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Le Toledo
Photograph: Le Toledo / @letoledo.mtl

The best bakeries in Montreal for amazing sweet and savory goods

From pastries and croissants to fresh bread, cakes and cookies, it’s all on the menu at the best bakeries in Montreal

Written by
Holly Tousignant
&
Gregory Vodden
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UPDATE, September 2020: In our unending crusade to bring you only the best bakeries in Montreal, we’ve reexamined our list and diligently crammed in even more treats worth your time. This new version adds a whopping ten local bakeries onto our list, and—while that may seem like a lot—the proof is in the pudding (filled pastry), each astonishing us with a tireless devotion to their craft.

The inventories of Montreal’s best bakeries—like the city itself—are made from a crazy mishmash of old and new world sensibilities, and the city’s bakers and pastry chefs all draw heavily from French, Italian, Jewish, Mexican, and Greek bread and pastry traditions. Whether you’re looking for best coffee and croissants in Montreal to start your morning, searching for a perfect baguette to round out a picnic in one of Montreal’s parks or a dinner party, or hunting down the best desserts one by one? This carefully prepared list of the city's best will guide the way. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Montreal

Best bakeries in Montreal

Pâtisserie Rhubarbe’s pastries and desserts are almost too gorgeous to eat, but you’d be doing a disservice to yourself if you left a single crumb behind. Pastry chef Stephanie Labelle and her team have mastered French classics like millefeuille, macarons and the bakery’s fruity cheesecakes that change seasonally. It can’t be stressed enough: Everything ordered at their contemporary bakery’s absolutely divine.

Pastry chef Patrice Demers is among the best in the biz in Montreal with creations that are as masterfully constructed as they are innovative. Sweets reign supreme at his eponymous bakery and pastry shop, where kouign-amann, financiers, lemon tarts and banana bread are perennial faves. Really, it’s impossible to go wrong with whatever you pick from the counter of its stylish Little Burgundy locale. Also deals out an amazing lunch and Sunday brunch service, as well as baking classes and wine tasting courses—geez, what can’t they do?

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After cutting his teeth abroad at famed patissiers, chocolatiers, and even the legendary Michelin star-restaurant El Bulli, Montrealer Jeff Finkelstein returned home in 2009 with plans to open a bakery of his own. Hof Kelsten is a product of those plans and is at once both a love-letter to the Jewish delicacies of Finkelstein's youth and an inspiration to a whole new generation of pastry chefs coming onto the scene. The bakery’s product is currently used in some of the best restaurants in the city, and Hof Kelston’s high-design Saint-Laurent Boulevard counter is known to be an equally good place to pick up a chocolate babka or to enjoy an exceptional brunch.

Maison Christian Faure’s posh boutiques in Old Montreal and downtown do delicate French pastries that include croissants, tarts and macarons. These baked goods taste as good as they look, and they all look pretty damn good. These are the pastries you bring to a dinner party when you really want to impress your host, show off in front of them, or both.

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Once a cult favourite, Au Kouign Amann is now widely recognized for its charms both here and abroad. It takes its name with the pastry it specializes in: A doughy Breton cake full of sugar and butter—you know, as all the best things are. The tiny, simple patisserie’s perfectly flaky croissants are also worth the visit, if not their simple tartlettes filled with custard and a handful of berries.

A relative newcomer to the Montreal bread and pastry scene, Automne Boulangerie opened in 2016 to a hell of a lot of fanfare, and for good reason: The duo behind Automne—baker Julien Roy and chef Seth Gabrielse—favour simple, seasonal, quality ingredients and it shows. In a city chock-full of boulangeries, the simplest of Automne’s offerings still manage to stand out, whether it’s baguettes or croissants.

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Blés de Pays is the unlikely passion project of bread devotee Maxime Deslandes, whose all-encompassing love of bread has seen his tiny enterprise handily go toe to toe with the best bakeries in town. Deslandes operates his secret bread factory in the heart of the Mile End, emphasizing the best ingredients he can get: Filtered water, high-quality Newfoundland salt, and whole wheat ancient grain flour from local farms like Grains du Val and Moulin des Cèdres. Unusual for a bakery, Deslandes also only makes his bread to order, so get your orders in quick, and see what all the ruckus is about.

With its industrial vibe, the Mile End bakery Guillaume feels like bread lab, which makes sense; creating such consistently flawless bread requires scientific precision. The bakery’s savoury and sweet offerings are all delicious enough to be serve as meals unto themselves, but if you’re feeling a little more creative, their brioche cubes make for the best homemade French toast—if you can to avoid wolfing the whole thing down before you make it home, that is.

