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Best Croissant in SF/Bay Area?

Can any croissant the Bay Area has to offer come close to anything in Paris? My favs are those carmelized "almondine" croissants in Paris... so heavy and dense, with the edges and bottoms carmelized, filled with sweet almond paste, inside those flakey and crusty and buttery crosissants... ahhh... any you have had come close? Regular, chocolate, almond, etc. are fine! Im just lookign for those crisp/flakey shells, with light, soft airy interiors, and a delicate crumbly texture. C'est possible ici, non?

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  1. Tartine gets a lot of favorable mentions for their croissants.

    I'd recommend Petite Patisserie on Portrero Hill.

    -----
    Petite Patisserie
    1415 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94107

    2 Replies
    1. re: grishnackh

      The almond croissant at Tartine is quite different from what the OP asked for, but the ham & cheese is appropriately heavy and dense.

      Delessio's croissants are worth trying -- not as heavy or big as Tartine's, and flakier.

      -----
      Delessio Market & Bakery
      1695 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

      1. re: grishnackh

        Agreed. Tartine as a whole is the only place in the bay area that comes close to a *good* place (i.e. not just any place) in Paris.

      2. Le Croissant in San Rafael has lovely Croissants. They are jumbo sized and one with a cafe au lait will do you for breakfast.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Sharuf

          "jumbo sized" sounds more American than Parisian.

          I like the croissants made by the Bay Bread empire - they use butter; are flaky, not bready; have a nice crust that shatters and the almond croissants are as good or better than any almond croissants we had in Paris.

          1. re: larochelle

            Any stores in Marin?

            1. re: Sarah

              Yes.

              http://www.baybread.com/strawberry.php

              1. re: chompy

                Thank you. You've enhanced my mornings -- hope they have terrific butter ones, no almond paste for me!!

                1. re: Sarah

                  Not crazy about Bay Bread's plain croissant, but the almond ones are my favorite of the genre.

        2. I second Bay Bread and Tartine is a close second. Bay Breads Almond Croissants are too die for. They sell them at the Burlingame Farmers Mkt on Sunday. I grab a Peet's, an Almond Croissant and grab a spot in the sun with the Sunday paper. Heaven.

          1. Bay Bread is amazing. I dream of their croissants!

            2 Replies
            1. re: citygrrl

              I agree, want to 2nd (or 3rd) Bay Bread pastry. Yesterday had a pain au chocolat with hazelnut topping and frangipane filling (or was it hazelnut too?). Got it at the Montclair Farmer's Market where Bay Bread has a stand. Not something that you would see in France, necessarily, but the crisp pastry and the ribbons of chocolate were outstanding, and amazing with the nut filling. They have an orange morning bun (typically San Franciscan, not français) that is really robustly flavored. But to answer your question, the regular croissants are great too. They're not too "jumbo", are crisp, flaky and buttery.

              1. re: Kimba2000

                I have to disagree -- I had a plain Bay Breads croissant this morning from the Montclair market and I was disappointed. It was mushy and bland, with no crispness to the crust and no distinct butter flavor. The custard raisin bun was better (or at least the couple of bites I got -- as I was typing this, my dog stole the rest of it off the table behind me!).

            2. I have to put in a vote for Liberty Cafe Bakery's Pain au Chocolat. It's remarkably close to the Pain au Chocolat we would get at this tiny patisserie on Rue St.-Dominique in Paris. Not too big with a delicate, melt-in-your-mouth texture. We get them every Saturday when we go get our bread in the back bakery, and they are often still warm when we go around 8:30 AM.

              1. La Farine's almond croissants are good.

                Here's a recent topic on that subject:

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/387199

                1. You might find this funny and I hope I'm not embarassing myself by being so daring, but my favorite croissant is the one sold by the German guy at the Berkeley Farmer's market (Octoberfeast, I believe). Some days when it's damp out they're not as flakey, but the flavor is outstanding, buttery and also a touch salty. Heavier than most but absolutely delicious.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: lintygmom

                    Actually, the Octoberfeast guy calls them pretzel croissants. He makes them from the same dough that he also makes his pretzels out of. Bought some this past Saturday - still awesome. We eat one each, and then buy two more and make breakfast croissants the next day.

