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Do good baguettes really exist in LA?

Mr. Taster Feb 18, 2005 05:25 PM

I've got a traveling friend from Austria staying with me now, who is lamenting the lack of really excellent bakery bread-- you know, the kind you can find baking even in European gas stations and it's still 100 times better thn the baguettes you get at the supermarket.

I'm talking the kind of bread where when you bite into it, you have more crumbs on your lap than in your mouth, with a wonderful crispness to the outside and a softness on the inside, without the gumminess and chew that characterizes American attempts at European bread.

Please help, fellow hounds!

Mr. Taster

  1. x
    x Feb 18, 2005 05:38 PM

    see mr. baguette, near rosemead in arcadia

    3 Replies
    1. re: x
      Dan-o Feb 18, 2005 06:21 PM

      I agree, they are the best I've had in LA.

      Here's the address: 8702 E. Valley Blvd.

      1. re: Dan-o
        JeetJet Feb 18, 2008 07:00 PM

        I really like to add fresh butter on these. They are very crusty outside yet airy inside. Also, Mr. baguette prices cannot be beat.

        If I am going to make french toast from sliced baguette bread then I get them from La Brea Bakery. These seem to be a little more dense and hold the mixture of Eggs, cream, sugar, orange juice, vanilla and cinnamon better. The more airy Mr. baguette bread does not work as well with that much moisture and other things IMO.

        1. re: JeetJet
          ns1 Feb 19, 2008 07:28 PM

          I LOVE the la brea baguette. The ones from Costco no less. 4 bucks for 2.

    2. d
      D'oh Feb 18, 2005 05:39 PM

      No question...

      Pain Du Jour
      (310) 399-4870
      828 Pico Blvd,
      Santa Monica

      3 Replies
      1. re: D'oh
        chowchick Feb 18, 2005 05:43 PM

        I heard that place closed down a while back. Not the case?

        1. re: chowchick
          Palisadesman Feb 21, 2005 10:35 AM

          They were open last week. Good as ever. French as ever.

          1. re: Palisadesman
            onomiko Oct 1, 2008 09:26 AM

            I second that emotion! They've revamped and have plans for more. FINALLY a good bakery and coffee shop in Sunset Park. Whoopee!



      2. w
        Will Owen Feb 18, 2005 05:42 PM

        I have yet to find a bread in LA whose crust is both crisp and tender - whether it's the flour, the water or the kneading, it just does not seem to happen. The only baguette I've found here that I can enjoy for itself is Trader Joe's French (not the sourdough!). It's a poor imitation, but a starving man will eat bugs, won't he?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Will Owen
          onethatgotaway Feb 19, 2005 08:24 PM

          I have yet to try a trader joes bread i could stand. I do shop there regularly, just never for bread.

          1. re: onethatgotaway
            Mr. Taster Feb 21, 2005 02:38 AM

            I agree- I love TJ's as well, but their fruit and bread are their weakest links

            Mr. Taster

            1. re: Mr. Taster
              MaryT Feb 20, 2008 04:26 PM

              The only bread I like from Traders is the demi pain rustica, which is basically all crust. I sure wish they would offer something better.

        2. n
          Nick Feb 18, 2005 05:48 PM

          It's an international chain, but I really like Le Pain Quotidien. There's one on Melrose, west of La Cienega, one in Beverly Hills on Santa Monica Blvd and I just noticed one in Santa Monica near the Promenade. Check out the website for actual addresses.


          3 Replies
          1. re: Nick
            David Kahn Feb 18, 2005 05:53 PM

            I agree. And their meringues are excellent.

            1. re: Nick
              Ash Feb 18, 2005 09:20 PM

              I second that... and the brownies are insanely delicious and decadent!! I can't make it home without finishing it in the car first. Terrible :)

              1. re: Ash
                420 Reasons to eat Feb 20, 2008 06:45 AM

                And Starting Next Week, The Studio City location will began Baking the baguettes in the store. and you will be able to buy fresh and warm. Normally they are delivered every morning from the commissary.

