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Question: Must try bakeries in San Fran - staying at SF Marriot on 4th St

Besides Tartine that's on my list, what are the 'must try' bakeries in San Fran.

I am from up the coast and will be visiting in the fall, but only a short stay so I want to maximize my time there in search of the best bakeries.

Not familiar with San Fran so to save time, please let me know what are the best bakeries that I should see.

Thanks.

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  1. Here's a thread to get you going: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/532453

    I think Thorough Bread and Pastry would be at the top of my list. Although you can get Acme bread around town, it's worth going to their bakery in the Ferry Building where they have a wide variety, including pastries (the ham and cheese turnover is decadently delicious).

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Oh, Ruth, you are so right about the ham and cheese thingy at Acme. But a word of warning to the OP: if you eat a whole one you may well be ruined for the better part of the day, so try to share. If you can... I usually can't.

    2. Are you looking to sample breads, pastries, or cookies?

      11 Replies
      1. re: ssfire

        More interested in pastries, especially French pastries or the like.
        Interested in exploring the bakeries and looking at what they have to offer and picking up some samples to try.
        Thinking of opening up shop one day so have a keen interest in successfull bakeries.
        Have limited time in San Francisco, so want to maximize my time there.
        thanks.

        1. re: pastriesinparis

          For pastries, also check out Delessio. Miette is a good example of how *not* to have a bakery: everything looks much better than it tastes, and you're paying a premium for the "look."

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            There's clearly a big market for pastries that look better than they taste.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Well, Miette is clearly successful, so it is one way to have a bakery...just not one that I would choose.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                Thanks for the good advice about Miette's pastries looking better than they taste. Checked out their website...such a shame. I am so used to seeing pastries in Paris that not only are breathtaking but even better when eaten. C'est Formidable =)

              2. re: pastriesinparis

                What days of the week will you be here? Many bakeries are closed on Monday. On other days of the week there are appearances from other top bakeries in the Bay Area at farmers markets.

                The big one would be Ferry Plaza on Saturday morning where you have Downtown Bakery, Della Fatoria

                In SF I agree that Mission Beach Cafe, Thourough and Delessio and Acme would be top choices. Also Patiserrie Phillippe which no one has mentioned yet.

                If you go to Ferry Plaza, Frog Hollow and Boulette's Larder are worth exploring.

                Briochie Bakery on Columbus is often overlooked, but when people try the pastries and breads they supply to local restaurants they get high praise.

                A few other interesting options - Emporio Rulli and Citizen Cake.

                Another different bakery take ... the excellent John Campbll's Irish Bakery.

                If you have time to get to the East Bay, then I think Crixa is a must stop. It is unique in the slant toward elegant Eastern European Bakery. In that category I would put it as one of the top in the country. In any category it is still one of the top Bay Area Bakeries.

                Also worth looking at in Berkeley/Oakland - Masse's, La Farine, Katrina Rozelle's I'd even through Hopkins St in there as a bakery with new owners that does classic American very well. Try the morning buns.

                Bakesale Betty's is a really interesting model to look at. They started in a really nothing farmers market and are about to open their next shop. Really nice people and you could probably arrange some time to talk to them.

                1. re: rworange

                  Good suggestions. At Frog Hollow, one unique thing they have is a risotto tart (photo #1). It's good, not great: it's worth trying once. Boulette's Larder usually has an excellent clafoutis (photo #2 shows the cherry clafoutis); it's extra rich and buttery.

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                  Frog Hollow Farm
                  1 Ferry Bldg # 46, San Francisco, CA

                   
                   
                  1. re: rworange

                    I will be there in the middle of the week and heading out of town on Sunday.
                    So many choices with limited time.
                    Will go through everyone's suggestions and plan my journey to visit what seems to be the 'cream of the crop' only.

                    I am interested in successful bakeries selling some of the finest French pastries in your part of the world. Interesting in seeing their store concept, sampling some of their offerings and maybe having a quick chat with the owners.
                    Thanks.

                    1. re: pastriesinparis

                      One of the best French-style bakeries is just outside of San Francisco in Colma. Nora's Patisserie is owned by Nora Tong, one of the best Bay Area bakers and dessert caterers. Her miniatures are beautiful and her cakes taste really good -- I particularly like the black forest cake (I know, it's German, but Nora trained in Belgium, part French, part German or Flemish) the variety of butter cookies, and the gallettes.

                      www.noraspatisserie.com

                      1. re: Nancy Berry

                        Nora's Patisserie link

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                        Nora's Patisserie
                        29 San Pedro Rd, Colma, CA

                        1. re: Nancy Berry

                          I was at a party last weekend, and a man brought in a bunch of cakes, cookies, and pasties with labels that said Nora's Patisserie. I'd never heard of them before, and we quickly started tasting.

                          My favorites were the moist gingerbread and a divine mixed berry turnover. Friends raved about the German chocolate cookie. Coffee cake looked great too. There were some kind of cookie squares that I found too buttery, and a wafer thin chocolate chip cookie, a bit of a refined style compared to Anthony's.

                          I was then delighted to meet Nora herself, having already enjoyed her baking. She described the location of the retail store as top of the hill Daly City, near Mission Street and the San Francisco border..

                          Based on what we sampled and Nancy's recommendation, I'm looking forward to checking out the cakes.

                2. I think you should do a bakery tour. Here are four eclectic, but very good possibilities...

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                  Tartine Bakery
                  600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                  Victoria Pastry Co
                  1362 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                  Liguria Bakery
                  1700 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                  Acme Bread
                  Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Paul H

                    Thanks everyone for your quick feedback.

                  2. For French pastries two musts are Tartine and Boulange (aka Bay Bread, a small local chain with a branch near your hotel).

                    Miette at the Ferry Plaza seems to be successful but, well, judge for yourself about the quality.

                    Check out Downtown Bakery & Creamery's stand at the Saturday morning famers market at Ferry Plaza. That's former Chez Panisse pastry chef Lindsey Shere's shop in Healdsburg.

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                    Tartine Bakery
                    600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                    Miette Cakes
                    1 Ferry Bldg # 10, San Francisco, CA

                    La Boulange
                    685 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94105

                    1. Definitely not in San Francisco but only 4 or so blocks away from the Ashby BART station is the tiny Crixa cakes. Very nice set up for a bakery/coffee house. Probably worth a trip as a possible business model.

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                      Crixa Cakes
                      2748 Adeline St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: wolfe

                        The most amazing poppyseed rugelach at Crixa. Also the intriguingly named Fatima's Thighs.