Love at first bite

Award-winning bakery lives up to hype.


Grace Ainslie

An Arsicault Bakery employee prepares croissants for patrons. Plain, savory and sweet croissants range from $3.50 to $5.50.

Since being named “Bon Appétit” magazine’s Bakery of the Year, Arsicault Bakery has a line out the door most mornings.

The award is well deserved. The bakery sells kouign amanns, morning buns and five different types of croissants ranging from sweet to savory — all of which are excellent. The small Richmond district bakery provides traditional French pastries rivaling the San Francisco bakery b. patisserie.

Each croissant is the perfect combination of air and flakiness — and overloaded with fillings.

While simple, the butter croissant ($3.50) should not be underestimated. It’s melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The butter lightens the croissant instead of weighing it down, fluffing up the pastry.

The Valrhona chocolate croissant ($4.50), when pulled apart, oozes melted, quality chocolate that is neither grainy nor too bitter like other dark chocolates.

Their almond croissant ($5) packs an intense almond flavor that complements the basic croissant flavor perfectly, not overpowering it.

Rich, creamy chocolate fills Arsicault’s heaviest confection of all, the Valrhona chocolate almond croissant ($5.50). It is absolutely worth every bite. Powdered sugar covers the top and the center is equally stuffed with smooth almond filling and chocolate.

The ham and cheese ($5.50) is the only savory option and it holds up as a stand-alone. It is best served warm to melt the cheese, yet keeping the croissant crispy on the outside.

A round pastry is made with viennoiserie dough, the same dough used for croissants, but with sugar and butter folded in, the kouign amann ($4). It is coated in caramelized sugar on the outside, but for all the sugar, it does not feel heavy.

After eating these pastries, flakes of them were everywhere, demonstrating the proper finish of a correctly-made croissant.

Arsicault’s minimal indoor and outdoor seating can be taken up quickly due to the bakery’s popularity. A farmer’s market is a block down from the bakery on Clement Street every Sunday, making it an easy stop to purchase healthier foods after eating the calorie-ridden pastries.

Arsicault Bakery is located at 397 Arguello Blvd., and is open from Tuesday to Friday 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s easily accessible by the 2 Clement or the 38 Geary San Francisco Muni lines.