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Ooh La La French Bakery (Sarasota)

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After my first visit to the new Il Panificio (awesome pizza), my wife and I walked around the neighborhood. We saw that Ooh La La was finally open and we were compelled to take a look. I am embarrassed to say that we topped our pizza off with an apricot tart, a mousse au chocolat, and a croissant. I cannot say enough about the apricot tart; it was completely delicious. The ratio of fruit/filling/tart was perfect. The apricots were plump and juicy with a nice glaze that was not overpowering. We also really liked the mousse au chocolat. I only had a bite or two but the chocolate was rich and airy. As for the croissant, I know people take croissants very seriously and I cannot claim to be the most educated judge. Still, I have to say that the croissant was great. I was mesmerized by the fact that I would take a bite of the croissant and it would slowly return to its original form. I am glad that I don't live in this neighborhood. Il Panificio, Small Batch, and now Ooh La La would be a dangerous combo for me. As for Small Batch, I got some great challah and cakes there last week. I think the two bakeries can coexist as they produce somewhat different items. It will be interesting to see how the competition pushes them to excel.

Ooh La La French Bakery
2705 Mall Drive
Sarasota, Florida 34231

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  1. We certainty do need some decent bakeries in Sarasota, so hopefully they can coexist. Must try Ooh La La!

    1. This is great, CFishman. And where is Il Panificio's new location? (After having lived and/or worked in Sarasota for most of the last 18 years, I suddenly find myself commuting between Tampa and Tallahassee. It's hard to keep up with Sarasota restaurant news.)

      -----
      Il Panificio
      1703 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236

      1 Reply
      1. re: gfr1111

        Geoffrey, it's in an area that I guess is called Gulf Gate. The new Il Panificio has a nice, bright, modern feel to it. In some ways it seems strange to build such a nice restaurant mainly for pizza slices, but their pizza totally deserves the attention. If you are down that way, it is definitely worth a stop for both the pizza and the baked goods.

        -----
        Il Panificio
        1703 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236

      2. Went to Ooh La La today. All I can say is WOW!!! Everything looked fantastic. I think that I gained five pounds just looking. All I got was a Baguette, which was very good!! How wonderful to have a bakery like that nearby. They also have take out in the form of sandwiches, salads, soups etc., which I will try.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Mother of four

          Oh, I am so glad you finally made it. I have been waiting to hear someone else's impressions. She also has a crepe maker. I can't wait to go back for some crepes. Let me know what else you try when you get back there.

          1. re: CFishman

            All the menus were gone, so I really don't know exactly what they make. I wish that they had a web site. A bunch of my golf buddies and I are going to take some food and wine to the beach next week to say goodby to one of our group, so I will go there and pick up something and definitely one of those heavenly desserts!!

        2. My husband and I went to Ooh La La today and it was fantastic. We had a linzer tart, a crepe, and a baguette with ham and brie. Everything was fresh and delicious. The French woman (owner I think) was very friendly and accommodating. We told friends about it and they will be going there for lunch today. There are only a two tables outside, but a cute little storefront (no inside seating). They had menus printed and a great selection of pastries, sandwiches, quiche and crepes.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ParenteN2

            I think there is at least one table inside. There was a cute little French speaking girl taste-testing the baked goods the last time I was there and she was definitely sitting at a table. How was the crepe?

            1. re: CFishman

              Crepe was great! Light and delicious. We asked for a strawberry crepe but her shipment of strawberries did not come in yet so she gave us a free plain/sugar crepe (smart business woman). Also, they do have a website now. It is www.OohLaLaFrenchBakery.com which redirects you to http://www.gulfgate.biz/MallDrive/Ooh...
              I will report back after I hear from our friends who are eating their today. They have lived in Paris so should have a good critique.

              1. re: ParenteN2

                Well, it's sort of a website!!! They need to list the menu.

          2. We had a going away party for a friend, and decided to have it at the beach. Since it was a Monday and Ooh La La wasn't open, the owner came in just for us to make us a cake and a bunch of sandwiches. The sandwiches were wonderful, and the chocolate mouse cake was to die for! With this kind of service and food, this business will do very well.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Mother of four

              WOW; that is what one would call "Customer Service"!!!!. You have just given me more incentive to visit this bakery.

