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Jan 4, 2008 06:19 PM

Visiting SF ~ cute yummy bakery in Union Sq?

My bf and I are visiting SF 1/18-21 and staying at the Campton Place Taj in Union Square. I would love to grab breakfast at a cute bakery that's walking distance from our hotel. It doenst matter if its a small place; the two most important things I look for in a bakery are:

buttery flaky croissants + real good tea (not the ones with citris, tropical twists to it)


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  1. Not much in Union Square- the only place that I would get a pastry and coffee at in that area is Cafe Madeline walking distance from your hotel-
    43 O'Farrell Street
    (between Grant Ave & Market St)
    So many other great spots just not in US.

    1. Caffe Rulli in Union Square (literally) and Cafe de La Presse (Grant and Bush) could be described as cute, I suppose, and open at 7:30 AM and 8:00 AM respectively. Don't know about croissants (though I'm pretty sure CdlP could scare one up) or tea selections, but they both certainly can provide a good cuppa and a worthy pastry.

      14 Replies
      1. re: Xiao Yang

        You won't get a good flaky buttery croisssant from either of those places IMO.

        1. re: Lori SF

          So you are recommending Cafe Madeleine's croissants?

          1. re: Xiao Yang

            Its always been a mystery to me that there are no good bakeries combo good coffee/tea places in Union Sq. So Yes Cafe Madelenine's would be the best option in that area.

            1. re: Lori SF

              Have you tried the croissants at La Presse? (The San Francisco Express confirms that they have them.) Since it's as Frenchified a joint as you will find in SF, I imagine it's worth a shot.

              Tea is definitely a harder nut to crack. Peets (and they have a store at Bush and Montgomery) might actually be the best location for single-origin loose leaf tea by the cup at that time of day.

              1. re: Xiao Yang

                Yes I have tried the croissants there a few of times.. I have been working in that area for many years, I've tried them all.
                Have you tried them?

                Back to my point Cafe Madeleine's will be the best bet for what the OP is looking for.

              2. re: Lori SF

                I agree with Lori on the Cafe Madeleine, but I don't think it is too big of a mystery... it is a shopping area where most shops don't open until 10:00ish and if one stays in a hotel, they get a Continental breakfast anyway. It is not a big residential area that would support a stellar bakery joint.

                1. re: Carrie 218

                  I can't comment on the croissants, because I'm not a croissant fan. The "good" ones always seem way too oily for me (I prefer my grease to be attached to meat). But I fail to see your point about needing a residential area to support good bakeries. It seems like most cities have their best bakeries in commercial areas. Are the best croissants in the Sunset?

                  1. re: Xiao Yang

                    I believe the general consensus is that the best croissants are at Tartine and Bay Bread - both areas heavily surrounded by residential neighborhoods.

                    I would also ask you to cite "most cities" who have their "best bakeries" in commercial areas.

                    1. re: Carrie 218

                      I'm not here for pilpul, just being sideways in pointing out that there is a difference between residential areas and neighborhood commercial districts.

                      When you get down to it, downtown SF is also a "heavily surrounded by residential neighborhoods" -- Just think of the Golden Gateway Area and all the new South of Market Residential Towers (some rising to 50+ floors), the De Young Building, etc.

                      Bay Bread, FWIW is actually a chain of "boulangeries" in at least seven neighborhood commercial districts.

                      1. re: Xiao Yang

                        Bay breads have been doing it very well that they are now in most neighborhoods, commerical districts which we living here call neighborhoods. Since you don't like croissants what bakeries do you go to for other things? There are numerous great bakeries in SF and most are in neighborhoods or NOT Union Square, Financial District nor Civic Center.. Last I was in NY, Chicago I found it to be the same. In my business at least 2-3 times a week I need pastries to take to morning presentations and my appointments are downtown so I WISH there was a great bakery, as a result I stop at other places in different neighborhoods just to mix it up. Found the same problem in NY, so I just get bagels.

                        1. re: Lori SF

                          Being in a high risk group for late-onset diabetes, I don't spend a lot of time in bakeries, though I'll occasionally sneak a cheese wheel or another savory nosh at Acme (downtown SF, and AFAIK considered to be at least the equal of Tartine and Bay bread in basic breadstuffs). And do you not consider Rulli a worthy bakery?

                          Not quite sure what your "we living here" means. I might be a carpetbagger, but I've been in town for 46 years.

                          1. re: Xiao Yang

                            Caffe Rulli is aweful and not a bakery but a outpost that sells pasteries for a bad bakery and they cannot make a real cup of coffee.
                            I am curious why you are making these suggestions to the OP and you don't eat croissants nor sweets and don't drink tea?
                            I am very familiar with Acme bread its in our house at least twice a week besides almost every grocery store that carries it and in the Ferry Plaza where is there a Acme bread place downtown?

                            1. re: Lori SF

                              I never said I don't drink tea. In fact I go through huge amounts of tea, mostly from Red Blossom. And in my replies to the OP I was identifying potential places and clearly demurred on any knowledge of the quality of the croissants or the availability of tea. There are as many opinions on croissants as there are on bagels and the OP might not wish to rely solely on your judgement in any event.

                              If the Ferry Building is not downtown, where is it? and FWIW Acme bakes its product on site, which grocery stores don't.

                              1. re: Xiao Yang

                                I don't like your tone. My opionion is based on what I actually have tried, I would not suggest places that I have no clue about just to add some options, but to each is own.
                                I was asking you where besides Ferry Plaza is there a Acme bread place that I may have not been unaware of, I did not realize you were speaking about the Acme in FP so yes it is downtown.

        2. There is also a bakery/sandwich shop on the corner of Powell and Sutter, sorry but I can't recall the name just now but I believe they will have croissants, not sure about tea selection as I am a coffee drinker!

          1. There's also Crepe O Chocolate (75 O'Farrell Street) , which is right near Cafe Madeline. They have loose leaf teas and pastries. I don't know if they have croissants, but it may be another option! Have a great time:)

            1 Reply
            1. re: rahir

              i second crepe o chocolate. i've just been there and they have a wonderful hazelnut macaroon there if you're into chocolate. their hot chocolate is also reaaalllyyy rich (also for chocolate lovers). the crepes are buckwheat crepes and are really nice warm and filling, and they're great for those cold sf mornings.

            2. THANK YOU SO MUCH! :O) I'm gonna jot down all the names/addresses and check them out when I go in 2 weeks.