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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 niçoise. 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. Donald says:

    Great review! The savory dishes, such as the Lyonnaise & Niçoise salads and the pissaladière look great IMO. The desserts don’t thrill me as much, but I’d like to try that mango & coconut pot de crème. :)

  2. mealtrip says:

    You “can” start serving alcohol at 7am in Florida, so any rules after that, are up to Disney. It’s another great reason to stay near the International Gateway entrance though. Mimosas and croissants at 9am! (Note: they do not currently have mimosas, I’m just hoping that’s what the extra room on the menu board was for.)

    Are they actually serving those eclairs, apple tarts, quiche, croissants and pissaladieres directly off of the (presumably) chilled slabs though? The risk of staph on fresh pastries, especially cream-filled pastries, is extremely high… even if the slab is kept under 40 degrees. I’m not sure I’d order one unless it was coming from an often refreshed and papered tray. Especially the quiche and eclairs.

    And… is it just me or does Les Halles look an awful lot like the Earl of Sandwich? Heck… even La Madeleine looks more like a French Bakery… (Texas-based bakery franchise in the south east… from Texas to DC and down to Atlanta.) Well shoot… now I just want to go to La Madeleine for a Crêpe Romanoff. I hope this isn’t as “authentic” and period-esque as we’re going to get for the Main Street Bakery re-do.

  3. Pudge the Fish says:

    Les Halles looks amazing. My palate normally goes towards sweets but the savory items look particularly delicious. I foresee a few lunch time visits during my next vacation. Thanks for the thorough review.

  4. Tracy says:

    The larger size inside is such an improvement! I’ve been frustrated so many times trying to see the display to decide what to order only to be blocked by the large amount of people crammed in there.

    When did Epcot begin letting people over the bridge into the World Showcase before 11:00? I’ve always see ropes blocking you from going over the bridge after you enter from the gateway.

  5. nora says:

    I’m not sure that MOST of the World Showcase Counter Service venues open at 11:00 when WS opens (we’ve been frustrated MANY times trying to get something to eat in the World Showcase before noon). We seem to remember that Mexico & China Counter Services are open, but none of the others.
    It will be interesting to see how they handle access to Les Halles and preventing access to the rest of World Showcase.

  6. Jaia says:

    Those savories look delicious. A few of them split between my family would be a perfect picnic lunch. As I’m not a pastry fan, the fact that the current selection is less than amazing doesn’t bother me…besides, I’m waiting for the ice creamery to open!

  7. V No Privacy says:

    This was a really helpful review! Thanks for the insight!

  8. Alan says:

    All the savories and sweets look great. I can imagine an early lunch of lobster bisque, quiche and a nice biere. What I am interested in is whether the have set up a bit of a cafe style outside table area. Nothing says La Belle France like sitting outside and relaxing with a coffee or a glass of wine. If they haven’t done so I really wish they would make some room for that sort of area. Years ago they had a beautiful outdoor restaurant with a light menu that was really great. It was lost to an expansion of the Chef de France and is missed, at least by me.

  9. Awesome! That cheese plate looks even better than before, and I was a big fan of the previous one. Looks worth the price upgrade =)

    Any idea if the Pumpkin Soup is vegetarian? (Sometimes they hide chicken stock in soup)

    The Pissaladiere looks fantastic and the Roule de Fromage too – will have to try those! Nice to see even more meatless savouries added (I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I love savoury items at bakeries).

    Thanks for the review & pics! I’ll have to get out there in the next couple of days and give the new stuff a try!

  10. KJay (Kelli) says:

    Excellent review, as usual Erin! I look forward to trying the quiche florentine. Who’s saying no to having this toasted? If they had to put your Kronenborg in a plastic cup, at least it was a somewhat fancy one!

    Your pictures are so crisp and bright- what kind of camera do you use?

  11. Jackie Psarianos says:

    Erin,

    Thank you so much for posting this informative post and based on your review, I’m taking my family there for lunch in August because it has all our favourites!

    Best regards,
    Jackie

  12. Erin F says:

    Donald – The mango creme was quite good, light and refreshing, but not too sweet

    Mealtrip – Well, there is OJ and champagne on the menu. DIY mimosas anyone?!

    Pudge – Let us know how you like it.

    Tracy – I’m not sure exactly when the switch happened, but that’s quite new to me as well.

    Nora – I agree that observing the change will be interesting.

    Jaia – I know, the ice cream shop should be amazing!

    V – You’re welcome!

    Alan – Yes, there were ten or twelve red cafe style tables outdoors. On one of my visits I ate out there, it was maginfique!

    Jasmine – Not sure about the soup. We’ll try to find a scout we can send out to ask. Or let us know if you find out first.

  13. Erin F says:

    Kelli – Those photos were taken with a Canon S100. I actually preferred my old S95 for crisp photos, particularly in low light, but it was a casualty at my teen daughter’s summer camp. :-( I may end up getting a new old one.

  14. Debbie says:

    Wait….I always am crazy for the Napoleons I get in Epcot, but this does not look like the ones I always crave. The previous ones were filled with a lovely creme, and the tops were dusted with a little powdered sugar. What is this?

  15. Teri says:

    Can you tell me how a quick service meal credit on the Disney dining plan would work at Les Halles?

