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Back Bay Bakeries

I will be in town for the marathon next weekend and looking for bakery recommendations in the Bay Back area where we're staying. Specifically looking for dense, chewy, rich cookies and brownies, as well as hearty, grainy scones and breads. Thx!

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  1. The area is Back Bay and there aren't a ton of bakeries in the immeidate area. Some decent scones at Espresso Royale on Newbury St. around Gloucester. Okay cookies at the bakery in the Prudential food court. On Columbus Ave. a short walk away is Nashoba Bakery, I'm not huge on them. Chains Dunkin Donuts and Finagle a Bagle have pretty good cookies.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Joanie

      Not really a bakery, but in the Prudential Center food court there is a place called Paradise Bakery which is more of a salad/sandwich place but they have really good chocolate chip cookies.

      1. re: lissy

        Opps, sorry about the Back Bay typo. Willing to travel outside the immediate area for yummy goods. Thanks for your suggestions.

        1. re: reneeskiSF

          If you had some time, I'd take the Orange Line from Back Bay Station to Green St. and go to Canto 6. I really think it's the best bakery in Boston. Great almond and choc/almond croissants. Wonderful scones, always an interesting array of flavors. Good stuff. A 15 min walk will get you to Flour Bakery on Washington St. in the south end which is slightly more conducive to sitting around. Clearflour in Allston/Brookline is good too but zero places to sit there, if that matters.

    2. I'm a big fan of Japponaise (sp?) on Beacon St, right by the Brookline/Boston border. They make a delicious brownie and fantastic bread, though it is fluffier than your hearty, grainy request. Its right along the marathon route, so you'll still keep an eye on the runners, and you'll get a different view of the marathon than you would at the finish line in Back Bay (the view from this location is sure to include hundreds of enthusiastic, sloppy drunk BU students, myself possibly included). It's a pretty unique place blending a french bakery with some Japanese elements, and would make a very nice walk from the back bay on marathon day. Theres also a pretty tasty french bakery on the other side of Beacon. Note- if you go on race day, you may want to go on the early end since its hard to cross beacon once all the runners make it to that point.

      1. Right on the Back Bay line, but technically in the South End, is Appleton Bakery.

        Although I agree with the other posters that you can do better outside of the immediate area, I actually think Appleton makes some pretty decent baked goods, including some very good cookies.

        If you have a little more time, I'd suggest you venture a bit further into the South End and check out South End Buttery or the ever-popular Flour.

        1 Reply
        1. re: finlero

          Totally agree on Flour, do NOT agree on South End Buttery, sorry. Flour is probably the best bakery in Boston, definitely worth the trip.

        2. Truly Jurg's in Kenmore at the Commonwealth is a great bakery. They might be a little bit more gourmet than what you are looking for, but you should stop by there and check it out anyway!! The food is SO good!

          1 Reply
          1. re: NiKoLe1625

            It's Truly Jorg's. Or actually, Truly Jörg's.

          2. Clear Flour Bakery is my fave bakery in the area. Best croissants in town that I've come across (or should I say the only croissants that I'll voluntarily eat, having been spoiled by a few trips to Paris, having been disappointed by Cafe Vanille, Cafe Japonaise and a variety of other places). French style baguettes that are also pretty close to authentic Parisian style. Really good scones and sweets, though cookies and brownies are variably present. (However there is typically some other sort of evil concoction available, so you won't suffer for there not being a cookie there!) <http://www.clearflourbread.com/>

            To get directions, you can use a nifty site called HopStop <http://www.hopstop.com/> which will show you how to use public transport to get there (the B line on the Green Line is your best bet).

            1. If you're looking for a place to sit down, Flour is probably your best bet given your criteria. Excellent cookies and very good sweets in general, and a nice walk from Back Bay. I think that apart from their sandwich bread - which is excellent - their yeasted goods are weaker, kind of second fiddle to the tarts and cookies and sweets. (I've tried some sort of grainy raisiny roll there and it was just okay, and I thought their brioche was downright bad.) They do have excellent sandwiches if you're interested in something more substantial.

              If you are going further afield, Hi-Rise (with an outpost in Harvard Square and the main bakery a little further, in West Cambridge) has everything you mention -- excellent cookies, pastries, and superb breads - though at Hi Prices and with an occasional side helping of attitude. Also in Harvard Square is Petsi's pies, which has amazingly good scones.

              If you're just looking to pick stuff up, I agree with the recs for Clear Flour Bakery and would also note that the Whole Foods at Symphony is quite close to the Back Bay and carries excellent breads and rolls, notably from Iggy's bakery; I like their cookies too, but have never tried the scones.

              Oh, and one last thought - Mariposa Bakery is about a 15 minute walk on Mass Ave into Cambridge (past MIT) and has an excellent but unfortunately haphazard selection of baked goods -- what they have is very good (and pretty reasonably priced) but they tend to run out of stuff at unpredictable times.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MichaelB

                Just to pipe up on Mariposa bakery . . . a scone I had there is easily one of the best I've had in Boston, and I eat a lot of scones. Unfortunately, I can't recall that much about it . . . only that I told the guy behind the counter that it was one great scone. I tend to like the more traditional type scone (NO frosting, not too sweet, nice crumb, kinda biscuity). Just in case that helps. Byt the way, the place struck me as a bit more of a cafe than a bakery. But perhaps they have enough baked goods to fit the bill.

                Flour in the South End (walkable, if a bit of a long walk, from Back Bay) has some awesome treats of all varieties. Apple walnut snacking cake is incredibly good, the twice-baked brioche makes me hungry thinking about it. Homemade oreos, and the like.

              2. Can someone comment on Francesca's, on Tremont Street? I LOVE their half moons, but do not recall if I've tried anything else there.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Blumie

                  I've had their chocolate chip cookies and just thought they were so so. That does remind me that I used to love the choc chips from Garden of Eden...really big, soft cookies with milk or dark chocolate chips. I haven't had one in awhile but perhaps I need to check them out again and see if they are still good!

                  1. re: Blumie

                    I've had a few things at Francescas and was unimpressed. I think I got a brownie there once and it was $3. To add insult to injury, it was dry and flavorless. I'd go across the street to Garden of Eden if I had to stay on Tremont.

                  2. Finale is a restaurant and bakery in near Park Square that has pricey but good desserts and pastries. I have only had cakes from there and they were elegant and delicious.

                    1. Back Bay? Bakery?

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                      good one.