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Best bakeries for pastries and cakes in SF?

Hi, I'm visiting from Vancouver next month and wanted to know which bakeries have good pastries and cakes? I bought treats from Mara's, Miette and Costeaux Bakery (Healdsburg) during my last visit and am wondering where else I should visit! Thanks.

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  1. Patisserie Philippe
    655 Townsend St
    excellent my new favorite

    1 Reply
    1. re: Lori SF

      I just had a coffee eclair there today and it was fine but not outstanding. The icing was too sweet - seemed like the icing on a frosted donut.

    2. Masse's Pastries
      1469 Shattuck Avenue btw Rose Street and Vine
      Berkeley 94709

      Lotta's Bakery
      1720 Polk Street
      San Francisco 94109

      Petit Patisserie
      1415 - 18th Street
      San Francisco, Ca 94107

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cynsa

        We hit up Masse's Pastries for the first time this weekend. Wonderful. The ginger snap was chewy without being undercooked, the fig-goat cheese brioche was smooth, subtle and decadent. It was all wonderful -- pretty to look ate and even tastier to eat.

      2. Tartine (16th and Guerrero) is great, I love the almond croissants and tart (frangipane) and they have some very beautiful looking cakes I haven't tried.

        5 Replies
        1. re: atjsfo

          Their Lemon Cream Tart is the best I have ever tasted.

          1. re: atjsfo

            thanks so much for the info, everyone!

            1. re: atjsfo

              Tartine is actually on Valencia at 18th. It is small with only a few tables and generally (especially on the weekends) there is a line out the door and up the street. But I would agree with atisfo's recomendation.

              Stella's (Italian) Bakery on Columbus in North Beach has some pretty outstanding pastries. They are famous for their Sacripantina which is my favorite. If you are a chocolate fan, their Chocolate Fedora is really good too.

              1. re: JockY

                You're both a bit off. It's 18th and Guerrero.

                1. re: Atomica

                  How about a locator?

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                  Tartine Bakery
                  600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            2. tartine, citizen cake, kara's cupcakes, bi rite creamery, ici, if you're in berkeley at all, and if you happen to go to the ferry plaza farmers market on saturday there are a number of good pastry people there (downtown bakery, frog hollow, noe valley). but it all depends on what items you are looking for.

              5 Replies
                1. re: linz

                  What are some things you like from downtown bakery or noe valley for pastries? I've tried a few things at the ferry plaza from them but wasn't impressed, maybe I just picked the wrong things. :(

                  1. re: soft tofu

                    I'm not familiar with what Downtown Bakery brings to Ferry Plaza, but from the Healdsburg shop, I like the sticky buns, scones, many of the cookies, and something new, raspberry swirl which is the sticky bun made with raspberries.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Visited the Ferry Plaza market this weekend and saw that Downtown bring the fruit jam pockets to SF. Love the raspberry ones, made with homemade jam encased in a crumbly, short sweet dough. But didn't buy one because I'd already indulged in a cannele de Bordeaux from Boulette's Larder for a whopping $3.50. It was excellent.

                    2. re: soft tofu

                      Lemon bars, almond bars, donut muffins, galettes, cookies.

                      Also, best hot dog buns around.

                  2. If you're in the Berkeley area, Crixa.

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                    Crixa Cakes
                    2748 Adeline St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Oh Crixa, you so rock. Tartine, Citizen Cake, and Bi Rite Creamery (for ice cream cakes) are certainly amazing, but Crixa Cakes in Berkeley has the most unique selection of delicious Eastern European and Mediterranean pastries and cakes I've ever experienced.

                    2. Berkeley's Phoenix Pastificio makes an almond paste macaroon that is not to be missed. Pass on the ones with chocolate chips (the texture of the chips is just all wrong for the mouthfeel of that cookie) and get the plain ones. At 2.25 each, you'll only need to eat a quarter of it for sweet-tooth satisfaction, but you'll want to eat the rest out of sheer celebratory gluttony. They sell them at the Berkeley farmers' markets and at their secretive (nearly unlabeled) kitchen. Order ahead by a few days if you want to make sure you get some. They go quickly and take 24 or more hours to make. One of the best sweet treats I've had in California, by far.

                      Full disclosure: I am an almond paste junky.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Bananna A.

                        I think your last statement is really important. Eating one of those is like eating almond paste straight from a can. To me there's just no balance, but if you're a super almond paste fan I guess it would have appeal.
                        I'm not the hugest chocolate fan, but I LOVE their chocolate pecan chewies...unbelievable texture for a cookie.

                        1. re: Bananna A.

                          if you make it anywhere near Glen Park, make sure to stop in to Destination Baking Company on Chenery Street...

                          1. re: Bananna A.

                            The chocolate pecan chews from Phoenix Pastificio are pretty good too, kinda chewy and also a bit gooey, and not as sweet as the almond macaroons. And they're gluten-free (or at least free of flour) as they are just made of egg whites, sugar, cocoa and pecans (and lots of them too!) They're around $2.50 for a large piece and are also available at the farmers' markets. Not exactly pretty-looking >__<, but here's a picture of it.