                    BTW understand that he will have a storefront on University in the same block area as the Farmer's market before year's end...making his goods much more accessable. He told me that he will be also serving sandwiches and other goods also with his breads and pretzels.

                    http://www.octoberfeast.com/

                    1. re: bayareatiger

                      The pretzels are certainly not tender multilayered with butter. And to me they're still the tastiest croissants in town. Awesome is right. I have to limit myself to Saturday am only.

                      1. re: bayareatiger

                        There is no farmer's market on University. Center, Derby or Shattuck. Or am I misunderstanding you?

                        1. re: wally

                          Sorry I wasn't more specific.

                          I was referring to the Saturday Berkeley market on Center Street.

                          The Octoberfeast storefront will be on University between Milvia & MLK,
                          the same two streets that begin and end the market on Center.

                          1. re: bayareatiger

                            Thanks, I like their black bread. The croissants on the other hand...don't like that dark coating. Tastes somewhat bitter to me. Is there chocolate or something on it?

                            1. re: wally

                              Actually, to me it is more like the exterior of a pretzel.

                              Speaking of chocolate croissants, the bride and I had the most wonderful one ever from Pavel's Bakerei in Pacific Grove yesterday...a GREAT bakery with an incredible whole wheat bread, soon to found at all Whole Foods nationally... :thumbs up:...

                            2. re: bayareatiger

                              Did he ever get his storefront? I haven't heard or seen anything about it.

                      2. What is all this stuff about almond and chocolate croissants? The real competition is for your basic butter croissant. Best one I've had locally is La Farine. And I have to agree with larochelle. Jumbo is a bad sign when it comes to croissants. I must also admit a fondness for the Acme croissant, though it certainly isn't light enough to be counted as a real, authentic French croissant. (So much for my purist claim.)

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: TopoTail

                          I'd go with Delanghe for the plain butter croissant. Della Fattoria's are amazing too. Many like Masse's but my one sojourn didn't wow me.

                          1. re: TopoTail

                            Wouldn't you say Acme's is jumbo? I strolled by one evening behind the bakery along the water around midnight, and they were proofing hundreds of croissants on racks, all extremely large. They might even be bigger than Tartine's, which while flaky and buttery are gigantic.

                            1. re: SteveG

                              Uh, Acme's are a third the size of Le Croissant which are decidedly American. I do want to try the almond some day though ... it kind of covers a dinner plate .. definately breakfast in itself ... maybe for two.

                              My vote goes to La Farine for plain and Bay Bread for almond. Bay Bread also sells at the Sunday Oakland Temescal Farmers Market.

                          2. Besides Tartine, I have two faves in Hayes Valley...
                            -Arlequin on Hayes btwn Gough and Franklin- they also have a great patio in back
                            -Citizen Cake on Grove & Gough

                            1. In Berkeley, Hopkins Street Bakery's "congnac almond croissant" is one of the best representations of the French counterpart i've seen in the states. Simply put, it is an explosion of almond deliciousness that takes me back to paris. This item is not offered every day, but frequently nevertheless. It's also important to note Hopkins has a regular almond croissant, which isn't on par. same goes for the other flavors.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: ntabak

                                After reading this, I went and bought one. It was enormous and very heavy but, I'm sorry to say, with nothing like the delicacy I expect from a French croissant. It was more like stollen--dough wrapped around a wad of marzipan with a wad of marzipan on top. And by wad I mean a whole heaping lot. Now I love marzipan like crazy but no way could I eat more than a bit of that thing. I could see buying two for the office (of 6 people) and slicing them for morning coffee.

                                And the croissant dough I do believe is commercial. Purchased. No distinct good butter flavor. Do yourself a favor and go for a plain croissant from the Octoberfeast guy at the Berkeley Farmer's Markets and delicately unwind that buttery goodness. Definitely NOT commercial. Definitely handmade.

