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Best place for French-style pastries?

(Ooh - exciting - first post!)

Hello all,

So I'm moving back home to Toronto from Montréal, after spending a few years at McGill, and I'm quite certain that I'm going to miss the fantastic pastries (croissants, danishes, chocolatines, abricotines, etc.) I had there. This brings me to my question - can anyone recommend a particular favourite place for such treats in Toronto? (Downtown preferrably, but not necessarily.)

Thanks!

Steve

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  1. On each of Bayview and Mt. Pleasant, there are two French patisseries just south of Eglinton: on Bayview there are Rahier and La Cigogne. On Mt. Pleasant are Patisserie Celestin (now renamed Patisserie Thobor(?) and Jules Patisserie. Also, there is La Bamboche on Manor Rd. at Yonge St. Each has it's own specialties, so check them all out.
    Of course, in the block just north of Celestin on Mt. Pleasant is the decidedly non-French, but excellent, Flaky Tart bakery.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Yongeman

      Bravo!!!

    2. +

      -----
      Rahier
      1586 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

      Jules
      617 Mt Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S, CA

      Celestin
      623 Mount Pleasant Road, Toronto, ON M4S 2M9, CA

      Cigogne
      1626 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

      La Bamboche
      4 Manor Rd E, Toronto, ON M4S, CA

      Flaky Tart
      711 Mt Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: JamieK

        Mt Pleasant is becoming bakery row.
        Another bakery has opened up about a block south of Jules. Don't know the name but will check it out like a good Hound!

      2. Check out Marc Thuets Atelier in Liberty Village without question.

        3 Replies
        1. re: CIRCLES_SQ

          Rahir makes a really really good croissant.
          I sat in traffic for one hour to check the place out after reading about it here on chowhound and it was soooo worth it.
          The ladies behind the counter were friendly and speaking french (Always a good sign). I ended up buying an apple/vanilla cream tart that was also one of the most delicate and fresh tasting pastries i've had in Toronto. Beats any of those mass produced pastries found everywhere else!

          1. re: CIRCLES_SQ

            i just wanted to say that i went to the atelier yesterday and found it extremely disappointing. i spent close to forty dollars for two pastries, a baguette and summer vegetables, and although everything was delicious i thought their prices were completely unreasonable.

            also, i had to wait for fifteen minutes (which was fine because it was my first time and i wanted to look around) for someone to ask me what i wanted because they were clearly understaffed.

            i was hoping i would be able to find worthwhile french pastries that were affordable (and so close to home too!), but that was not the case.

            1. re: petitaubergine

              nothing about anything thuet does is ever affordable. unfortunate because he's also a miss more than half the time.

          2. Thanks everyone! I'm sure I'll have lots of fun trying those places out.

            1. I recently went to a place called Ma Maison near Royal York Subway Station. I thought it was adorable save for the unfortunately unscenic location. I went with a friend and between the two of us we tried their ham/cheese quiche, grilled chicken sandwich with grilled vegetables, macarons, croissants and their mixed berry charlotte. Everything was really delicious, although I found the charlotte to be a bit off due to the dryness of the cake but the lemon curd (under the mixed berry mousse) was great. Apparently their lemon tarts are fabulous. We also got baguettes to go. They have a small seating area and two tables in the store front. It's obviously a bit out of the way from the downtown area you preferred but it might be fun to venture out one day. The chef is from France btw. Their website: http://www.ur2busy2cook.com/home.php

              There's also a place called Bonjour Brioche a bit further East on Queen St. in the Leslieville area that is really good, however I've never been.

              -----
              Bonjour Brioche
              812 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M, CA

              Ma Maison
              4243 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M8X, CA

              1 Reply
              1. re: lily.violet

                My wife and I will 2nd Ma Maison, it is the only place in the west end imho that is worthy of being called a Patisserie. Imho Ma Maison is in the same league as Rahier and Jules Patisserie, though I think Rahier does a better croissant.

                It’s been a few years since I been to Bonjour Brioche. Back then I was not impressed with their goods. I felt the brioche was lacking richness; it was more like egg bread than brioche. But again that was a number of years ago, maybe things have changed.

                A little closer to downtown is Stubbe Chocolates at 653 Dupont near Christie, here’s the web site http://www.stubbechocolates.com/homep... Stubbe is not French, but does the best Torte’s in the GTA imho, maybe the only place to find a true torte. Also, they have a great selection of chocolate’s and truffles. Well worth the visit!

              2. Hands down best croissant I've ever had in this city (i'm a trained pastry chef) are from Pain Perdu, I believe they're in the east end but you can get them around town, I know that La Fromagerie on College at Ossington has them but not on Mon when they are closed and Tues when PP is closed. They are perfection, classic, text book french croissant.

                6 Replies
                1. re: stapler

                  Agree 100%. Also, killer Gateau Basque.
                  Pain Perdu is on St Clair near Christie on the north side about 150 metres, I think, west of MacDonalds (ironic really).

