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Jun 30, 2012 11:38 PM

Macarons in Los Angeles?

Is there any place to get good macarons in Los Angeles?

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  1. I know you're French, so my idea of what a good macaron might not meet your ideals, but I've had good macaron from Le Pain du Jour in Santa Monica.

    [Edit: Uh, apparently they moved to Hawthorne? Does anyone know if they're still selling out of their SM storefront?]

    I've heard conflicting reviews of the macarons at Amandine, but their other French pastries are supposed to be top-notch (I've had their croissant, and it is one of the better croissants I've had).

    I've heard great things about Maison Giraud but have never been personally. Google Cache shows a post for Mother's Day mentioning French macarons, but it's not on their live Facebook timeline for some reason.

    21 Replies
    1. re: PeterCC

      Most of us can search online. I'll comment on macarons I've actually tried.

      My favorite macarons so far has been 'lette in Pasadena, Europane in Pasadena, and my best pick these days are the macarons from Frances Bakery in Little Tokyo.

      Surprisingly to me, Amandine's are just passable. Maison Giraud's are decent, but nothing to write home about.

      1. re: J.L.

        > Most of us can search online. I'll comment on macarons I've actually tried.

        I know, and I try not to just be a human search engine in my responses, but since I'm not even sure my macaron standards will be up to snuff for someone actually from France, I thought I'd offer a few alternatives that I haven't tried but where the reputation for quality French food had been established by other Chowhounders' experiences. In other words, more meta-analysis than LMGTFY.

        As I said, I have had the macarons at Le Pain Du Jour, which I've enjoyed (FWIW), and I have had other excellent French pastries at Amandine. It's disappointing that the latter's macarons are just passable.

        1. re: PeterCC

          "... I'm not even sure my macaron standards will be up to snuff for someone actually from France... "

          It doesn't have to be up to snuff for someone from France. It just has to be good enough for your taste buds to recommend it to another Chowhound. But to do that, you have to try the macaron first. That's all I meant. Sorry if it sounded harsh. So thanks for your Le Pain du Jour rec - I just might go and try that myself one of these days...

          1. re: J.L.

            No worries. Just wanted to clarify my position. I too prefer the personal experiences, opinions, and recommendations from my fellow Chowhounders, and do personally find comments that simply regurgitate search results, be they from Google, Yelp, or CH itself, to be generally un-useful. I guess I was just insecure about my sole rec and wanted to include a few more places I know to be Chow-worthy for other French baked goods.

            1. re: PeterCC

              Yeah, some do tend to do that...

        2. re: J.L.

          'lette started at Paulette* in BH and has expanded:

          Their macarons are not quite as good as Ladurée or Maison du Chocolate in Paris, or (my favorite) Yauatcha in London, but they are decent and widely available in the LA area now, even (last I checked) at Monsieur Marcel.

          * = presumably some obscure, parasitic legal firm sent a cease-and-desist letter, and Paulette just didn't want to fight it. It's the American way. :(

          1. re: Peripatetic

            Y'know what's weird about 'Lette?

            A box of two macarons (4.00) costs more than one macaron (1.70)

            And a box of six macrons (10.50) costs more than if you bought six individual ones (at 1.70/each)

            Better really enjoy those boxes ...

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Bizarre. Perhaps some lessons in basic numeracy are in order?

              I should mention that the last time I had Paulette macarons was probably three years ago, when they had just the BH store, so my take on them might be out-of-date. I wasn't blown away by them at the time, but I haven't found anything better in LA aside from Boule, which is long gone.

              As an aside, I looked up Yauatcha in London, and it seems they stopped making macarons around 2010, and have gone way downhill in other respects.. I haven't been there in over six years, so if you happen to be in London, don't make a bee-line for them on my recommendation. But, in their heyday, they were amazing.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Perhaps, if ordered individually, you have to hold your hands out. I didn't notice that on my one visit to 'Lette at Fashion Island.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I think they following the French model where they charge for (fancy) packaging. That being said, they've refused the sale of anything less than a box to me on multiple occasions on the past. Which annoyed me enough that I never go there.

                  I had quite good pistachio ones at Little Next Door the other day. They were a little "wet" tasting but the pistachio flavor was outstanding.

                  1. re: JudiAU

                    If you buy one, they give you a small, chinese takeout-like box.

              2. re: J.L.

                I've enjoyed Frances more so than Lette myself.

                1. re: JAB

                  Yeah, not too many people know about Frances in Little Tokyo. My sweetie gave me a bite of the lavender…amazing. I like to cool them in the fridge before eating. I heard the French look down on that.

                2. re: J.L.

                  +1 on the Euro Pane rec.

                  Love the Sea Salt and Caramel.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    I rarely disagree with ipse, but I was disappointed with Euro Pane's macarons. I don't think 'lette's are all that much better, though. The best I've had in LA were at Boule Atelier on La Cienega, but sadly they closed a long time ago -- around 2008 if I remember correctly.

                    1. re: Peripatetic

                      The best I ever had in the States was at Boule when they first opened, but they went drastically downhill after a couple of years, sometime around the remodel. I remember looking at a macaron I had just bought that featured a wildly bubbled top and mismatched bottom and thinking it was time to move on.

                      1. re: choctastic

                        Yeah. They were really lovely during the period that they were really lovely. Sigh, really imperfect place.

                  2. re: J.L.

                    Second J.L. recs. 'lette is my #1 (Little Tokyo branch). #2 would be Frances Bakery. Both store's macarons aren't too sweet and pack a lot of flavor.

                    Favorite flavors
                    'lette - earl grey
                    Frances - green tea

                    guess I love my teas...

                  3. re: PeterCC

                    I used to buy from Paulette in Beverly Hills ... but, after sampling Bottega Louie's, I have switched.

                    I always get half vanilla and half salted caramel.

                    BTW, also they go nicely with Stumptown Coffee Cold Brew in their refrigerated case. I have not found it anywhere else.

                    1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                      Stumptown Cold Brew also available at Sycamore Kitchen.

                      1. re: TonyC

                        Thank you.

                        I added it to my list yesterday.

                  4. Cafe Luxxe in Brentwood has macarons that i think are excellent...much better than ive tried elsewhere..I was leaving Whole Foods the other day and saw they had them...I tried one...baaaad and that does not mean good!

                    1. I've tried Bottega Louie in Downtown..absolutely amazing!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kssdrose

                        +1 on this rec for Bottega Louie!!! Go for dinner... stay for the macarons ;)


                      2. It's hard to make a bad macaroon. Is it the most universal dessert among the peoples of the world?

                        I'm a fan of the ones at Canter's mmmmm

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: echoparkdirt

                          Are you referring to macaron - two almond flour-based wafers sandwiching a filling - or macaroon - shredded/flaked coconut base?

                          If it's the latter, the best I've ever had was at Gjelina Take Away. Flaked coconut with a nice brown patina and just a hint of citrus - exceptional. If it's the former, I'd pick Jin Patisserie in Venice, but they have to be relatively fresh, and the flavors tend to be more SE Asian-inspired.

                        2. the best that i've tried in LA are lette in BH and jin patisserie on abbot kinney. the ones at bottega louie are good but not great and definitely #3 on this list.

                          bouchon bakery also makes them, but i haven't had a chance to try them...