                                1. re: lintygmom

                                  Not from the East Bay, when/where is the Berk Farmer's Market. I was so disappointed w/Bay Bread's (Boulangerie) plain croissant - it just tasted wrong!

                                  1. re: Sarah

                                    I know he comes to the Saturday one on Center Street between Milvia and Martin Luther King. The Octoberfeast guy, complete with Lederhosen, sets up early and is there when it opens at 10 for sure. You can get parking if you come early --bring money for the meters. Stands sell coffee and you can sit on the steps on the north side of the street or in the park on the south side. I often sit under a tree in the park and eat the delicious outside of three croissants while my dog eats the insides as a favor to me. My husband eats one whole one AND one of the super-good soft pretzels (which don't keep either, though perhaps if you freeze...) If you're coming over, do yourself a favor and also stop at the Berkeley Bowl Shattuck just north of Ashby. You can get anything there. And by anything I mean also durians. Which stink as badly as their reputation would have it!

                                    1. re: lintygmom

                                      Thanks for the info and the BB rec but think I'll pass on the durian! Now Feel Good Bakery has my attention as well... as if I need any of this!

                                      1. re: Sarah

                                        Here are some snaps taken by my daughter of the Berkeley Bowl produce section.

                                         
                                         
                                  2. re: lintygmom

                                    I had a really delicious almond croissant at Feel Good Bakery yesterday. As I mentioned in another threads, their croissants vary and are currently on an upswing. These are much more like French croissants: not huge, brown and crispy cracky on the outside, tender, slightly elastic and buttery on the inside. The almond croissant was cut in half and lightly spread with what looked like a mixture of ground almonds and simple syrup -- delicate but still distinctly almond-flavored -- and it was topped with toasted sliced almonds and powdered sugar.

                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                      Alas, tis in Alameda, Feel Good. Wish they delivered to Oakland!

                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                        Feel Good is always tinkering with their pastry line-up. This week I had a bearclaw that was stunningly delicious.

                                  3. Patisserie Philippe
                                    655 Townsend St
                                    One of the better ones I have had around here. Their almond tort is so delicious as well.

                                    Btwn 7th & 8th St

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Lori SF

                                      What is the crust on the almond tort? Pastry? Browned butter crumb? Cake? Thick or thin?

                                      1. re: lintygmom

                                        The crust is a flaky pastry thin around the sides and med. dense on the bottom, very buttery but a bit airy too. They serve good coffee too.

                                        1. re: Lori SF

                                          Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. I'll have to (gulp) go into The City and stop being such an East Bay yokel!

                                          (Thanks. I hate butter cookie dough type crusts.)

                                    2. In SAN JOSE we have a least two great bakeries:
                                      1. http://www.rigabakery.com/mercurynews...
                                      2. http://www.greenleesbakerysj.com/home...

                                      -----
                                      Riga European Bakery & Cafe
                                      1338 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126

                                      Greenlee's Bakery
                                      1081 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126

                                       
                                       
                                      1. I am a fan of plain croissants. I find that the best ones are found at Bay Bread. Best in terms of size (not overly huge), best in terms of flakiness, and best in terms of overall balance. That said, if you really want to enjoy them, take them home and pop them in your regular over to heat up - will soon become even lighter and flakier which is the desired way to eat.

                                        Tartine's croissants are too large and heavy for my tastes.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: poulet_roti

                                          Must agree with the chicken man on this one. American croissants are crazy huge. In fact, I find almost all American croissants are B&B: burnt and bloated. I guess they are usually either or, actually. The small ones are roasted beyond recognition while the big fluffy ones (not flaky, as they should be) are just effing huge.

                                          1. re: iwantmytwodollars

                                            For my tastes, La Farine has the best. Honestly, I don't order many croissants around here (or anywhere on this continent) because they are usually crap. I feel like after bite 1, I am just wasting calories. I haven't had the almond, but I really like the plain and chocolate.

