You told us your favorites, and we’ve listened: there are eight finalist bakeries in the battle to become the best croissant of San Francisco. The final competition will take place on April 8, at Le Colonial restaurant, in Nob Hill, starting at 12pm. You can enjoy croissants, pains aux chocolat, and other pastries, accompanied by jam, tea, coffee and other small sweets. A brunch menu is also available for those who prefer to sit back and relax while their food is brought to them.
All the viennoiseries presented by the finalist bakeries are made by hand on site in their bakeries. The jury, made up of professionals and food enthusiasts, will choose the best croissant and the best pain au chocolat after a blind taste test. May the best bakery win!
The finalists as chosen by Frenchly and French Morning readers are:
Jane the Bakery
Opened in December 2016, Jane the Bakery is just one of the Jane boulangeries in San Francisco (there’s one on Fillmore and one on Larkin). They offer a full line of freshly baked breads, pastries, and sandwiches. Everything is baked from scratch daily using the highest quality ingredients. Their baking style leans heavily on French traditions with a Californian focus on flavors and seasonal offerings.
Kahnfections, located in the Mission District, opened its doors in May 2017. Pastry chef Judy Kahn offers a wide variety of classic French pastries, old-school American desserts and fun, seasonally inspired treats. This tiny neighborhood café-bakery also offers made-to-order biscuit sandwiches, fresh salads, and house-made soup.
This boulangerie, opened in 2011 by Belinda Leong and Michel Suas, has a menu made up of modern French-style pastries made with American flavors. The founders’ vision is to bring San Francisco a refined yet modern salon de thé with a selection of pastries including cakes, individual entremets, tartelettes, macarons, and viennoiseries. They also offer sandwiches and tartines made on levain bread.
The Midwife and the Baker
Mac and Jaime McConnell are at the heart of this bakery which supplies the Bay Area with fresh milled, naturally leavened breads and pastries. The bakery sources grain from California farmers and mills flour on site to capture maximum flavor and nutrition. Mac also teaches baking at the San Francisco Baking Institute, and Jaime is a midwife, as the name of their bakery suggests.
Le Marais Bakery
Opened in 2013 in the Marina, this bakery run by Patrick Ascaso is, above all, a family business. The team uses organic ingredients from local farmers, and French butter. With another store in Ghirardelli Square and one in Castro, Ascaso is considering several other development projects for these bakeries that have so quickly won over their customers.
Founded in 2012 by baker Greg Mindel and his wife Christine, Neighbor Bakehouse is all about making delicious morning viennoiseries and sourdough breads, served with cups of coffee and tea. Their style is rooted in tradition, and accented with some twists. In 2015, they opened the doors on 3rd Street in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood.
At 280 5th Street, in “the laboratory,” every single viennoiserie is fresh and homemade with locally-sourced organic ingredients. Each treat is shaped by hand, respecting the artisan style. All of the products you will find at Les Gourmands are based on family recipes. Sylvain Chaillout, the CEO, followed in his father’s footsteps and is the 5th generation of bakers in his family. As for the decor, you can credit the French artist Nairone for the handy work.
This Richmond District business opened three years ago. Its owner, Armando Lacayo, has been living in the United States for over 25 years. He’s always had a passion for croissants. To achieve perfection in his baked goods, he uses locally grown flour, whole milk, yeast, and butter, rich in fat. The pains aux chocolat are made with Valrhona chocolate, ensuring a delicious and melted texture.