Tartine Bakery San Francisco Review

Tartine Bakery San Francisco Review - Cakes and Pastries

 

This Tartine Bakery San Francisco review is part of a San Francisco trip report. For the prior posts, see: 

Mandarin Oriental San Francisco Hotel Review

Marrakech Magic Theater with Peter Morrison, San Francisco

House of Thai (Thai House Express) San Francisco Restaurant Review

Mandarin Oriental Brasserie S&P Breakfast Review

Tartine Bakery, at 600 Guerrero and 18th Street, was my favorite bakery in San Francisco when I lived in the Bay Area. It still is, after a recent visit, even though it's gotten a lot more popular and there are long lines, especially on weekends. While there is fresh bread, which is used in their namesake “tartines” (French for open faced toasted sandwiches) I enjoy their other pastries even more. 

How to Get to Tartine Bakery

If you're taking Muni, take the J Church line to 18th Street then walk a couple blocks to Guerrero. Alternatively, assuming BART isn't on strike, take it to the Mission and 16th Street Station, walk down to 18th, and then several blocks over to Guerrero.

Tartine Bakery San Francisco Review

 

When to Go to Tartine

It seems as if the entire Dolores Park neighborhood stands in line at Tartine on the weekends (ok, small exaggeration) so I recommend avoiding weekends or getting there even before they open (8am on Saturdays, 9am on Sundays), especially if you hope to nab seating inside or at one of the outside tables on the sidewalk. 

A better bet is to go early on a weekday morning, when there's only a very small line and it's less crowded.

Hours: 

Monday 8am-7pm

Tuesday-Wednesday: 7:30am-7pm

Thursday-Friday: 7:30am-8pm

Saturday: 8am-8pm

Sunday: 9am-8pm

Tartine Bakery San Francisco Review - Weekend Crowd

 

What to Try at Tartine

Here are my personal favorites of Tartine's savory and sweet pastries:

1. Morning Bun

Tartine's morning buns are legendary, and one of their most popular breakfast pastries for good reason. Fresh from the oven they're addictive, with some crunchy caramelized edges from the sugar and a tantalizing aroma from the hint of orange zest. There's no going back to a Starbucks morning bun or any other morning buns after this one.

Tartine Bakery San Francisco Review - Morning Bun

 

2. Gougere

Tartine's gougeres, puffy cheese breads, were the munchkin's favorite on his last trip to San Francisco, and we still all enjoy them enough to always take some with us back home to NYC. They have a nice cheesy crust on the outside, with a mostly hollow inside.

Tartine Bakery San Francisco Review - Gougere

 

3. Eclair

Commercial eclairs have nothing on Tartine's eclairs, which are everything a proper eclair should be: choux pastry filled with silky vanilla bean specked pastry cream, and laquered with a dark Valrhona chocolate glaze, finished with a dusting of unsweetened cocoa on one end. Although there's a recipe for this in Tartine's cookbook, you can imagine how time consuming it is to make for a home cook–so make sure to try this if you stop by Tartine.

Tartine Bakery San Francisco Review - Chocolate Eclair

 

4. Lemon Cream Tart

This is always my choice if I'm bringing a large tart to a friend in the Bay Area, as the presentation is gorgeous and the tart tastes as good as it looks. The crisp cookie crust offers a nice contrast to the not too sweet, lemon cream filling, and the whipped cream and edible flowers adorning it add the finishing touch.

Tartine Bakery San Francisco Review - Lemon Cream Tart

 

5. Quiche

Tartine usually has several varieties of quiche on offer, such as ham and cheese, leek or spinach, and my favorite, with chanterelle mushrooms. Makes a great breakfast as well as lunch.

Tartine Bakery San Francisco Review - Quiche

 

6. Almond Croissant

Tartine's almond croissants are good when they're not overdone, although be careful and ask to avoid the burned ones. They're big, with a generous frangipane filling. I still tend to prefer the almond croissants at Maison Kayser or at La Bergamote in NYC, not to mention those at Pierre Herme in Paris, but Tartine's are quite good.

Tartine Bakery San Francisco Review - Almond Croissant

 

Tartine also makes perfectly fine espresso drinks, although they're overshadowed by the pastries and baked goods of course. Both lattes that I ordered on different days were delicious and well foamed, although one was simple, with no latte art, and the other, by a different barista, had some latte art:

Tartine Bakery San Francisco Review - Latte

 

The Verdict: While I wish Tartine would open a few more branches in San Francisco to alleviate the long lines on the weekends, it remains a must-try spot for anyone with a sweet tooth, or even those who prefer savory pastries such as quiche, gougeres and tartines. And if you're visiting friends in San Francisco, a large tart or cake from Tartine is a great host/hostess gift.

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