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Cafes

Clafouti

Posted by Adam Schwabe / Posted on April 21, 2008

ClafoutiClafouti, a French bakery on Queen St. West, is the perfect way to kickstart a day off. It's a madhouse on the weekend, jammed with ravenous hordes salivating over perfect, buttery croissants and pains au chocolat. On a weekday, however, the pace is serene. The pleasant shop contains just a few people absently munching the extravagantly good tarts and reading highbrow periodicals.

It's mid-afternoon and they're sold out of my usual favourite (a roast chicken sandwich with bib lettuce and fresh raspberries nestled into a croissant, oh MAN), so instead I opt for my first ever Croque-Monsieur, or "Mister Crispy", essentially a pimped-out ham & grilled cheese sandwich. A cup of strong, dark Balzac's coffee brings my lunch to a comfortable $6.90, and I head out into the sun to eat.

 ClafoutiIt's a warm, wafty spring day across the street in Trinity-Bellwoods Park, and everyone is limping in new sandals, grinning despite the blisters. Turns out, a croque-moniseur and a coffee make a perfect picnic on a sunny day: thick slices of soft bread, deliciously toasty around the edges, filled with thin-sliced ham, and topped with a cap of melted gruyere cheese.

Inside is a mysterious white layer, which looks like mayo, but isn't. Correct me if you know better, but I think it's sauce de Mornay, and I know it's delicious. It tastes a little like melted bocconcini cheese- mild and creamy, and not at all as overpowering as it looks.

 ClafoutiClafouti is a Toronto mainstay of delicious pastries - a large variety of simple, fresh tarts come in single and family sizes, and the croissants, brioches, and breads are divine. The shop takes its name from the clafoutis, a French dessert similar to a fruit flan, essentially a giant baked pancake stuffed with cherries, and well worth a try.

While you're there, you can also stock up on imported Euro groceries- jams, syrups, candy, and coffee. So next time you have a day off, you can kick it French stylez- this bakery is a perfect place to... loaf. Yeah, I went there.

Clafouti Toronto

Discussion

32 Comments

Kelvin / April 21, 2008 at 06:45 am
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This is probably as close to France one can get in Toronto. Their breakfast specialty croissant like the almond one are a must try too!
megan / April 21, 2008 at 06:57 am
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i think traditionally the gooey white stuff in a croque is bechamel, but i've never been to this place (but may have to go on Monday morning) so I'm not sure.
stampi / April 21, 2008 at 07:38 am
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Yeah, I thought bechamel sauce too, but it had a kind of chewy, cheesy texture. Sauce de Mornay is basically bechamel with melted cheese in it. Who knows? Either way, that is one delicious sandwich.
stampi / April 21, 2008 at 07:38 am
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Yeah, I thought bechamel sauce too, but it had a kind of chewy, cheesy texture. Sauce de Mornay is basically bechamel with melted cheese in it. Who knows? Either way, that is one delicious sandwich.
Michele Champagne / April 22, 2008 at 02:13 am
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Sauce bechamel + Gruyere = Sauce de Mornay
http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_23675,00.html
little miss / April 29, 2008 at 01:36 pm
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I live close by to this place-- I just love it in the morning! Despite this however, I wanna give the screw-face guy with the long hair who works at the counter a good slap in the face. It seems as though every time I go in there he's give me attitude in one way or another. What a little prick.Everyone else is wonderful, but that kid makes me wanna skip the quality Clafouti provides in exchange for some dirty Tim Hortons.
SinfulWays / May 2, 2008 at 10:22 am
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Does anyone know the hours of the store? I live nearby but it seems that after I come back from work, it is always closed. They must close early. And I think also on Sundays. Thank you!
/ May 11, 2008 at 06:40 pm
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The hours are Tuesday - Saturday 8-6 and Sunday 9-5, closed Monday.

p.s. the sauce in the croque monsieur is indeed bechamel,with swiss cheese on top.
jody / June 11, 2008 at 07:18 pm
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I'm sorry... but this place sucks!! I don't get how people rave about the croissants here....I question whether or not anyone who thinks otherwise has ever eaten a croissant in france before.... here's what a croissant should be; light, flaky, crispy, airy, keeping it's form and crackling all over you into a million little bits as you bite into it... these croissants are soft,doughy, mushy, greasy and bready heavy things.... yuk!!
peanut / June 26, 2008 at 03:41 pm
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The staff at this cafe definitely do not live up to the lovely food. Though there are some great people working there, they obviously do not get along with one another. I've overheard many rants on the subject of trivial counter-staff rivalries while sitting with my morning tea. That's fine, just keep it quiet!

But who am I to judge? I still go there every day.
MeMyselfAnd I / March 5, 2009 at 01:08 pm
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Do they have LCBO licence? I like a little spakling wine with dessert....
phoenix / March 12, 2009 at 08:36 pm
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With the numerous rave reviews about their croissants, they're presumably handmade in-house. But, is this truly the case? The reason I ask is because last year I stopped by the shop early in the morning the day after the Civic holiday. Unfortunately, a notice on the shop window indicated they were closed. But, on the steps of the doorway lay several boxes and a couple of stuffed brown bags. On one of the boxes was a stapled invoice in clear view, and one of the listed items was 12 dozen frozen croissants! At the top was the company name - Dough Heads Pastry Bakery, North York.

