(Beautiful pictures by Iva. Words by Sarah and Ray)
In order to bring you info on the best croissants in the city, the I Heart PGH gang went on a croissant tour, sampling four bakeries. (Eating delicious croissants all day was an enormous burden, but you’re welcome.) We chatted with the staff and rated each croissant by buttery-ness, flaky-ness and rip-ability.
La Gourmandine, Lawrenceville
This authentically French bakery has unique pastries and crazy buttery croissants. It’s owned and operated by a French couple who bring their recipes straight from the cafe of Paris. They make their own dough and bake each piece of buttery goodness fresh. They have a few different types of croissants, including a chocolate flavored morsel that perfectly blends cocoa, butter, and bread.
There’s a variety of pastries filled with the likes of pistachio and hazelnut cream and a basket of baguettes. But the real piece de resistance here is the croissants. Make sure the get there early if you want an almond croissant, they tend to sell out.
The space at La Gourmandine is also limited. There’s room to stand and eat your goodies at two tables, but if you’re with a big group, it’s maybe not the best hang-out space.
- Price: $1.90
- Buttery-ness: 8.5 (made with European butter)
- Flaky-ness: 6
- Rip-ability: 4
Crepes Parisiennes, Oakland
The croissants at Crepes Parisiennes are a delish, but a little more bread-y and dense. Their flaky and crisp outside are a nice contrast to some of the other croissants we tasted, especially when paired with a chocolate filing.
Crepes Parisiennes is a perfect place to meet a friend or two in Oakland. Its service was quite fast and its atmosphere was surprisingly relaxing for a busy cafe in the city. Anyone preparing for a French exam would be wise to study in Crepes Parisiennes for a few hours, so long as the delicious crepes don’t distract you.
- Price: $1.75
- Buttery-ness: 5
- Flaky-ness: 6.5
- Rip-ability: 6
Allegro Hearth Bakery, Squirrel Hill
Four words: bigger than your face. That’s how big these mega-croissants are at Allegro bakery. In addition to the lovely breads and pastries, there’s a small cheese case if you want to slap a savory topping onto your croissant.
Allegro is nicely situated in the heart of Squirrel Hill on Murray Ave next to the Pinskers Jewish book store. The staff is really friendly and the open space gives you a great view into the bakery. Anyone passing through Squirrel Hill should stop in to Allegro, even if its just to see the biggest Croissants in Pittsburgh.
Take your goodies to go though, this place doesn’t have anywhere to sit.
- Price: $1.89
- Buttery-ness: 8
- Flaky-ness: 9
- Rip-ability: 6
Paris 66, East Liberty
We all agreed that this was by far the best croissant that we tried all day. Although, we will admit, Paris 66 might have a slightly unfair advantage since they bake your croissants when your order them. Regardless, these babies are good. They’re aesthetically pleasing, in addition to having the most flaky crust and gooey inside we encountered all day.
Inside, the restaurant smells like heaven. Between the fresh bread baking filling the air, the authentic french cuisine, or the beautifully decorated walls, Paris 66 brings the full french cafe experience right to Shady side. It’s more of a sit-down place, so it might be easier to plan on eating a meal rather than just a cup of coffee and croissant.
- Price: $2.00
- Buttery-ness: 7
- Flaky-ness: 10
- Rip-ability: 3 (it’s soo gooey)