Great New Places to Eat 2018

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Pretty in pink: Raspberry mousse dome cakes shine in the dessert case. (Photos by Marc Thomas Kallweit)

Estelle

This airy patisserie in Arden-Arcade is our favorite new French connection: One step inside, and we're whisked away to a bustling Parisian cafe, where glass cases are filled with golden croissants, miniature cakes and delicate tarts lined up like tempting, colorful Cartier jewels, and folks linger over lattes, buttery pastries and the morning paper, eventually departing with a baguette in hand.

Above: Estelle’s picture-perfect macaron rosé with rose-infused pastry cream, raspberry compote and fresh raspberries. Below from left: a basket of freshly baked baguettes; just beyond front counter, guests can peek through a window to watch bakers roll dough and craft pastries like strawberry croissants.

A basket of freshly baked baguettes. Right: guests can peek through a window to watch bakers roll dough and craft pastries like strawberry croissantsGuests can peek through a window to watch bakers roll dough and craft pastries like strawberry croissants

If the bakery's name sounds familiar, it's probably because you knew (and loved) its original incarnation downtown at 9th and K streets, which closed in 2016 to make way for Estelle 2.0. The Arden Way location, which opened in January, is twice the size of its predecessor and includes a patio that seats about 30 patrons on warm days. A second smaller outpost at the DoCo plaza right across from Golden 1 Center offers the same menu and signature aesthetic, with more salads and sandwiches (like the must-try caprese sando on a house-baked French baguette) to cater to the downtown crowd.

Above: Sweet tooths, both young and older, will feel like kids in a candy store at the Arden-Arcade patisserie. Below: the rotating menu of French macarons includes flavors like pistachio, violet cassis and passion fruit

With both moves, owner Esther Son has expanded on her previous offerings—introducing new items like raspberry dome cakes, a full espresso menu and afternoon tea service—and had brought on Steve Acosta, formerly of Jean Philippe Patisserie at the Bellagio hotel and Lupo by Wolfgang Puck, to serve as executive pastry chef and craft concoctions like the almost-too-pretty-to-eat macaron rosé, with rose-infused cream, raspberry compote and fresh raspberries, their naturally plump forms layered inside a pink almond macaron that's topped with a dried rose petal. "You can tell those are handcrafted with so much TLC," Son says. "I want anyone who walks in here to have an unforgettable experience." —Tori Masucci Cummins

Arden-Arcade: 2530 Arden Way. Downtown: 615 David J. Stern Walk. 916-551-1500. estellebakery.com

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