You’ve heard of French bakeries. If you’re reading a food blog, you’ve probably been to a French bakery or two or three. But we can guarantee you haven’t been to one like this before. Les Gourmands is a French bakery located at 280 5th Street in San Francisco, CA that isn’t trying to be your stereotypical cute, old fashioned shop. Sylvain, the face of Les Gourmands and a fifth generation baker in his family, brings countless years of French baking knowledge and skill straight from France to the city, and we couldn’t be more excited!
Right when we walked in, French hip-hop was playing through the speakers, and we instantly noticed a huge street art mural covering one of the walls to our right. The whole interior was black and white with some steel accents, giving it a modern and sleek vibe that fits right in in the heart of downtown.
Something about the menu being put directly onto one of the supporting posts in the shop we thought was awesome. The family behind Les Gourmands knows what they make is bomb, and that’s been their family’s specialty for generations, so why change it? Paint it right onto the wall so everyone knows they’re in for something amazing.
They offer a large variety of baked goods, so we’re just going to cover our favorites, but if you’re interested in what the others are, we recommend checking out their Yelp page, or just walking in the front door. Our favorite item was definitely the Roulée Brioche with Chocolate. This one was more dense and pastry-like than some of the others we tried, but that’s what we loved about it. Sweet, but not overly sweet, and buttery smooth with a slightly flaky exterior.
You can never, ever go wrong with Chocolate Croissants. We know, our previous recommendation was chocolate, too, but come on. Buttery and flaky on the outside, that satisfying crispy crunch when you bite into it, the soft and doughy inside, with some warm, melted chocolate to top it all off. Hungry yet?
Another fave was the Raspberry Amandine. For all you Nomsters out there that like a bit of fruity sweetness in your pastries, this one’s for you! What’s great about it is the ratio of bread to the fruity jelly in the middle. It’s not like a jelly filled donut where you bite into it and the cream comes gushing out the sides. Rather, it gives the pastry just a hint of fruitiness to complement the other flavors and textures. It’s like a big, soft, nomtastic cookie!
Last, but definitely, definitely, definitely not least, was the Almond Croissant. On the crispier side with chopped almonds and powdered sugar on top, it’s perfect if you enjoy a bit more of a richer and nuttier flavor with a hint of sweetness.
The family behind Les Gourmands takes their art seriously and is all about giving back and teaching their art, so they actually treat their bakery like a school for their employees, which we thought was one of the coolest aspects of their business.
Beyond that, there are so many other awesome things we didn’t mention that are totally worth stopping by to try such as a croissant that’s covered half and half with white and dark chocolate, and their french brioche that you can get in various sizes. So take the short walk over to Les Gourmands if you work downtown to grab something for breakfast and you won’t be disappointed. Till next time, Nomsters!