The Richmond’s Russian Bakeries

Wednesday June 8, 2016

One of my favorite ways to spend a quiet Saturday is to go on a Russian bakery crawl through the Richmond. As I see it, you aren’t properly enjoying the Richmond if you aren’t walking around face deep in a white paper bag, fingers covered in cinnamon, poppyseed, and sugar.

The Russian community has lived in the Richmond for generations now, beginning soon after the Russian Revolution in 1917 (yes, the Russian enclave predates the Chinese immigration into the Richmond (history!)), and even experienced a recent boom. If you aren’t ready for it, it may catch you by surprise. Walking along Geary, signs advertising Chinese markets, Korean barbeque and Japanese shabu shabu suddenly give way to Russian video shops and delis.

The real highlight for me, though, are these two excellent bakeries.

There’s the beautiful Cindarella Bakery & Café on a quiet stretch of Babloa with its Parisian outdoor seating, customers hovering over warm, flakey peroshkis with beef or potatoes. I love the poppyseed roulettes, where poppyseeds rather than a sprinkled condiment are turned into a complex, nutty filling wrapped in flakey dough.

And then there’s Moscow & Tbilisi Bakery on Geary, a go-to spot for Russian breads and challah, and pretty much dessert or pastry or piroshki you could dream up. The displays are a shock of color and artistry. It’s the only place I’ve found that sells that dense, Russian rye bread (heavenly with thick smears of butter). It is an amazing spread, which I’ve only managed to work somewhat through.

If you’re looking for Russian (or Armenian) ingredients, then try out Royal Market & Bakery, also on Geary.

Let me know if I’ve missed any. Do you have any favorites?

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