As I walked away all I could think of was what a waste they'd become melting in the August heat.
whitesquirrel / March 26, 2009 at 06:56 pm
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the almond croissant rocks! it might be the best $2 snack in the city!
sharethewealth / March 27, 2009 at 09:18 pm
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your first in my heart my love
sharethewealth / March 29, 2009 at 11:43 am
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My this is a busy little blog lately .I was wondering Do you think maby that phoenix is an investigative reporter, out to bash the ones not found on his friends list ? i've found clafouti lived up to the reviews ,and walking by after the pub,time and time again, i see them there working (at 3 and 4 in the morning crazy) .God forbid they get swamped and have to outsource here and there . i'm happy to support 915 queen st w
pwik nik / March 31, 2009 at 03:16 pm
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the tarts here are delicious! way better than the tarts @ Queen of Tarts. plus, most tarts are reasonably priced at $3.15; not the ridiculous $5/tart @ Queen of Tarts.

food handling is great and consistent! they use tongs to handle their tarts, unlike Queen of Tarts who like to use their bare, unwashed hands (yuck!).
Martin / October 18, 2009 at 09:53 pm
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I have to agree with Jodi, I went there for the first time today and tried the pain au chocolat. Soft doughy, mushy, etc... Paris it ain't.

If you're in the mood for a something decent, you're better off at Nadege Patisserie across the street.
acai supplement girl / December 1, 2009 at 04:53 am
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I am a frequent visiter of you site and I really like it. I would like your comments about my website.
Liz / February 12, 2010 at 11:27 am
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Used to be my favourite but I like a touch of friendly with my morning croissant. Haven't been back since Nadege opened.
Carol / March 13, 2010 at 07:28 pm
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Try Wagamama pastries.
Very nice croisant's and to me the staff are much more friendly.
Vanacai / March 13, 2010 at 07:30 pm
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I agree....


Wagamama pastries is way better, try it.
Nadege is border line stupidity behind the counter.
Turedin / May 13, 2010 at 05:38 pm
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A quaint and cosy little place but I agree with Jody and others, Paris it ain't. The croissants are soft and mushy. The tarts are pretty good though.
Amy / February 27, 2011 at 03:21 pm
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I've been here a few times,and I don't find the staff unfriendly? I love their hot cocoa. Their tarts are to die for; I especially liked the Lychee & Caramel tart. In fact, I bought another one just after consuming one! The mushroom & Asiago croissant is also amazing. I'm thinking of stopping there this week, even though I live pretty far away. I'd say it's worth the trip.
Jenny / April 15, 2012 at 11:53 am
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There is a reason Wagamama pastries has open for over 12 years...
Great coffee and food and excellent table service.
BT / February 17, 2013 at 09:26 am
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Crappy, cold croissants. I can't believe they're rated here.
Naajie / May 10, 2013 at 10:37 am
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I moved to Canada recently and I've been living on queen west for about 2 years now, when i first moved in, i thought Nadege was the closest that i could get to a real croissant, but i did not not a little further west was the best bakery i could ever find that is 2 min from my door...

I went there once when i first moved it, i was not able to explore due to the overcrowded and narrow space lol but then after living around so many bakeries i decided to on a diet...

Recently i went in after getting coffee from white squirel (good coffee horrible service) and fell in LOVE with Clafouti... Good bye diet and hello clafouti!!

love love love their tart.. when i have a tart from nadege i feel like the crust/shell is gonna break my tooth, at clafouti, they melt into your mouth. so yummy, just had one and a roast beef sandwich... love their sandwiches and they are super decently priced...

i cannot believe that ive been living there all this time and i did not fall in love sooner...

their croissant sometimes in the early morning, its still warm from the oven, and they taste amazing...

there is a girl that has been working there for 7 years and she is super friendly. the long hair dude not so much!

TRY it people, Try IT!!!!!


J replying to a comment from Vanacai / May 14, 2013 at 03:09 pm
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I have to agree, I asked what type of butter was used in the making of the croissants and the first response was lard... The second time I went in I was told Gay-Lea butter.

I must say, disappointed after reading a Toronto Star article about Nadege using butter with 84% MF and finding out that is not true...
Olivier replying to a comment from Naajie / May 15, 2013 at 12:19 pm
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Thank you kindly for the nice comments , we try to do the best we can everyday since 2003 and sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't.
I will pass on you kind words to Tamara , she has worked for me a while is very dedicated.
Thank you agagin for the love
Olivier , owner/operator
ScoMo / January 4, 2014 at 11:10 am
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Attitude inside a specialty cafe/shop in Toronto? I don't believe it!
Mehraban / March 2, 2014 at 06:52 pm
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The hipster blond girl in the store gave me such an attitude, made me rethink going there despite their wonderful Crookie, tarts and croissants. She was so rude and gave me a mean stare every time I ordered something. I did not fully understand why she was being so rude. She needs to go or I will make a scene next time she gives me an attitude.
cookie replying to a comment from Mehraban / March 26, 2014 at 08:26 pm
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maybe you were projecting your negative attitude onto her which she picked up and spat right back at your face.
Designwallah / March 29, 2014 at 05:06 pm
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The croissants are awful. I tried them a few times when they first opened. I was so disappointed that I've never set foot in there again. They are certainly NOT close to croissants in France, even the size is wrong. Oreo croissants are not French.

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