Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Apr 19, 2012 10:38 AM

Best East Bay Bakery

What's your favorite East Bay Bakery?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. Acme bakery - I live a few blocks from the Berkeley location. Even if I wasnt that close, I would still buy from them - consistently good.

      La Farine - Morning bun, croissants, hot cross buns, challah, sourdough baguettes. I go to their Solano store when im nearby.

      Cheeseboard/Arizmendi - I think they're hit or miss. But, I live nearby and they have several good breads/pastries.

      Vital Vittles - I really like three of their breads - seed/nut, sesame millet, and their apple/nut. They also make this banana/chocolate cake that is deadly but delicious.

      I put hopkins street bakery, virginia bakery, octoberfeast (whose bakery is located in SF, but they sell their breads at their Univ store), feel good bakery (get their focaccia), the bread workshop, semi freddies (i like their challah and cinnamon bread), and the bread garden a tier below (but, they have certain items i do like). im fortunate enough to live within walking/biking distance to all these bakeries except feel good in alameda...and i still can get most of their breads and pastries from their stand at the JLS farmers market on Sunday.

      I guess my main answer is that if i want sliced bread, i go to vital vittles. if i want baguettes/whole loaves/artisan breads, i go to acme. pastries i go to farine and arizmendi/cheeseboard. and i go to the others if 1.) im nearby and/or 2.) im dying for one of their specialty items.

      1 Reply
      1. re: majordanby

        I live three miles from Acme, but usually go there to buy bread since it's the freshest.

        I believe Vital Vittles makes only two doughs, whole wheat and sourdough rye. The variations are just adding extra things. The millet adds a nice crunch. I find their cakes leaden and gummy.

      2. Bread: Acme

        Desserts, depending on desire/need: Masse's for cakes, cookies and very special treats; Crixa for some kinds of pie, chocolate mousse, rugelach and other selected treats, La Farine for morning buns and chocolate croissants, and perhaps Katrina Rozelle for reliably good cakes that can be decorated however you'd like (with a long lead time and high price).

        13 Replies
        1. re: milklady

          La Farine also makes first-rate French-style fruit tarts.

          La Bedaine is good at most of the same things La Farine is.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Good reminder about Le Bedaine. It is always worth sampling what they have available.

            I sometimes like La Farine's fruit tarts, but they're often made with underripe, out of season fruits, so I am careful with what I order there.

            1. re: milklady

              I am a huge fan of Le Farine. I'll have to try Le Bedaine, but to me, Le Farine is right up there with Amandine for top bakeries on the West Coast.

              1. re: meellerbee

                We just tried several items from Le Bedaine - apple tarts, fig tarts, chocolate tart, plain and chocolate croissants, palmiers, financiers. We were very disappointed. Low quality butter with little flavor, dry texture on both tart pastry and croissants. Palmiers also low quality butter - we greatly mourn the passing of Philippe's Patisserie/SF, who made stunningly great palmiers. Financiers are super-sweet, but a decent orange flavor.

                Overall, croissants are vastly inferior to Parker-Lusseau/Monterey. Their fruit tarts and chocolate tarts are also inferior to the new Borgo Italia/Oakland.

                1. re: jaiko

                  Yes, Philippe's made the best palmier. I am thinking that his successor, Bonjour Patisserie (crappy name), is using his recipes, but things don't seem quite the same. The pear frangipane are still good and I like the Russian teacakes.

                  I was underwhelmed by La Bedaine's fig tart, but the quiche and the madeleines were quite good.

                  You might try Greens-to-go's pastries. They do wonderful things with chocolate: brownies and pudding-like chocolate crunch cookies. They do a nice fruit crisp too, but no bread.

                  1. re: chocolatetartguy

                    Phillipe is back in business,, but mostly wholesale. In the "find us" tab, there's a Richmond cafe location listed as carrying Philippe's creations. I know this list is not complete, at least for the San Francisco side. The other half and I gobbled through a pack of mini palmiers this weekend at an SF cafe. Divine.

                    1. re: mocha

                      Here's the correct link for "find us",

                      And the listing for the East Bay cafe:

                      Cafe Pascal
                      2181 Meeker Avenue
                      Richmond, CA 94804
                      Hours: 6:00am - 8:00pm daily

                        1. re: mocha

                          Do you recall the name of the cafe in San Francisco you visited this weekend that's not listed?

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            It's across the street and down a bit from Japantown.

                            Yakini Q cafe
                            1640 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115
                            (415) 441-9292

                            It's a great, quiet space with jazz softly playing, tables along the walls and cushy furniture in the middle. The counter guy we talked to was a big fan of Phillipe's. He had macarons, croissants, diamante cookies and a bunch of other stuff.

                        2. re: Melanie Wong

                          Thank you, Melanie - this Richmond cafe is so going on our list of places to try! I will call before going to see if they carry Philippe's palmiers, though. Nobody else's even comes close, LOL.

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              I called YakiniQ cafe and they do sell Phillipe's Diamant cookies $6.50/bag & Mini Palmiers $6.50/bag, I took a pic back in Sept 2013. They have a $10 minimum to use credit cards! I like getting Nutella Latte $3.95 there. If there's other places that have Nutella Latte hope others share.

          2. I went into the Hopkins Street bakery for the first time in a few years (since I "got over" their jelly donuts). The prices seemed lower than I remembered. I bought a loaf of bread that seemed homemade, in a good way: very yeasty, rustically shaped, with a thin, light crust. It actually reminded me of the bread my grandmother used to make. Not at all like Acme, but nice for a change.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Glencora

              I had heard that Hopkins was under new ownership fairly recently. As a result a few new items are showing up now. Can anyone verify?

            2. Hopkins Bakery's Pain au Lait is the reason to go there (perhaps that's the one you got that reminded you of your grandmother's)--the rest, not so special. The service consistently lousy.

              Crixa for cakes and pies (when it gets to be fall, I start dreaming about their pumpkin)--and just being there makes me happy.

              Cheeseboard for Sunday Bread and baguette, esp. when the latter is still warm

              Acme for Pain Epi, Upstairs Bread, levain

              Masse's and Katrina Rozelle's cakes are beautiful for special occasions--lots of people are wild about Masse's chocolate cake w/ shards of hardened chocolate architecturally arrayed; and I find that glam, but not esp. tasty

              On the fruit tart debate: I agree re La Farine's use of out-of-season fruit--resulting in the fact that while they are always beautiful, sometimes their tarts are tasty, sometimes more pretty than tasty, always a good crust--and coincidentally just had Le Bedaine fruit tarts for the first time this weekend @ a party--the fig was delicious, figgy and custardy, w/ a nice crust--the apple, blah.