Tartine Bakery: A Review

A San Francisco French Bakery Review

I love French pastries.  I love them so much, I used to beg my dad to bring home a smooshed croissant from Paris when he had to go there for business trips!  There is nothing like a real French croissant.

So, I decided that I needed to go to to Tartine Bakery located in the Mission District in San Francisco.


Zagat gives it a 27/30 and says “it’s the best croissant ever”. The NY times declares it “the best croissant on the West Coast”.  Well, San Francisco is much closer to me than Paris!

Those are some big expectations to live up to.

1. First up, the frangipane croissant (basically, an almond croissant).
Was it good? Yes, really good. It was oversized (I suppose that’s fitting for a croissant in America!).  The filling was good.  BUT it was overdone! Yep, too brown. They shouldn’t have served them as they were overdone, but they sold them anyway because they can.

2. A gougere

This gougere was oversized, as big as a softball. It was okay. Gougeres taste best hot out of the oven. They should’ve rewarmed it before they sold it.  It is rare to have a bakery sell them though.  I’m biased, I like mine better! I would pass on this if you were to go there (unless they were straight from the oven!)

3. Pain au chocolat

Nothing special about this, other than the fact that it was huge. It was also over baked. You can see the super dark brown on this. Overdone!

So far, we are 0/3. I’m not impressed like I feel like I should be. Why is everyone so ga-ga about this place?
I didn’t try a plain croissant. Why? Because they were even more brown than my pain au chocolat! I knew they wouldn’t be what I was looking for.

4. A Buttermilk Currant Scone
Ok. Now this is worth raving about!  It was really really good. It had the consistency of a true English scones. I loved it!  It would go really good with some afternoon tea.  You need to try this! I see why people talk about their scones!

currant scone!

5. Lemon poppyseed bread
I forgot to take a picture. We literally had one bite and threw it away. It was so sickeningly sweet and fatty I literally couldn’t eat it.  It was bad, just….bad.

There were some other goodies that caught my eye but since it was 10am, I couldn’t order everything!

Lemon meringue cake…

lemon meringue

Chcolate hazelnut tart and frangipane tart

Lemon tarts….

these look really good

Ok, one more picture!

Verdict: It was good, but not a 27/30 on the zagat and definitely not the best croissant ever. Their ovens seemed to be running hot that day, so all of the delicate puff pastry dough was overbaked and therefore not as good. They should’ve just thrown those batches out and served ones cooked at proper temp.  The scone was really good though.

I heard they apparently have excellent bread that sells out before it’s even made, so I may be back for that.

But for now, I will stick to eating croissants only while in France.