HOME > Chowhound > Florida >
What have you made lately?
TELL US

French Bakery in Tampa area?

t
travelnfood Mar 28, 2007 08:46 AM

Are there any french bakeries in the Tampa area?

  1. r
    RibDog Mar 28, 2007 09:16 AM

    None to my knowledge. Is there something particular you are looking for?

    John

    4 Replies
    1. re: RibDog
      t
      travelnfood Mar 28, 2007 11:01 AM

      croissants and french bread, baguettes. of course all of the other pastries would be a plus, but really just looking for some good baguettes.

      1. re: travelnfood
        rhnault Mar 28, 2007 11:04 AM

        when our offices used to be downtown I ate at C'est la Vie often and they always had fresh pastries, croissant, and baguette up front. I * think* they bake on site. They're downtown on Madison St.

        1. re: rhnault
          t
          travelnfood Mar 28, 2007 12:19 PM

          I love C'est la Vie. but the location is such a pain to get to...parking wise. the last two times i ate there, they didn't have any baguettes to sell. i guess they were keeping what they had for their diners.

        2. re: travelnfood
          r
          RibDog Mar 28, 2007 04:01 PM

          I do enjoy the baquettes that I get from Fresh Market in Countryside. You might want to try the one on Henderson in Tampa for theirs and see how the quality for you.

          John

      2. j
        joan Mar 28, 2007 01:04 PM

        Does Treasure Island count?
        We have a brand new French Bakery on 107th Avenue. Delicious baguettes and gourmet breads.
        However, it is still 35 minutes from Tampa :(

        7 Replies
        1. re: joan
          t
          travelnfood Mar 28, 2007 01:43 PM

          joan, what is it called. unfortunately, treasure island is a bit far, since i live in brandon. but who knows, i may get desperate!

          1. re: travelnfood
            j
            joan Mar 28, 2007 03:03 PM

            Here ya go, travelnfood:
            XJ European Bakery
            Cafe De Paris Bakery
            Xavier or Patrick
            146 107th Ave.
            Treasure Island, Fl. 33706
            727-360-9830

            I don't know why it has two names.
            By the way, while you're out this way, try making a day of it, enjoy the baguettes in a picnic lunch on the beach across the street (alcohol in plastic containers allowed!), and considering having dinner across the street from the bakery at the Pearl Restaurant. Absolutely wonderful:

            http://www.gotothepearl.com/

            1. re: joan
              t
              Tandoori Girl Mar 28, 2007 08:34 PM

              Joan, I had assumed the Cafe De Paris Bakery is related to the one in Indian Rocks Beach, which I think is the original one. Do you know?

              1. re: Tandoori Girl
                t
                Tandoori Girl Mar 28, 2007 08:38 PM

                How about Pane Rustica? You could take the Crosstown and get off on Bay to Bay Blvd. Go east a few blocks and turn south on MacDill. Pane Rustica is just a few blocks up on your right back in the strip mall.

                1. re: Tandoori Girl
                  t
                  travelnfood Mar 29, 2007 08:24 AM

                  I go to Pane Rustica often...but the bread isn't melt in your mouth, i've got to bring home 5 loaves, good.

                2. re: Tandoori Girl
                  j
                  joan Mar 29, 2007 10:06 AM

                  No, TGIrl, no idea.
                  Off topic: they're lookin' for you over at Fodor's...Tampa questions going unanswered!

                3. re: joan
                  t
                  travelnfood Mar 29, 2007 08:28 AM

                  Thanks, i'll have to give it a try. If it's good i can take home some to freeze.

            2. b
              BradPatt Mar 28, 2007 10:45 PM

              "Lady finger " Palm Harbor ( 30~40 mints from Downtown Tampa)
              ("Shoppers at Clover palce"Lake St,Geoage. Tampa Rd west bound
              between Mc' mullen booth &US 19. )
              French bread, pastry, and my favorite quiche all good !!
              Open Mon~ Sat( 9AM - 6PM ), Sunday closed.

              1 Reply
              1. re: BradPatt
                t
                travelnfood Mar 29, 2007 08:25 AM

                tried it...but didn't like it at all. i tried the bread and croissant. i had took 1 bite of the croissant and had to throw it away.

              2. j
                JMPeterson May 23, 2007 06:54 PM

                French bread in Tampa? Ha! Bon Chance..that's a good one, ain't gonna happen. My wife is o so French and I have looked high and low for a proper French Baguette and pastry.