            2. 2
              2chez mike Feb 18, 2005 06:26 PM

              Jon's Market has the best, I think. In white bags in a basket in the deli section. Just what you're talking about. Crumbs all over the place and softness inside. Light as a feather. And you gotta eat it the day you get it or it's all dried out.

              Around a buck for 8-12 oz. loaf.

              2 Replies
              1. re: 2chez mike
                maxzook Feb 18, 2008 01:23 PM

                Which Jon's Market? 'Cause the one at Hollywood and Vermont has a wretched bread section.

                1. re: maxzook
                  karamazov Feb 19, 2008 08:55 AM

                  The best baguettes i've seen are at the Jons on Roscoe and Winnetka and _occasionally_ at Bristol farms. It's the ones that are crunchy on the outside and soft inside. They do become completely dry the next day, so you have to eat it right away. It's excellent bread though. Can't stand TJ's baguettes - dry and tasteless.

                  Try em with butter and red caviar - now that's good breakfast :)

              2. e
                Ernie Feb 18, 2005 06:28 PM

                The baguettes at Bristol Farms are reliably good

                1. j
                  JurisDog Feb 18, 2005 06:31 PM

                  I like the baguette's at the French Market Cafe on Abbot Kinney in Venice.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JurisDog
                    Lars Feb 20, 2005 03:58 PM

                    I like the baguettes at French Market also, and they are just half a block from me. I pick them up when I buy Roquefort cheese there, and sometimes duck mousse. However, Pioneer Bakery is still good IMO, and I shop there on a regular basis.

                  2. a
                    Adlai Stevenson Feb 18, 2005 07:15 PM

                    No. I don't know why. Could it be the water?

                    The best I've found is Le Pain Du Jour on the corner of Pico and Lincoln in Santa Monica. You need to get there early because they close when they run out of bread.


                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Adlai Stevenson
                      petradish Feb 18, 2005 07:40 PM

                      they're also closed on mondays and tuesdays.

                      1. re: Adlai Stevenson
                        Absintheuse Feb 18, 2005 07:51 PM

                        Pain Du Jour in Santa Monica is definitely the only place in the greater LA area where I've gotten a fully baked basic Parisian style baguette (not for want of looking).

                        As Mr. Taster describes above, these are not rustic, artisinal, or even interesting (most of the recomendations in this thread have been for good, but essentially _interesting_ baguettes, these are terrific, but they're all wrong). A real Parisian baguette is impossibly light with an almost explosive crust that snaps like spun sugar. The crust is crumbly to the point of near inedibility, and the center can be compressed into a ball the size of a pea between the fingers.

                        Pan Du Jour also makes a staggeringly authentic croissant... again, not particularly interesting... just arrestingly authentic.

                        1. re: Absintheuse
                          Paliman Feb 18, 2008 07:52 PM

                          I could not agree with you more. I often think that when people ask for a baguette a ficille, a batard, etc. they are thinking of something rustic. These breads are not.

                          There are plenty of rustic breads in Paris, Pain du Jour has some of them, but a baguette is not pain de campagne, pain paysanne.

                          Pain du Jour is a real boulangerie. No cakes, nothing fancy...just bread, and an few viennoise, or Danish.

                          They even make a Gateau des Rois in January.

                          1. re: Paliman
                            ldodb Feb 19, 2008 03:10 PM

                            Every time I go buy Pain Du Jour its closed. Am I missing something, what are their hours because I have tried several times to no avail.

                            1. re: ldodb
                              Paliman Feb 19, 2008 07:25 PM

                              Closed Mon andTues. And they open at 7:30 and close at either 12 or 3. And if they run out of bread, they go home. They have the biggest selections on Sunday morning.

                              1. re: Paliman
                                ldodb Feb 22, 2008 05:54 PM

                                Thanks for the help, ill definitely try and make it over there again soon.

