Best of Boston

2004 Best Bakery for Sweets

Café Vanille

Most bakeries aim for French authenticity, but few this side of the Atlantic succeed as completely as Café Vanille. Choosing between the flaky, airy, and flawlessly textured chocolate croissants and blissful fresh-fruit custard tarts is an exercise in futility: Just take one of each. The setting, an almost impossibly charming little Charles Street storefront, also sports a sunny brick patio, the ideal perch for tucking into a decadent mocha crème-filled pâté à choux while watching all of Beacon Hill stroll past. Now you know what Proust was fussing about.

70 Charles St., Boston, 617-523-9200,