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Who makes the most authentic pain au chocolat in Toronto?

cardamom Nov 29, 2003 12:14 PM

I was reading Joanne Kates' review today of Clafoutis. She loves the almond croissants but dislikes their pain au chocolat. Where can I find the most authentic ones in Toronto? I've had the ones at Michel's baguettes. While they are tasty and incredibly rich, they are not authentic. They are too filling, too hearty, too "North American"...

  1. r
    Richard Nov 29, 2003 02:43 PM

    I am not a fan of pain au chocolat myself, but my 18 year old daughter, who loves them, swears by Bonjour Brioche on Queen E.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Richard
      julesrules Nov 13, 2006 01:03 PM

      I like these too, but the only time I've managed to get one I was there by 9am. On a weekday. And they only had one left. And they gave me attitude about it (as only they can!)

      So if anyone makes a special trip, call ahead and order /ask that they put some aside.

    2. f
      Frances in Toronto Nov 30, 2003 08:48 PM

      there is a fantastic authentic french bakery on the north side of St. Clair West, just a bit west of Christie (within walking distance), which the owners and a lot of the clientele speak french. i do not know if they make pain au chocolat but i wouldn't doubt it. definitely very authentic french bakery.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Frances in Toronto
        mainja Nov 11, 2006 02:45 PM

        i realize this is going back three years, but... does anyone know the name of this place? i'm assuming frances is talking about pain perdu?

        1. re: Frances in Toronto
          cocolou Nov 27, 2007 09:17 AM

          Sounds ultra yummy. Do you have a name for that store? Thanks?

          1. re: cocolou
            pearlD Nov 27, 2007 04:25 PM

            That place is still around and thriving, in fact 'booming'...it is called
            PAIN PERDUE and it is at 736 St. Clair Ave. West (west of Bathurst but don't remember the closest intersectection) phone 416:7246.
            I can't personally vouch for it but everytime I have tried to go in, the place is packed.

            1. re: pearlD
              wontonfm Dec 8, 2007 11:17 AM

              it's just west of Christie.

        2. t
          Tina12 Dec 1, 2003 07:50 AM

          In my opinion Rahier makes the best pain au chocolat. I usually get them at Le Gourmand on Spadina south of Queen. All their croissants are delicious. Just the right size and flaky not doughy.

          1. j
            jcanncuk Nov 11, 2006 03:39 PM

            Pain Perdu on St Clair W @ Christie has excellent pain au chocolat (& crossant des amandes!) & everything else they make. They are French (& speak French) and it's all very, very buttery - yum. FYI - get there early , they close early (maybe 4ish) & often run out.

            1. c
              CChan126 Nov 12, 2006 11:48 PM

              My husband loves the pain au chocolat at Patachou at Yonge & MacPherson. In fact, all of their croissants are phenomenal.

              1 Reply
              1. re: CChan126
                Katie Crysdale Nov 14, 2006 12:12 AM

                Several years ago I was excited to be moving back to Toronto precisely *because* of Patachou, but honestly I've found they've branched out too far (in their menu) and neglected what they are supposed to do best: croissants.

                If you've had authentic, buttery pain before than this is not the place to go. If you want a huge bowl of cafe au lait and a panini or mixed salad, in a chic be-seen Rosedale environment, then sure...maybe it's ok. But if you're getting up at 8am on a Saturday just to bring home the bread to read with your morning paper, I would seriously consider going elsewhere.

              2. s
                sweetspotlee Nov 14, 2006 04:01 AM

                Not sure if it's the best, but it has to be a top contender: the pain au chocolat at Jules (on Mt. Pleasant). I have been taking a little croissant/pain tour of the city and have to say that Jules rates very highly on both. However, Clafouti wins on the butter croissant - I think theirs is the best I've had so far. In an another thread, I declared Pain Perdu as the best croissant, but now I'm retracting it - too flaky. Clafouti is the perfect blend of crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM! And I would agree that their pain au chocolat is nothing special -- definitely try Jules.