                      2. b
                        big head Feb 18, 2005 07:20 PM

                        i like le pain quotidien as well - great bread and lattes - also their french donut, jams and hazlenut spread

                        the best versions of the bread you describe I've found at Joan's on Third (try spreading their epoisses berthaut stinky cheese on it - the best) & Beverly Hills Cheese shop

                        I'm not sure of either of their sources but it's just simple, good bread

                        1. g
                          gj Feb 18, 2005 08:32 PM

                          Normandie Bakery and Coffee
                          3022 S Cochran Ave.
                          Just north of Jefferson Blvd. between La Brea and Hauser

                          1. d
                            D. Tochs Feb 18, 2005 08:49 PM

                            Yes. My vote:
                            Figaro Cafe Restaurant
                            (323) 662-1587
                            1802 N Vermont Ave
                            (in Los Feliz)

                            1. w
                              what Feb 18, 2005 09:30 PM

                              sorry but there is a reason parisians looked to the countryside to remember what good bread was. when the crust shatters into your lap thats what's called crappy bread.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: what
                                what Feb 18, 2005 09:35 PM

                                and dont tell me parisians or euros for that matter eat that crap all the time. i don't care. it's not good.

                                1. re: what
                                  Mr. Taster Feb 19, 2005 02:50 AM

                                  When bread doesn't crumble, I call it Wonder Bread.

                                  Mr. Taster

                                2. g
                                  gastronomike Feb 19, 2005 02:15 AM

                                  I'm shocked only one post on this so far...best baguettes I've had in LA are at the Banh Mi joints along Valley blvd. The best ones are the places with prominent ovens that ensure a supply of fresh loaves. I especially like (from East to West) Mr. Baguette, Baguette Express, and Ba Le. Also the Vietnamese coffee is a damn nice treat for the drive back home.

                                  1. t
                                    TCUJoe Feb 19, 2005 04:22 PM

                                    Well, there is no accounting for taste, is there? The divergence of opinion expressed here reminds me of pleasant months spent in Strasbourg. Some bakeries there made the light variety of baguette, like Vietnamese rolls, while others made baguettes with a more dense and pliable interior, due to the use of high gluten flour. Both types of bakery seemed to be equally populated, but I populated the latter. Now I prefer sourdough baguettes made by Panera, which remind me of the sour yardsticks produced by Pioneer Bakery in Santa Monica 30 years ago.
                                    To further reveal my prejudices, my Scandinavian wife and I thought that the French pastries were too sweet, so we would drive across the border to buy desserts in Germany.

                                    1. j
                                      Jorge en Los Angeles Feb 18, 2008 01:13 PM

                                      Good baguettes are hard to come by in Los Angeles. I have not tried all bakeries in Los Angeles, but these are places where you get very good baguettes by french standards: any Jons Marketplace http://www.jonsmarketplace.com/locations.aspx (they sell out by 5 PM), Figaro on Vermont, any Champagne Bakery http://www.champagnebakery.com/.

                                      1. r
                                        Rimilian Feb 18, 2008 01:23 PM

                                        Bristol Farms!

                                        1. b
                                          bad nono Feb 18, 2008 01:27 PM

                                          Being French, I lament the absence of truly good bread in LA, not only baguettes. My daily staple is the ficelle from La Maison du Pain (not their baguettes) which is closer to the light, fluffy kind. The size is right for that type of texture, but the bigger baguettes are close to the Vietnamese type, which is OK but I'm not a huge fan.
                                          I'm not a huge fan of Bread Bar for the baguettes, nor Le Pain Quotidien, but I do like their crusty loaves. Le Pain Quotidien does a good walnut loaf, for example. Now, when the former French baker at La Maison du Pain, Charles, was still there he told me the reason why it was next to impossible to make good baguettes here is because the flours are different (and I'd surmise the water too, as it has a higher chlorine content but that affect taste, not texture).
                                          A zillion years ago I had good enough baguettes at Say Cheese in Silverlake but it's not my hood and I haven't had their bread since, hmm, 1999.
                                          This being said, like Mr. Taster above I'm anxiously waiting for tips.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: bad nono
                                            Paliman Feb 18, 2008 07:55 PM

                                            What is your opinion of Pain du Jour in Santa Monica?