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In its commanding position close to the Jean-Talon Market, on the borderlands between Little Italy and Mile-Ex, Joe la Croûte holds court. While both neighbourhoods might try to claim it as their own, there’s certainly consensus between the residents of both neighbourhoods on the quality of Joe la Croûte’s bread.  All-time favourites include the kamut baguettes, the wheat and chestnut flour loaves and the olive fougasse, but you’re bound to enjoy anything you sink your teeth into at Joe la Croûte.

New kids on the block they may be, but Boulangerie Jarry has people all over the city taking notice of their refreshing approach to good old-fashioned breadmaking. The enterprise is headed by Dominique Gauvrit, who is taking another crack at the bakery business after playing an early role in the success of Montreal bakery chain Premiere Moisson. Gauvrit and his carefully chosen team are already setting themselves apart from the pack, sourcing their wheat from nearby Moulin la Rémy in Charlevoix and even milling their own flour in their spacious retail space on the corner of Saint-Denis and Jarry.

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This tiny, no-frills boulangerie is widely known for the full range of Jewish classics it doles out, from black and white cookies to challah bread. Everything the team at Cheskie’s makes is delicious—shout out to their mini cheesecakes and cheese crowns—but the real star of the show is the chocolate babka, a sweet yeast bread featuring dense, chocolate-filled layers. If you think that sounds incredible, rest assured: It’s better than you’re probably imagining.

This French boulangerie’s two (soon to be three) locations in Ahuntsic, Griffintown and Laval serve up some of the best sandwiches in the city on fresh and delicious bread. Don’t ask us twice and don’t fight us on this one: The baguette is perfection. You’ll want to take a loaf (or loaves) away after your first taste. Just make sure to grab a few of their pastries while you’re at it.

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Arte Farina is a bakery run by chefs Sandro Carpené and Mirko d’Agata and is a culmination of their incredible experience with Italian bread and pastry making traditions. The bakery is known for creations that hail from all over the Italian peninsula—including a Neapolitan taralli, Piedmontese grissini, and a Florentine biscottibut their most celebrated products are likely their coveted, artisanal colomba di Pasqua, dove-shaped Easter cakes made with Calabrian orange peel and topped with an almond flour and pearl sugar crust.

This bakery’s Mexican influence—evident in items like the concha, a sweet bread roll with a crunchy shell—sets it apart from the traditionally European bakeries that dominate the scene in Montreal. That’s not to say that they don’t also do European classics however, as their baguettes, brioche, croissants and more are all executed exceptionally well.

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ArHoMa’s Hochelaga boutique would be a gem in its own right thanks to the decadent desserts created on site, but the shop has the added bonus of being stocked with additional pastries and breads from La Fabrique Arhoma, ‘the factory’ which also supplies bread to grocery stores around Montreal. Some of ArHoMa’s best desserts are the richest; the team favours seasonal ingredients, but lucky for us, chocolate never goes out of style.

Bread is the raison d'être at Le Pain dans les Voiles, but don’t skip on their sturdy selection of pastries on any given visit. Like a few bakeries around town, this Villeray spot—an outpost of a treasured Mont-Saint-Hilaire bakery—is in contention for the best baguette in Montreal. Look for breads incorporating flavours like choco-sesame or sesame and tamari.

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Still new to the scene but already making waves, Louise Boulangerie produces faithful French bread out of their attractive, contemporary-styled Saint-Laurent storefront in Little Italy. Chef-boulanger Romain Séguin has succeeded in adapting this French bakery to the palate and tendencies found in  Quebec, and the charming simplicity with which the bread, pastries, and sandwiches are made hides a disciplined attention to detail.

Another sweet spot in the Plateau, Fous Desserts is primarily known for its French pastries—the croissants, plain and almond, are stellar—but the bakery keeps things interesting with a slight Japanese influence like its delectable matcha cake. If a taste of pastry isn’t enough to staisy your sweet tooth, Fous also produces its own chocolate on site.

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If you need a break from the delicate, flaky layers of butter-laden pastry, Léché Desserts’ gourmet donuts offer a tasty, deep-fried alternative: Light-as-a-cloud donuts that come in fun flavours like peppermint buttermilk, spiced ginger glazed and white chocolate mousse. They’re also nice to look at, but it’s unlikely that you’ll have time to snap a photo before you gobble yours up.

Le Toledo is a cafe/bakery owned and operated by longtime friends Richard 'Riccardo' Arnoult (a baker by trade and original owner of Bouchervile’s now renowned L’Amour du Pain) and François Barriere (a food enthusiast and manager extraordinaire). Le Toledo offers high-quality, direct trade coffee along with unadulterated, honest-to-baked-God goods. Most of all, Le Toledo's arrival brought a sorely-needed community meeting-ground that has breathed new life into a forsaken segment of Mont-Royal Avenue that long struggled to regain its footing after the closure of several prominent nearby businesses in recent years. Viva Le Toledo.

