Vancouver plays host to all different types of cuisine, ranging from exotic restaurants in up-and-coming neighborhoods to an endless plethora of local coffee shops. With so much to choose from it’s incredibly difficult to know where to begin, especially when looking for just a small bite to eat. In order to solve this delectable dilemma and provide an alternative to Starbucks, here is a list of some of the best bakeries in town:
143 East 3rd Avenue
This homey and unpretentious bakery is best known for its “Frissants,” a pastry that walks the fine line between ingenious and sacrilegious by combining a fritter and a croissant into one blissful package. These little bundles of joy sell out fairly quickly, so if you want to secure one, arrive before 11:00 am. Swiss Bakery also offers a selection of doughnuts, sandwiches, soups and tons of delectable baked goods. It is highly recommended that you check out their breads, all freshly baked in house, and more specifically their Egg Bread, which tastes similar to challah bread. Besides the Frissants, it is one of their tastier menu items. Swiss Bakery is ideal for a quick lunch and a cup of coffee at a reasonable price. It provides a good middle ground between something like Starbucks and some of the more high-end bakeries in town. Swiss Bakery has found a compelling specialty dish that it does well, but most of the other items their menu has to offer are quite average. However, if you are looking for good prices with a little more to offer than your average coffee shop, Swiss Bakery is well worth a stop.
Le Marché St. George
4393 East 28th Avenue
Imagine being in a grocery store that magically crosses a café in Greenwich Village and a local market in a small-town France. “Wouldn’t it be nice if such a place existed,” you think to yourself as you continue to scan down the page. But wait! What if you were told that this magical place existed on the corner of 28th Avenue and St. George Street? Le Marché St. George is just as delightful as you imagined. With sun bleached tables and carefully distressed benches, Le Marché St. George manages to stay authentic whilst looking chicly disheveled. Situated on a neighborhood street, there is a uniquely organic feel about the place, which serves some of the best coffee in Vancouver and sells organic peaches out of wicker baskets. With beautiful, imported cooking goods lining their walls and shelves full of of French lemonade in glass bottles, it’s difficult not to fall into an immediately and passionately in love with the neighbourhood grocery store and its workers. Le Marché St. George offers pastries, flatbreads, soups, coffee and quiches, as well as their seemingly endless selection of Earnest Ice Cream (a frozen treat so delicious that most humans would gladly trade their first-borns for a lifetime supply). Although it isn’t cheap, the experience found here is unlike any other in Vancouver.
2150 Fir Street
Beaucoup is one of the more high-end bakeries in town, and it doesn’t fail to impress. With Elton John playing, people sit sipping coffee amidst impeccable décor that looks like something even Captain Fantastic himself would feel at home in. The bakery oozes that je ne sais quoi of refinement. Beneath the glass cabinets, the various French pastries look too delicate to touch, with edible flowers and powdered sugar giving a godly and ethereal look to them. The bakery does not disappoint, and despite it’s high prices, you do get what you pay for. Try the Pistachio Raspberry Macaron Frais for something sweet and delicate, and their Cheese Scone Sandwich for a more savory treat. Beaucoup serves the well-loved and local 49th Parallel coffee as well as a large selection of artisan juices and teas. For a chichi gastronomic experience, Beaucoup lives up to its well-deserved hype.
Although it is not recommended that you visit every bakery in one go due to the fact that it will severely increase your risk of heart disease, each shop is definitely worth a visit. Vancouver has such an incredible array of places to eat, if you’re not exploring everything the city has to offer, chances are you’re missing out.