While I agree with many of the dining selections in last week’s “Best of” listings there were a few categories that were missing. One of those was one of my favorite kind of place; the bakery/café. In order to balance out the indulgences of being a restaurant critic, I sometimes go carb-free for extended periods. Then, I walk past a bakery café, and I’m a goner. There’s something about the European tradition of sitting in a bakery, sipping a cup of freshly brewed coffee and enjoying some fresh, baked bread or pastries (or both!) that is soul-comforting. The next time you need to unwind and chill, try stopping in at one of these delightful bakery cafes, anyone of which could be a contender for your “Best of” list.
45th Street Bakery
1950 NE 45th St. (Florinada), Oakland Park
From the same guys who brought you Out of the Oven, formerly in the Shoppes of Wilton Manors. While geared primarily to take out; there are just a few tables and it is only open for breakfast and lunch, the bakery does offer a few entrée items, pizzas, flatbreads, quiche, etc. The reason I keep going back (aside from the cute guys behind the counter), is the crumb coffee cake. It’s as addictive as crack.
Angelo Elia Bakery Bar
2104 E. Oakland Park, Oakland Park
One of the few places open until late at night, and offering gelato and wines and beer in addition to bakery products and sandwiches. Here the delicious pastries and sandwiches have a decidedly Italian flair. You know it’s authentic when you hear Italian being spoken all around you.
1201 N. Federal, Fort Lauderdale
You might be forgiven for exploring only the croissants at this little café located in the middle of a mall. They are delicious, after all. However, there is much more available, including sandwiches on crusty bread, delicious baked goods and light and refreshing salads. The small dining area isn’t very inviting, but the outdoor cafe (with live music on weekends) is pleasant.
2909 E. Commercial, Fort Lauderdale
While most of the other bakery cafes showcased in this article are French influenced, Edelweiss tilts more to the Teutonic side of Europe, as you might guess from the name. While the breakfast options are limited, stop by for a hearty lunch featuring schnitzel and some of the best wurst in town. There’s no website, but Edelweiss does have a Facebook page.
1235 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
If you’re avoiding carbs this is not the place for you. The bread alone makes it worth a visit, but the pastries and Italian coffee make stopping at Gran Forno a must whenever I’m on Las Olas. Snag a sidewalk table for the best people-watching.
Nanou French Bakery & Café
2915 E Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
While you may struggle trying to remember your high school French when ordering, you’ll find that “delicious” is the international language. Consistently named one of the best breakfast places in Fort Lauderdale, Nanou offers some of the most delicious food in the area, and a full breakfast will run you less than ten bucks, which more than compensates for the limited English of the staff.
Stork’s Bakery & Coffee House
2505 NE 15th Ave., Wilton Manors
In a town where people and businesses come and go more quickly than Dorothy in a tornado, Stork’s has managed to thrive for 20 plus years. The reason why they’ve done so is simple; they serve a damn good product at a reasonable price. Grab one of the few indoor tables or sit on the covered patio, sip your coffee and enjoy a pastry, sandwich or full meal. Check it out for breakfast, lunch, cocktail hour (bottomless mimosas and two-for-one glasses of wine) or a late-night dessert.