European pastries and desserts in San Diego

European pastries and desserts in San Diego


Looking for a quaint café that will satisfy your craving for a light and buttery Croissant, or a piece of rich and creamy Tiramisu? There’s honestly nothing more disappointing than ordering a fresh baked desert, only to learn that it is stale or sickly sweet. If you are particular about your buttery treats, it can be difficult to find the best spots, with a market oversaturated by the low standards of Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. The handmade, fresh, quality ingredients at these three artisan dessert shops, will bring the rich flavors of Paris and Barcelona right to your hometown. 



“Ciao!” This welcoming Tuscany coffee house, owned by brothers, Francesco and Lorenzo Bucci, has been expanding ever since its initial launch in Little Italy, ten years ago. What started as a small local café, has now become a favorite go-to gelato place, with 5 locations in Little Italy, Cardiff, Hillcrest, Kensington, and Del Mar. Based on a dedication to authentic Italian standards, there is a strong emphasis on quality, freshness and simplicity.

Pappalecco’s award- winning Italian gelato is made from scratch at a central kitchen in Point Loma, embracing Tuscan traditions. They present an amazing array of flavors including classics like Stracciatella, Milk and Chocolate, Marocchino as well as Mocha, Nocciola and Hazelnut. Fresh and creamy gelato is made with only five, natural ingredients and real fruits. It can be served up to four scoops in a cup or cone, or as a gelato cookie sandwich. For a super rich treat, try having yours stuffed in a fluffy croissant. In addition to their excellent gelato, they have a great selection of traditional Italian pastries made daily from scratch.

Inside this charming, Italian café, you will be transported across the Atlantic. Dine indoors or on the beautiful patio. A friendly barista at Hillcrest’s location, Carol Souza, shared her personal favorite: Apple Crumble topped with the Vanilla Gelato, and coffee from their own, small batch beans. Traditional Italian dessert choices such as Tiramisu, Lemon Torta, and Cannoli are all crafted to perfection. “Pappa” means food for kids and “lecco” means licking. They certainly do provide quality sweets that will make you lick your chops. Open 7 a.m. to 10: 30 p.m., Monday through Thursday and closing at 11 p.m. on Fridays, here you will get a glimpse of Italian flavor, and the care they devote to creating good food.



Le Parfait Paris

Le Parfait Paris provides the Parisian ambiance to a lively neighborhood of downtown San Diego. Owner, Ludi and her husband, wanted to bring a simple yet decadent desert place to their home of over 10 years, San Diego. And with the high demand for specialty cafes, this French bakery has been unfailingly attracting a crowd of customers. The award-winning Croissants are only the first in an extensive lists of desserts, all of which made from scratch with their family recipe at a production kitchen in Mission Valley. Le Parfait Paris uses the finest and fresh ingredients for their products; such as premium butter and chocolate imported from France. Many of the deserts are enhanced with vanilla bean and nuts for their natural sweetness, while flower and vegetables create natural coloring for the popular macaroons. 

Although the traditional croissant is a undeniably a master piece, try their Almond croissant, which is a gratifying combination of rich marzipan and classic, fluffy pastry. The vintage French dessert menu will appeal to those with a particular sweet tooth. Parfait’s signature desert delivers an excellent blend of flavors, with layers of almond biscuit, praline crisp and dark chocolate mouse. Ludi says her personal favorite is their fruit tart, made with fresh, organic fruit from local farmer’s market.It delivers an infusion of natural fruit flavors and vanilla bean custard topped with fresh berries, marshmallows and coconut shreds.She adds that although they are expanding, the Boulangerie will continue to partner with local farmers and businesses. 

The pastry team is working hard, planning to open new outposts in Fashion Valley and North Park, in addition to a recent expansion to the Point Loma location.  As they are growing in San Diego, their menu is constantly rotating with seasonal ingredients. Their famous Lemon tart is returning this Fall, as well as Apple Cinnamon pie. “Staying true to who we are” is a key to her success say Ludi. She and her husband will continue to enrich their sophisticated establishment, while keeping the original goals at heart.



Bread & Cie

Well established in Hillcrest, Bread & Cie is San Diego’s very first artisan bread bakery, having opened in December, 1994.  Charles Kaufman and his wife Dori recognized a need for good, artisan breads in San Diego, and today they provide to over 150 stores and eateries across the country. Kaufman, a film maker turned baker, originates from New York, where he learned bread making at the sides of his mother and grandmother. The aroma of fresh-baked bread will greet you first before you encounter a mouthwatering display of cakes and pastries. Their café menu includes simple turnovers and scones, along with Tiramisu, cheesecakes, eclairs and mousses. You can also enjoy a selection of hearty snacks, such as the Specialty Bread Sample plate, with your choice of three fresh baked breads and a side of butter, preserves and cream cheese. There is also an extensive breakfast menu with Breakfast Pizzas and French Toast. 

The bakery turns out 25 different loaves all of which can also be ordered online for pick up at the café. Kaufman likes to invent new breads, using seasonal herbs to add new and interesting flavors. From the incredible sandwiches, to the sweet and crunchy Chocolate Dipped Biscotti, they are committed to serving the community, providing a place for social gatherings, while donating all unsold products to local charities and shelters. Bread & Cie will remain timeless in this eclectic setting, where locals are served with warmth and dedication.



Next time you have a buttery craving, try one of these cozy spots, where you will find the finest pastries and baked goods in the city. What makes these coffee shops stand out is the dedication of the owners to using quality ingredients, and only the best recipes. Each baker has honed their craft, with creative twists on America's favorite cafe experiences. Take a journey with your taste buds, and relish these delicious local creations.