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Boulanger Français – The French Bakery [Ottawa]

January 13, 2011

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Back in September 2009, and while living in Toronto, Sean and I went on a road trip that included the city of Ottawa. As usual, I looked up places to visit and to eat beforehand. Browsing online, I came across this review of The French Bakery – Benny’s Bistro. It looked promising and got us excited for their croissants.

What a disappointment that was! Service was bad: the table Nazi wouldn’t let us choose a table although the place was virtually empty and she never cracked the tiniest smile. The café au lait was good but the croissants were rather dry and over baked, as was the pain au chocolat. We decided not to believe travel guides or users’ comments ever again.

Cut to January 2010. We are in Ottawa again, not on a road trip but on consular business. We had an appointment at the American Consulate at 9 am last Tuesday. Since for security reasons, you’re not allowed to bring phones or cameras inside (even my lip gloss and chewing gum were confiscated!), we took nothing but our passports and paperwork with us (as well as parkas, scarves, gloves and wooly hats).

Once the deed was done, Sean suggested we try the French Bakery again for breakfast. It was only three blocks away, anyway. Our masochistic side got the better of us and off we went.

The table Nazi was gone and replaced by the nicest, most attentive maitre, who even greeted us with a smile. He even anticipated our need for café au lait and croissants (or maybe our frozen noses and hat hair gave us away). The croissants and pain au chocolat were soft and buttery and perfectly baked.  It was pure bliss. This Croissant Angel went round the tables with a jug of hot milk in case your coffee had gone cold. How can one fault that?

Boulanger Français

119 Murray St, Byward Market

Tel, info: 613 789 7941

P.S.: for the reasons mentioned above I wasn’t able to take photos. These were taken in 2009.

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