                                            1. re: lmnopm

                                              Sorry that I haven’t been very active on this board recently since I’ve been out of the country for the entire summer, but I did get to try La Farine’s almond croissant before I left, which they call the “frangipane”. It sort of resembles the shape of a snail and is topped with sliced roasted almonds. The filling is not a typical frangipane filling, but a mix of coarsely chopped almonds, butter and sugar. The almond flavor was a bit weak and the filling could have been a bit sweeter. Personally I like a smoother and runnier filling. The croissant, though buttery and flaky, seemed somewhat bready and slightly on the heavy side. So that was a diasppointment for me.

                                              Haven’t tried the plain croissant from Masse’s in Berkeley and not sure if they have an almond croissant, but their pain au chocolat and morning buns are pretty awesome (crispy, flaky and buttery at the same time), even better than La Farine’s in my opinion.

                                              My favorite almond croissant is still Bay Bread’s, especially if they’re fresh out of the oven with a crispy and flaky exterior, fragrant almond topping and “oozy” filling.

                                              (See the attached pics of La Farine's frangipane, and Masse's pain au chocolat and morning bun.)

                                               
                                               
                                               
                                               
                                        2. Most of the over sized croissants are not made with real butter..
                                          Bay Bread is the real deal..since I live so far from SF I'll buy 3 dozen when in the city and freeze them..very close to the croissants in Paris except for that the butter in France is better then our butter..

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: rosso

                                            I love croissant, and some of the best I've ever had come out of my own oven, though I buy them frozen or unproofed from either:

                                            1. your local whole foods (they might put up a fuss, just insist you want unproofed croissant) or 2. Milk Pail Market.

                                            Let rise overnight and bake in the morning, fills the house with warm buttery smells and hot hot croissant goodness.

                                            -----
                                            Milk Pail Market
                                            2585 California St, Mountain View, CA

                                            1. re: rosso

                                              Is there a particular location of Bay Bread you're getting such reliable croissants from? I like the Almond Croissant a lot, but I find the butter to be lacking freshness, or buttery-ness. I think Bay Bread over all makes some big hit or big miss products, and I think location makes a difference.

                                              The absolute best croissant used to be at West Portal Bakery which was opened by the son of the current owners of the Italian American Bakery in North Beach (which isn't so good ironically). The place has since sold, or maybe just stopped making good croissants for whatever reason, but these things were phenomenal.

                                            2. Try Brioche Bakery, 210 Columbus Ave. SF or local farmers markets. They have wonderful baked goods. I love their palmiers, and just had the chocolate croissant from the sat. farmers market at CSM. It had a small amount of chocolate, very puffy, flaky and buttery.

                                              1. Re: authentically French croissants, I posted a similar query back in 2006. People recommended La Farine and Masse's, so my French husband conducted a side-by-side taste-test...
                                                Here's the taste-test results:
                                                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/31798...
                                                And the thread overall:
                                                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/317981

                                                1. Cafe Des Croissants in Santa Rosa always had excellent almond croissants. My favorite was always the mushroom, but the savory flavors aren't as readily available as the sweet ones.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: cristeen

                                                    Update... the Croissants at CDC are still mediocre (overly bready and a bit stale on the edges... at least the Apricot & Apple ones). I think this place does a lot better at Bagels & Danishes. Santa Rosa in general is dissappointing on the Croissant front (Michelle Marie's is also mediocre... I haven't had anything in town yet that has been better than say a Safeway or Starbucks version... that says a lot).

                                                    The best Croissant I've had in Wine Country thus far is from the Panaderia a few doors away from Antojitos La Mixteca in Napa. That was among the better Croissants I've had in California... of course it helps that they were still sitting on the tray cart, and not in counter for 4 hours.

                                                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                      You need to try Della Fattoria's (Petaluma).

                                                      I agree, Cafe des Croissants are too bready and not flaky enough.

                                                    2. re: cristeen

                                                      Update 2: Having had good croissants both in the Bay Area and in France I CANNOT recommend CDC. They're tough, leathery, and filled with odd flavors of pie-type filling. Not what I think of as a croissant AT ALL.

                                                      I wish they were good...but they aren't.

