Monday, October 26, 2009

Boulangerie la Parisienne

Restaurant: Boulangerie la Parisienne
Cuisine: Bakery/Desserts/Sandwiches
Last visited: October 15, 09
Area: Vancouver, BC
1076 Mainland St
Price Range: $10 or less

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 2 (Based on the few items I had)
Service: 3
Ambiance: 2
Overall: 2
Additional comments:
  • Parisian bakery - not that authentic
  • Located in Yaletown
  • Items are baked at off-site bakery, few seem to be baked daily
  • Few selections of pre-made sandwiches/baguettes and salads
  • Homemade soups
  • Large selection of pastries/cakes
  • Low quality and standard
  • Stale items
  • Casual, eat in/take out

** Recommendation: n/a

Yikes, for a bakery with a French name in translation "The Parisian Bakery" - the French would be embarrassed. If you're going to take this title, I will have high expectations and you should be able to represent...and they didn't. I want to try and be review is based on only a few items so maybe I didn't give it enough of a chance. But based on those few items I was not impressed. All the items that can keep for a few days (eg: croissants, biscotti, cookies, banana bread etc.) really looks like it's been sitting there. It even looks stale, maybe becuase everything is imported from their off-site bakery. Everything sits in a display case for who knows how many days. It feels and tastes mass produced.

The pastries are not authentic and don't speak anything of real French bakeries. A selection of the baked goods look bought and the size of everything is Americanized. They're more like American pastries and they don't taste homemade. There's nothing French about it except for the name. The closest thing I've found thus far to an authentic French bakery is Boulangerie Cho Pain on Davie Street. This place blows Boulangerie la Parisienne out of the water.

On the table:

  • Almond Croissant 2/6
    • This is one of my favourite French pastries. I ate one every single day in Paris so I am very familiar with them. I was very disappointed in this one. It was definitely stale. The croissant wasn't flaky at all and when the croissant itself isn't good - then there's no way the pastry will be good. Nothing will be able to help it.
    • There are no layers in the croissant pastry dough and it's almost bread-like. Really dense and a bit hard and dry because it was stale. You can tell just by the picture.
    • You had to chew it rather than have it melt in your mouth. There was no flavour to it either. It wasn't sweet, buttery or anything. The ones at the grocery store taste better.
    • The inside is filled with an almond paste filling, which was ok, it was kind of jam like though. The ratio of filling to croissant was off too - not enough filling, all you could taste was croissant. It wasn't spread evenly either.
    • The only thing that was good was that there are a ton of almonds on top. Also the way the almonds stay on is becuase they use the almond paste as "glue" so you can a nice layer of almond paste underneath. The almonds aren't toasted though (they should be) so they're not as flavourful. I as ked her to warm it up in the oven and that didn't help either. It was $2.75 and not worth it.
    • When you know what the real thing is - this one doesn't even compare. Try the one at Boulangerie Cho-Pain that's the closest I've gotten to the real thing.
  • Homemade Tomato Soup 2/6
    • It's homemade but they use a lot of canned tomatoes in it. There no cream but it has a creamy texture. There's probably a combination of canned crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. It's kind of bland and the only flavour is that tart tomato flavour. There's some dried herbs, but all in all it's nothing special. I do appreciate it being homemade though because I wouldn't think they would care enough to do it.
    • The bread that they served it with wasn't even homemade...and I thought I was in a bakery! It was store bought - that's really sad...they should have just included a small slice of their baguette...which I don't even thi nk they make in house.

  • Cous Cous 1/6
    • Cous cous with chick peas, raisins, red bell pepper, celery and parsley.
    • This was sitting in the display case and it looked pretty decent, but it wasn't.
    • It was really bland, it tasted like plain cous cous. It looks flavourful, but I think they just used some turmeric powder to dye it and give it a yellow colour.
    • It was heavy on the parsley and there were no other flavours - no salt, no pepper - nothing. They should have put more raisins and maybe even some toasted nuts pine nuts in it. Keeping it simple is fine, but it still needs to taste good.
    • I actually ended up pouring half my cous cous into the tomato soup. Bother were so plain and bland on their own I decided to mix it up. It was better this way.
    • Overpriced for $5.25 too.

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  1. I totally disagree with you Foodie! I heart this place and this is one of my favorite spots. It is one of the few non chains, old fashion places where they actually bake their own stuff from scratch. I know lots about this place as I work and live in the area and frequent this place for many years and have tried almost all of their baked goodies, soups, sandwiches.... They are always delicious and always fresh. Spoke with the owner on many occasions, all their stuff is baked fresh from scratch daily. They own a bakery on Franklin. Try to find anything in Yaletown for under $15, this is the place where I have my lunches for under $10.
    I have been in Paris many times and this place makes authentic stuff!

  2. Welcome Azatkul! Fair enough, you're entitled to your opinion as well.

    This is just my personal thoughts on the restaurant...and I know not everything is baked fresh daily because the bakery is not on site and I've seen them cover up their cookies, croissants, some cakes and breads at night. I came here when it was closing.

    I am pleased that you had a good experience. However you can tell by my photos that my croissant was stale, dry and not flaky.

    True, it is difficult to find affordable places in Yaletown, but for me, just because it's affordable doesn't necessarily mean it's good.

    I've been to Paris as well and for me it is not authentic compared to the pastries I had there. It's all relative and I think there's much more authentic than this - like Boulangerie Cho Pain on Davie Street.

    Thanks for your comment. I will consider giving it another try and hopefully I will have a pleasant experience like you. Perhaps you can give some recommendations on what's good there.

  3. Since the preview owner, Mondher, a master baker, sold it, that bakery Boulangerie la Parisienne has become really bad, very bad products because there's no professionnal baker there.
    I believe the previous owner, the master baker, is now back in his originality street, Davie street, and owns Boulangerie Cho Pain.

  4. Oh really?!!? No kidding!! No wonder! Cho Pain is good and that's the level I wanted La Parisienne....thanks for the insider info!