandwiches. And customer service is abysmal.

              I complained nearly 2 months ago for good reason. Heard from customer services telling me the manager of that location was brand new and very concerned about upgrading the store and he'd be in touch with me to "rectify the situation". Never heard from him. I got in touch with customer service again to tell them this. They were "surprised" and promised me they would "get right on it". It's now nearly 3 weeks later and guess what? Nothing.

              If this were Pret a Manger, I would have had them bending over backwards for me 3x over already, with free lunch.

              But I digress. I think the food is rather weak. Soups are ok for the most part but really, I avoid the place for the most part. Don't even like the bakery items, poor excuses for bagels (too large, too heavy). Sloppy preparations too. I have to be hard pressed to go in there.

              One thing I do like - they have hot apple cider in the winter.

              1. Soup is a lunchtime staple for me (comforting in winter, and good for those of us watching our figures), and they have a great variety. Love their pumpkin, tomato bisque, turkey chili, among others. Their salads blow. But they do have yummy croissants, breadsticks (with asiago and rosemary--yum), and cookies.

                2 Replies
                1. re: janbrady

                  The soups are pretty good, I do enjoy those more than anything there. But you do need to be careful about which ones you get if watching your weight. Some of them can clock in at nearly 500 calories and 30 grams of fat for a large. I used to be on WW, so I had to pay a lot of attention to their nutrition info. The pumpkin I think was a great offender because it has cream in it, I think that was like 300 calories and 17 grams for the large - 8 of them saturated. Not so bad calorie wise but oh my, way too much saturated fat! That's nearly an entire day's allotment. Not healthy at all.

                  1. re: sivyaleah

                    Hee hee--I do WW myself. The pumpkin is the only indulgent soup I get there (I stay away from the chowder, for instance) and then I only order the medium--in fact, I never order large soup at all (prefer to save the extra points for something else to eat on the side!).

                    Just had the tomato bisque yesterday--mmmm. And also a sweet cheese croissant. Double mmmm.

                2. I truly appreciate their consistency, I know the coffee will be decent, the han and cheese croissant appropriately oozing and fattening, the rest of the stuff eminiently edible and they're the cleanest fast food chain I have ever encountered. There are 100 homeless people and 10,000 students daily outside the one I go to and it's still spotless.

                  1. I have only frequented one ABP location on occasion, but I recall a delicious chocolate-decorated (filled) croissant. The sandwiches and wraps were decent, though probably not worth the price. Still, I'm a sucker for bakery items and at the time, that was one of the few places I could get to.

                    1. I like their mac and cheese...sold as a soup so good price. Also I LOVE their jalapeno cheddar bagels...and their fleur de lis pastry! OMG

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: snl1129

                        I love their mac and cheese too! Their pumpkin soup is also delicious, but their sandwiches are usually not so good, except I did love their Cobb salad wrap, which they don't really have anymore, sadly.

                      2. I liked their soups too. Always good, although a little pricey.

                        1. I really like their mozzarella and tomato sandwich with pesto. I like that they don't slice the fresh mozz until they make the sandwich for you.

                          I also like making an Arnold Palmer using their fresh lemonade and the peach iced tea - perfect refreshment on a summer afternoon in DC.

                          1. I like Au Bon Pain. I find them quite often when I'm traveling to meet with various folks and as a person with severe food allergies and limitations, I absolutely love the fact that they have every ingredient they use listed on their website. I wish more places did this!

                            I enjoy their tuna sandwiches. They're pretty good and always taste fresh.

                            On a recent trip to Boston, I was very excited to find that I could actually eat their Pumpkin as well as their Carrot Nut muffins! I also found that they discount them to half off around closing time, as I came by to pick up extras for breakfast the next morning. I thought the muffins were good and more than enjoyable.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: MDhaliwal

                              I can only comment on their salads, breadsticks and oatmeal:} (I was there unfortunately with a family member at a hospital in Long Island- Au Bon Pain was my only option). For breakfast the oatmeal is decent with several toppings to choose from. For lunch, I was horribly disappointed with their salad- the salad itself is fine but the dressing- ugh. I got the balsamic and seriously could not eat it- it was so sweet! I checked the ingredients and of course discovered- corn syrup. Why? Do all Americans want thick, globby, xanthum gummified, corn syrupy dressing? They should at least have balsamic and oil on a table as an option. The bread stick- eh. The soups looked okay but I didn't try them.

                            2. I've been only once - and had an overpriced, but decent sandwich. It was definitely something I could have made cheaper and better at home.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: hypertomatoes

                                Isn't your comment fairly true of any restaurant? Could've made it cheaper at home. I've seen mac & cheese go for $9 in some restaurants. It costs, what?, 75 cents or $1 a box? Then $4 or $5 for grilled cheese.. a whole loaf of bread and cheese cost less! Let's not even talk about steakhouses! I think Au Bon pain is a great lunch spot. Quick in-and-out. made to order and considering the fact that they have NEVER messed up my order, which I can't say for most of the other lunchspots I go to regularly. And, to me a messed up order is wasted money. it's not what I paid for.

                              2. I like the fact that they have a location at Laguardia airport, sure beats all the other junk in there.

                                BTW au bon pain is an international chain, the first time I saw them was in Osaka JP!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ScoobySnacks20

                                  I used to get salads from there often. Then I read the fat content of the salad dressings. Shocking.

                                2. I think the sandwiches are pretty good if a bit overpriced, but I have always loved their gigantic cups of iced coffee (esp. on days like today).

                                  1. I will agree that some of their soups are pretty good for a quick bite when I am in a hurry (I like their corn chowder in autumn), but I would not choose to eat there if I had other options. I really like some of their cookies, though, and their coconut macaroons. I went through a pecan roll phase about 10 years back.... though I haven't stepped into an Au Bon Pain in at east two years.

                                    1. I used to eat their soup once or twice a week. Then last week, after a large Corn & Green Chile Chowder, I decided to check out the calorie content. Not bad, but...more than 2000 mg of sodium, and a mile-long list of unpronounceable ingredients. I know, I know...I should have known. Well, now I do. No more ABP soup for me.

                                      1. I'm new to Chowhound ,but not new to ABP Am addicted to their coffee and usually head directly toward the pecan rolls

                                        I can tell from reading several of your posts that you CH's are mostly youngsters. I am 77 and still remember the Horn and Hardart Automat chains They had a cinnamon raisin roll to die for.
                                        Three nickles (15¢) got you a "Frisbee" sized bun , covered in sweet sticky caramel glaze./center of plump juicy raisins/surrounded byREAL cinnamon swirl.

                                        Their coconut custard pie slice was 1/4 of the origanal pie (also 15 ¢)
                                        They were made from whole eggs and plenty of them.
                                        The pie dough was crisp and thin (The better to cram in all that custard) No soggy doughey bottom..

                                        The attraction to these "Automats", was ; you selected your individual food item from a small glass windowed post office like vault after depositing the correct amount of five cent pieces (Available from the cashier)

                                        Did I say a "cuppa Joe was a nickle and N Y's gasoline was 20¢ a gal?? Cheaper in NJ.
                                        Ed from Ct.