                                                    3. Bouchon Bakery in Yountville (Napa Valley) for outstanding plain and almond croissants.
                                                      Both show very distinct, laminated layers and buttery flavor -- very similar to those in the patisseries of Paris when I lived there. The almond croissant has a liberal sprinkling of almonds on top and almond paste within. If you're up thisaways, the bakery deserves a look-see. Great craftmanship and flavor in all their products.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: maria lorraine

                                                        maria lorraine,
                                                        Have you had a chance to try the croissants at the main store or the Oxbow store
                                                        of Model Bakery? I bought a grab and go bag with almond and chocolate and enjoyed them both a day old. How are they fresh?
                                                        http://www.themodelbakery.com/pastrie...

                                                        1. re: maria lorraine

                                                          Very much agree with you maria lorraine. Bouchon's plain and almond croissants are the best I've had in the Bay Area. I make a monthly trip just to get one!

                                                        2. I love the croissants at Boulange de Polk at 2310 Polk Street! We go to Paris often, and these are very close to what we get there.

                                                          Sandy

                                                          1. The ones at Delessios used to be my favorites...but I haven't tried one in over a year, so I don't know whether opening a second branch affected their quality ..(the croissants used to be larger)

                                                            1. I tried the almond croissant from Bay Bread yesterday at the Temescal farmer's market. Wow! It was sooo good. Tender and buttery inside and crisp and flaky outside. The almond filling was exceptionally good - almost creamy with a sweet almond flavor. I will definitely put in my vote for Bay Bread's almond croissant!

                                                              1. sure all my thumbs up for boulangerie(415-440-0356)!! my fav is on pine and filmore. it's a must stop for all my friends from hong kong before returning. they freeze them and bring them back. and sure yes-that almond croissant! definitely the best! for myself, i called and order ahead(while i always get at least a dz), and just pick it up since parking sometime is difficult and i just double park.

                                                                1. I love the croissant at Liberty Bakery, but then again I just love Liberty Bakery (behind Liberty Cafe in Bernal Heights).
                                                                  I also like Panorama's, but they don't have a storefront, you need to find them at a farmers market.
                                                                  And at least once a year I roll out my own, just to keep my hand in. But you can't go wrong with most any of the choices already mentioned.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: karma_bites

                                                                    I think Liberty has dull, plodding, overworked dough that they use for almost everything. Most of their output is like doorstops, or you could tie something to one of their croissants to sink it to the bottom of the ocean.

                                                                    1. re: Atomica

                                                                      Seconded. Beautiful bakery, awful awful baked goods.

                                                                  2. You all must be completely nuts. Sixty replies so far, and I haven't heard one person mention the absolute best croissants this side of Paris:

                                                                    http://www.fleurdecocoa.com/
                                                                    39 N. Santa Cruz Ave.
                                                                    Los Gatos, CA 95030

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: LarryW

                                                                      I have to second the nod to Fleur - phenomenal work, chef is from France and he has different offerings from time to time (the lemon cream cheese croissant - woah!). Also has some fab cakes and other items. If you're in the South Bay you have to stop in.

                                                                      1. re: LarryW

                                                                        Thanks Larry. A lot of overblown prose trumped by a shatteringly brief but truthful statement. They are works of art. Beyond words really.

                                                                        1. re: Ken Hoffman

                                                                          Fleur de Cocoa truly has the best croissant! I love the chocolate or almond mini croissants.

                                                                      2. Definitely TARTINE!

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: joyoon

                                                                          Yes, definitely!

                                                                        2. In the East Bay, just yesterday I enjoyed a croissant from Acme -- procured at Local 123. Simply put, it was flawless: Tender and buttery on the inside, and crispy and flaky on the outside.

                                                                          -----
                                                                          Local 123
                                                                          2049 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

                                                                          1. 1. La Farine
                                                                            2. tie between Bay Bread and Tartine (because they're good, but in very different ways)
                                                                            3. Patisserie Philippe

                                                                            I would now like to try Masse's and Hopkins based on the recommendations listed above...

