Le Pain Quotidien – a Pricey but Tasty Breakfast

The places you can go for a sit-down weekday breakfast in NYC fall under the category of diner or expensive. That’s just the way that it is, unless you want to get a bagel and eat it at home (which, by the way, is a delicious option). If, however, you choose to go the pricey route, you should consider Le Pain Quotidien.

This Belgian chain is everything that you think of when you hear the word “pricey.” Organic, house baked breads and pastries, and nothing chemical here (sorry Diet Coke and Splenda lovers – you are out of luck here).

The Upper West Side branch has a small bakery counter in front and a large, light dining room with waiter service in the main room. A long communal table takes up most of the space, though there are individual tables hugging the walls.

The chain’s own brands of olive oil and vinegar line the table

along with a canister of house made spreads and preserves.

Coffee

The coffee here is  excellent, not too bitter but full flavored with caramel notes. The hot chocolate is also delicious, very rich and good enough for a snack on its own.

Fruit Salad

This really isn’t your average fruit salad. The fruit here is all fresh and pristine. Juicy blackberries, tart blueberries, and even some soft chunks of mango in there. The mixture changes according to the season, so you can be sure that you are getting fruit that is in season and at its peak of ripeness. Unless you are really hungry, don’t get the large – the small fruit salad is very plentiful.

Hazelnut Flute

All the baked items are delicious here, but the hazelnut flute is one of my favorite items. A thin, chewy baguette with a slightly sour taste is loaded with plump, sweet raisins and whole hazelnuts.

The best way to eat this is covered in the restaurant’s own praline spread. Like Nutella without the chocolate, this spread is sweet, buttery, and chock full of hazelnut flavor. It really makes breakfast seem more like dessert. The spread is very sugary, but paring it with the hazelnut flute makes for a great sweet and savory combination.

You can also get soft-boiled organic eggs, seasonal frittatas, and organic steel-cut oatmeal, as well as a plethora of sinful breakfast pastries.

Expect to spend some money here – you really can’t get out of there for less than $15 a person. But if the lovely atmosphere, excellent service, and impeccably fresh pastries are worth it to you, then Le Pain Quotidien is the place for you.

I usually save it for when I have an important breakfast meeting. The rest of the time, I’ll meet you at my house with a bagel.

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Comments

  1. There’s one 100 feet from us. I agree that it’s pricey, but I didn’t think it was very good. Certainly I prefer the 24 hour bagel shop across the street.

  2. i had breakfast at le pain this morning (on bway and 11th). they have amazing croissants and oatmeal with berries to go! it also don’t hurt that the guys behind the counter are are hot with accents

  3. I’ve been for lunch to the one near 30 Rock and it can be pricey for the portion size, but healthy options and pretty delish!

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