5 Popular Bakeries South of San Francisco Serving European-Style Pastries

If you have ever enjoyed the pleasure of lingering over a sweet and flaky pastry with a cup of coffee in a Parisian café, you may also know there are very few places which can offer the same experience. European-style pastries, often prepared with hours of labor and love, are a true treat and best when savored slowly. The pastries come in all different shapes, flavors and colors to fit your mood and current craving, from buttery croissants to delectable Napoleons. While they may not offer quite the same romantic experience as say Paris, here are five bakeries along the Peninsula and South Bay Area where you can sink your teeth into an array of European-style pastries. As an added bonus, we have included information about a popular pop-up pastry shop serving pastries at the contemporary French restaurant, Zola in Palo Alto. If we missed your favorite, please be sure to share it in the comments.

Manresa Bread

A selection of pastries from Manresa Bread.
A selection of pastries from Manresa Bread. (Jeff Cianci)

Manresa Bread sells the same artisanal pastries and bread as those served at David Kinch’s Michelin 3-star Manresa restaurant. The gourmet bakery, headed by Manresa head baker Avery Ruzicka, began as a stand at South Bay farmers markets and has now expanded to two brick-and-mortar locations, one next door to Manresa in Los Gatos and a newly opened location in Los Altos. Weekend visitors should arrive early to get the best pick from a delectable selection of sweet and savory pastries. Not to be missed is the kouign-amann, a round pastry made from layers of flaky dough coated with hardened and sticky caramelized sugar. The savory selections such as a Danish with delicata squash, bacon, gruyere cheese, and onion jam are equally delightful.

Inside Manresa Bread in Los Gatos.
Inside Manresa Bread in Los Gatos. (Jeff Cianci)

Manresa Bread
276 N Santa Cruz Ave. [map]
Los Gatos, CA 95030
Ph: (408) 402-5372
Hours: Mon-Sun 7am-3pm (or until sold out)
Facebook: Manresa Bread
Twitter: @ManresaBread
Price Range: $ (entrees under $10)

La Patisserie Bakery

A café Vienna pastry from La Patisserie Bakery.
A café Vienna pastry from La Patisserie Bakery. (Jeff Cianci)

La Patisserie Bakery is tucked away in a Cupertino shopping mall but remains a popular destination for European-style pastries as well as elegantly decorated wedding cakes. The sweet smell of fresh-baked goods greets you before you even reach the front door. Inside, cases filled with colorful baked creations are proudly on display. The bakery sells classic European desserts such as a tiramisu and crème brûlée as well as Unique creations like the café Vienna which layers sheets of espresso soaked chocolate cake and sweet cream mocha mousse. The Persian Napoleon features thick whipped cream sandwiched between layers of crumbled pastry dough.

The pastry case inside La Patisserie Bakery in Cupertino.
The pastry case inside La Patisserie Bakery in Cupertino. (Jeff Cianci)
A tiramisu pastry from La Patisserie Bakery.
A tiramisu pastry from La Patisserie Bakery. (Jeff Cianci)
A Persian Napoleon pastry from La Patisserie Bakery.
A Persian Napoleon pastry from La Patisserie Bakery. (Jeff Cianci)

La Patisserie Bakery
19758 Stevens Creek Blvd. [map]
Cupertino, CA 95014
Ph: (408) 446-4744
Hours: Mon 8am-8pm; Tue-Fri 7am-8pm; Sat 8am-8pm; Sun 9am-5pm
Facebook: La Patisserie Bakery
Price Range: $ (entrees under $10)

La Lune Sucrée

A Nutella puff pastry at La Lune Sucrée.
A Nutella puff pastry at La Lune Sucrée. (Jeff Cianci)

Located along a busy alleyway frequented by San Jose State students on their way to campus, La Lune Sucrée is a quaint European cafe popular for their European-style pastries. The cafe is run by husband and wife team, Mark and Bettina Pope. Bettina was raised in Germany but fell in love with French patisseries while she lived in Paris as a young woman. Her European background is reflected in the menu of pastries and baked goods. The popular Nutella puff, with layers of flaky pastry dough and a sweet Nutella center, pairs perfectly with an espresso while watching the world go by from the patio.

