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French bakery - Tampa area?

I've read the post in the forum from 2007 - 2009 about the French bakery situation in Tampa. Has it improved at all? I used to live in Tampa, so know the area fairly well. I'm coming back for my sister's wedding, and her bridal shower is going to be Parisian-themed. I'd love to have some croissants and other little pastries for it. I'm a bit worried that I may have to BRING the food from where I am (Twin Cities -- best French bakery in town is located in St. Paul, down the street from where I live.)

Any ideas or updates for French pastries in Tampa?

Thanks!!

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  1. My only update is that the French bakery I used to (kinda sorta slightly) recommend (with reservations), Chocolate Pi, has now closed. But never mind! I never loved it anyway.

    Try calling Pane Rustica (www.panerusticabakery.com), they will put together a lovely tray for you. Their pastries, which include plain and filled croissants, tarts, cookies, etc., are lovely and their catering is top-notch. If you tell them your theme they will knock themselves out.

    Good luck!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Miss E

      Miss E. is right. AND fresh baked, from anywhere, will blow away day or 2 old croissants any day.

      1. re: Miss E

        you guys would never guess, but I agree with Miss E. Pane Rustica is spectacular. Also Datz has some pretty killer baked goods too.

      2. Your only option for decent French pastries in Tampa (area) is in Sarasota at C'est la Vie. The baker there is French and he knows his stuff. Now, not everything he makes is/are tres bon, his baguettes are not so hot but as you may know, the baguette is an art in itself. A better baguette in fact is available at Fresh Market. Try c'est la vie though, it's the closest thing you'll find in this area.
        Also, don't tell me about Cafe de Paris. The baker there is a nice guy and I'm glad he got his immigration issue fixed but his stuff will leave you looking for something better.
        Surprised but not surprised to hear that Pi closed. She had some French training but she was more interested in the mega bucks wedding cake business it seemed and her pastries or petit fours were very expensive and generally not worth it. Plus one time their CC machine didn't work..twice..so I had to run out to search for an ATM to get cash. Lame.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JPeterman

          Second vote for C'est la Vie. great pasterie, pane au chocolate, good place for breakfast. Try the croque madame

        2. I live in Tampa also and it's really frustrated that we don't have a REAL French bakery.
          I will give a try to Pane Rustica.

          The best French bakeries I recall,both operated and owned by french citizens but not here in Tampa of course, are:

          1)-French Bakery at Bridge Plaza (I think the name is Les amis)
          12901 MC Gregor Blvd
          Ft Myers, FL 33919

          2)-Rendez vous at Aventura, Miami
          Aventura, FL 33160

          Another great bakery, is an Italian bakery called "Pane e Dolci" in Fort Lauderdale:
          3341 East Oakland Park Boulevard
          Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308-7216

          1 Reply
          1. re: dmode

            you're missing the Noelle bakery in St. Augustine. tasted pretty good on my last visit, and have been around almost 40 years.

          2. L'Eden (downtown) has super buttery, flaky croissants. Much better than any that I've tried in the area. I'm pretty sure he makes other pastries as well.

            2 Replies
            1. re: digyourself

              x2 for L'Eden. Really dug their chocolate croissant

              1. re: askdrtodd

                French bakery there are many... The ones that I know of is Pana Bread in St. Pete off of Tyrone Mall area off of Park Street
                Faith in Angels Tea house St. Pete 727 345-1873
                she has french crusted baked goods especially the hazelnut pastrie which is very yummy.... call them for their specials on pastries. Ask about their quiche specials