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Baked Goods

The Artisan Baker

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on January 3, 2013

artisan baker torontoThe Artisan Baker is already a hit after a mere three weeks in operation. The evidence is in the fact that, as I arrive during weekday lunch, not a single free seat is to be found in the entire bakery and cafe; never mind the perpetually long lineup by the cash. It's as if Yonge and St. Clair has never seen a quiche lorraine before.

artisan baker torontoOr, perhaps it's simply that Yonge and St. Clair has never seen a quiche lorraine prepared by chef and owner Bruno Beaudoin before. Trained in France and backed by extensive experience in Toronto's hotel industry, Beaudoin and a business partner seized the skeleton of the former Passione Restaurant and transformed it with the help of Glen Poloso Interiors.

artisan baker torontoAnd I must say, the visual first impression is a good one. Hanging chandeliers, marble tables, and tufted banquettes are offset by raw wooden flooring, all while staff scurry about delivering a sort of table-service-lite. "We have full table service at dinner," explains Artisan Bakery manager Jean Paquette, adding that the switch from lunch to dinner happens at about 5 p.m. "For lunch, you order up at the counter and if it's something we can prepare there we'll make it for you and you can take it to a table. Or else if it's a sandwich of something, we'll do that in the kitchen and bring it out to you."

artisan baker torontoThe Artisan Baker does a lot more than sandwiches, however, aiming to have at least one hot daily dish, a pasta selection, and vegetarian option for the lunchtime rush (the dinner is à la carte).

artisan baker torontoOn the day I drop by, the bakery cafe is offering a pork shoulder stew in a white wine reduction (made from ethically raised Quebec pork), a red pepper soup, a Mediterranean farfalle with vegetables, plus the regular quiches, croissant sandwiches, cheeses, pastries, baguettes, buns, and other baked goods. There's coffee, too, made from Alfa Cappuccino Italian roasted beans.

artisan baker torontoThe spread is a little overwhelming (or maybe that's just the crowd), but my choices are limited to grab-and-go since I'm not very keen on waiting for a seat. Despite the indulgent-looking eclairs ($3.25) and seemingly popular pain aux raisins ($3.25), I take Jean's recommendation and try out Artisan's chocolate croissant twist ($3.25), which he describes as a croissant with "more crunch, and less breading."

artisan baker torontoAfter a couple bites, I'm instantly converted from the pain au chocolat to the croissant twist, largely because of the soft, almost custard-like chocolate filling. There's also a greater croissant shell to bread ratio (a plus, in my books) and a sweet, sticky outer glaze. My one critique is that said sticky glaze doesn't pair well with paper napkins, and thus, the napkin should be left out of the to-go bag.

artisan baker torontoAll of the pastries, breads, and baked goods are made daily in the onsite kitchen, as well as the hot options available at lunch. Jean says the bakery is hoping for its liquor license in the coming weeks, and plans to offer a selection of Ontario microbrews, along with a short list of wines and spirits. In which case, count on that lunch line being just a little bit longer.

artisan baker torontoPhotos by Morris Lum



Nicole / January 3, 2013 at 01:04 pm
Have been here and it's amazing! Great addition to the Yonge and St Clair lunch crowd and its great that they are actually offering dinner service as well.
Yana / January 3, 2013 at 02:42 pm
This was such a much needed addition to the lunch selections in the area - the food is fantastic. The service tends to be a little scattered process-wise (although VERY friendly and helpful), but I think they'll work out the kinks with time. The quiche is FANTASTIC and the split pea soup (when they have it) is the best I've ever tried.
Kaelan / January 3, 2013 at 05:16 pm
I work in the area and I really wish they offered some gluten free products! So adorable though :)
MrsPotato / January 3, 2013 at 07:58 pm
Is it french food or ...?

Jim / January 4, 2013 at 12:58 am
Pretty good. Hopefully they get the sandwiches down because mine was mediocre. Everyone was friendly. Ill give them a few weeks before i try back. Nice to have in the neighbourhood though.
eagle3 / January 5, 2013 at 06:18 pm
More importantly, how are the lattes?
KC / January 5, 2013 at 11:49 pm
Kamloops cousins...
J.D. Teschner / January 6, 2013 at 10:04 pm
We past by on Yonge St. and St. Clair. We were suprised to see a new Bakery-Café. Ut looks inviting. They have wonderful Baked goods, Pastries, Hot meals, Daily soups, Salads and more...

I ordered ButterNut Sqash soup and Tuna kish. Both were deliciouse and so did my friend enjoyed her meal. The Interior is very pleasent and comfortable. The service needs a bit more sprucing and run in.

It's Champs-Élysée in Toronto on Yonge St.
Tanya / January 7, 2013 at 10:53 am
My chocolate/almond croissant was heavenly... I felt as if I was in Paris... and that was a great feeling...
Pablo Monje / January 12, 2013 at 11:08 am
J'ai des envies de vous visiter!!! Ça donne l'air de étre vraiment bon...muaummm!!
eagle3 / February 27, 2013 at 09:39 am
I tried it the other day and it was not too shabby, although, a little pricey. I tried their spinach quiche which was good. It came with a side salad that was pretty pathetic. Just some mixed greens with dressing, and wilted. Would it have been too much to add some veggies to it? I also tried some chocolate croissants, and they were quite good, flaky and delicious but not as good as the place I usually frequent on St. Clair which is also french. The eat in area looked quite nice and spacious. They were very friendly and attentive.
Frank Lucas / March 11, 2013 at 01:30 pm
I just got a double Americano from here and it cost $4.80. Contrast that to Jimmy's at King and Portland where it runs under $3.

So the price is way out of line. The coffee itself was more watered down than a drip coffee at McDonald's.
BillyO / March 26, 2013 at 08:44 pm
Incredible pastries, lovely room and service.
The coconut twist is amazing, highly recommend
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Amanda Cappon / April 1, 2013 at 08:43 am
I just had brunch here for my first time this weekend. It was fantastic! Fresh taste, light and fluffy pastry and filling without being too heavy. It was simply amazing! I highly recommend you try this place.
Maureen / May 12, 2013 at 07:00 pm
I was taken by my daughter for the set menu mother's day brunch. Everything was very tasty.

I would also like to mention that the waiter did an excellent job. He was always making sure that everything was o.k. I cannot remember his name but he is British with a London accent. It was indeed a pleasure to be served by him.

I heard that this place has only been opened for five months so I would like to wish the owner success in his new venture.
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Anna / September 25, 2013 at 12:34 pm
Great Job Bruno! XOXOX
Allan / November 11, 2013 at 03:46 pm
Went there today for lunch, Monday November 11 and Artisan is locked up and dark!
chris / February 3, 2014 at 03:18 pm

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