                                            1. re: Paliman
                                              bad nono Feb 18, 2008 09:49 PM

                                              I've never been, so I cannot report.

                                              1. re: bad nono
                                                Mr Taster Sep 23, 2008 03:04 PM

                                                Have you been now? :)

                                                Mr Taster

                                                1. re: Mr Taster
                                                  Foodandwine Sep 24, 2008 04:05 AM

                                                  I was actually at Pain du Jour on Saturday. While the crust is excellent for some reason the baguette was missing something.. in terms of flavor. It was rather bland tasting. I find some baguettes rather tasty and some rather bland. Does anyone know what the cause is. Is it the yeast, flour or a combination.. In any event the crust was really good..

                                                  1. re: Foodandwine
                                                    jenn Feb 2, 2009 04:13 PM

                                                    imho, probably a shortage of salt. I used to get these really tasty baguettes and every so often they tasted completely bland. I finally figured out---from my own experimental home baking--that the problem was salt.

                                                  2. re: Mr Taster
                                                    bad nono Sep 25, 2008 11:38 AM

                                                    Oops, sorry, hadn't seen your post. Now, I still haven't been , it's not in my neck of the woods. But I promise if I ever taste it, I'll let you know!

                                            2. j
                                              jessicak Feb 18, 2008 03:06 PM

                                              Maison du Pain on Pico. Their baguettes are soft as a cloud inside with a crunchy outer crust. 5373 W. Pico.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: jessicak
                                                david t. Feb 18, 2008 05:28 PM

                                                I think the vietnamese breads in LA far surpass traditional french baguettes. They've improved upon it. They put a bit of rice flour in the mixture, so they're shatteringly crisp and web-like inside, almost extraordinarly delicate. It's even more neutral than regular french bread, so they're excellent with good quality cheese.

                                              2. George Feb 18, 2008 06:11 PM

                                                I have found no better baguette since my days living in France than those made by Thierry Warnier of La Boulangerie, he sells at various farmers markets throughout the Southland.
                                                I find him each Monday morning at the WeHo market at Plummers Park.
                                                I hesitate recommending, since this morning, he sold the last baguettes just as I arrived (holiday crowds!). He is so sweet, he gave me three loaves of pain de campagne for free so that I could make it through the week. He is one of my staples, I don't know how I would live without him! There is a picture of his stand in this link:


                                                Anyone with better contact information, please post. Thierry also makes wonderful brioche, pain aux noix et raisins, aux olives, etc., etc., etc., ! It is the real French boulanger deal in LA.

                                                1. c
                                                  Cinemaverite1 Feb 18, 2008 07:39 PM

                                                  I think freshly baked baguettes from Bay Cities in Santa Monica are excellent.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Cinemaverite1
                                                    Paliman Feb 18, 2008 08:01 PM

                                                    Please don't get me wrong. I love the bread at Bay Cities. But it is too big to be a baguette, and way too chewy, and the inside is all wrong. It is more like a San Francisco sourdough, like Boudin used to make. A baguette is defined as five or six centimeters wide and three or four centimeters tall, but can be up to a meter in length. It typically weighs 250 grammes (8.8 oz).

                                                  2. l
                                                    LMelba Feb 18, 2008 07:52 PM

                                                    Whisper Cafe (formerly L'Artiste Patisserie) in Encino has great baguettes.
                                                    Also the Artisan Cheese Gallery in Studio City.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: LMelba
                                                      LMelba Feb 21, 2008 06:43 PM

                                                      I was at Artisan Cheese Gallery earlier today and noticed that the baguettes are from Breadbar.

                                                    2. e
                                                      epop Feb 18, 2008 09:56 PM

                                                      You may want to try the bread at the cheese store in beverly hills.

                                                      1. j
                                                        jenn Feb 19, 2008 12:09 PM

                                                        hmmm, forty some posts and no mention of breadbar. Since thats my favorite baguette in Paris, i'll have to throw them into the mix for LA as well.