              1. re: ospreycove

                Mother of four, that is nice to hear. What kind of sandwiches did she make you? Sounds like an awesome picnic and a savvy business move on her part to endear herself to your group. Ospreycove, if you need more incentive to get over there, this picture of a croissant from serious eats is very similar to the internals of the croissants at Oh La La: http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/0...

                -----
                Oh La La
                442 W Columbus Dr, Tampa, FL 33602

                1. re: CFishman

                  We had the ham and brie and the salmon and brie. Both too large for one of us to eat, as it's almost a whole baguette, so we shared. A friend had the quiche another night and felt the quiche itself was wonderful but didn't care for the crust. I felt the same way about the tarts, they were beautiful, the fruit and custard were wonderful but the crust was hard, not tender and flaky. This did surprise me.

                  1. re: Mother of four

                    Yeah, I know what you are saying about the crusts being hard. I do not know enough about French pastry to know whether that is a style of French baking or not. Something makes me suspect that it is. In any case, for me it was no barrier to enjoying her pastry. I wish Tampa had something like this. Sophie's nee Amelie's has some very good items (baguettes and chocolate croissants), but altogether not quite at the same level.

                    1. re: CFishman

                      O.K, went to Ooh la la Bakery today; all I can say is, to repeat motherof4's, WOW!!
                      Bought the baguette, croissants, an almond "croissant", and a 7 grain loaf bread. Of course as soon as I got home I tasted the baguette, crusty, but not overbaked, with a very good crumb and taste. The croissant was exceptional, you could taste the quality of the ingredients, the Almond "Croissant was a dense pastry more like a cousin of a fine danish......BUT much, much, better!
                      The mouth feel and aftertaste was very pleasing, again, noting the high quality ingredients.
                      So much for my current exercise program; will have to up it some 50% if I want to not gain weight, but not going to Ooh la la French Bakery is NOT an option!!!!
                      This place may very well be the best bakery in Sarasota, IMHO it is much better than C'est La Vie on Main street; and makes C'est La Vie's bakery look like a convenience store. There is no comparison this is superior in every way.

                      1. re: ospreycove

                        I will be leaving next week to go up north for the summer, so I am counting on you and all the other foodies to keep them in business! I might have to start a new weight loss business when I return! LOL!

            2. Each time l come to Sarasota l read this board in search of new great places for a variety of foods. l tend not to post too often here as usually l am disappointed and do not want to write just negative posts. Yippee that can change today. This morning went to Ooh La La as a result of this thread and it is a simple and wonderful WOW. Do not eat much patissierie so went primarily for the breakfast options. Ordered a pain de chocolate ( ( chocolate croissant ), Almond croissant and a pain de raisin. All were excellent, not doughy, not soggy, not too sweet, just perfect. The pain de raisin was the most perfect l have ever had the pleasure of consuming. It was a cross between pain perdu and bread pudding, raisins were plump and was so good, would drive there daily for one. Thank you all for leading me here.

              13 Replies
              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                The owner is so sweet. My wife, a friend and I showed up an hour and a half after closing on Saturday. She happened to see us and opened the store and then proceeded to lay out a vast selection of pastries for us to choose from. It was a complete delight. I hope her commitment to excellence and her good cheer bring her much success.

                P.S. I forgot to mention that the quiche is superb. It's really not my thing but I was shocked at how good it is.

                1. re: CFishman

                  Had great goodies from Ooh la la again last Saturday, their savory offerings include a really good French Brie/prosciutto on their still warm baguette!!

                  My reason for posting is..... the owner said she was closing for vacation in August, as always I immediately forgot the dates, it is for 2 weeks, I think; if we go this wknd I will get specific dates and post.

                  1. re: CFishman

                    Another great experience at Ooh La La this past Saturday. The savory baguette sandwiches are fantastic. French Brie and prosciutto on still warm baguette was excellent!

                    The reason for this post is the owner mentioned she is closing for vacation for 2 weeks in August, I think. Of course she mentioned the exact dates, which I promptly forgot. If we go this weekend, I will post the dates, when her shop is closed.

                    1. re: ospreycove

                      Update......Ooh La La will be closed for vacation 1 August to 18 August; I stopped in today and the owner said after they return from France, they will be opening earlier and also open on Sundays. That is a good move on their part.