                                                                            Actually, the *very* best croissant and almond croissants I've ever had were sold at the now closed Left Coast Cafe at 9th and Brannan. They were sourced from a wholesale baker named Panorama.
                                                                            http://www.panoramabaking.com/
                                                                            Most consistently great pastries -- flaky, buttery, yet crisp outer shell, airy but dense with layers at the same time -- everything I dream of in a croissant.

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Patisserie Philippe (moving
                                                                            )655 Townsend St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                                                            Bay Bread
                                                                            2325 Pine St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                                                            La Farine
                                                                            6323 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                            1. re: royallyyours

                                                                              Panorama sells at the Alemany Farmer's Market. There's always a line.....

                                                                              1. re: Calvinist

                                                                                Are there multiple bakers that sell at the Alemany Farmer's Market?

                                                                                I remember going to one when I was there and thinking it was very good, although nothing that blew me away?

                                                                                1. re: vulber

                                                                                  That's been my experience with Panorama. It's very good, I will happily eat one, but did not rise to greatness. I prefer Sandbox, on Cortland street.

                                                                                  1. re: Calvinist

                                                                                    Oh, you should definitely try the croissants at the Grove and Divisidero farmers market from Bakers of Paris. They are perfectly light and buttery but not greasy. And they have minis too. Highly recommended.

                                                                                    I asked where else they sell - Inner Sunset & Fort Mason farmers markets. Also Cafe La Taza, Martha & bros and i think some whole foods?

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Cafe La Taza
                                                                                    470 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                                                                    1. re: Sophiewells

                                                                                      Bakers of Paris is a pretty big bakery, they sell all over Northern California, though I don't see their croissants around as often as their baguettes. You could call or email them to ask about local retailers:

                                                                                      http://www.bakersofparis.com/

                                                                              2. re: royallyyours

                                                                                gotta say, last month I had a croissant at the La Farine on piedmont ave and was very very disappointed. maybe it was just that batch at that location...i hope.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                La Farine
                                                                                6323 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

                                                                              3. As long as this old thread is coming back to life, time to nominate Sandbox Bakery croissants. Definitely smaller than Tartine's, which is a good thing. I find Tartine's offerings to be grossly oversized, usually resulting in an overbaked crust. Sandbox's hit the buttery, flakey, toasty notes in perfect harmony. tween Sandbox's pain au chocolate, plain croissant, and almond croissant, the almond comes in third. But it is still excellent.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Sandbox Bakery
                                                                                833 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                                1. I think the small croissants at Le Bedaine are quite good. light and buttery at the same time. not too big but they are quite nice.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: nicedragonboy

                                                                                    Le Bedaine's croissants are fantastic.

                                                                                  2. No doubt mine will be the sole nod to the croissant at Cinderella Bakery & Cafe, tucked next to the bearclaws and piroshki; this croissant has a satisfying flakiness that is more eggy than buttery.

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Cinderella Bakery
                                                                                    436 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                                                                    1. Three members of my family did a blind taste test of several East Bay bakeries (Whole Foods Walnut Creek, Acme Berkeley, La Farine Solano Ave, La Boulange Lafayette). Croissants were rushed home and warmed in oven. We just got back from Paris and our "gold standard" for plain croissants is our recollection of the plain croissants at Eric Kayser bakeries. Nothing here is quite like Eric Kayser, but everything was cheaper than a plane ticket to Paris! And on the bright side, we are lucky to live in the SF Bay area b/c there are a lot of good restaurants, chocolatiers and and bakeries that can hold their own (even if in a different way) against Parisian food vendors.

                                                                                      FWIW, here are the results:

                                                                                      Plain croissants:
                                                                                      Winner - Walnut Creek Whole Foods (will update post when I find out who their current supplier is - info wasn't posted). Second choices, all very good - mixed opinions between La Farine (baked at their College Ave store and shipped to Solano), La Boulange and Acme. We all agreed that the La Farine croissant was not as flaky (just look at a cross section), but one family member liked it because it was different.

