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Originally published June 28, 2009 at 1:16 AM | Page modified June 28, 2009 at 1:19 AM

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Red-hot bakeries

No matter where you go in this wide, wide world, one thing holds true: People absolutely love fresh-baked bread.

Our little corner of the planet boasts more than a few bakeries that make breads and delectable pastries worth falling for.

60th Street Desserts

Head to 60th Street Desserts for homemade soups, sandwiches, casseroles, pastries, cakes and coffee. Need another excuse to visit? Consider the bakery's commitment to using organic, fair trade ingredients wherever possible.

7401 Sand Point Way N.E.
Seattle, WA 98115

204 Belmont Ave. E.
Seattle, WA 98102-5605

Bagel Oasis

Bagels can provoke heated discussion, so let's just say that the specimens at Bagel Oasis are crisp and chewy, nothing like the doughy monsters you see at certain chains. Grab a sourdough or pumpernickel, and it's a little bit like the old country, assuming the old country is Brooklyn. There's a line of hot and cold bagel sandwiches featuring simple, fresh ingredients, but breakfast can be iffy - go for a toasted bagel and coffee rather than the overly cheesy omelets. It opens early for breakfast and closes before dinner. Kid-friendly.

2112 N.E. 65th St.
Seattle, WA 98115

Bakery Nouveau

Champion baker William Leaman's bakery and cafe displays a bewitching array of freshly baked breads, glistening chocolates and pastries, from pretty pastel French macaroons to luscious lemon-filled tarts. Savory fare includes ready-made sandwiches, tartines, pizza and quiche. Coffee and hot chocolate are the beverages of choice. Eat in or take out.

4737 California Ave. S.W.
Seattle, WA 98116-4412

5909 24th Ave. N.W.
Seattle, WA 98107

Dahlia Bakery

Used to be, you had to put in some serious effort to earn a slice of Tom Douglas' coconut-cream pie. Suffer no more, beleaguered dessert fans. At the Dahlia Bakery you can have the pie as an appetizer.

2001 Fourth Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121

eats market cafe

Eats is a shopping-mall sensation: one that modestly bills itself as "your neighborhood bakery cafe," then turns that notion on its head by offering a seasonally inspired dinner menu capable of besting better bistros everywhere. Drop in for coffee and one of owner Toby Matasar's fabulous baked goods, stay for Bubbie's chicken soup and a Market Reuben, or make an evening of it sharing a bottle of wine, an elegant pan-seared salmon fillet and some of the best pot roast you'll ever encounter. Open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.

2600 S.W. Barton St., Unit B13
Westwood Village
Seattle, WA 98126

The Essential Baking Co.

You're probably already familiar with its bread, but The Essential Baking Co. also offers a full lunch menu, organic chocolates and handmade desserts. Unsurprisingly, bread-based dishes are best - the grown-up grilled cheese comes with cheddar, goat cheese, aioli, roasted tomatoes and watercress. Breakfast pastries like the vanilla-pear "Italian slipper" are good and flaky, but desserts are hit and miss. You won't go wrong with the homemade organic chocolates.

1604 N. 34th St.
Seattle, WA 98103

214 First Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98104

7001 35th Ave. N.E.
Seattle, WA 98115

2218 N.W. Market St.
Seattle, WA 98107

Le Fournil

Cheerful, very French bakery pastries, croissants, batards, baguettes and a steal of a lunch: quiche or a sandwich, choice of pastry and beverage, $6. Pique-nique at one of two cafe tables or the streetside counter.

3230 Eastlake Ave. E.
Seattle, WA 98102-3814

1902 Pike Place
Seattle, WA 98101

Macrina Bakery and Cafe (Belltown)

Leslie Mackie's charming European-style haunts offer artisan breads, rustic pastries and a brief menu of soup, salads, sandwiches, savory tarts, galettes and pizzettas. Anything made with dough is a good bet. Weekend brunch features brioche French toast and eggs scrambled with seasonal produce. Belltown offers full-service; counter service only at Queen Anne. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

2408 First Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121

2110 N. 55th St.
Seattle, WA 98103

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

At this pink-striped confection of a place, you can enjoy brioche rolls, cupcakes, shortbread, both sweet and savory scones and quiche. Cakes come whole or in mini-slices. Try the rich, gorgeous chocolate truffle cake. Closed Sundays.

1014 Madison St.
Seattle, WA 98104

Sunflour Bakery & Cafe

Corner bakery and cozy cafe. Try braised lamb shanks, roast chicken, lasagna, sandwiches and flaky, fantastic fruit pies. Specials always include fish and a vegetarian option. Wine list shows imagination.

3118 N.E. 65th St.
Seattle, WA 98115

Three Girls Bakery

As regular denizens of Pike Place Market know, the Market is heaven for soup-lovers. Traverse its alleys and you'll come across a world of warmth, from Bolivian shrimp soup to Vietnamese pho. But let's face it: There are times when all you want is a serviceable cup of an old favorite, say — beef barley, chicken noodle or clam chowder. And when you want it accompanied by a serious, two-fisted sandwich (or a half of one), you won't find a better spot than the counter at Three Girls.

Where else can you sit elbow-to-elbow with fur-coated tourists, twentysomething bike messengers and elderly locals and get your chops busted by a crew of wise-cracking, soup-ladling, sandwich-making funsters (you want "mayo-mustard-horseradish-lettuce-tomato-onion-pickle" with that?). So, the beef barley has too much salt, the clam chowder too few clams and the chicken noodle needs a little oomph. The price is right, and did I mention those great sandwiches?

By Nancy Leson
Seattle Times restaurant critic

1514 Pike Place
Seattle, WA 98101-1574

609 Summit Ave. E.
Seattle, WA 98102

1815 N. 45th St., Ste. 209
Wallingford Center
Seattle, WA 98103

Wild Wheat Bakery, Cafe & Restaurant

Part comfy American diner, part chic Euro-cafe, this spacious corner restaurant anchors a mini-restaurant row in downtown Kent. The pastry case teems with croissants, bagels, exquisite pecan-studded tarts, lattice-topped fruit pies, cream-filled layer cakes, cheesecakes and giant cookies. Lunch leans heavily toward sandwiches, as well it should since the bakery shelves are stacked with freshly baked artisan bread. Salads, pastas, tostadas and burgers are served midday. Morning fare includes omelets, blintzes, French toast, pancakes, sausage, bacon and bottomless cups of good strong Aroma from Tacoma coffee.

202 First Ave. S.
Kent, WA 98032-5954

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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