Worth the indulgence: Authentic croissants in Vancouver

There was a time when the only croissants available here were day-old bricks from plastic bins in a Safeway bakery. If you’ve ever tasted the real thing from France, you’ll know those just aren’t worth it. Thankfully, some boulangers took it upon themselves to offer the real deal here in Vancouver. Merci.

Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe

1
2150 Fir St, Vancouver, BC V6J 3B5

You might call Jackie Kai Ellis a bit of a perfectionist. It took her months to develop the base recipe for both her pain au chocolat and her croissant. But the experimentation is paying off, with her flaky pastries flying off the shelves of her bustling bakery near South Granville. Not too big or puffy, these croissants comprise tightly rolled layers of buttery pastry that flake and shatter upon biting. As close to the French original as you’re going to find.

Aquilini Thierry Ltd

2
1059 Alberni St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1A1

Famous for his macarons, pastry chef Thierry Busset cut his teeth in his native France alongside masters of the art. Canadians have embraced all his confections from his beautifully designed petit fours, to those pastel macarons to his award-winning croissants. Head to his Alberni Street café for an authentic French experience and order a café au lait or liquid chocolate in which to dunk the flaky pastry. Sit outside on the heated patio and pretend you’re in Paris.

Thomas Haas Patisserie

3
128-998 Harbourside Dr, North Vancouver, BC V7P 3T2

Nearing croissant perfection, Thomas Haas’ swoon-worthy Viennoiseries come in a few iterations meaning there’s some tough decision making ahead. Pistachio-almond, ham and cheese, double-baked almond or dark-chocolate filled? All are divine, but for the real deal, stick with the original butter croissant: flaky, crisp, golden and striated on the outside, airy yet chewy on the inside. It’s no surprise this (along with Beaucoup) so often top the city’s croissant rankings

Ganache Patisserie

4
1262 Homer St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2Y5

One of the earlier bakeries to focus on French pastries and confections, Ganache in Yaletown remains low-key on the dessert scene despite its enticing array of beautiful cakes. But the neighbourhood does flock here for the dark-hued croissants, double-baked to crispy, satisfying effect. Light, springy and chewy, the butter taste abounds, which becomes physically evident from your shiny fingers after ripping it apart. All the better for licking afterwards.

Bel Café

5
801 Georgia St W, Vancouver, BC V6C 1P7

This café housed in the swank Hotel Georgia is a truly elevated afternoon coffee experience. They provide full table service in their chic interior, which is busy from morning till night — though you can also get orders to go at the counter. Arrive in the morning, though, for your indulgent fix of hot drink and their phenomenal buttery pastry. Everything from the décor to the food is intended to be in the European style and nothing disappoints.

Matchstick Coffee

6
213 Georgia St E, Vancouver, BC V6A 1Z6

We all know that single-origin espresso beans just taste that much better when paired with buttery baked goods. At Matchstick, you can have the best of both worlds where creamy lattes and aromatic Americanos are served alongside scratch-made sweets and savouries that are baked on site. The double-baked almond croissant is a local pastry legend; the crispy, crunchy exterior is dusted with a layer of almond slivers while the inside reveals layers upon layers of buttery pastry surrounding a gooey almond cream centre. Take a peek into the open kitchen at Matchstick’s Chinatown outpost to see the croissant-making process in action.

Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie

7
4717 Hastings St, Burnaby, BC V5C 2K8

Burnaby’s award-winning chocolatier might be renowned for his artisanal cocoa creations, but pastry fans visiting his eponymous patisserie certainly won’t be disappointed. Among the tempting baskets of viennoiserie, beautiful buttery croissants will transport your taste buds to Paris in just a few bites. A simple plain croissant is a classic option, but the many decadent flavour varieties demand to be sampled. Opt for double-baked almond and chocolate, sweet pecan maple syrup, or a pain au chocolat with hazelnut cream. On the savoury side, the ham and cheese croissant makes for a delectable mid-morning snack.

Croissanterie La Marseillaise

8
1138 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1L8

Hidden in plain sight amidst Granville Street’s bustling entertainment district, this specialty bakeshop is a must-try for those of us who swoon over crescent-shaped pastries. Handmade croissants are crispy on the outside, soft and buttery on the inside, and come in a range of sweet and savoury flavours. Think spinach and cheese, gooey chocolate almond, ham and cheese, pain au chocolat, and croissant breakfast sandwiches stuffed with eggs. Unlike most Vancouver bakeshops, Croissanterie La Marseillaise is open late until 9:30 pm throughout the week, making it a great spot to pick up a flaky pastry after dark should the mood strike.

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