                                                        I know the crust shattering type of baguette---i still remember being told by an annoyed Parisian that THOSE baguettes were mass produced dreck from factories outside Paris. Then he sent me to a bunch of bakeries that really baked their own bread.

                                                        Baguettes are a matter of taste. You cannot get the exact same type of baguette in LA as in Paris--not just the question of water but also the flour and the salt and the humidity and the yeast in the walls of the bakery. Vietnamese places do make a certain type of baguette very well--suppose thats a "plus" of colonial occupation. But for just eatting in the car and making a mess, for munching down with nothing on it or for smearing with some nice pate, my vote is for the baguettes of Eric Keyser at Breadbar.

                                                        You may Commence bashing my vote with baguettes at 20 paces.

                                                        1. o
                                                          oxygenozone Feb 19, 2008 02:56 PM

                                                          I had the same struggle until i discovered the baguettes at
                                                          Mr. Marcel Gourmet Market in the Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax
                                                          sweet or sourdough

                                                          Stall # 150
                                                          (323) 935-9451

                                                          if you slip the baguette in the paper bag then in a plastic bag it will stay moist for several days.

                                                          1. katydid13 Feb 19, 2008 04:30 PM

                                                            I've found baguettes that fit the OP's description at my local farm market at Plummer Park in West Hollywood (on Mondays). Just inside the entrance is a Frenchman with a table full of breads. I keep meaning to try others but can't get past the baguettes!

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: katydid13
                                                              George Feb 20, 2008 05:19 PM

                                                              see above, Thierry Warnier, La Boulangerie.

                                                            2. l
                                                              la tache burger Feb 19, 2008 07:33 PM

                                                              8718 W. 3rd Street
                                                              Los Angeles, CA, 90048
                                                              (310) 205-0124

                                                              1. Emme Feb 19, 2008 09:34 PM

                                                                Grateful Bread on Montana

                                                                Via Dolce on Montana

                                                                Both are worth checking out!

                                                                1. maxzook Feb 20, 2008 07:22 AM

                                                                  I'm very partial to the baguettes from Porto's in Glendale.

                                                                  I was in line last night just as the baker was restocking the baguette basket fresh from the oven. By this morning, what was left was already getting a little stale. But for $1.50, who can complain?

                                                                  What I've had of the rest of Porto's breads are variable -- I like the Cuban varieties but I'm meh with the whole wheat variants. La Brea Bakery is very good (the store next to Campanile, not the supermarket stuff), but I live alone and their loaves are so big they turn to rocks before I can get halfway through them.

                                                                  Overall my favorite L. A. bread bakery is EuroPane (not even sure if they have baguettes, I can never get past the rosemary currant bread).

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: maxzook
                                                                    maxzook Feb 20, 2008 08:51 AM

                                                                    Linking ...

                                                                    Bay Cities Italian Deli
                                                                    1517 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                    Breadbar Century City
                                                                    10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90067

                                                                    Mr Baguette
                                                                    8702 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

                                                                    Euro Pane Bakery
                                                                    950 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106

                                                                    Baguette Express
                                                                    400 E Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                                                    Ba Le Sandwich Shop
                                                                    1426 S Atlantic Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91803

                                                                    Say Cheese
                                                                    2800 Hyperion Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                                                    Figaro Cafe Restaurant
                                                                    1802 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                                                    Porto's Bakery
                                                                    315 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203

                                                                    La Brea Bakery
                                                                    624 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                                                    Le Pain Quotidien
                                                                    8607 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069

                                                                    Panera Bread
                                                                    12131 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

                                                                    La Maison Du Pain
                                                                    5373 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019

                                                                    Le Pain Du Jour
                                                                    828 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                                                    Pioneer Boulangerie
                                                                    804 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                                    The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills
                                                                    419 N Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA

                                                                    Artisan Cheese Gallery
                                                                    12023 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA

                                                                    Bristol Farms
                                                                    1515 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                                                    Grateful Bread (Bakery)
                                                                    1518 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA

                                                                    Jons Market Place
                                                                    20151 Roscoe Blvd, Canoga Park, CA

                                                                    French Market Cafe
                                                                    2321 Abbot Kinney Blvd Ste 200, Venice, CA 90291

                                                                    Normandie Bakery & Coffee
                                                                    9201 W Sunset Blvd West, Hollywood, CA

                                                                    Champagne French Bakery & Cafe
                                                                    7475 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

                                                                    Whisper Cafe
                                                                    17312 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA

                                                                    Mr Marcel's Gourmet Market duplicate
                                                                    6333 W 3rd St # 236, Los Angeles, CA

                                                                    Via Dolce
                                                                    1627 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

                                                                    Larchmont Village Wine
                                                                    223 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                                                  2. superladymaku Feb 20, 2008 07:33 AM

                                                                    OMG don't forget about this place. The sandwiches are what they are known for AND they sell the baguettes.


                                                                    1. f
                                                                      fdb Feb 20, 2008 07:49 AM

                                                                      The owner/baker of Amandine is a Japanese woman who learned her skill in France. I like her baguettes, and her croissants (almond and cinnamon) are fantastic, too.

                                                                      1. s
                                                                        srnka Feb 20, 2008 03:48 PM

                                                                        Nicole's Gourment in South Pas has a good baguette - crusty and light with just enough soft inside without being dense - the only complication is that they typically sell out by early afternoon.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: srnka
                                                                          maxzook Feb 20, 2008 05:16 PM

                                                                          more links

                                                                          Amandine Patissiere
                                                                          12225 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                                                                          Nicole's Gourmet Foods
                                                                          921 Meridian Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030

                                                                        2. g
                                                                          gsw Feb 22, 2008 07:58 PM

                                                                          anyone ever try Le Bon Bakery in Woodland Hills? It's on Ventura just east of Topanga. I've bought their bread twice, and it was pretty good. I've never been to France, but the person who recommended Le Bon to me is a friend who lived there for several years and she said it was authentic. They also have pies and tarts and pastries.

                                                                          1. s
                                                                            schrutefarms Jul 26, 2008 05:50 PM

                                                                            I like Gelsons baguettes the best, and they must bake them all day, because they're usually warm.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: schrutefarms
                                                                              Das Ubergeek Jul 27, 2008 06:36 AM

                                                                              Funny you should mention it. I was at Gelsons yesterday and they had one "baguette" left. Twice the width and two-thirds the length of any baguette digne du nom, and when I asked they said it had been baked at 9 AM (this was 5 PM). Even Albertsons manages to have hot bread at 5 PM.

                                                                              I gave up and bought a La Brea baguette.

                                                                            2. gado_gado Jul 26, 2008 06:42 PM

                                                                              One more vote for Bristol Farms!

                                                                              1. c
                                                                                cincyn Jul 26, 2008 11:49 PM

                                                                                nicely said!

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: cincyn
                                                                                  Eastcoast foods nob Sep 25, 2008 12:01 PM

                                                                                  Boule on La Cienega has the best hand made baguette. This is the closest to Parisian baguette I came across. It has nice crunch crust, soft middle and perfect crust to middle percentage.

                                                                                  1. re: Eastcoast foods nob
                                                                                    JudiAU Oct 1, 2008 03:38 PM

                                                                                    Boule has a very good baguette. I like the milk bread too. I don't at all like their current crossiants.

                                                                                  2. re: cincyn
                                                                                    tdo Sep 25, 2008 12:01 PM

                                                                                    I second david t's comment.

                                                                                    My favorite baguette is found at a Vietnamese restaurant in Orange County - Cali Restaurant & Bakery in Westminster. I don't like their banh mi but their baguettes are incredibly crusty, light and buttery (possibly a bit too buttery). They keep well in the freezer so I'll buy two or three and put them in zip loc bags in my freezer.

                                                                                    Cali Restaurant & Bakery
                                                                                    15691 Brookhurst St, Westminster, CA 92683

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