Help me find a good Patisserie on lower Plateau
I am in the quest of finding a good neighborhood patisserie to tame my occasional sugar cravings. I live close to the Sherbrooke station and though I pass by a few Portuguese bakeries every day (Stella, Bela Vista and another one on St Laurent) none of them look much tempting. Perhaps I am not giving them a fair chance? After a sickly sweet and oily tart I got from Patisserie St Louis De France at Sherbrooke station, I don't have much energy left to try. Are any suggestions? It doesn't have to be French style, other countries welcome (including the said Portuguese joints) Or do I have to travel to get good stuff? Merci beaucoup!
Thanks for the suggestions. in the last week or so, I did a quick sampling of the area natas. Here is my roundup:
All natas were purchased at late afternoon hours for dinner consumption rather than a more traditional tea time snack. I purchased two, one plain and one flavored if available. So they might not be fresh out of oven, but it is a realistic time frame to expect reasonable product. I have also never tasted this pastry in my life before, so my criteria for evaluation might be inappropriate. However, if it tastes good, it tastes good. That is my motto.
First I went to Romados to get some chicken. The chicken itself is another story, but I found their natas mediocre. I even told to myself, "is this what they were talking about?". The crust has lost all its flake (or perhaps never had any to start with) and it felt like a grater on my mouth. I knew I wasn't looking for a mille feuille, but I thought there was something wrong with it. The flavored one, I think was a maple, was a little bit better but nothing to write home about.
A few days later, I went to Coco Rico to get more chicken. I decided to give it another try and got a couple of plain ones (they do not sell any flavored anyway). Much much better, with a very nice custard. Still, I thought they wouldn't keep me interested for too long.
After a short but tiresome day at work, I was walking on Pins to get my groceries at various establishments at St Laurent, and suddenly came across Bela Vista. I said to myself, what the heck. I got two, one plain and another with chocolate. I took them home and after a leisurely dinner savored them with some tea. That's it. The plain was heaven. Good flakiness with enough substance for a clean bite. The chocolate custard was fine, but I might give the maple ones a try soon.
Area natas roundup winner: Bela Vista, with honors.
I enjoy Bela Vista's natas. You can never go wrong with a plain one there, and they have chocolate and maple ones too. Their canolis and eclairs and other cakes are just okay.
I don't really enjoy Stella Estrella. The last nata I tried from there was a soggy mess. It was terrible. The chocolate they use for their pastries is not of good quality, and I have found everything there to just taste like sugar and nothing else.
Au Pain Doré on St-Laurent just nort of Prince-Arthur has decent croissant, chocolatine, abricotine, etc. I like their lemon tarts and pies, too.
If you're willing to travel just a little, I recommend taking the bus up St-Laurent to little Italy, where you'll find Patisserie Roma. Every treat I've tried there has been very very good.
I second the natas at Bela Vista. I would third them, too, if that was a valid verb. Haven't had the good fortune to try the chocolate or maple versions, nor in fact to get there early enough for the regular ones recently. So I tried Samos. Also very good. Not as good as the Vista's, but they do have massive fresh doughnuts.
If you're willing to go up to Ave Mont-Royal, there's a whole slew of great patisseries - Kouign-Amann and Premiere Moisson spring to mind close to St-Laurent. It's even better on Laurier, but by then you're getting a little far, and most of the best stuff is quite a bit to the east.