Paris has come to Palo Alto. La Boulange is a French-style bakery and cafe situated on University Avenue. The bakery features both a versatile indoor-eating area and an outdoor patio. The atmosphere is distinctly Parisian, complete with purple and green walls, retro movie posters and chalkboard menus. Small pastries and sandwiches line the display cases in true European fashion. The indoor and outdoor layout is perfect and enhances the feeling that this is a true French restaurant, as if it was on a side street in Paris. Even the stylized furniture matches the theme and creates a truly immersive experience. The cafe matches sophistication and simplicity to make dining or relaxing a true pleasure.
The food is equally appealing. Traditional French pastries, like the croissant, are available but many of these delicacies have been modified in new and interesting ways. One notable addition is a delicious chocolate hazelnut croissant. The food is expensive, with pastries in the $2-5 range, but the small treats overcome their steep prices with excellent flavor. Healthy doses of powdered sugar help to increase their appeal. The presentation of the food is also magnificent and clearly done with loving care. More substantial meals, however, are available, and they are varied and unique. Salads, soups and sandwiches incorporate different flavors in great ways. The open-faced sandwiches pair meats like flank steak and roasted chicken with portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions and other additions in innovative and delicious combinations. Their macarons, which are a main feature on the menu, are as good as the staff promises. The moist, rich treats are expensive but well worth the price of admission.
La Boulange is a versatile attraction with great food, solid service and an authentic ambience. For anyone who loves French pastries, this restaurant is a must. For everyone else, La Boulange is a great bakery and cafe perfect for a either full meal or a relaxing snack.
The store is located at 151 University Avenue, Palo Alto, CA.