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Jul 16, 2011 09:35 AM

The Croissant Chronicles

I probably will not eat another croissant for a month .... yeah right! I have been on the search for the best croissant in the GTA. So for those who are curious about the current state of croissantage (yes, I made that up) near and not so far, please bear with me.

The classic butter croissant is the object of evaluation. I didn't bother with the Pain au Chocolat or any other variant. Most were purchased in the morning, right at opening. In one expedition, I went to 6 shops within a two hour span. I am slightly nuts. Anyway, here is the list of places I have gone to in the past few months:

Clafouti (Toronto)
Nadege (Toronto)
Brick Street Bakery (Toronto)
Croissant Tree (Oakville)
French Corner Bakery (Mississauga)
Patisserie D'Or (Oakville)
Patisserie St. Honore (Etobicoke)
Ma Maison (Etobicoke)
La Bamboche (Toronto)
Rahier (Toronto)
Thobors (Toronto)
Jules Patisserie (Toronto)
Patachou (Toronto)
Petite Thuet (Toronto)
Pain Perdu (Toronto)

Results in brief:

Flakiest and Crispiest Exterior : Nadege
Strongest Butter Taste : Jules
Best Balanced: Patisserie D'Or

Clafouti : Clafouti's croissants had a medium butter flavor, a soft relatively bready interior, golden color, and medium crisp exterior. Grade: B+

Nadege : Nadege's croissants are definitely top notch. Excellent layering with a brown, crispy exterior. Medium butter flavor. The interior is soft but is lost to the crispy exterior. Grade: A

Croissant Tree : Croissant Tree's croissants have excellent technique when it comes to layering. What it needs though, is more butter. For a croissant that doesn't use much butter though, it's impressive how much flavor they are able to achieve. Grade: C

Patisserie D'Or : Patisserie D'Or's croissants in my opinion have the best balance of layering, exterior crispness, interior moistness and softness, and butter flavor. You can feel the butter when you hold it and bite into it, but it isn't overwhelming. It also has excellent pull. I would rate their croissants as the best in the GTA. Grade: A+

Brick Street Bakery : Brick Street's croissants have, just like Patisserie D'Or, great balance. The croissant is simply well made and is of a high standard. Excellent exterior crispness, layering, and color, soft interior, and a nice but not overpowering buttery flavor. Grade: A

Patisserie St. Honore : The croissant of this long standing shop are light and buttery. Layering needs a bit of work. The last time I tried their croissants it seemed like the butter leached out and fried it, which was reflected in the bottom exterior. Still, tasted pretty good, though a tad sweet. Reminded me of my early attempts at making croissants. Grade: B

French Corner Bakery : French Corner Bakery's croissants have good layering, but the exterior needs more crackle. They need more butter and the interior is relatively dry. Grade: B-

Ma Maison : See French Corner Bakery and add "a bit salty". Grade: B-

Rahier : Rahier's croissants have a relatively soft cream colored interior, are medium flaky, have moderate layering, and medium crispness. Medium butter flavor and relatively flat shape. Grade: A-

Jules Patisserie : Jules' croissant has all the characteristics of a great croissant. Strong butter flavor, excellent exterior crispness that holds up and shatters when you take a bite, excellent layering, a nice yellow and soft interior, wonderful pull and baked to a nice brownish color. Some people may find it too buttery or greasy, but I'm not complaining. Hands down the best in the city. Grade: A+

La Bamboche : La Bamboche's croissants had okay layering, lacked a bit more exterior crunch, and had a relatively bready interior. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed with their product given their reputation. Grade : B

Thobors : Thobor's croissants have a relatively soft, whitish interior, a mild butter flavor and medium flakiness. Quite expensive relative to the others. Really not worth it. Grade : B

Petite Thuet : Petite Thuet's croissant were one of the bigger ones of the bunch. Excellent layering, with medium crispness. Relatively dry interior and a mild butter flavor. Grade: B

Pain Perdu: Pain Perdu's heralded croissants had good layering but had a dry, rather hard exterior. They obviously don't like using much egg wash. The interior was dry and had a medium butter flavor. They bake to a nice brown color which results in a bit of a nutty flavor undertone. Grade: B

Patachou : Patachou's croissants had a mild butter flavor, a soft interior, but lacked a bit more layering and more exterior crispness. Grade: B

Overall, it's a toss up between Patisserie D'Or of Oakville, and Jules Patisserie of Mt. Pleasant, Toronto. I would happily eat either one. The rest, apart from Nadege and Brick Street, unfortunately were quite forgettable. Those in the city have many optons, with Jules the undisputed leader. Those in GTA West need not venture into the city for great croissants since Patisserie D'Or is in the area.

1586 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

Pain Perdu
736 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON M6C, CA

1120 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4W, CA

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

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

627 Mt Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S, CA

915 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

Petite Thuet
244 King St E, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

Brick Street Bakery
1969 Queen St E, Toronto, ON , CA

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  1. Montmarte Bakery makes some great croissants, I love em!

    3 Replies
    1. re: jmarcroyal

      Oh stop tempting me! Montmarte is next on the schedule together with Epi Breads and Patisserie La Cigogne. :D

      1626 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

      Epi Breads
      1526 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

      1. re: uberathlete

        I think they are open today til 5...

        Hmm, I might have to stop by!

        Grab a soft pretzel as well, and try not to be too tempted by their fresh streudels!

        1. re: uberathlete

          Thanks for your review and please update your list once you go to those bakeries. I go to Epi and Rahier as they are within a close walk to me, but your list makes me want to go to Jules!

          1586 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

      2. Whoa nellie. Thanks for taking the time to do this! I also really like Jules' croissants. I will try Nadège's sometime, as it's easier for me to get to than Jules.

        My favourite croissants of all time go to Tartine in SF and Cafe Besalu in Seattle.

        1. Great report! My friend just got back from France and was complaining about the quality of croissants here so I will send him to some of these places!

          1 Reply
          1. re: gastrojunkie

            The best of Toronto are pretty mediocre compared to the croissants in France. Somewhere like Jules is passable, but doesn't really hit the mark. Croissants are one of the things that I just don't bother eating here; if I have enough of a craving, I make them myself.

            That being said, if he's not a total croissant snob, Jules, Nadège, Daniel et Daniel, etc. all have perfectly palatable croissants. They just aren't excellent croissants.

            Daniel et Daniel
            248 Carlton St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

          2. At Last! I have been telling anyone that would listen for years now that Patisserie D'or's are the best. (They are also two of the nicest people you will ever meet, )

            If you want to try the other variations, their chocolate/almond will make you weak in the knees!

            1. Nice list! I have fond memories of the plain croissant at Bonjour Brioche. (though I haven't had one in a few months). Agree on Jules, with Nadege right up there.

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

              1 Reply
              1. re: doji

                I'll second the Bonjour Brioche. Excellent croissant.