                2 Replies
                1. re: sweetspotlee
                  Snarf Nov 15, 2007 07:42 AM

                  Interesting to note that in this historical discussion, some of the places have changed. Jules on Mount Pleasant used to be Tournayre on Queen, and before that was in partnership with Rahier about the time of the previous posts.

                  On another note, Patisserie La Cicogne makes excellend p au c. As does Jules.

                  1. re: sweetspotlee
                    JonasBrand Nov 20, 2007 06:34 AM

                    I second Jules (on Mount Pleasant). Awesome Pain au Chocolat.

                  2. d
                    dr_t Nov 15, 2007 06:13 AM

                    wow, thanks everyone for the suggestions. i'm definitely going to try some of these suggestions. after having been to montreal and having their croissants everywhere in toronto is a disappointment. the best ones i've found so far (though i haven't had a chance to go to the french bakeries suggested by other users) is at ezra's pound, who has croissants made by wanda's pie in the sky. they're good.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: dr_t
                      pistachio peas Nov 18, 2007 06:11 PM

                      not sure about the "authenticity" but ezra's pound on dupont makes a great one. best to go by 10 am though.

                    2. JonasBrand Nov 20, 2007 07:00 AM


                      617 Mt Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S, CA

                      1. LovelyAsia Nov 29, 2007 10:10 AM

                        My friend and I went looking for the "Best Pain au Chocolat" (and Croissants) a few months ago and we stopped by 6 different shops and ranked our favourites.

                        For us Atelier Thuet in Liberty Village was the hands down winner - for both pain au chocolat and croissants. My friend who lived in Paris years ago, said the pain au chocolat at Thuet was "perfect".

                        In a tie for second was Pain Perdu on St. Clair West and Le Comptoir de Celestin on Mount Pleasant. (On a side note, Celestin also has an incredible lemon tart, more puffy and eggy than the typical lemon curd in a crust you normally see and is the best I have ever tasted


                        Third place went to Patachou - which has two locations, one on Yonge Street and one on St. Clair West. I agree with another poster who said they have branched out too much - they were once THE PLACE in Toronto for French pastry - now, they are more about the yuppies.

                        Fourth place to Rahier - which has the prettiest pastry selection of all the places we visited, and the prettiest packaging.

                        Last place, without question, for both of us was Clafouti. The staff were nice and friendly, so we really wanted to like their stuff, but both the chocolat and the croissant were disappointing - if you like a really bready texture, and milky chocolate, you would like Clafouti. The one area Clafouti won was on size - both the pain au Chocolat and the croissant were huge.

                        I think everyone has their own preferences, and you have to go out and try the different places until you find your favourite! For some people, the attitude of staff can make a difference - in which case, it often depends on the staff that day - and if they have that true Parisian french snobby attitude, which I believe is something some of them pride themselves in!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: LovelyAsia
                          echeng25 Dec 8, 2007 04:23 AM

                          My wife and I have been to all of the ones listed in this thread, and luckily our preferences seem to match; we like Celestin best because we like flaky/crispy; we're not fans of the Clafouti big doughy/chewy type. Not french at all but you all should try Wagamama, which is on King West past Bathurst. It is actually Japanese, but you have to get there fairly early because they do run out. If you have it there, they will usually warm it up for you and it is really great.

                        2. Maimonides Dec 9, 2007 05:42 AM

                          I just want to put in another plug for Patisserie la Cigogne. I think their pain au chocolat is the best. They also have the best baguettes in the city; completely superior to anything anywhere else. On weekends, it is a pleasant but small cafe for brunch or breakfast.
                          And their artisan desserts...well, you need to try them for yourself!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Maimonides
                            muffin_top Feb 23, 2008 11:05 AM

                            I know this is going back quite awhile; but after working for some time at a higher end patisserie in Toronto, I've learned that Patachou actually supplies places like Clafouti with croissants. Just an interesting FYI!

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