No one can resist tempting delights of French cuisine, especially when it comes to desserts. Macarons, mille-feuille, tarte aux pommes, chouquettes, and pain au lait are some of the traditional French sweets you have to taste. To help you locate the best French pastry shops in New York City, I made a list, and, even though there are only 5 pastry shops on it, I can assure you they offer the most delectable French desserts in the City.
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Back in 1997 on Lexington Avenue in New York City, chef François Payard opened his first restaurant. François is the third generation of French Pastry Chefs, and since he comes from Nice, a beautiful town on the French Riviera, he had the opportunity to learn the art of pastry à la française.
Although Payard closed its doors in 2009, Payard branches have been opened since in Japan, Las Vegas and Korea.
In NYC, there are 2 other brands. FBP and FP Pâtisserie, the former being a casual and rustic bakery brand, and the latter reflecting the elegance and charm of Paris. At FBP, you will find many mouthwatering sweet and savory bites, such as appetizing mini-sandwiches, cookies, croissants, mini tartes. FP Pâtisserie at the Plaza New York is divided into 3 sections: the pastry shop, the bar, and the dining area. These 3 sections are sophisticated, yet cozy. In a library-like setting at the pastry shop, you can indulge with sweets made from the finest ingredients. It is a great place to taste macarons, chocolates, truffles, éclairs, tarts, and many other pastries. You can buy platters, cookbooks, and gift boxes, which make the perfect gift!
Stop by the bar for a cup of coffee in the morning, or a quick bite in the afternoon. The bar is more casual, but it’s the dining area where you will feel like in Paris.
• FP Pâtisserie: Plaza Food Hall, 1 West 59th St. New York, NY
• FPB Columbus Circle: 3 Columbus Circle. New York, NY
• FPB Greenwich Village: 116 West Houston Street. New York, NY
• FPB Murray Street: 210 Murray Street. New York, NY
2. Bien Cuit
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Zachary Golper and Kate Wheatcroft opened Bien Cuit in 2011. Golper is also a chef who has worked with the world’s best bakers and pastry chefs. Bien Cuit is an excellent example of how every bakery should be. They source their ingredients from regional mills and farmers, and they support regenerative agriculture. By using traditional techniques of confection and high quality ingredients, they put their hearts and souls in what they do, which results in the most delicious and yummy breads, viennoiseries, desserts, sandwiches, cookies, quiches, and petits pains. I’d recommend la miche, which is a traditional country bread, caramelized onion petit pain, ham and brie croissant, rhubarb mille-feuille, smoked salmon tartine, la quiche Lorraine, and almond sablé cookies.
Location: 120 Smith St. Brooklyn, NY
Image Courtesy of Mille-Feuille.
They say “So French, so good” – and I must agree! There’s nothing better than a passionate pastry chef, and Olivier Dessyn surely is one. At Mille-Feuille, guests can taste exquisite delicacies, freshly baked using organic flours and select ingredients. You can indulge guilt-free, especially as there are no additives or preservatives in these little delights.
In case you’ve never heard of mille-feuille before, it’s a French name for a Napoleon – a thousand layers (or, more precisely, leaves) is the original translation. This creamy and slightly crunchy dessert is one of the unique French signature dainties, but it’s not the only thing prepared at Mille-Feuille. You will find a rich choice of goodies, such as chaussons aux pommes, nutela or cheese brioches, pains au lait, pains aux raisins, different croissants, macarons, lemon tarts, éclairs, Parisian flan, chocolate mousse, sandwiches, quiches, even salads and beverages! They also make the famous croquembouche and macaron towers; and do catering and birthday cakes. If you really like your dessert, why don’t you take classes they offer, and learn how to make macarons, croissants, éclairs or choux pastry?
Just for the record, Olivier is a Software Engineer. Another proof you can be whatever you want, as long as you’re passionate about it. Plus, his IT expertise makes this pastry shop stand out even more, because you can purchase their products online, and have your favorite dessert delivered freshly prepared in no time! Not to mention the outstanding customer service I have experienced myself as well.
• 552 Laguardia Pl, NY
• 2175 Broadway, NY
• Hotel Belleclaire, NY
4. Pomme Palais
Image available on the Pomme Palais Official Website.
“Pomme” is French for “apple”, and “palais” means “palace”. Apple, or the Big Apple, or New York, and there you have it. (Um, that's a silly conclusion of mine.)
Michel Richard, the renowned chef from Brittany, came back to New York City after almost 40 years to open Pomme Palais on the ground floor of Lotte New York Palace. It is a unique French café with a twist, where people can enjoy tartelettes, macarons, madeleines, mille-feuille, seasonal fruit tarts, accompanied by coffee or some more refreshing beverage. They also serve savory food for breakfast, lunch or take away. Enticing sandwiches, wraps, salads and soups are offered, all yummy and freshly made!
You can also offer delicious treats, coffee mugs and cups from their gifts menu to your loved ones, whether for their birthdays, holidays, or just because you feel like making them happy.
Location: 30 East 51st Street, NYC
5. Eclair Bakery
Image Courtesy of Eclair Bakery.
Stéphane Pourrez, the owner, was trained by some of the best chefs in Paris, and he also studied at Ferrandi, the French School of Culinary Arts.
For 3 years now, Eclair Bakery team has been preparing yummy French pastries and other delicious delights using the highest quality ingredients. They excel at éclairs, which is their signature little treasure, and, instead of tasting one, I strongly recommend buying a tasting box! You only live once, so spoil yourself.
You can also taste Crunchy, Choco Vanille, and Opera, which are some of the pâtisseries they also prepare. Their Almond Croissant looks extremely delicious, as well as macarons, sandwiches, and quiches. Great delights to complete your café au lait moments.
You can order online, but why not visit the Bakery directly?
Location: 305 East 53rd Street, NY
Since there are so many French bakeries, I would also like to recommend a few more bakeries and pâtisseries run by French chefs:
• Dominique Ansel Bakery - 189 Spring Street, NY
• Canelé by Céline - 400 East 82nd Street, NY
• Ceci-Cela - 67 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
• Épicerie Boulud
- At The Plaza Food Hall, 1 W 59th St, NY
- 1900 Broadway, 64th Street, NY
• Almondine Bakery - 85 Water St, Brooklyn, NY
Yum, yum, yum. In case these pastry shops don't take you to NYC, check out what else you can do in the Big Apple. And - Bon appétit!