L’AMANDE FRENCH BAKERY
SERVING HANDMAKE FRENCH FARE AROUND TOWN
The fine French folks at L’Amande French Bakery are proud of their mantra “Vive la Différence!” when it comes to serving their handmade French fare. That ethic includes the 72-hour process it takes to bake their croissants, which are meticulously handmade in-house from scratch and from the simplest ingredients: flour, butter and salt.
L'Amande means the "almond" in French and believe me they love baking with almonds, which is wise considering its fine, subtle flavor and distinct texture blends perfectly with breads and pastries. Serving pastries, breads, sandwiches and salads daily from its Beverly Hills and Torrance locations, L’Amande French Bakery offers impressive and authentic French food in a casual setting.
During our recent visit for lunch, we started with croissants, and why not? It just seemed like the thing to do. We opted for the Hazelnut Chocolate Croissant and the highly recommended Raspberry Cream Cheese Croissant, which is stuffed with house-made raspberry compote and fluffy cream cheese. According to owner and manager Gonçalo Moitinho de Almeida, the bakeries have brought a uniquely authentic French perspective to its neighborhoods.
“Everything at L’Amande is crafted fresh, from flour to plate, we like to say, just like the bakeries in France,” explains Moitinho de Almeida. “It’s a difference that sets us apart here in Southern California. You can see through the glass windows when you walk into our bakery that our busy artisans are hard at work hand-preparing our specialties. Furthermore you can actually taste that effort and commitment to authenticity.”
While I’m a sucker for chocolate, the Hazelnut Chocolate Croissant was right up my alley, but the Raspberry Cream Cheese Croissant was a total surprise as its distinct and decadent flavor, which I was a little skeptical about, knocked me out! This one is a total treat.
Moving onto heartier fare, we split several French dishes to get a feel for the menu. A favorite was the Croque Madame, which is a classic French sandwich served with gratinated blackforest ham, gruyere cheese, on pain de mie and topped with a sunny side up egg. This dish is a brunch staple and for good reason.
I felt compelled to try the Ultimate Grilled Cheese with cheddar, mozzarella and blue cheese mayo on raisin walnut bread just because of the boldness of its name. Let me tell you, this is one rich sandwich and I absolutely flipped for the tasty bread. Served with a side salad, there’s a lot of flavor and subtly going on here.
The Parisian Salad with mixed greens, walnuts, dried cranberries, blue cheese, caramelized apples and balsamic vinaigrette may have been my favorite dish. The caramelized apples are a nice touch and offer a terrific sweetness to the hearty salad. Light yet loaded with flavor, this salad is meal onto itself. I found it perfect to share but if it’s all you order, you won’t be disappointed.
After falling in love with Chef Ludo’s rich omelette at Petit Trois, I had to try L’Amande’s L’Omelette with black forest ham and cheddar served with side salad, fresh bread and house fruit compote. While not as over-the-top as Chef Ludo’s, this is a nice, more downplayed egg dish if you’re crazing breakfast in the morning or at brunch. Otherwise, I say stick with the aforementioned salad and sandwiches—those are proven winners.
L’Amande French Bakery is located in Beverly Hills at 9530 S Santa Monica Blvd. and in Torrance at 2553 Pacific Coast Highway. Open daily from 8am to 6pm offering walk-in dining and take-away orders.
Photography Courtesy of: L’Amande French Bakery
Story by Jose Martinez