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Review: Epcot’s Les Halles Bakery

As recently reported, the new Les Halles Bakery is open for business in Epcot’s France pavilion. Les Halles replaces the previous France quick service location, Boulangerie Patisserie.

Les Halles in the back of the France pavilion, next to the old bakery location

Note that the Bakery opens at 9am — two hours earlier than most other counter-service locations in World Showcase! This will definitely be your place for breakfast if you’re entering Epcot through the International Gateway!

Atmosphere

While I was a fan of the food at Boulangerie Patisserie, I found the narrow service area and lack of seating to be a challenge, particularly when I was traveling with children in a stroller.

The large service area and ample indoor and outdoor seating at Les Halles solves these problems and improves upon the French cafe concept with more, and better, food options.

Wide service lanes!

Eats

While you don’t order these until the end, the first menu you’ll see when you walk into the restaurant lists your beverage options.

If you’re using the Disney Dining Plan, all but one of the nonalcoholic drinks is available for a Disney Dining Plan snack credit. It’s nice to see the continuing trend of $4.00-5.00 items available as snacks.

Because you’re in France, of course there are wine and beer options available. I purchased the the Kronenbourg 1664, which was a great accompaniment to my meal; but you should know that all alcohol is poured into plastic cups as it is served to you. No glass is allowed out into the park.

(Editor’s Note: Word is, according to the cast members, they do serve alcohol when they open at 9am. Not sure how long that will continue, but it’s one way to get a leg up on your Drinking Around the World.)

My Kronenborg in a plastic cup

The savory options available include soups, salads, hot and cold sandwiches, quiche, bread, and cheeses. Again, many selections, including a lobster bisque and a ham & cheese croissant, are available for a Disney Dining Plan snack credit.

Several of these could easily function as a light lunch, allowing you to save your meal credits for another part of the day.

I spent a semester in Lyons, France, during college and have been back several times in the (many) intervening years. The savory items at Les Halles compared favorably to those I’ve experienced in Europe.

Theme park quick service food is often bland, appealing to the palate of the least adventurous potential guest. The Les Halles items were bold, featuring strong, authentic flavors: pungent cheeses, bitter herbs, and even salty anchovies. I’m impressed that they chose not to cater to the least common denominator. Now more than ever, when I’m in Epcot France, I feel like I’m in real France.

Nearly everything is pre-made. If you have a timid tongue, you can remove items like onions and anchovies yourself, but they won’t do this in the kitchen.

Lyonnaise salad with greens, bacon, egg, croutons and vinaigrette

Salad ni├žoise. Note the onions and three anchovy filets across the top.

If you’re a pesto lover, the Poulet au Pistou is must try. This stuffed sandwich is at least six inches in diameter, and certainly sharable if you’re also getting a dessert.

Poulet au Pistou: Chicken coated in pesto, cheese, onions, tomatoes, and more pesto.

Among my favorite savories was the Quiche Florentine. The spinach and egg custard is topped with a generous pat of creamy goat cheese and then baked in a buttery crust.

The cast member at the restaurant will ask you if you want this item toasted. Your answer should be yes. Warming brings the fragrance of the cheese to the forefront.

Quiche Florentine

You will also be asked if you want the Pissaladiere, Croissant Jambon Fromage, Croque Monsieur, and Roule au Fromage toasted. Always say yes.

Roule au Fromage: buttery roll topped with cheese

Croque Monsieur cross section. Ham and cheese sandwich topped with extra toasted cheese.

Pissaladiere: focaccia-like bread topped with cheese, fresh tomatoes, olives and herbs. France's answer to pizza.

Ham and cheese croissant. Extra cheese on top here too.

In response to the questions from the previous post, the cheese plate has been upgraded to include five cheeses: blue, goat, brie, gouda, and gruyere.

Classic cheese plate with five selections: blue, goat, brie, gouda, and gruyere.

My only disappointment among the savory items was the pumpkin soup, which I found slightly bland compared to the forceful flavors found elsewhere on the menu. Some nutmeg would have been welcome.

Also, the soup was almost the consistency of pudding, too thick for my liking. You’ll see in the photo below that there are almost peaks in the bowl.

Pumpkin Soup

Neither the cheese plate nor the soups come with any carbohydrate accompaniment. I crave bread with both cheese and soup.

If you’re like me you’ll want to purchase one of the half baguettes available for $1.95. With the baguette and cheese plate, you could easily make substantial sandwiches for two.

Baguette.

While the savory dishes were wonderful, I was slightly less impressed with the sweets at Les Halles. They looked gorgeous, and certainly none of them were bad, they just didn’t live up to the authentic Frenchness of the main course items.

This may simply be the difference between small batch and commercial baked goods, but some of the pastries had the not quite crisp feeling of having been frozen at some point. I wouldn’t push any of these desserts away if someone put them in front of me, but I wouldn’t make a special trip over to France just to try them either.

Chocolate tart, creme brulee, strawberry tart.

Chocolate and vanilla eclairs.

Apple tart.

Chocolate croissants.

Sweet brioche with sugar crystal topping.

Chocolate domes.

The Napoleon filling was more the consistency of cheesecake than light cream. Tasty, but not what I was expecting.

Napoleon at Les Halles

The soft desserts were more successful in replicating French sweets.

Many were nearly identical to pots de creme treats I had eaten at Disneyland Paris a few years ago.

Raspberry creme.

Mixed berry creme and exotic creme with mango and coconut.

Chocolate mousse.

If you just want to pop into Les Halles for a drink, there is a separate cafe window to the left of the main serving queue, which only offers beverages.

I didn’t have a chance to try the strawberry smootie, but next time I’m at Epcot, this is where I’ll do it.

Cafe window.

Overall

Overall, I’m thrilled with this quick service debut. Along with the reimagined French signature space, Monsieur Paul, Epcot’s French dining options have had a significant overhaul in recent months.

Let us know how you feel about the changes!

What items are you most excited to try at the new Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in Epcot’s France? Let us know in the comments below!

Erin Foster is the Disney Food for Families columnist and a behind-the-scenes guru here at Disney Food Blog! Check out more of her posts here.

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55 Comments

  1. Jean says:

    Hi Erin, thanks so much for great review. We were already planning to change our EMH Epcot day to breakfast here, with fast passes I’ve figured out a way. We miss our patisserie al fresco breakfasts in Montreal, haven’t been for a few years, used to live there for a while.

    So my question: will they open at 8 am on an EMH day? We’ll be entering from World Showcase turnstyles.

  2. Brooke says:

    Jean, as far as we know, they open daily at 9am, regardless of EMH hours. Hope this helps! It’s worth the wait. :-)

  3. Nicole says:

    Have you tried the raspberry lime macaron? I loved it – the tart lime filling was a perfect foil for the sweet, slightly chewy cookie. I went back for a second to take back to the hotel!

  4. Terri Moore says:

    I loved the pumpkin soup and have been looking for a recipe with no luck. The version I had was served in a bread bowl and was not as thick as the one pictured. Everything we tried was amazing!

  5. Jessie says:

    I went back in 2012 when the bakery was still small and I got a chocolate croissant and the strawberry smoothie. They were both TOTALLY worth the trip to France. I was a bit skeptical at first, but my friend convinced me to try it and I was soooo glad she did. I’m going for Christmas and I can’t wait to see the new renovations and try the macarons! :)

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