From a patisserie serving flaky croissants that rival what you’ll find in Paris to a bakeshop with Russian cakes built from a whopping twelve layers, here are 8 noteworthy bakeries in San Francisco where you can indulge your sweet tooth.
From the moment you lay your eyes on the gleaming marble counter with impeccably presented sweets, you know you’re in a wonderland of French-inspired pastry. And that’s because owner Belinda Leong staged (apprenticed) with the legendary Pierre Hermé in Paris. While everything Leong creates is delicate yet indulgent, it’s her kouign-amanns, flaky Breton pastries with caramelized sugar, that locals can’t stop gushing about.
Until owners and best friends Anna Derivi-Castellanos and Lenore Estrada move their thriving pie business into their highly coveted digs at the Ferry Building in February, you can purchase their seasonal, super-flaky, all-butter crust creations online and at The Ferry Market on Saturdays. The flavors range from traditional (like apple and key lime) to highly original (like olallieberry buttermilk and Fromage blanc with green garlic).
Under the care of Chad Robertson, humble bread takes on a cult status. Every day, he bakes 250 country loaves, beloved for their signature craggy crust and subtly tart and super moist crumb, and makes them available at 5 every evening. If you can’t get your hands on one – they typically sell out within an hour – try a morning bun, croissant or anything else, because everything is exemplary.
Owner Greg Mindel taught at the San Francisco Baking Institute before striking out on his own to open in the trendy Dogpatch neighborhood earlier this year. As you might guess given his culinary background and scientific approach to baking, practically everything Mindel bakes is faultless. His flaky, buttery, and super tender croissants are arguably the city’s finest.
Inspired by cafes in Vienna, Budapest, and Prague, this charming spot by pastry chef Michelle Pollen in Hayes Valley specializes in Eastern European delicacies such as linzertorte, babka, and the best-selling Russian honey cake. Comprised of a whopping 10-12 layers of cake and frosting, it’s as easy on the eyes as it is on the palate.
This newly-opened second C&W outpost in Russian Hill might be smaller than its first location in the Mission, but it is equally sleek and sophisticated. Dig into Chef William Werner’s original and savory baked creations, like The Rebel Within. Think house made sausage, asiago cheese, green onion, and a soft cooked egg – stuffed into a fluffy muffin.
As the name implies, you’ll find all things French and scrumptious here. Drop by for a decadent chocolate-banana croissant or a loaf of rustic levain, but linger for a heartier bite – think thoughtfully-prepared salads, sandwiches, and toasts – at the adjacent bistro.
To get your hands one of the wildly popular cruffins – a sugary, flaky cross between a muffin and a croissant – you’ll have to suffer the obscenely long lines. You’ll also have to get there before they sell out. But because only two cruffins are allowed per customer, consider adding to your order a savory California croissant, stuffed with smoked salmon, seaweed, wasabi and pickled ginger.