                      1. re: ospreycove

                        We had the pleasure of visiting Ooh la La last week when we were in town and I really think we should convince her to move the bakery to Tampa! We had croissants and coffee for breakfast and then took some goodies back to our hotel and the beach. We bought a baguette, apricot french flan, chocolate cake, and 2 sandwiches. Salmon and brie and ham and brie on baguette. I think that may have been the best chocolate cake I have ever had and I loved the crust on the flan. I liked that none of the desserts were overly sweet and that the bread had the right amount of salt. Everything was simple and delicious and gorgeous. The owner said they will be expanding their menu later in the Fall to include breakfast. The line is going to be around the block at this place once season hits!

                        1. re: rhnault

                          Don't you dare even mention Tampa to her...we love her just were she is!

                          1. re: Mother of four

                            LOL, I thought that might get a reaction out of you. She is fantastic and you guys are lucky to have her. We had such a nice visit to your town and Ooh La La was a definite highlight for us.

                            1. re: rhnault

                              We have to figure out the proprietress's name. We are all too much in love for this she/her business. I can't wait to find out about the expanded menu. I am also dying to try a crepe.

                              1. re: CFishman

                                Maybe we can figure out her name from the FB fan page.

                                1. re: CFishman

                                  Do let us know. Do you know if she knows about this forum?

                                  1. re: Mother of four

                                    Mom0'4 yes, the owner,Teresa Bencie, (she) is aware of the favorable "press" she gets on CH, did not know it existed until she was told that Ooh La La was mentioned. Teresa's personality, passion for what she does and all encompassing friendliness makes this shop a true gem. A far cry from the "treatment" one receives at the french bakery/cafe on Main Street. It is about time "C'est La Vie got some superior competition in products; as well as SERVICE AND ATTITUDE!!!
                                    I know that Ooh La La will be the #1 Bakery and Cafe,when it expands, in Sarasota!!!

                                2. re: rhnault

                                  Come back again and we will gladly give you other great places to go to. Sarasota is a great place to live, even though I'm only there for seven months, really can't stand the heat although it's about 83 here in MI at the moment...not normal and I hate it.

                                  1. re: Mother of four

                                    Oooh La La is only about an hour and 20 from my house in Tampa so I can see some Sat visits in the future. We also visited Bologna cafe, Javier's, and the Broken Egg.

                                    -----
                                    Broken Egg Restaurant
                                    140 Avenida Messina, Sarasota, FL 34242

                    2. Just tried their lemon tart-Ooh La La !

                      19 Replies
                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        I am very jealous!

                        1. re: rhnault

                          WOW! WOW! and WOW!
                          Went to Ooh La La to show a friend where it was today, we had a "snack" of a chocolate croissant, almond croissant and...........A PASSION FRUIT MOUSSE LAYER CAKE!!! this was an instant top 5 of all time for me!! I asked the owner, Teresa, what made it so good, she said, "After a big dinner this is a very good dessert, not too sweet and very light, most people do not know a lot about Passion Fruit in the U,S, It is my signature cake." She made a believer out of me!!!

                          1. re: ospreycove

                            Well, in another month we will be back, so I shall make it one of my first stops!!

                            1. re: Mother of four

                              I'll be back this Sunday......
                              Can't wait to try this Layer Cake.......

                              1. re: irwin

                                Irwin, Teresa sells it in portions, cut like a Napoleon, forgot to mention there is a big juicy fresh raspberry on top of each slice. Why did I say that? Now, I am going back for more tomorrow!!!

                                1. re: ospreycove

                                  Thanks a million. Seems like this owner knows their baking and how to make items look pretty. I know all their products are excellent. I know they are also trying hard to make it profitable and wish them lots of luck. This board surely loves the place, and can't wait til next week to see all the new items they have added since I left in June.......

                                  1. re: irwin

                                    I wonder if she has hooked up with any of the hotels and condos on Siesta Key. It really is a quick drive to her place from the Key. At least is was from where we stay.Those baguette sandwiches are PERFECT for the beach.

                                    1. re: rhnault

                                      We picked up the baguettes and she made us the fantastic choc mousse cake for a going away party at the beach in May...it was all perfect!!