                             
                              1. re: wally

                                oh oops, maybe i got it wrong ... it's been a while since i've gotten one. :P

                                1. re: dreamsicle

                                  I buy at least 2 a week. A good tasting sweet thing with the only fat being that in the nuts and cocoa.

                            1. re: Bananna A.

                              The bakery's no secret, it's just in a rather out-of-the-way location.

                              -----
                              Phoenix Pastificio
                              1250 Addison St, Berkeley, CA 94702

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                And it's wonderful... On Saturday, we got fresh ravioli (crab and pumpkin) and a fresh baked loaf of olive bread. We stuck around for 30 minutes just so we could get the olive bread when it was still warm. Magical.

                            2. Wow, no love for La Farine in Rockridge anymore, I guess. A pity, because they invented the morning bun, and their almond cakes are like huge, crisp financiers (by which I mean, utterly delicious).

                              1. Stopped by Mission Beach Cafe (14th and Guerrero) for the second time, and, as before, no almond croissants available (I am dying to try one). The first time there they had just about nothing left other than Canneles (sp?) and I reluctantly bought one; The first bite was not sensational but by the time I was finished with it I was totally in love with it, yum. I recently bought one while in Santa Fe at a famous restaurant named Pasqual's but it wasn't nearly as good as the one from Mission Beach. The sales person at Mission Beach told me they were baked at a very high temperature and I think that made them so caramelized on the outside - and they were creamy on the inside, which I have separately read as a criticism but to me it was a great contrast. Never having had one before, I don't know if it was authentic or not. (when I was at Pasquals and I saw them by the register, I asked about them and said something like "oh, those are those custard pastries that are baked at a very high temperature" and was told that they were indeed custard but that they weren't baked at a high temperature. That may explain the difference.

                                My second visit (like the first, on a Sunday afternoon) also found no Almond Croissants, although they did have about 4 other kinds (including almond-chocolate - I don't understand the need to put chocolate on buttery treats; I like chocolate but don't want it on everything). I bought an Apple turnover and asked about something that looked like a small cylindrical cake and was told it was a blueberry-ginger muffin. The clerk recommended it highly. Since the cannele was something I never would have bought without a recommendation, I tried the muffin but was disappointed. Maybe I don't like ginger enough? I didn't even finish the muffin. But the turnover, on the other hand, was fantastic. It didn't look like much but it was incredibly flaky, had a great buttery flavor, and the apple filling was very tasty.

                                By the way, this place is not primarily a bakery, it just looks like a restaurant with a bakery case next to the register. But wow their baked goods are great.

                                By the way, a friend brought me an almond croissant from Patisserie Philippe and I was disappointed: it was very soft (it was 4 pm by the time I got it from him) and the flavor was just so-so. Perhaps if I got one earlier in the day it would be better, but it really didn't live up to the hype. Certainly it was nowhere near as good as as the frangipane croissant from Tartine.

                                1. The Bread Garden in Berkeley, next to the Claremont Hotel, makes a fine European style criossant. Crispy outside, tender and breadlike inside. Not the greasy, squishable ones so often seen (which squish like Wonder bread). Very good breads a s well.
                                  http://www.berkeleybreadgarden.com/

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: toodie jane

                                    Maybe the term "breadlike" means different things to us, but I would not use the term "breadlike" to describe a good croissant, and in fact, would consider that term more descriptive of an American croissant than a French one.

                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                      H-m-m-m. Breadlike.

                                      Maybe I'm not describing them correctly. Well, yes, like a very buttery, rich bread with a crispy buttery crust. I enjoyed croissants at French bakeries and at hotels and pensions across Morocco for three months in 1971.(Morocco was a French colony so much of the cuisine in the cities reflects classic French techniques and products)

                                      They were all very crunchy to the bite with a soft somewhat chewy and breadlike interior. Lots of tiny, sturdy air bubbles in the dough.The sweet butter flavor sang, and the aroma was wonderful. Always served with apricot jam and sweet butter.

                                      On returning to California in 1972, croissants were just starting to appear in bakeries. Overjoyed to see these and petit pan au chocolat, I soon felt intense dissapointment as I found the texture to be greasy, stringy, and flabby, while the flavor nowhere near as intense. When you try to pull them apart, the bread literally stretches (and stretches) rather than tearing more cleanly like fresh bread. At about that time Julia Child, on her '&Friends' cooking show, claimed it wasn't possible to make authentic criossants with the flours then available to bakers in the US. She suggested that home bakers try using at least part cake flour like Soft as Silk. This was the early to mid seventies. Then I found Bread Garden. Unfortunately I live 4 hours away.

                                      After tryingcroissants at many Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Santa Barbara bakeries, Bread Garden Croissants are the only ones I've found that match the qualities of those I'd had abroad. Not to say there aren't more bakeries that DO, I've just never found them. Would be overjoyed to know of some. It's been so long since I've had one--bring on the apricot jam!