The list reflects only my personal preference when it comes to French-style baking in Vancouver and I can only speak of places where I’ve eaten so I may have left aside some of your favourite places. Thanks for your understanding and feel free to leave your recommendations in the comments! 🙂
My top 3 (in alphabetical order):
Trained in Switzerland, Christophe knows his craft. Croissants are flaky and buttery as they should and baked just right in my opinion. His cakes and truffles are also outstanding both taste-wise and visually. Not a huge fan of his macarons though but I’m hard to please!
4717 Hastings St, Burnaby, BC
Franck Buiron comes from France, he opened his small store a few weeks before we closed ours. To be honest I think his croissants are just as good as the ones we were making and if you’re in Mount Pleasant or if you liked our croissants I wouldn’t recommend any other place! The Paris-Brest is also to die for. I haven’t tried the other desserts.
260 E 5th Ave, Vancouver, BC
I know he’s not French but his European-style pastries incorporate a lot of French techniques and everything he makes is just too good to not be included in my top 3 😀 Macarons are alright.
He’s been one of the pioneers of high quality European-style baking in Vancouver and a mentor/role-model for younger Chefs in town both as a Chef and as a person.
2539 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC / 998 Harbourside Dr, North Vancouver, BC
Other places I enjoy (in alphabetical order)
Faubourg (Kerrisdale location)
To be honest I haven’t been there in a while but the original Faubourg location in Kerrisdale used to have really good croissants (one of the best in the city), canelés and pastries in general that tasted just like France.
2156 W 41st Ave, Vancouver, BC
Marché St George
Good croissants and crêpes, cozy neighborhood café vibe. If you live in Mount Pleasant or came to our bakery you probably already know Marché St George. Great place to hang out and grab a drink and a bite to eat.
Marché St George
4393 St George St, Vancouver, BC
Good baguettes, good cakes but pricey for the size.
1088 Homer St, Vancouver, BC
3070 Granville Street, Vancouver, BC
I’ve only tried their macarons on a couple of occasions. They have nice flavours and always come up with seasonal ones but it can be a hit or miss. I’ve had good ones, I’ve had some dry ones and some with barely any filling inside but overall they’re good. Maybe they were having some quality-control issues when I went that have been resolved since then, I know these things happen.
1433 W Pender St, Vancouver, BC
One of the few places where you can find canelés (can be a hit or miss depending on the batch and they’re quite pricey). Good cakes too but I’m not a fan of the vibe in the café and don’t like their macarons that’s why they don’t make it to my top 3.
Thierry Chocolaterie Pâtisserie
1059 Alberni St, Vancouver, BC
Popular but not my favourite places
Beaucoup Bakery & Café
They make good pastries but the croissants, brioches etc are usually over-flaky and over-baked for my liking. I’d qualify them as North-American style baking more than French (or North-American with French techniques) but it is quality artisanal baking, don’t get me wrong!
I know their macarons are popular and they have all these fancy creative flavours but they use mostly buttercream as filling and I’m not a fan of that feeling of eating straight butter… More often than not I find their macarons lack in flavour, maybe because the ones I had didn’t have much filling and they end up feeling overly sweet.
Overrated and inferior to the pastries I had at their original Kerrisdale location, I don’t know why…
I’ve only tried their macarons, not the desserts (they hadn’t launched the extended menu before I left Vancouver). They’re good for buttercream-filled macarons but as I said I’m not a fan of buttercream. Also I don’t like the fact that the macarons are shipped from the manufacture in Europe. Its pricey for a semi-industrial product…
L’éclair de Génie
I’ve tried one chocolate eclair so I can’t speak of the whole menu. I have a hard time spending that much on such small éclairs, I like my éclairs big and fat, filled with a generous amount of pastry cream like in France 🙂 Eclairs remind me of my childhood and I don’t associate them with luxury designer pastries. That being said, the eclair was good. Nothing exceptional compared to what you can find in France or even Montreal but good éclairs are rare to come by in Vancouver so it might be worth the trip for you!
I only visited a couple of times and each times walked out with only chocolate truffles, which were good and pretty. The croissants looked way overbaked to my liking (just shy of burnt I’d say) and the canelés just don’t look right as if they were baked in silicon moulds.