                                      1. re: Mother of four

                                        that cake is amazing

                                  2. re: ospreycove

                                    Just got back to Sarasota, and my first stop was, you know who!!! I introduced myself to her as Mother of Four and she knew the name...lovely woman. Bought two tarts and a baguette for dinner tonight to share with friends who brought a casserole over for dinner. Looking forward to both as I know they are fabulous. By the way, she said that Irwin and I were the only two that introduced our selves, so step it up Chowhounds. She also said that her husband is the one that reads this forum....so hi to the hubby!!!

                                    1. re: Mother of four

                                      Dear Husband, please open a bakery in Tampa ;-)

                                      1. re: rhnault

                                        We can't wait until the bakery expands into the space next door; Then you will be able to enjoy their good coffee and unmatched patisserie in their cafe!!!!! Until then it is load up on the goods for use at home. They are opening on Sunday starting tomorrow 30 October2011................

                                        1. re: ospreycove

                                          Not that anyone cares, but I am on my way there this very moment. I am so excited to be headed back.

                                          1. re: CFishman

                                            Cfishman, while you are in the area, take a look at the trattoria that Panificio just opened next to their Pizza place, have not been to the new part of the operation yet.

                                            1. re: ospreycove

                                              Osprey, thanks for pointing this out about Il Panificio's expansion. I will have to find a way to fit that into my next visit to Sarasota. I really like Il Panificio's pizza, so I would love to see what they can do with other Italian food. The passion fruit cake was great at Ooh La La. I have attached a picture for those who haven't made it back for this yet.

                                               
                                               
                                              1. re: CFishman

                                                CFishman To clarify I am talking about the 2nd location of Il Panaficio, in Gulf Gate, the new Trattoria is part of that one, not the original on Main St.

                                                1. re: ospreycove

                                                  Osprey, I understood. I didn't notice the address that Chowhound added. Removing it now.

                                                  1. re: CFishman

                                                    Somehow, I didn't realize that Ooh La La was closed on Mondays. This gave me a chance to go back to Small Batch and I have to say they are bringing some competition. I had a honey bun and a blueberry crumble cake. Both were great. I was sorry that I had to forego the raspberry pinwheel and the candied bacon croissant. I hope the neighborhood can support both places. Either one would be the best bakery in Tampa hands-down.

                                                    1. re: CFishman

                                                      So funny, I just came on to post the same thing. I was surprised when I drove up not to see any cars. I guess since they are staying open on Sunday they decided to close on Mondays. I too went to Small Batch and got a loaf of his bread of the day and it is marvelous. I saw that honey bun and was very tempted, but I was oh so good! Sad!!! Guess we will have to spread our wealth between the two.
                                                      Tell me when you're going to be there next, and we'll meet!!!

                        2. My favorite, so far, are the fruit tarts. My second favorite are the napoleans. I love that the napolean pastry is always fresh and crispy; there is just the right amount of custard. So, often at other bakeries, a napolean has soggy pastry and custard that tastes like artificial vanilla pudding. At OLL, it is the real deal. Everything is fabulous that I have tried (except for perhaps the flan that I had last week...that was the only so-so item I had to date.). The last time I stopped in, there were no fruit tarts left. Teresa offered to make me one as she said she was starting to prepare a new batch. Very accommodating. I keep meaning to try the quiche and sandwiches but I am too tempted by the pastries!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Shoshanna88

                            Shoshanna see the other thread, would you like to join fellow Hounders in a Gulf Gate crawl on 17 December at 12:00 noon?
                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/767533

                            1. re: ospreycove

                              Surprised they let this post remain!;).

                              1. re: Mother of four

                                Hurray for attorneys and law suits..........

                            2. re: Shoshanna88

                              Sandwiches are delicious.

                            3. Folks, we have removed a number of posts from this thread that involved organizing a meet up. Please review our guidelines for organizing events, which you will find here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3676...

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                Thanks to Teresa for providing the motivation to get us all together yesterday. Perhaps it is better that I live 50 miles away from these tarts.

                                 
                              2. Sadly this bakery closed for good last week.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Sunfire

                                  Yeah I saw their Facebook post. That's really sad. I hope they will be OK and can re-open

                                  1. re: rhnault

                                    Ooh La La has re-opened, according to these discussions:

                                    www.chow.com/topics/895428
                                    www.chow.com/topics/903083