Five decades ago, Kirio Pantelis wheeled a wooden cart around Kalamata, Greece, peddling syrupy sweets to locals. Today, his son and daughter-in-law oversee the American patisserie and café that evolved from these humble roots, nestled in both Brookline and Brighton. The bakery pays homage to its heritage with walnut-studded cakes and tarts that echo back to communal baking in wood-burning Greek ovens, though the shop draws from all over Europe for luxurious ingredients such as chocolate genoise, poached Turkish apricots, and Belgian cocoa. Puffed éclairs, petits fours, and fruit tartlets evoke the patisseries of Paris, and the bakery’s from-scratch gelato transports tasters to Italy without the hassle of concentrating hard enough to teleport.
Along with these sugary delicacies, the Brighton location also dishes up savory, Mediterranean-inspired fare at a café with marble tabletops and loft ceilings. Diners here fork into cold poached salmon, munch on paninis layered with gruyere or house orange-scented sausage, and savor cold sandwiches filled with roasted pancetta.
Started in 2001 as a local milk-and-cookie delivery service, Geoff & Drew's quickly evolved into a bearer of baked goods to sweet teeth across the country, gaining attention from the Today Show, Gourmet magazine, and others. Freshly prepared dough, Grade A butter, pure vanilla, and vibrant gift packaging distinguish these cookies from supermarket dunkables and day-old bread. From polka-dot-boxed cookies ($28) to eight decadent double-fudge chunk cookies ($20), Geoff & Drew’s gourmet dessert disks come in a variety of taste-bud-tempting flavors and combinations.
All of the cakes and cupcakes at …Cakes are prepped with fresh, quality ingredients, hand-selected by talented pastry chefs working under the tasty eye of owner Deana Martin. Deana—a self-declared purveyor of sweet, but not too sweet creations—teams up with her fellow chefs to craft delicious recipes, playful decorations, and accessible edibles for any confection fanatic. Choose from the everyday cupcakes available in-store, or call ahead at least a week in advance to create your own custom everyday dozen, which allows you to mix and match any flavor combination of classic cupcakes. Flavors include red-velvet cake with vanilla frosting, chocolate cake with mocha filling and buttercream frosting, or coconut cake with lemon frosting.
Visitors to Tabrizi Bakery are in for a rare treat, or treats, as the case may be. Owner Mohammad Tahmili was born in Tabriz, and grew up in Tehran, all the while immersed in the family business: baking. Today at his own bakery, Mohammad sticks to family recipes passed down through many generations, giving visitors a chance to try Iranian baked goods they may never have heard of before. For example, clover-shaped cookies––called "nokodi"––owe their melt-in-your-mouth texture to chic pea flour, while baklava gets a Persian-style twist with a filling made of pistachios, honey syrup, and rosewater. There's traditional Greek baklava too, alongside small, soft, honey-dipped pastries known as "bami" and decadent pastries such as cream puffs, napoleons, and feather-light sponge cakes. Also on display is a selection of imported groceries, from specialty oils and nuts, to packages of Turkish delight candy. The bakery also uses fresh cream to create from-scratch cakes, perfect those celebrating a special event, whether it be a birthday, an anniversary, a wedding, or a forgiven library fine.
Sevan Bakery has been bringing a taste of Armenia to the Watertown community for more than 40 years. It all started in 1971, the year the family-owned bakery first began baking fresh breads like Armenian pida, lavash, and simit––a savory, sesame ring filled with cheese or olive paste. Then, in 1984, the family decided their neighbors were ready for more, and so they began preparing generations-old family recipes that, like their beloved baked goods, are made from-scratch each day. Now, when customers drop by for crusty French loaves or savory boregs (turnovers), they can also grab ready-to-eat entrees and side dishes such as kibbeh, lentil pilaf, or stuffed grape leaves. But that's only the beginning––today, Sevan Bakery has grown into a full international food market, offering a unique selection of nuts, cheeses, herbs, oils, wines, and other specialty foods that are rarely found outside a United Nations potluck dinner.
Lilly’s Cafe & French Bakery owners Alex and Susan sate sweet and savory cravings with a lineup of deli-style sandwiches, pastries, and renowned specialty cakes. Lunchtime trips to Lilly's replenish flagging bodies like a puff of nutrient-rich steam with hearty deli sandwiches prepared with fresh ingredients including Boar's Head meats and cheeses. The mediterranean-chicken sandwich ($6.95) harks back to sunlit walks under Roman arches with a full complement of hummus, roasted red peppers, and lemon oregano on focaccia. Pastry lovers can select from a bouquet of croissants and sweets such as specialty red velvet cupcakes or miniature cheesecakes.