Inside La Lune Sucrée in San Jose.
Inside La Lune Sucrée in San Jose. (Jeff Cianci)
A chocolate almond croissant at La Lune Sucrée.
A chocolate almond croissant at La Lune Sucrée. (Jeff Cianci)

La Lune Sucrée
116 Paseo De San Antonio Walk [map]
San Jose, CA 95112
Ph: (408) 292-2070
Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-6pm; Sun 8am-3pm
Facebook: La Lune Sucrée
Twitter: @LaLuneSucree
Price Range: $ (entrees under $10)

Bijan Bakery & Cafe

A chocolate and hazelnut mousse pastry at Bijan Bakery & Cafe.
A chocolate and hazelnut mousse pastry at Bijan Bakery & Cafe. (Jeff Cianci)

Bijan Abachizadeh has been selling gourmet European-style pastries and cakes in San Jose since 1986. In 2007, Bijan expanded to a second location located at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose. The elegantly decorated cafe has numerous cases filled with exquisite pastries and sweets. The popular princess cake, features a moist cake topped with jam and a layer of creamy marzipan. Also popular are the mousse pastries such as the chocolate hazelnut which features layers of moist hazelnut-flavored cake topped with a thin layer of chocolate.

A selection of pastries at Bijan Bakery & Cafe.
A selection of pastries at Bijan Bakery & Cafe. (Jeff Cianci)
A Pistachio mousse pastry at Bijan Bakery & Cafe.
A Pistachio mousse pastry at Bijan Bakery & Cafe. (Jeff Cianci)
Inside Bijan Bakery & Cafe.
Inside Bijan Bakery & Cafe. (Jeff Cianci)

Bijan Bakery & Cafe
170 S Market St. #110 [map]
San Jose, CA 95113
Ph: (408) 971-8000
Hours: Mon-Thu 6:30am-9:30pm; Fri 6:30am-11pm; Sat 7:30am-11pm; Sun 8:30am-9:30pm
Facebook: Bijan Bakery & Cafe
Price Range: $ (entrees under $10)

Copenhagen Bakery & Cafe

A raspberry Danish at Copenhagen Bakery.
A raspberry Danish at Copenhagen Bakery. (Jeff Cianci)

This longtime Bay Area Peninsula bakery and cafe is a popular spot for meeting a friend to enjoy pastries and a leisurely coffee. The family run cafe has been operating on Burlingame Avenue since 1977 and stands out for their Danish pastries and custom wedding cakes. A raspberry Danish drizzled with a sugary cream glaze is the perfect coffee companion as is the tasty hamentashen tart filled with sweet fruit jam.

A raspberry tart at Copenhagen Bakery.
A raspberry tart at Copenhagen Bakery. (Jeff Cianci)
Inside Copenhagen Bakery in Burlingame.
Inside Copenhagen Bakery in Burlingame. (Jeff Cianci)
A raspberry hamentashen at Copenhagen Bakery.
A raspberry hamentashen at Copenhagen Bakery. (Jeff Cianci)

Copenhagen Bakery & Cafe
1216 Burlingame Ave. [map]
Burlingame, CA 94010
Ph: (650) 342-1357
Hours: Mon-Tue 6am-6pm; Wed-Thu 6am-9pm; Fri-Sat 6am-10pm; Sun 7am-9pm
Facebook: Copenhagen Bakery & Cafe
Twitter: @Copenhagen_Bake
Price Range: $ (entrees under $10)

Love For Butter Pop-Up by John Shelsta

Pastries on display at a recent LoveForButter pop-up.
Pastries on display at a recent LoveForButter pop-up. (Jeff Cianci)

John Shelsta, a self-taught pastry chef, has developed a loyal fan following for his pop-up pastry sales which sell out within a couple of hours. Shelsta came under the wing of Howie Bulka, then the owner of Marché in Menlo Park, who advised him to leave culinary school and to instead learn by doing. Shelsta served as pastry chef for Michelin-starred Chez TJ in Mountain View as well as working as a baker’s apprentice in multiple locations. His pastries include sweet and crunchy kouign-amanns, buttery croissants, and savory tarts made from seasonally available produce. Shelsta announces his pop-up sales through his Instagram page, @loveforbutter and operates out of Zola Restaurant in Palo Alto.

The LoveForButter bakers dozen.
The LoveForButter bakers dozen. (Jeff Cianci)
Outside Zola Restaurant at a recent LoveForButter pop-up.
Outside Zola Restaurant at a recent LoveForButter pop-up. (Jeff Cianci)

Love For Butter Pop-Up by John Shelsta
Zola Restaurant, 565 Bryant St. [map]
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Next dates: Sat Nov. 19 10am-12:30pm (or sold out); Sat Dec. 17 10am-12:30pm (or sold out)
Instagram: @loveforbutter

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