                Here's my info to save you the leg work, I've been down that road and came back baguetteless:

                There are no French Bakeries in the Tampa/St Pete/Clearwater area. Yeah, yeah, there's one on Indian Rocks Beach and on Treasure island but they lack skills. I've tried their bread, pastries and yule logs, all not so hot I have to say and a great disappointment for my Christmas yule log feast!
                There's a pleasant French Canadian woman over in St Pete, off 66th I believe, but hers was the first I tried when I moved here from DC..Publix is better.
                Pane rustica is lame, a weak copy of pan quotidien in NYC.
                Lady Fingers..closed I believe. Chef DeLort had some skills for cake making but bread and croissants..not so much.
                If you want to drive to Sarasota you can try C'est la vie which has better French pastries than anywhere else I've tried in West Central Florida but don't eat at the restaurant unless you want gastrointestinal problems. Leave the sit down jazz to all the old Benz driving pimp daddys retired from the Midwest. Just try the baked goods as the baker is a nice Frenchman who will probably set out on his own one day but now works for the "businessman" who owns the restaurant.

                I have searched high and low and look forward to the day when a properly FRENCH TRAINED pastry chef graces us with his presence in Tampa/St Pete and lets hope he utilizes the proper 1. Oven- only a specific bread oven with steam injection can make a proper French baguette. 2. Ingredients. Must be high gluten (expensive) flour or else it's crap. 3. French trained..He doesn't have to be French but he/she must have either trained in France or with French instructors OR even have instructors who were trained by French.

                Now, for a few decent things I've found.
                Chocolate Pi in Tampa: The pastry chef trained in France and uses high quality chocolate in her petit fours..very good, the best in Tampa IMnotsoHO.
                Panera Bread is outstanding.. nah, just messing with you, they're the anti French Bakery. thoroughly sucky and overpriced.
                C'est la vie bakery in Sarasota..not bad if there's nothing else.
                The Bread Artisan in Pinellas Park: Not French but Italian and he uses high quality flour with the proper oven..tasty, pricey loaves of bread. He's also flakey about when he opens his shop, could be 10 am, could be noon or maybe just closed for the day.

                Otherwise, you could drive to Key West and try Croissants de France. Just don't try the croissants or baguettes, not good. Rather, try the classic ham and swiss or jambon suisse..very good, as good as in France. The chef is obviously French trained.

                Miami- East Coast..probably are some good French places as they have a lot more French people but I don't live there, I live in Tampa area.

                If you're up in NYC..oh you have no problems finding good French baguettes and croissants but my favorite for French pastries is La Bergamote..awesome, as good as France no problem.

                If you're in DC there's a French bakery on Wisconsin in G'town which has excellent baguettes and pastries, perfectly done..if I was living there again, I'd be there every day.

                Finally, when it comes to food and wine and several other things: If it's not French, it's crap. Period, exclamation point, end of story.

                8 Replies
                1. re: JMPeterson
                  m
                  Miss E May 23, 2007 09:27 PM

                  I agree with you that the baguettes at Pane Rustica are not true French baguettes, they're much too heavy and doughy and chewy. But, their croissants are the best in Tampa, hands down. So if I'm just too busy to jet over to Paris or New York, they're a great alternative. (Seriously, if you live here, live here, know what I mean?)

                  Also agree that Chocolate Pi has lovely pastries. However, a birthday cake we ordered was like a giant hockey puck--absurdly dense, must have weighed 20 lbs. The cookies were so-so, and super expensive. So, I will stick with pastries and petit fours (which are also very pricey, but what are ya gonna do?). Like a lot of things in Tampa, hit or miss, hit or miss.

                  Panera is for rubes.

                  1. re: JMPeterson
                    t
                    travelnfood May 25, 2007 05:40 AM

                    have you tried Cafe Croissant on Tyrone Blvd in St. Pete? I haven't heard anything about it here but heard that they supply quite a few restaurants in the area.

                    1. re: travelnfood
                      j
                      jeannegatorfan Jun 24, 2007 07:50 AM

                      I tried Cafe Croissant years ago. They were okay at the time... If they do sell to local restaurants, it is likely they have gone downhill from there as I've yet to have a good croissant anywhere in this area! I travel to France every year for business and every year or two for vacation so I do know how they should taste. For baguettes, my husband and I gave up looking and now go to Costco to buy a five pack of 2 (total 10) of par baked frozen baguettes imported from France "Le Petit Francais" and bake them in our oven. Read the ingredients--they are pure w/ no preservatives or additives. You thaw for 15 minutes and then bake for 6-8 minutes. You can buy a two pack to try at Publix, but they are more expensive that way. They are best eaten warm and while not the same as those you buy in Paris, Bordeaux or Nice, are a pretty good substitute!!

                      1. re: jeannegatorfan
                        kvilia Jun 27, 2007 06:56 AM

                        I believe Cafe Croissant owners are quite cheap and don't use the best flour. Although it looks like they're skilled to make it right, it does not taste even close. I agree Tampa is a challenging place to leave if you like French bread and good food.

                      2. re: travelnfood
                        c
                        cdf Mar 2, 2008 10:48 AM

                        Not sure what you all mean about Cafe Croissant.I think the baguettes at Cafe Croissant is as good as I've had in New York, France, or anywhere. Cookies are great too. The owners rise the bread the slow way without fat or sugar, they say, as it's done in France. Yes, they supplied all the 5-star hotels with bread; don't know whether they still do.

