Is it even the weekend without a coffee and a croissant? Before you brave a long line and start wondering if you’ll fade away before you get a latte, know what to order. The best croissants are always worth the wait: satisfying with an explosion of crisp crumbs and a soft and airy interior. Fortunately in the Bay Area, there are many places where you can get your fix. Here are the most flaky and buttery croissants in San Francisco and beyond, called out by the best one to order off each menu.Read More
Where to Find Flawlessly Flaky and Buttery Croissants in the San Francisco Bay Area
From classic butter to everything spice, don’t miss these croissants
Butter Croissant at Pâtisserie Rotha
Patisserie Rotha is the stuff of croissant rumors and legends in the East Bay, and it’s broken many hearts — the Albany bakery draws long lines on the weekends and when they sell out, they’re out and close up shop early. The bakery is known for big butter croissants, golden and puffed up to reveal distinct layers. But fans also love the kouign amann, with that crunchy sugar crust, and the pasteis de nata, the jiggly Portuguese egg tarts.
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Ham and Egg Croissant at Fournée Bakery
The East Bay refuses to be bested when it comes to croissants. Try to tell someone from Berkeley to go to Tartine, and they’ll say they have Fournée. Frank Sally is a former instructor at the San Francisco Baking Institute, and his layers are textbook. Several varieties sell out fast, but the ham and egg croissant, shaped like a cup and sprinkled with chives, is a heavenly one-handed breakfast.
Bacon, egg, and cheese croissant at Butter & Crumble
Butter & Crumble built itself up as a cake pop-up, but after a trip to Paris to further her baking skills, baker Sophie Smith has become one of the better croissant makers in town. Smith offers a number of croissant options, but the favorite is the bacon, egg, and cheese with a soft egg yolk at its center. Make sure to check out the seasonal croissants, such as a Father’s Day number that incorporated mustard, carnitas pork, honey ham, and Swiss cheese. It’s a pop-up for now at this Fillmore Street address, but already Smith has locked down a lease on a bakery in North Beach, so her croissants will soon be a permanent fixture in the city.
Kouign Amann at b. patisserie
Kouign amann swept the city a few years ago when everyone seemed to discover the charming little pastry from Brittany, which is similar to a croissant but crackles with layers of caramelized sugar. Thank Belinda Leong, award-winning pastry chef and queen of kouign. Flavors vary by season, but for a very San Francisco twist, try the pandan and black sesame variations, only available during Lunar New Year.
Smoked Salmon Croissant at Maison Danel
This Parisian-inspired patisserie and tea salon opened at the beginning of 2020, with an oversized chandelier hanging over the pastry case. Husband-and-husband partners Danel and David de Betelu previously owned Baker Street Bistro, and Danel is the chef, who takes pride in his slow-simmered beef stock, while David comes from brand marketing. The croissants are blonde and crisp, with a honeycomb interior and clean taste of butter. The indecisive can pick up a box of assorted minis, filled with everything from chocolate twists to raisin snails. But the smoked salmon sandwich is the standalone favorite, spread with whipped mascarpone and layered with lox.
Buckwheat Chocolate Croissant at Jane The Bakery
Pac Heights residents know the deal at their beloved coffee shop and bakery, setting their alarms early to snag a buckwheat chocolate croissant still warm from the oven. Whole grains add a surprising depth of flavor, and yes, there’s Valrhona chocolate involved. Jane has several different locations: The bakery is on Geary near Japantown, but it’s also possible to order pastries online and pick them up from their other locations, such as the ones on Fillmore or Larkin.
Butter Croissant at Arsicault Bakery
A favorite neighborhood bakery way out in the Richmond District with a newer in-post in the Tenderloin, Arsicault has been hopping every weekend since Bon Appétit named it the best new bakery in the country in 2016. Fans insist it’s the flakiest croissant in town. Go for the classic if you live for pure butter.
Almond Croissant at Thorough Bread and Pastry
With a prime location at Church and Market, this humble bakery has an impressive pedigree: Owner Michel Suas, originally from France and a partner in B. Patisserie, founded the San Francisco Baking Institute in the 1990s. The offerings are simple, but the butter is French, the layers distinct, and you can taste the attention to detail.
Morning Bun at Tartine Bakery
Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Pruiett have been crafting pastry for more than 20 years, winning awards and expanding locations, although they went into the pandemic struggling with worker unionization efforts. But even with more than a dozen locations across California and Seoul, there’s still a line out the door at the original bakery on Guerrero. A Tartine croissant is exceptionally crisp, almost shattering on bite. But locals maintain the morning bun is the brunch champion: A knot of dough, it’s bathed in butter and brown sugar, with a whiff of cinnamon and orange zest.
Butter Croissant at Kahnfections
Kahnfections has been quietly putting out good pastry for a while, finally opening a location in the Mission. Old-fashioned and anything but fussy, Kahnfection’s butter croissants are a freshly baked pleasure. And the quiche, biscuits, and egg sandwiches are also a butter-intensive experience.
Orange Blossom Za’atar Croissant at Vive La Tarte
The Belgian team at Vive La Tarte closed the big bakery in SoMa during the pandemic, but they’re still serving croissants to the neighborhood in Noe Valley. The bakery first gained some notoriety for the tacro (that would be a croissant-taco mash-up), but another popular menu item is the orange blossom and za’atar croissant, which is sweet, savory, and unexpected, with a floral bloom.
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Butter croissants at The Midwife and the Baker
Working out of a warehouse in Mountain View, the Midwife and the Baker is open for walkups and is known for freshly milling their own flour — no small feat and a serious commitment to local grains. The traditional butter croissant is the crowd favorite, but check out the bakery’s everything croissant, as well as the cardamom version.
Cube croissants at Croissanté
Croissanté is a newer patisserie in Santa Clara with a robust selection of pastries. While it has a mix of classic croissants, this spot verges into trendier options such as a spiral croissant and a cube croissant. The cube croissant is part-croissant, part-loaf, resulting in a new product that’s uniquely Croissanté. Beyond the cube, check out the croissants stuffed with fresh fruit.
Spiral croissants at Marvel Cake
Spiral croissants are the latest pastry du jour, having been dreamed up at New York’s Lafayette Grand Café and Bakery. Locally the patisserie most closely associated with it is Campbell’s Marvel Bakery. After an Instagram influencer’s video on the bakery went viral, Marvel has become the South Bay destination for the popular confection. The unique shape is not only pretty for photos but also allows them to be filled with cream. The chocolate spiral croissant is always a favorite, but there are also seasonal offerings to peruse.
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