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Where to Find Exceptional Breads, Pastries and Sweets Locally

Whether you’re in the mood for warm, pillowy bread, flaky pastries or creamy, chilled desserts, the Sarasota area is home to serious bakers who aim to please.

By Lauren Jackson November 29, 2023 Published in the November-December 2023 issue of Sarasota Magazine

At Atria Café, the bread is made from grains that are milled on site.

There was a time not so long ago when Sarasota residents lamented the lack of quality bakeries in our area. While we loved a Publix sprinkle cookie or a Whole Foods baguette, the supermarket just couldn’t satisfy our craving for homemade baked goods fresh from the oven. But times have changed, and Sarasota is suddenly flush with places that make breads and sweets with care and love. Whether you’re in the mood for warm, pillowy bread, flaky pastries or creamy, chilled desserts, the Sarasota area is home to serious bakers who aim to please. These are some of our favorites. 

Atria Café

For just a little bit of gas and a little bit of time, you can save a trip to San Francisco and instead head to Atria to experience an incredible sourdough loaf ($8) made with, get this, freshly milled grain. That’s right: The team at Atria mills its own flour on site to monitor quality and provide the best product possible. But while the sourdough is outstanding, Atria is so much more than just bread. With broad coffee offerings, sandwiches and pastries, you’ll find a slice of heaven here. Oh, and don’t forget about the pizza, made from that same sourdough and served six nights a week. 4120 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Lakewood Ranch,

Seeded sourdough loaves waiting to bake at Bread Bandits

Seeded sourdough loaves waiting to bake at Bread Bandits

Bread Bandits

These guys may be the new kids on the block, but Bread Bandits’ bakers are anything but new to the bread game. Owner Jules Thuet is a sixth-generation baker who combines his business savvy with business partner Brad Rutledge’s all-star baking skills. The shop’s front counter is packed with pastries to entice patrons to order more than what they came in for, and the almond croissant ($4.50) is unbelievable. But the point of going to Bread Bandits is to order, well, bread. The “Bandit baguette” ($4.50) and the sourdough baguette ($4.50) are both made with a 100-year-old-plus starter, passed down through generations of Thuet’s family. 3546 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota, (941) 413-5112,

Croissants from Croissant & Co

Croissant & Co

To be at Venice’s Croissant & Co is to eat croissants, of which there are many iterations. An apricot croissant ($4.20) is baked to a golden brown and filled with two round halves of the sunny orange fruit. The result is sticky-sweet, yeasty and oh-so-good. You can also keep it simple with a plain croissant ($3.10) that’s anything but boring. Croissant & Co’s strengths also include pâtissière (cold desserts), which are stunning and made with fruity combinations like strawberry and mango ($5.50) or tropical passionfruit ($5.50). 323 W. Venice Ave., Venice, (941) 480-1700

L’Ôpera Bakery Bistro specializes in French pastries, like these kouign-amann.

L’Ôpera Bakery Bistro

Tucked away in the farthest corner of Gulf Gate is a traditional French bakery where the pastries are made with the utmost care. Canalés Bordelais ($3.30) are chewy and sweet and flavored with rum and vanilla, with a custardy center that will leave you begging for more. These treats are notoriously hard to make, and even more difficult to find. The namesake l’ôpera pastry ($7.50) is made with an almond cookie base and layered with dense chocolate ganache and coffee-infused French buttercream for a bite that will transport you to the Seine. 2336 Gulf Gate Drive, Sarasota, (941) 922-2253,

Cinnamon rolls from Mama G’s

Mama G’s German Bakery & Coffeehouse

Serving German pastries since 2015, Mama G’s is an O.G. that’s here to stay, with two Sarasota locations and one in St. Petersburg. Beate Goldstein, aka Mama G, makes loads of baked bites every day to help you start your morning on a high note. On the savory side, opt for the spinach and ricotta croissant ($4.45) or sink your teeth into something sweet, like a classic cheese Danish ($3.95). But whatever you do, don’t leave without a slice of streusel ($4.35), which comes stuffed with your choice of apple, nuts or poppy seeds. 8431 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 335-9236; 5900 S. Tamiami Trail, (941) 926-2692; 

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