Now that I think of it, I’ve pretty much always found a bakery on the weekend as long as I’ve lived in Tokyo. Bread is comfort food for me. I can now remember buying Pasco English muffins at the supermarket when I was still living in the countryside. Pasco English muffins was as good it got at Beisei Supermarket in Yorii-machi, Saitama. The next best choice over Yamasaki classic Japanese white bread was Pasco’s mass produced wheat bread. I knew it was wheat because had a picture of wheat on its plastic packaging and was light brown in color.
In Tokyo, it’s a different story especially around Omotesando these last few years. Even when I first moved here, Tokyo was a second or first home for PAUL, Fauchon, Maison Kayser, Dominique Saibron, Levain, VIRON, and all of these were my favorites at one time or another. Serving warm bread and being in my neighborhood already makes a place likeable in my book. So by choosing five of my favorite bakeries in Tokyo, I’m sharing “my most favorite out of my favorites”. I sound like a second grader saying my favorite color is “rainbow”.
"The Best Baguette"
The best baguette award goes to Gontran Cherrier, at least according to my palette. They have golden brown crisp crust and soft, moist and fluffy on the inside. Also my French roommate says that Gontran’s is the most authentic Parisian-style baguette he’s had in Tokyo. Runner’s up go to Jean Francois inside of Omotesando Station and Viron in Shibuya. Gontran’s baguettes are also the best value at 300 yen.
Again, Gontran Cherrier wins hands down. These croissants are perfect with their crispy peel away flakes and soft inside. The best way to enjoy these slowly bite by bite is to peel off each flake like a seven year old savouring a stick of string cheese. In addition to the alluring texture, the balance of ingredients is just right – indulgent but light. 180 yen.
"Treat Yourself"Go to Rituel by Christophe Vasseur for pure luxury. Think Pierre Hermes, but pastry. Pictured above is Rituel’s signature pastry escargot. I like the mangue-vanille best -I don’t know what mangue means but my guess is ‘amazingly delicious’. All of them are good. From what I’ve tried so far, Rituel’s pastries are sweet, but not too sweet. You’ll taste the butter in his croissants. If you are on vacation in Tokyo or just deserve a treat, then this is your place. (note: Aoyama location is take-out only.)
"Most Creative and Fun"
Pictured here is Dominique Ansel’s “Cookie Shot”. You got it, it’s milk and cookies where the glass is made out of chocolate chip cookie. I think I’m speaking for most Americans here, what is not awesome about that? I have to admit that I haven’t tried much of the rest of menu because I always want a cookie shot but the Frozen S’more looks equally as awesome. The innovative “Cronut” (croissant + donut) or DKA (Dominique’s Kouign Amann) were both a little too sweet for my tastes. If possible, go on a weekday to avoid a long wait! Cookie shots are served after 3 PM.
Image 1 – Tokyo’s best croissant – Gontran Cherrier
Image 2 – Escargot inside its shell – RITUEL
Image 3 – pain de campagne au gorgonzola – Le Pain de Joel Robuchon
Image 4 – The best baguette sandwich in Tokyo – VIRON
Image 5 – edamame bread (seasonal) – Le Pain de Joel Robuchon
Image 6 – bran muffin – Clinton St. Bakery
Image 7 – rhubarb and cream cheese bread – Breadworks
Image 8 – hearts (February only) – Le Pain de Robuchon
Image 9 – pain au chocolate – Gontran Cherrier
LE PAIN de Joël Robuchon
The Best Bakeries in and Around Omotesando
Gontran Cherrier ¥¥
(next to Shibuya Station and other locations)
1-14-11, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo BC salon
(Aoyama flagship, also in Jiyugaoka)
3-6-23 Kita Aoyama, Minato-ku (Omotesando Station Exit B2)
Dominique Ansel ¥¥¥¥
5-7-14 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Le Pain de Joel Robuchon ¥¥¥
(Shibuya Hikarie ShinQs B2F)
2-21-1, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku
Tsukada Bldg. 33-8 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku
(across the street from Tokyu Honten Department Store)
(Echika, inside of Omotesando Station)
Bread, Espresso &
3-4-9 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Clinton Street Baking Company
5-17-1, Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku (Kotto Dori)
(connected to Cicada and Crisscross)
5-7-28 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku
Not quite Omotesando but worth mentioning
(Tomigaya, on the other side of Yoyogi Park)
2−43−13 Tomigaya, Shibuya
(Tokyo Midtown and other locations)
9-7-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku B1