I’m spoiled because NYC has a lot of great bakeries like Amy’s Bread, and I’ve visited amazing spots in other cities such as Flour in Boston, but Tartine in San Francisco may be my all-time favorite. If you’re in town, don’t let the perpetual line out the door scare you — it’s actually nothing compared to the line at nearby Bi-Rite Creamery — because it moves fast. But you also should not expect to be able to beat the line by showing up early, because breakfast is one of the most popular times to go. Then if you’re like me, you can pick up a stunning banana tart (an unbelievably good value at about $6) in addition to coffee and early-morning treats.
Full-disclosure time — I ordered my banana tart to go, and then I opened the box to take a photo, and then we ate the whole thing on the spot. It was that good. The inside of the pastry was coated in chocolate, which is nice for taste and helps keep the pastry dry. That’s what I usually do at home too.
The staff was super nice. There are some popular NYC bakeries where you really feel like you’re nothing more than herded cattle, so this made me happy. Tartine is the kind of place where, despite the crowds, you want to sit back and relax for a while.
Deciding what to order for breakfast was a real challenge, but I have a feeling we couldn’t go wrong. The morning bun with orange cinnamon sugar is a must-try. They were going through pans and pans of these. And the savory gougere with gruyere cheese was a delight. I’ve made these at home myself a few times, and that’s tough to beat, but these come pretty darned close. Tartine is a short walk from the 16th Street Mission District BART station, and then there is so much more you can do in the neighborhood, so now I can’t imagine making a trip to SF without this place at the very top of my list of spots to visit.