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Laurier Street East bakery Le Fromentier has been churning out quality, bread and pastry since 1994, and it’s no wonder they’ve developed a loyal following of locals who swear by their palmiers, walnut baguettes, and seasonal galettes des rois. Perhaps what most elevates Le Fromentier’s particular approach, however, is their exceptional selection of local cheeses and charcuteries, making them the unofficial neighbourhood picnic suppliers for neighbouring Parc Sir Wilfred Laurier.

Too often, Montreal neglects its east end trailblazers in favour of newer, more central up-and-comers. Originally opening its doors in 1995, Boulangerie de Froment et de Sève on Beaubien Street East is exactly one such originator, and although it has expanded twice to accommodate its newfound success, it hasn’t veered from its original mission to provide fresh, homemade bread and pastry to the neighbourhood. Their location also features a whole load of local produce, including cheese, charcuterie, urban honey, homemade jams, and ciders. Just another good reason to stop in next time you’re in the area.

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Sweet Lee’s homestyle desserts all look something that would win first prize in a county fair baking contest, with both the Verdun-based bakery’s space and the treats it serves are the definition of cozy. Think gooey, barely-contained pie or tart fillings alongside fat and sticky cinnamon rolls. We’d go on, but we’ve got drool to mop up.

For a city that loves sweets (and carbs) as much as Montreal does, there’s a relative lack of quality sweet pies on offer. Rustique fills that void with pies in a range of flavours, including classics like lemon meringue, key lime and apple. Billed as a “country pie stand in the city,” Rustique offers full pies and minis, as well as cakes, which are also delicious (and highly aesthetically pleasing).

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There’s more going on at this NDG bakery than its baguettes, although those loaves are what gets a lot of the fanfare. La Meunerie Urbaine’s wide selection of rustic breads is all excellent, with an irresistible consistency that’s both soft and perfectly crusty. They also do pastries, our most recommended of which are the canelés and croissants.

This homegrown chain is chiefly adored for its melt-in-your-mouth croissants, but its bakery locations also double down as hangouts. The owners have aimed to recreate a grandma’s-kitchen-on-Sunday vibe, which is exactly what you’ll find in any of Mamie’s addresses. Sit down for a quick meal or pick up their fresh-from-the-oven bread, pastries and other sweets to go.

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This homey Plateau bakery does French staples in a quaint, plucked-from-a-postcard setting with pastry-filled displays and retro window decals that feel quintessentially Montreal. In addition to an assortment of sweets and breads, this bakery also stocks a selection of cheeses and sandwiches, making this is the only stop you’ll need to make on the way to your impromptu picnic in the nearby Parc La Fontaine (aside from the SAQ, of course).

The butter-heavy offerings at this friendly chain of bakeries with locations on Mont Royal, Rachel and Masson include Breton pastries and croissants. They also do other sweets—macarons, panettone and rich, decadent tarts—and great bread, and all three locations serve up simple sandwiches, pizzas and quiches that make them ideal for a quick lunch break stop.

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This Little Italy pasticceria has been a Montreal institution since 1968. This Dante Street mainstay offers a range of delicious cakes and cookies and amazing Italian pastries like sfogliatelle and zeppola, but really, it’s all about the cannoli. If someone tells you there’s better cannoli for sale anywhere outside of Italy, they’re either lying or delusional, and we’ll take that to the bank.

This Italian bakeshop in the Old Port does a little bit of everything. It serves a whole range of decadent macarons and savoury apéros, runs cake decorating workshops, hosts private events, and even serves a charming high tea service. But above all else, the shop is doubtless best known for its pesche dolci, uniquely delicious Italian butter cookies whose stature is swiftly growing amongst the city’s pastry intelligentsia.

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Get your phyllo fill at Afroditi, the classic Park-Ex Greek bakery that’s long been a neighbourhood favourite. This is the essential place for baklava and spanakopita in Montreal, but they’re far from a limited selection with breads and non-Greek pastries that are additionally worth ordering up. Special occasions call for their fondant-covered personalized cakes they dish out at a quick turnover rate.

Oozing classic French charm, Chez Fred is a little slice of Paris on this side of the Atlantic. If you don’t have croissant fatigue yet, Fred’s are worth all the praise they receive from its regulars in NDG and beyond. Chez Fred also does bread, among which is an magnificantly crusty and chewy baguette.

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