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A bakery like Tartine...but on the Westside of LA?

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I'm trying to find a French bakery that's as good as Tartine in San Francisco...but out on the Westside of Los Angeles (where I now live). I know it's poor form to compare different spots but once you've had a croissant at Tartine...it's REALLY hard to get with a similar pastry from elsewhere if it's not on the same level.

Any suggestions?

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  1. I think the consensus is that the best croissant on the westside can be found at Amandine on Wilshire in west LA.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mollyomormon

      I concur. Almandine does have yummy croissants and does a nice job with other baked goods.

    2. This may help, I remember this from a few months ago. Good luck!

      http://www.chow.com/topics/321869

      1. Throughout the LA Boards, I have noticed Tartine most frequently being compared with Clementine. I don't think the item being compared is a croissant; the topic is usually a pastry. Personally (believe it or not), I think AMANDINE is BETTER than Tartine, with bonus points for a more serene environment and pleasant employees. Oh yeah, and no 45 minute line :-)

        4 Replies
        1. re: running pig

          I agree - the lines at Tartine are pretty bad but the employees there are really nice. I've never known anyone to have a bad service experience there.

          In the meantime, I'll try both Clementine and Almandine.

          Now...how about some place that makes scones as good as SF's Arizmendi? :)

          1. re: running pig

            Yep, Amandine is a true gem and compares quite favorably to Tartine. Make sure to try the banana-chocolate danish.

            1. re: a_and_w

              I tried Amandine this past weekend and...

              ...the croissant was quite good. Personally, it's not Tartine-level for me but I wasn't about to throw it in the trash. I wasn't as impressed by the rest of the pastry menu however, sadly enough. The hunt continues.

              1. re: odub

                What other offerings on the pastry menu did you try?

          2. Concur that Amandine rocks, but I also love Elysee in Westwood.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Emme

              You know what, Emme? Despite graduating from UCLA and hanging out in "The Village" quite a bit, I have never made it to Elysee and have no explanation as to why. What is good there?

              1. re: running pig

                Pretty much all the pastries I've tried there. An aside, my best friend LOVES their coffees, cappuccinos, and espressos... nice big cups as well. To name a few pastries... the quiches, the palmiers, florentines, croissants, custard tarts, etc. I also like how quiet and unassuming it is inside, away from the Westwood bustle.

                1. re: Emme

                  Thanks for mentioning the coffee...I love REAL cups :-) So tired of the cardboard and plastic ones!!!

            2. You should also try the pretzel croissant from City Bakery (in Brentwood Mart). It's different from Amandine, but also very good.

              1. There is not one bakery in Southern California that compares to Tartine in San Francisco because although there are good bakeries in the greater L.A. area, none have the quality of baked goods and other sweets plus the sandwiches, ok coffee (I prefer Blue Bottle's Linden St. Kiosk) and wonderful Hot Chocolate AND a similar ambiance to Tartine! And the lines to order and the wait for a table are usually tolerable for me. I enjoy scoping out the crowd and the staff while I wait for my treats!

                That said, I agree with others that you should check out Amandine and Clementine for croissants and much more. And venture a bit east over to Susina and try some of their wonderful cakes etc. And nearby Susina is MILK which has Chocolate Pudding that may remind you of Tartines! MILKS ice creams and Blue Velvet Cake and other items are very tasty as well! All 4 of these places are L.A. gems that while not like Tartine are worth your time and money (eat at each place and experience something new and wonderful)! I will add one place out of W.L.A. that is worth a drive and that is EuroPane in Pasadena. Their Croissants are top notch as are many of their other offerings. Their Custard Tarts with Fresh Raspberries baked in the custard blow me away!!! Their sandwiches and coffee are good as well. And let's enjoy Tartine when we go back to S.F. It's all good!!!

                8 Replies
                1. re: sel

                  I was just at two of the top coffee spots in the Bay Area this week (Barefoot and Blue Bottle, both Linden's kiosk and the Farmer's Market). No worries- to me, Luxxe, Groundwork, and I'm confident the soon-to-open Intelligentsia, can all hold their own.

                  But what I'm really wondering about is if there is anything in L.A. approximating the sacrapantina cake from Stella Pastry in North Beach!

                  1. re: ristretto

                    While I haven't been to Barefoot yet I am a major fan of Blue Bottle's 1-cup drip at the Sat. Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market, and Linden St. 'Garage' and Cappuccino at the garage. The Clover at Groundwork is on my list but I have not tried it yet. I tried Caffe Luxxe only once and the shot follewed by a cap was very good, although more mild than I prefer - I need to return!

                    Regarding your question, the answer is no! I know of no great Italian bakeries in S. Cal. If ya want the signature cake from Stella - ya gotta go to Stella!

                  2. re: sel

                    Ditto, sel. Thanks for saving me some typing time.

                      1. re: misseatalot

                        For the most part I agree. There are a couple things there that i like though. I can do without the surly attitude and the hipsters. Oh and half the time, my croissant was overdone.

                        1. re: choctastic

                          Agreed. My ham and cheese croissant was dark brown : (

                          1. re: misseatalot

                            Where should we go instead of longing for Tartine?

                        2. IMHO, Pain du Jour has the "frenchest" breads and pastries on the Westside. You do have to get there early because they sell out of things quickly AND they close early (2 or 3pm?). Nothing beats their pain au chocolat straight off the baking sheet. Their baguettes are fabulous as are their specialty loaves. I like the macadamia/raisin myself.

                          Pico just East of Lincoln on the South side.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: zoomchic

                            I agree, pain du jour is fantastic

                          2. I have not tried Tartine, but I have tried most Westside bakeries and can report generally disappointing experiences with croissants at all of them. IMO, the croissant is a barometer of the quality of a shop that would dare to stake a claim to legacy of this humble pastry. And nearly all come up short!
                            Let me explain. From sampling hundreds of croissants across France, I have developed a taste for the silky texture and delicately flaky husk of this sublime treat. But it's evidently tought to pull off in the States. My experience is that the crust is often rubbery, and the interior much too often is oily. This is the case with Amandine. While I like some of their other products (though the scones could use some improvement), the croissants are just plain too oily. And beware the chocolate croissant: it's a cardiac call for sure. That pastry, like so many other chocolate croissants (Provence on Olympic, for example) is chock full of chocolate chips - not the thin chocolate bars of La France. I believe that the spirit that informs the oily plain croissant in the US (alas, no 'butter' option, as in most bakeries in France) also informs the pain au chocolate: the balance is all wrong.
                            When pulled apart by the horns, the croissant should separate easily (not pull like a gummy bear) and separate reveal a moist but not oily interior. If someone finds the real thing, plase let us know. The closest I've come is the French bistro on Vermont, in Los Feliz - far from the westside.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: MrMark

                              Good call MrMark: my wife and I did find the croissant at Amandine to be overly buttery. I didn't have an issue with the texture or taste but I wish they had gone a bit easier with the butter.