I am a girl who likes her sweets. I love a good bakery. And a cluster of them together??!? Pure gold.
You can walk from one to the next, and that, my friends, burns calories so you can have an extra cookie or a slice of cake when you get to the next one.
Yeah, there’s a method to my madness.
Here in Vancouver, there are a couple parts of the city where you can find bakeries blooming. Yaletown is obviously the first, but Commercial Drive, with its Italian/Portugese roots, is also very rich in the baked goods.
You’ll find everything here–I mean obviously a lot of old-school and new-school Italian baked goods, but also French patisserie, and some modern takes, as well.
My list starts in one of two places: at La Tana, which is almost all the way to Hastings at the north, or at Flourist, which is as far south as this map will take you. In between? A treasure-trove of tasty baked goods.
Flourist, 3433 Commercial St
I’ve been watching and waiting on this one for a while. The newest of the Commercial Drive Bakery gang, Fourist just opened up this bricks-and-mortar location a couple months ago, after running a successful online business for the last few years. They were selling dried goods: flours, beans, pulses, grains, but have now created a cafe/coffee shop, selling baked goods made from their raw ingredients. You can buy authentic sourdough bread here, or learn to make it and buy all you need to make it at home. There’s something for everyone, including lots of vegan treats. My fave? The Chocolate Chip cookies, or beans on toast.
Bakery Sate, 2879 Commercial Dr
It’s a bit obscure, as it’s tucked around behind a big storefront on 12th, but it’s well worth seeking out. Sate has some of the most interesting and creative croissant flavours in the city. If you are matcha-obsessed, they have matcha croissants, as well as other out-of-the-box flavours like Banana-Chocolate-Hazelnut or Pomegranate Cheesecake.
Fratelli, 1795 Commercial Dr
Fratelli is the oldest of all the Commercial Drive Bakeries. Open since 1997, Fratelli is part of a triumverate of Italian perfection: there’s the bakery, La Grotta Del Formaggio beside it, and Cafe Calabria beside that. It’s the most Italian you can be in the city. Fratelli is also the bakery on this list that has the biggest selection. There are literally 100s of items baked every day for sale, and they are all pretty spectacular. They go from cakes to cookies to bread to savoury items… yeah, it’s a tough decision to make. One of my favourite things here is the espresso shortbread, but really, you can’t go wrong with pretty much anything.
Oh Sweet Day, 1706 E 1st Ave
Another fairly new addition to the Drive, Oh Sweet Day started as a blog. Fanny Lam started a blog, and then, in an attempt to monetize, began to sell Christmas Cookie Boxes. They were so popular, she wrote a cookbook, and eventually, opened up her own shop. She’s known for two things: cookies and mini cheesecakes.
The Bench Bakehouse, 1641 Commercial Dr (in Il Mercado)
Open less than a year, The Bench is run by a husband-wife team who trained both out of Paris and San Francisco. So they have great breads, as well as great pastries. They do some fun, creative croissant flavours here, too, but my favourite thing to order is the Kougin-Amann.
Livia, 1399 Commercial Dr
Hands down, this is my favourite place on the drive. Part bakery, part cafe, it has such a charming European vibe, I just want to move in. The coffee is really great, too. There are baked goods, but also things made from their house-made bread… well I just can’t say enough nice things. Really, go.
Caffe La Tana, 635 Commercial Dr
It’s attached to Pepinos, and they share a kitchen. This charming little spot beside the York Theatre is owned by the same folks that brought you Savio Volpe, so as you can well imagine, the pasta is great. This is the day-time version of Pepinos, with coffees and pasta, lighter fare. They also have some pretty dope baked goods, fresh bread, and a whole little Italian market with specialty imported items. It just has the most European vibe…
What’s your favourite Commercial Drive bakery? Did I forget any? Comment below!