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tatte croissant
The Tatte croissants are as good as they get

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Take a Sweet Breakfast Stroll Through Brookline

Start with a croissant at Tatte, and finish with a pastry at Clear Flour

Welcome back to Food Crawls, a series in which Eater Boston staffers guide you on food and booze crawls in the Boston area. When we go out, we often want to try more than one restaurant or bar at a time — a drink and a snack here, another drink and dessert there. Eater Boston crawls are meant to be relatively walkable, and the amount of food and drink is meant to correspond roughly to a couple of average appetites — so bring a friend. Email us if there’s a particular theme, dish, drink, or neighborhood you’d like to see covered in a future installment.

The best stretch of Boston weather is about to begin — and Greater Boston, which is already quite attractive, is about to be at its most beautiful — which means it’s almost time to wear sweaters and walk around gawking at all the red, orange, yellow, and brown in the tree line.

There are few better places to do that than in Brookline, and there are few better ways to do that than while sipping on a coffee and snacking on a sweet breakfast treat. Brookline is lousy with both good coffee and sweet breakfast treats.

From the loaded bakery cases at Tatte to the speed racks filled with doughnuts at Union Square Donuts, Brookline is lousy with dough-centric sweet breakfast treats, both baked and fried. Get your sweaters out of storage, enjoy the one and only truly good month of weather Boston has to offer, and gorge yourself on croissants.

Stats for this food crawl:

  • Total stops: 4
  • Doughnuts eaten: 2
  • Coffees guzzled: Depends on how shaky you want to be

A Cafe au Lait and a Croissant at Tatte Bakery & Cafe

1003 Beacon St., Brookline, MA 02446

A pastry wonderland at Tatte

I grew up eating a lot of really bad croissants from Costco and Stop & Shop. I knew they were bad — the crumb was sponge-like and dry — but they were buttery, and I was 10 years old and not yet discerning enough to know that just because something was buttery didn’t mean it was necessarily good. I moved to Paris many years later, and there I learned what a croissant should be — shatteringly crispy exterior, chewy crumb, and buttery but not overwhelmingly so. The only place in Boston that gets this exactly right is Tatte. Get a plain croissant (though the apple croissant is also excellent), and dip it into a sugary cafe au lait.

Boston Cream from Japonaise Bakery & Cafe

1020 Beacon St., Brookline, MA 02446

The Boston cream from Japonaise Bakery & Cafe
The Boston cream from Japonaise Bakery & Cafe
Japonaise Bakery & Cafe/Facebook

Cross Beacon Street and head to Japonaise Bakery & Cafe for its take on a Boston cream doughnut. The custard cream is spiked with orange zest, and even as a Boston cream hater, I have to give this doughnut its due. Also worth snacking on: the an pan, which is a tiny globe of traditional Japanese sweet dough filled with a red bean paste.

Maple Bacon Doughnut from Union Square Donuts

409 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 02446

Overhead shot of a maple glazed doughnut with pieces of bacon on it. It’s sitting on a white paper bag on a rustic wooden table.
The city’s best doughnut
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

This, along with the chocolate butternut from Twin Donuts in Allston, is one of the best doughnuts in the area. Union Square Donuts is also doing a killer breakfast sandwich these days, if you feel like you need something savory to balance out all that sweet.

Kouign-Amann from Clear Flour Bread

178 Thorndike St., Brookline, MA 02446

kouign-amann clear flour bread
Pastry porn
Clear Flour/Facebook

This cake, which hails from the Brittany region of France, is flaky and buttery and laced with caramelized sugar. Which is to say: It’s one of the tastiest treats on earth. Clear Flour Bakery does the best version in the area, and you should eat it while walking through Brookline and gawking at the foliage.

Union Square Donuts (Brookline)

409 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 02446 Visit Website

Japonaise Bakery & Cafe

1020 Beacon Street, , MA 02446 (617) 566-7730 Visit Website

Clear Flour Bread

178 Thorndike Street, , MA 02446 (617) 739-0060 Visit Website

Tatte Bakery & Cafe (Brookline)

1003 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446 (617) 577-1111 Visit Website