Best Croissant in Montreal: Celebrating the Fête du Croissant in Quebec
Montreal is an artistic, vibrant, and gastronomic city, part of the province of Québec (Canada). It’s a hub for French culture, and food is taken very seriously. So, there is tough competition for the title of Best Croissant in Montreal. But we accepted the challenge this weekend and celebrated the yearly Fête du Croissant festival in style. The festival aims to include only bakeries that adhere to making the croissants:
- By an experienced professional (an artisan)
- By using both techniques of raising (with yeast) and folding (for flakiness) the dough
- With pure butter only
- Rolled by hand (and not by machine)
- Fresh every morning, raised and baked on-site
We visited 20 of the participating bakeries across the city’s central part (Disclosure: our croissant visiting borders were Highway 15 (Autoroute Décarie) on the westside, Highway 40 (the Trans-Canada) on the North, Highway 25 (Autoroute Louis-H.-La Fontaine) on the East and Highway 720 (now the R-136 or the Autoroute Ville-Marie) on the South. None of the bakeries were aware of our tasting adventure and we paid full price as demanded. Also, we visited only one branch of the same bakery.), and we’re here to share our results.
Map of the participating Fête du Croissant shops
Croissant Judging Criteria
While we observed many differences between the various croissants that we tasted, it would be almost impossible to name a single winner. Thus, we wanted to categorize our criteria of evaluation. And instead of selecting one place, we’ve chosen to evaluate all of them (apart from one that ran out of croissants) and assign them to one of the four tiers. This way, you can seek out croissants from multiple bakeries with similar qualities in your neighbourhood.
|Tier 4||The croissant was golden and crispy outside, and fluffy and light inside. The butter taste and scent are hard to ignore, and when you bite into it, no greasy aftertaste is left on your tongue. The croissant seems to have been baked in a recent batch, making it fresh and mouthwatering. The shape of the croissant is appetizing and airy.|
|Tier 3||While the croissant crispiness and fluffiness are good, the butter smell and taste are just good. The shape is pleasing and the croissant seems to have been baked within the 4-5 hours range.|
|Tier 2||The croissant has been baked at least 6-8 hours ago. The crispiness and the fluffiness do not inspire immediate consumption, but a reheat refreshment is needed. The butter taste and scent are not clearly defined.|
|Tier 1||The croissant is extra golden or pale outside. The inside is either very dry or heavy. The butter taste and scent do not reflect quality butter and the croissant is a bit greasy. The croissant seems to be baked over 8 hours ago and it does not taste fresh anymore. The shape may be funny.|
Boulangerie Ange is a chain of eco-responsible bakeries that originate in France, where they have over 100 franchises. Boulangerie Ange has 4 locations in the greater Montreal area (two in Montreal, one in Brossard and one in Boucherville). They use wheat based on L’Agriculture Raisonnée guidelines (i.e., no post-harvest treatment, favouring biodiversity, with clear traceability, etc.). In coming to Quebec, they adjusted about 20% of their menu to the North American market. Boulangerie Ange also gives back to the community by donating leftover bread to Montreal associations.
Pâtisserie Bel-Air has been serving the community of Montreal since 1954. It is a family business passed through generations. They have a variety of baked goods made with love, quality, and passion. If you’re looking for a quick snack or cakes for a special occasion, they offer a wide selection and catering and personalised cakes. Pâtisserie Bel-Air is situated in Rosemont, Montréal.
Located in the Villeray neighbourhood, Boulangerie Jarry has committed to building strong relationships with organic Quebec wheat producers, and the grains are milled on-site. Dominique Gauvrit, the owner, is an experienced baker who owned two Premières Moissons before Boulangerie Jarry. He places an emphasis on healthy products and a warm atmosphere in a place that used to be a bank. Because of this, Boulangerie Jarry boasts high-quality breads, pastries, sandwiches, and desserts; and of course coffee and drinks! They are situated within walking distance of Jarry metro.
Brioche à Tête began as a small Nantaise café in Mile End that specilised in brioches; especially the French recipe using Orange Blossum. The owner, Jonathan Rahmani, started Brioche à Tête with his brother who had years of experience working in French cafés in Montreal. When Jonathon’s brother moved back to France, Simon Lagarde, who also had café experience across Montreal took his part of the helm. Brioche à Tête added a second larger location in Petite-Patrie, Rosemont.
Croissant Croissant is a very on the nose name for a best croissant in Montreal adventure. However, they do offer other types of pastries! This third-wave coffee and dessert shop fosters a quiet environment, friendly atmosphere, and quick service. Even though they are in a small space, they make sure to offer options for everyone, including vegan croissants, which can be tricky to find. They are located in the Plateau neighbourhood.
Having opened its doors in 1952, Duc de Lorraine is the oldest French pastry shop in Montreal. They have adapted through the years, even changing owners, and now have 152 seats for people to dine. They even help upkeep the city park across the road for extra seating. It is situated very close to Saint-Joseph’s Oratory in Côte-des-Neiges. To this day, Duc de Lorraine specialises in traditional French recipes for pastries, including seasonal cakes, viennoiseries, quiches, and macarons.
Hélico Café Pâtisserie promotes Quebec products on their menu and is a member of The Aliments du Québec. They are a café and a restaurant-bar, situated in the Hochelega borough. They offer a peaceful, bright atmosphere and terrace in the summer. The name “Hélico” comes from the Maple tree samara seed, affectionately known as “helicopters.” Having opened the café after working together (three ex-Bouillon Bilk), the owners related to the image of a samara branching off to create something new.