                                                                                      Pain au chocolat
                                                                                      Winner: Acme. We all agreed that both LaFarine's and La Boulange's offerings were pretty good, but we liked Acme better. Whole Foods didn't have pain au chocolat - at least not today.

                                                                                      Almond croissant
                                                                                      Tie between Acme and LaFarine, altho I personally thought Acme had a slight edge b/c of the almond-flavored glaze. None of us liked La Boulange's (too much almond paste, which gave the croissant a heavy, greasy sensation). Whole Foods listed their almond croissant supplier as LaBoulange, so we didn't buy.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: hoodsmom

                                                                                        Next time try Feel Good. I seriously believe they are among the best around. And if you can get ahold of an almond croissant they are magnificent (not too overstuffed, but with a smear of almond paste on top, which then melts and browns during baking. Note that they don't have the almond croissants on a regular basis because they are true to the French tradition and make them with day old croissants, which means they only make them when they have enough unsold croissants from the day before to be worth making a batch.

                                                                                      2. I just had a plain croissant at Crema, a cafe that just opened a month ago in the same spot as Cafe Cacao -- on the corner of the defunct Scharffen Berger chocolate factory.

                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/757606

                                                                                        I've had La Farine (very good but not the best thing they make), Bouchon (exploded all over me like a , way too overbaked unfortunately), Artisan Foods of Berkeley (sold at Berkeley Bowl West, good enough -- their frangipane are definitely dense but lose the flakiness in the dough), and several others not notable. There are at least a dozen in this thread I'll have to try.

                                                                                        I've been dreaming about the essentials of a croissant and not finding them until now. It's about 6" long, 3"+ high, and about 3-1/2" wide. Top is a wafer-thin cragged and layered crust, when peeled off it stays cohesive, and has a spectacular crunchy bite filled with butter. Bottom is caramelized in fried butter, a little more dense than the top, decadent and the perfect alchemy of what should happen when thin sheets of dough meet pockets of butter. Interior is lacey, thin, doughy layers; when you pull an end off, the inside twirls with and breaks with elasticity; you get the best of all worlds, the crisp top, the butter-fried bottom, and the doughy center.

                                                                                        I'll be getting their almondine/frangipane croissant very, very soon.

                                                                                        1. Fleur De Cacao in Los Gatos may beat Bay Bread IMHO. Theirs is really flaky, small and the almond is awesome.

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                                                                                          Bay Bread
                                                                                          2325 Pine St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Afitzcharles

                                                                                            Have not been to Toot Sweets in years, but their croissant used to be the best. I lived near a Bay Bread and liked those but still preferred (my memory) of Toot Sweet. I heard the owership changed though.
                                                                                            Toot Sweets

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                                                                                            Bay Bread
                                                                                            2325 Pine St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                                                                            Toot Sweets
                                                                                            1277 Gilman St, Albany, CA

                                                                                            1. re: myst

                                                                                              My favorite croissant that isn't made any more is/was the Grace Baking croissant, available in Market Hall in Rockridge. But this thread is about the here and now, I will keep my nostalgia to myself.

                                                                                          2. Having lived in Paris for four years I am always in search of those comfort foods like croissants that make me feel like I was back in the Latin quarter sitting at a sidewalk cafe enjoying what I thought was the best croissants I'd had. Until I found a little Vietnamese cafe in the Castro called Castro Tarts http://www.yelp.com/biz/castro-tarts-.... They serve huge, buttery, flaky croissants at a buck seventy five that would rival those of Paris.

                                                                                            1. Absolutely, positively best ALMOND croissants are found at La Boulange. A grand, delectable indulgence.

                                                                                              1. In the name of science, I skipped my Yuzu Pistachio fix and tried the almond croissant at Rustic Bakery. Tons of almonds encrusting the entire croissant, carmelized bottom edges, heavy, and the filling was deliciously different. Plenty of almond paste with a slightly custardy mouth feel with no grit. I was going to eat half of it - and now the whole thing is missing! So much for today's calorie count.

                                                                                                The ginger scone is another favorite if you stop by.....