                      3. re: JMPeterson
                        k
                        kagordo4 Apr 30, 2008 11:29 AM

                        There is a French Bakery is Port Charlotte, Fl... yeah a bit of a drive 2 hours on a good day.

                        But it's off of US 41 just past Midway BLVD on the North Bound side.

                        It's called Julian's French Bakery. She is amazing, the closest to true "French" baguette I've had since my last trip to France.

                        She also has the most beautiful (and tasty) pastries, period, end of discussion, in Florida.

                        Fastest way to get there: Take I-75 South to exit 171 get off and head East towards US 41 turn left on 41 (south) and it's just past MidWay BLVD. Totally worth the drive I promise.

                        I'm a USF student that grew up as a first generation American. I understand the need to appease those with the "french taste" as we jokingly call it. But this place is amazing just a little too long of a drive (unless I'm visiting my family)

                        Good Luck!

                        1. re: kagordo4
                          g
                          gfr1111 May 1, 2008 02:19 PM

                          I agree about the French Bakery in Port Charlotte, Kagordo4. At least, the one time I was there (on my way back from Ft. Myers to Tampa), I had the best fruit and custard tartlette I've ever had in my life. A place that can make a pastry that good ought to be able to make great baguettes, as well.

                          1. re: gfr1111
                            c
                            CFishman May 4, 2008 07:47 PM

                            My wife and I were passing through Port Charlotte on Saturday and we decided to take up your recommendation on Julien's. The pastries and the bread were excellent. Unfortunately, it was their final day of business. They are closing shop for good. I suggested that Tampa needs a proper bakery and she just laughed at me. I am glad to have had the opportunity to experience Julien's but I am distraught that central Florida is losing such an outstanding bakery. Very nice recommendation kagordo4 and gfr111.

                      4. t
                        TampaRES Sep 1, 2007 03:05 PM

                        There is one french bakery/cafe that's opening up in new tampa. From what i have heard they are getting 2 bakers straight from france so you might try there. it's called cafe parisien it's on cross creek blvd.

                        1. s
                          suzannev42 Mar 13, 2008 10:58 PM

                          Don't bother going to Xavier at the Café de Paris anyone! I made the trip from New Port Richey so happy to hear that there was a real French (from France) baker. The baguette is one of the worse I have ever eaten, tasteless, hard without being crusty, airy inside a bid like the Cuban baguette. It is hard to believe that this French man and his French wife can eat these baguettes. I went to Pane Rustica once and discarded all the baguettes I had bought. Went back today and they were quite palatable. I was told that they have three bakers and the baguettes are uneven depending on who bakes them.

                          1. j
                            jr_chef May 2, 2008 07:24 PM

                            In St.Petersburg we have an italian restaruant/market with lots of great french pastries and baked goods.

                            1. t
                              TIGirl May 5, 2008 11:41 AM

                              Just to update - Cafe de Paris Bakery on Treasure Island is closed.

                              1. loveinmytummy Jun 1, 2008 03:10 PM

                                Bread Artisans, http://www.saturdaymorningmarket.com/vendorsfood.htm, in Pinellas Park on Park Blvd and the Italian place someone mentioned is called Mazzaro's on 22nd Ave, http://www.mazzarosmarket.com/

                                1. e
                                  europalover Sep 15, 2008 05:09 AM

                                  Bon, voyons, Allessi Bakery on West Cypress has some baked goods produced on the basis of European recipes. Mais c'est pas vraiment francais.

                                  1. r
                                    RBTampa Sep 15, 2008 05:43 AM

                                    There's a place on Cross Creek in New Tampa called Cafe Parisiene. I enjoyed their chocolate croissants and pastries. What's more, they actually served a pretty decent lunch during the week. I don't know much about French food, but the chef in the back was certainly from France. It's worth checking out.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: RBTampa
                                      c
                                      CFishman Sep 15, 2008 07:28 PM

                                      I happened to be up that way and trolled Cross Creek until I found Cafe Parisiene (when you think you have gone too far, go further). It was good but it was not the answer to all of my bakery woes. I hate to be a whining transplant to the area, but the lack of a great bakery hurts. I still grieve for Julien's in Port Charlotte. I did go to Pane Rustica recently for coffee and a pastry and it was quite good. I think that will be my go to spot for the time being.

                                      1. re: CFishman
                                        j
                                        JPeterman Jan 29, 2009 06:43 PM

                                        I too gave up on the clowns in this town being able to produce a proper baguette. I finally decided to make my own. I purchased high quality flour, yeast, the bread bakers bible, and lined my oven w/tile and fired up some very good baguettes. For the steam injection, I simply used a spray bottle. Of course it takes a bit of effort but the result (on my FIRST try) was FAR BETTER than anything for purchase in the Tampa area. C'est incroyable, if I can do it in a small kitchen with a junky oven, why can't these professional bakeries figure it out? It's not rocket science but it indeed is a science and an art.

                                    Show Hidden Posts