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We might have seen the rise of the vegan croissant recently in the likes of Pret à Manger, Costa, Waitrose but let’s be honest – buttery almond croissants are better. And it’s all about the frangipane. I am an absolute sucker (and a bit of a snob) when it comes to flaky almond breakfast goods. For me, a really good almond croissant consists of a smooth, sweet crumb that’s been made with lots of butter (high fat content essential). It shouldn’t be dry, and the outer shell should certainly not be tough or crunchy. The filling should be gooey and golden, squeezing through the crevices and certainly not overcooked. I’ve eaten so many bad croissants where the filling has been cooked so much that it becomes hard and non-existent. A good croissant should also not be greasy or too squelchy – that comes from under-proving and under-baking.

They may not be the healthiest of treats but once in a while, biting into a thousand layers of pastry and taking a moment to savour a well-crafted croissant is totally acceptable. It’s also so easy to use up day-old croissants by filling them with frangipane and reinventing them to be edible again. In a world where we’re constantly fighting food waste, these small altruistic gestures keep both your belly and the world a little happier. So where to find London’s best almond croissants? Here are my top 10, of which I’ve tasted them all, for you to enjoy…

1. Gail’s Bakery, various locations
Price £3.00 (dark chocolate almond croissant)
The counters in Gail’s are usually laden with pastries, cakes and sourdoughs of all shape and sizes. There’s one indulgence though that’ll make your eyes swivel in their sockets: their dark chocolate almond croissant. Seriously. There’s a mountain of crunchy almonds piled generously on top, and I can’t tell you how mouth-watering they are. You’ll just simply have to try them for yourself!

Gail’s Bakery, dark chocolate almond croissant

2. Albion, 2-4 Boundary Street, Hackney E2 7DD
Price £2.50 (regular almond croissant)
There’s something rather Parisian about Albion. Their tables sprawl out onto the street and if the sun is shining, it’s a pleasant place to sit and watch the world go by. A Shoreditch favourite, Albion has an in-house bakery that produces all the bread, pastries and baked goods daily, and a small shop carrying locally produced goods. Their almond croissants are as big as your face (which IMO is not a bad thing), although you might need something more substantial than just your fingers to deconstruct this bad boy. The frangipane game is on point; almond lava oozing out of every buttery crevice. And when the pastry is topped with crunchy toasted flaked almonds, you know you’re on to a winner. 

Albion, Shoreditch
Albion, almond croissant

3. Ottolenghi, various locations
Price £2.90 (regular almond croissant)
Ottolenghi’s almond croissant is incredibly buttery, sprinkled with nuts, and out of this world amazing. For those looking for a little extra treat, they also sell a chocolate variety too, and a chocolate and halva danish. I’m sold. Whilst their croissants are pretty luxurious as a breakfast, they’ll most definitely keep those hunger pangs at bay for the entirety of the morning.

Ottolenghi, almond croissant & chocolate and halva danish

4. Carluccio’s, various locations
Price £1.95 take away, £2.35 dine in (almond croissant)
Another culprit that’s as big as your face is Ottolenghi’s almond croissant. The pastry to filling ratio is on point and even if there’s a whole lot of pastry to nom through, I’ve never eaten one that’s dry. As well as pistachio and Nutella options, they also have new vegan offerings, including their chocolate saccottini and regular “butter” croissant. Plus, with shelves upon shelves of top-quality Italian deli treats, it’s tough to go in and buy just one thing.

Carluccio’s, almond and pistachio croissants

5. Le Pain Quotidien, various locations
Price £2.30 (regular almond croissant)
Slimmer and more modest than most, Le Pain Quotidian’s almond croissants are probably one of my absolute favourites. They are simple, elegant and entirely organic. This is the croissant I’d most likely pick up on the go because they’re not too intimidating to conquer, and it’s definitely possible to eat one without flakes of buttery pastry spilling everywhere. The filling though is where it’s at, with plentiful creamy frangipane. I just can’t get enough.

La Pain Quotidien, almond croissant

6. Aux Pains de Papy, 279 Grays Inn Road, King’s Cross WC1X 8QF
Price £2.65 (chocolate almond croissant)
A cosy, rustic French bakery located a few minutes walk from King’s Cross station, Aux Pains de Papy offer traditional pastries from a unique family-run kitchen that gives you a real sensory experience. I tried their chocolate almond croissant and felt like I’d been transported across the channel with a fond “merci, bonne journée” to see me on my way. They have a few seats in the window if you fancy enjoying your croissant the French way, and watching the world go by.

Aux Pains de Papy, chocolate almond croissant

7. Planet Organic, various locations
Price £3.00 (regular almond croissant)
Planet Organic is known for being a health food haven with organic breads and pastries from local London bakeries. Natural and wholesome, their almond and chocolate croissants are certainly not to be picked up as a mere convenience for breakfast on your commute. These are sit-down-and-eat-in-one breakfast treats. The interior is crammed with beautifully decadent almond frangipane, laced with bittersweet chocolate and then entirely encased in layer upon layer of pastry, finished with a dusting of icing sugar and flaked almonds.

Planet Organic
Planet Organic, almond croissant

8. Jacob The Angel, 16.5 Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden WC2H 9DP
Price £2.95 (regular almond croissant)
Tucked away in Neal’s Yard so discreetly that you might just miss it, Jacob The Angel is an independent coffee house that serves up artisan Square Mile coffees and homemade pastries from 8am every weekday morning. Their almond croissants look at though they’ve been made primarily as traditional butter croissants, sliced open and then filled and topped with wondrous frangipane. If I’m being honest, I had to share it with a friend – it was pretty heavy – but was so delicious it certainly won’t be my last time visiting.

Jacob The Angel, almond croissant

9. St. John Bakery, Neal’s Yard & Spitalfields
Price £3.00 (regular almond croissant)
I reviewed St. John Bakery’s doughnuts a while back – which of course made my top 10 – and so popped in to see what their pastries were all about. Their icing speckled almond croissant didn’t disappoint, with shavings of toasted flaked almonds adorning the top and a rich almond paste in the centre. Whilst they don’t have anywhere to sit at their Neal’s Yard branch, you can dine in at their Spitalfields restaurant which has a small bakery on site. Grab a friend and get brunching.

St. John Bakery, almond croissant

10. The Modern Pantry, 47-48 St John’s Square, Farringdon EC1V 4JJ
Price £2.50
The great thing about The Modern Pantry is that if you a crazed nut lover like me AND you love a mouth-watering pastry, they don’t just sell almond croissants. You can also buy hazelnut and tonka bean pain au chocolats as well as praline pecan croissants – which are simply a ‘must-try if you’re in London’ treat.

Vegan? Here are few top-notch options (better than Pret) to choose from…

Benk + Bo 4-6 Gravel Lane, E1 7AW
The Artisan Bakery 160 Dukes Road, W3 0SL
Carluccio’s various locations
Fields Beneath 52a Prince of Wales Road, NW5 3LN

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