                  1. re: garlicandwingnut

                    Woah, that's good to know how close PP is! Thanks!

                    1. re: stapler

                      pain perdu for baguettes (or la fromagerie when you need the quick fix).

                      cigogne for a great croissant.

                      st honore for a ridiculously buttery chewy croissant.

                      clafouti is just a travesty. they're no better than grocery store croissants and to support their business and their appalling service is virtually telling them and everyone around them that we'll accept bad service at the cost of mediocre product.

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                        I’ve been to Clafouti a few times and found the service to be ok. What I did find interesting was the use of myrtille or bilberry in a so-called Danish (it was not a laminated dough!). I’m not a fan of fruit in a can, but I thought using European blueberry was rather a nice touch. However, the pastry cream it was sitting in had no sign of vanilla bean, so I assume they used vanilla extract, if any vanilla at all. A little harsh calling Clafouti grocery store material, but you do have a valid point.

                        I’m not a fan of St Honoré (I do like the LCBO across the street), nor do I like chewy croissants. I much prefer a flaky dough that is rolled very thick and tight, not unlike the croissants from Rahier. For me when I think of chewy croissants, I think grocery store with roll-in spread not butter. Those who created and use butter substitutes should be charged with crimes against gourmandize!

                        1. re: Pastryrocks

                          the last clafouti croissant i ever ate had a tough skin on it and a dry interior... virtually resembling every grocery store croissant i recall from my childhood. i haven't bothered to try much of their other pastries.

                          st honore has to be redone slightly to get the most out of it. if you get them straight from the shop then pop them into the oven for some extra time, they're unfortunately undercooked and sit out too long that they lose the crispiness. their frozen ones that you can proof and bake at home are great. i like a good chew and by that i mean the tight but elastic interior that pulls and unravels a little as you bite and tear away.

                  2. re: stapler

                    I haven't had croissants from any of the other places mentioned, but when you bite into a croissant from Pain Perdu, you will be instantly transported to Paris. Or Montreal, depending on your points of reference. It is a very, very, very dangerous place. I am glad that I live far away. Their croissants are flat-out addictive.

                  3. Clafouti on Queen, west of Bathurst, across from Trinity Bellwoods Park.

                    1. Pain Perdue on St.Clair W. has wonderful pastries, croissants quiches and a great pissaladiere.
                      The only problem is the TTC fiasco that's screwing up the street. Patachou also has an outlet/bakery/tiny cafe just a bit further west and on the south side of St.Clair.

                      1. My new fave for chocolate croissants is Brick Street Bakery---Queen & Logan in Leslieville. Pair it with a latte from Mercury Espresso around the corner and it's divine.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: cherrypicker1972

                          Does anyone know whether this location of Brick Street Bakery is still open? I went by this afternoon, and it was closed with no sign of activity and no hours posted. They had my favourite almond croissants! Thanks.

                          1. re: madmolecule

                            We were their this past Saturday morning and it was business as usual. I hope it stays that way.

                        2. I have been looking around for a good baguette since I returned from France. I have tried many, from Ace to Thuet and had found that while serviceable, they did not evoke to me the pleasure of the baguette I would buy at the excellent bakery beside my residence in Paris.

                          Until yesterday.

                          On the way home from the Brickworks Market, my daughters and I stopped into what was previously the Celestin Bakery. It is now renamed to Thobors Boulangerie Pâtisserie and Café.

                          I wanted to get the girls a dessert or a croissant. However, staring at me from the bread area was a baguette heavily topped with poppy seeds. I had not seen one quite like that, so I bought it.

                          We continued our walk and began nibbling on the baguette. I respect my daughters opinions (they are in their teens and we have spent many years enjoying good food). Suffice it to say that the baguette began to quickly disappear. The crust had that crunch we love but was not too tough. The texture of the bread was chewy but light, with a buttery overtone.

                          It may be my Jewish background, with bagels and cookies awash in poppy seeds. But the seeds added a taste and mouth feel to the baguette which was a total success to me and my girls.

                          Is this the best baguette in Toronto? I am not an expert. But for me, this is the baguette which evokes the pleasure of Paris and excites my tastes like no other.

                          Thobors Boulangerie Pâtisserie and Café (formally Celestin)
                          627 Mount Pleasant Road
                          416-544-1733

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: CSM

                            Don't know about the croissant at st honore, but the danishes are YUM

                            1. re: chillihigh

                              the croissant at st honore used to have gobs and gobs of butter in it, which really provided the great buttery salty sweet flavour but recently it seems like he's cut down a lot. when buying the frozen ones you could see the lumps of butter scattered quite liberally between the layers. now it's far and few between and the baked products in the store reflect that. they're much drier (also baked longer i believe) and less flavourful.

                          2. I've heard good things about bonjour brioche @ 812 Queen Street East

                            never been though.