Joe la Croûte is a bakery at the iconic Jean-Talon Market in Little Italy. Contrary to popular misconception, the owner’s first name is not in fact Joe, but Daniel. The name ‘Joe la Croûte’ came from a joke with a friend regarding Daniel’s last name, Jobin. ‘Joe la Croûte’ literally means ‘Joe the Crust’. This bakery is most known for its special bread and friendly service. Joe la Croûte also offers a different selection of pastries depending on the day of the week.
Although Le Far Breton has been open since 2017, the owner, Tewfik Baba Ahmed, has over 40 years experience. Le Far Breton is a family-owned bakery specialising in French patisseries and is named after Ahmed’s favourite pastry (i.e., a traditional cake from the Brittany region with plums). Their breads are made with organic non-treated flour. Le Far Breton is located in the Villeray borough.
Le P’tit Atelier is a cozy café, home to a variety of plants and and close to the Jarry metro in Villeray (used to be in Rachel St.). They have traditional French viennoiseries, breads, sandwiches, and pies, and pastries with a modern twist. Both founders (Ismaïl Barbeyer and Samy Taconnet) come from France. Le P’tit Atelier specialise in bread, but they constantly innovate and introduce new products (check out their new Hibiscus cold juice).
Le Saint Louis Café is a colourful and homey space, located in Mile End (Villeneuve and Bullion St.). The name comes from the unofficial name of the area they are in of Mile End. Also,it seems that all of the four owners (Anthony Blanc, Paco Emmanuelli, Guillaume Lavoisier, Donald Baker, and Nicolas Slonka) have family members named Louis. Their specialty is a croissant variant, which we loved seeing on our best croissant in Montreal hunt. This dessert is unique to their bakery and they affectionately call it ‘The Gougoune,’ meaning ‘flip flop.’ It is a croissant dough base topped with raspberry, almond and cream, or chocolate pear and almonds.
Le Toledo is a newer café that opened in 2019. They source their ingredients from local Montreal shops and made a splash when they won the best baguette in 2020. Similar to many cafés on this list, they follow traditional French recipes and a batch of bread takes 72 hours to make! The café is named after the brand of an old scale left in the space by the prior owner. Le Toledo was designed by the owner, Fançois Barrière (former role as Senior Vice-President and Treasurer of Laurentian Bank), and an architect, Jean Beaudoin, to be a space of gathering and community in the Plateau and it is always packed with people.
Les 3 Patapoufs is a stunning café in the Hochelaga burrough of Montreal. They are right across from the Nativité-de-la-Sainte-Vierge Church in Hochelaga and have excellent parking if you don’t live nearby or are visiting. Their interior design is elegant and bold, and they have classic croissants, fruitcakes, and even artisanal ice cream!
Les Co’Pains D’Abord is a series of three cafés (Mont-Royal, Masson and Rachel) named after the Georges Brassens song. The name is also a pun; “copains” is French for “friends,” and “pain” means “bread.” They traditionally hand-make all their Breton products fresh and believe “art is best when the hand, head, and heart work together.” Each store is managed by a different chef. Jacques Preschoux opened the first store at Mont-Royal and now is being aided by Mickael Guyomard, a Breton pastry chef. In 2002, Frédéric Chacun, a French pastry chef helped establish the bakery on Masson St., later on joined by Alain Gouriou, a pastry chef and baker from Champagne. The third store on Rachel is managed by Éric Goeury, the Viennese baker originally from Co’Pains Mont-Royal.
Croissant Level: N/A
With the same owners (Guillaume Lavoisier et Anthony Blanc) as Brioche à Tête and Café Saint-Louis, Maison Chabot benefits from the reputations of its café siblings. They wanted to give the vibe of a home (“maison” is French for “home”) and have a cozy and sleek atmosphere.They also emulate the feeling of home with a rotating “pop-up” menu. Maison Chabot is located on Chabot Street in the Plateau.
Marius and Fanny is described by the owner, Marc Chiecchio, as “an homage to the films of Marcel Pagnol and Provence.” They are a specialty patisserie offering everything from viennoiseries to tea, and many hosting products. They are especially known for their holiday booklet they come out with every end December. Marius and Fanny have three locations; one in the Plateau, and two in the greater Montreal area (Lachine and Laval).
Mr. Pinchot creates fresh and imaginative food with a European atmosphere. They are committed to a responsible impact on the community and environment, and show this by using quality ingredients. They are located in the Plateau near Parc Lafontaine and their storefront is known for looking like a picturesque postcard.
Ô Petit Paris, meaning “Oh, Little Paris” was started by two brothers, Maxime and Bastien. They wanted to merge their baking experience with their love of French and Montreal cuisine. They are located near Mont-Royal metro in the Plateau.
Pain Dans Les Voiles makes a point of not following traditional recipes. The founders are François Tardif and his partner Guylaine, both sailing enthusiasts. That’s where the name came from; in English it means “bread in the sails”. They started at Mont Saint-Hilaire and their reputation kept on growing, receiving several awards for their baguette in Quebec and in France. They take a holistic approach to mastering the whole baking process, choosing high-quality ingredients, and taking pride in their creations. They aspire to give back to their community by further supporting young artisans and entrepreneurs aspiring to open their own bakeries. They have 3 locations in Montreal and the Montreal area (Mont saint Hilaire, Saint Bruno).
Pâtisserie Fous Desserts been open since 1995 in the Plateau, and offers options of European desserts with a Japanese influence. They include ingredients such as matcha, tea, pears, and spices in their pastries, cakes, and even gelato! In 2011, Fous Desserts won La Presse’s search for the best croissant in Montreal. Needless to say, we were excited to try this one for our own Fête du Croissant hunt.
Searching for the best croissant in Montreal was certainly an undertaking, but we’ll do just about anything for baked goods and desserts. We hope this has given you a great list of bakeries and cafés to check out in Montreal, or at least inspired you to explore croissants near you! Happy Fête du Croissant!