Maison Giraud in Pacific Palisades has the greatest croissant in the world, period.
I'm a travel, food and wine writer specializing in culinary tourism and I travel the world in search of great eats.
Well I've found the best croissant in the world and it's not in France, it's at Maison Giraud Restaurant and Bakery in Pacific Palisades, California. The croissant genius is baker /pastry chef Noubar Yessayan, who's been with chef/owner Alain Giraud since his days at LA's top French restaurant Bastide and through his time at Anisette in Santa Monica.
Noubar makes great breads and pastries, but the croissants are a tour de force. I'm addicted to the ham and cheese and usually get two with my coffee. The butter literally oozes out of the pastry. Get a big napkin. They are only available on the weekend. During the week you have to make do with the simple butter croissant, also a masterpiece. If you don't get to the restaurant before noon chances are you will not get to try the greatest croissant in the world, he sells out every day.
For a change try one of the fruit tarts or for the chocoholic, get the pain au chocolat.
Maison Giraud opened in November last year and is doing a bang up business in Pacific Palisades, which sorely needed a high end restaurant. Prices are decent, there's a nice wine list, inventive menu which bows towards Provence, and in parking space challenged Pacific Palisades the restaurant has its own lot in the back, and it's FREE!
Alain has seasonal menus using local ingredients and features a daily one plate special called a "cocotte," that can range from bouillabaisse and moule frites to cock au vin, duck confit, beef bourguignon, etc., whatever the market dictates and the chef feels like making. Alain gets much of his produce at the local Farmers Markets and has special items grown for him.
They have just started serving a full breakfast specializing in egg dishes, from omelets to quiche, and offer a to go menu, currently featuring a free range roasted chicken dinner with all the fixing for $10 per person (minimum four). Desserts remain one of Alain's strong points, try the homemade lavender ice cream with a berry coulis or the tarte tartin.
New acoustic materials were installed last month which lessens the ambient noise inside the restaurant and the comfortable front patio features heaters when the chill comes in from the nearby ocean.
Alain's wife Catherine runs Lavender Blue, the shop next door to the restaurant, which has linens and other products from Provence.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the popular weekend brunch includes Bellinis and Mimosas.
Maison Giraud, 1032 Swarthmore Avenue, at Monument Street off Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades, 310-459-7562 or maison-giraud.com.
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