  16. hannikins says:

    that napoleon looks completely different to the old one and more like the ones served everywhere else in WDW, or am I imagining it?

  17. Lissete says:

    Did they change the Napoleon???? If they did, I will cry! First they take away the Marvelous, now they take away my Naoleon? Tell me it isn’t so!

  18. Amanda says:

    We ate here on Sunday 1/13. We were slightly disappointed. My husbands baguette was dry. I ordered an espresso and there was only coffee mate at the condiment bar. I went to a CM and asked for real milk. They informed me they don’t have milk or cream. I offered to pay for it and they rang me up for a carton of whole milk for 1.79. I don’t understand how a counter service restaurant selling coffee and espresso drinks does not supply milk or cream. Even the espresso kiosks around WS have it available at no extra charge. And yes, the Napoleon is different.

  19. Tamara says:

    I was there during marathon weekend.

    The Napolean is NOTHING like the ones they used to serve before the remodel. This one was very disappointing and not good.

    I tried the Duo au Chocolat (chocolate domes pictured). That was pretty good.

    Also in the evenings they run out of things so get there early.

  20. Craig says:

    Any gluten free options available?

  21. Galloping Gourmand says:

    I was most concerned about the savory items. I’m much less worried now. That Croque looks great and is exactly what I’ll be getting when I’m there in either April or October.

    Your words on the sweets concern me. There are enough kitchens around Epcot that there is no reason for anything to have that slightly mushy frozen tastes. With the higher throughput in the shop they have to make more, and that means larger batches. It’s possible they are rotating what they make in their industrial kitchen – Mouse Mondays, Tart Tuesday, etc. That realy trims down on the work load and time but having the same batch on display or in the fridge for more than one day cuts the quality a great deal.

  22. Joyce says:

    Wow. I’m actually going to miss the old Boulangerie Patisserie. It’s our favorite quick lunch at World Showcase. You kind of got the feeling you were in a French bakery … but the new place looks like a typical quick service, the charm is gone. True, they needed more space, but in reality I’ve never had to stand around too long before I got a table in the little shop next door. People are usually considerate and got up as soon as they were done eating. Well, at least it looks like they are still serving my favorite items there, and I will most definitely eat there anyway.

  23. Essie says:

    People in wheelchairs can finally go into this place if they choose to. I tried once and couldn’t even get in. :(

  24. Essie says:

    PS: I’m talking about people who are REALLY in wheelchairs, not just those who use them for convenience.

  25. marcellina says:

    You had me at pungent cheeses. Seriously, this is probably my favorite post on the Disney Food Blog of all time. I love that they are opening at 9 am because there is nothing I want to do more than go here and have some delicious food and pretend I am actually in France. I want to live here. Thank you.

  26. Hillary says:

    My napoleon!! What have they done to you?

    I look forward to trying the new savory options, and I am glad the bakery has been expanded. However, I am distraught that my napoleon was a casualty. I hope enough complaints occur to bring back the real napoleon. The Citrus Swirl was brought back, but I hope we don’t have to wait that long before the napoleon returns to the deliciousness that it once was. I’ve already lost my large version of the Chai Creme at Sanaa.

  27. Lissete says:

    Lets go picket for our Napoleon!! :-))

  28. Shayne says:

    Great review, Erin! If the question ever involves cheese, my answer will always be yes! :D

    I’m a little disappointed about the slip in quality of the pastries. For many years, a pastry at Boulangerie Patisserie has been on my “must do while at Disney” list. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to checking out Les Halles in a few months.

  29. Amber says:

    Oh no! My favorite Disney food item has long been the napoleon. I can’t believe they changed it. :( :( :(
    I’m in for picketing!

  30. Hershey says:

    The new napoleon is horrible!!!!!! PLEASE bring back the original. I can’t believe that someone thought they had to change it or that its replacement is acceptable. I wonder if the chef changed?

  31. Ann says:

    I am equally distraught over the loss of my beloved Napoleon. Everyone should complain, but what is the best way to go about that? I have a feeling the message might not be adequately passed on if we complain at the bakery??

    P.S. I might have actually cried about this…don’t tell anyone :-(

  32. Debbie C says:

    We were there twice this past week. While I was excited to try the new bakery and thrilled with the increased size, I was not so impressed with the sweets which we chose to focus on. The Napoleaon, which used to be my all time favorite there, has been MUCH downgraded, IMO. It is smaller, has a white icing glaze w/ chocolate swirls instead of the previous powdered sugar and the texture of the filling & pastry aren’t the same. I wouldn’t have minded the smaller size if the quality stayed the same but it’s no longer on my “must have” list. On my second visit I tried the vanilla eclair. It was decent but I thought the filling was a bit thick (as if they has added too much corn starch) and the texture of the vanilla icing was quite hard from being refrigerated. My friend tried the apple tart on one visit and the chocolate mousse on another and said both were “very good” but nothing amazing. While the increased size of the bakery is a definite plus, it seems the sweets have suffered in quality as a result.

  33. brenda says:

    As a follower of the fromage, I don’t think they would have included gouda on that cheese plate since that’s not a French cheese and it looks far too soft to be a gouda anyway. I know I’ve had that one before at Chefs de France and it’s quite tasty but they are so bad about naming the cheese that I’m not sure which it is. Shall have to make it my mission to find out later this year when we visit. Thanks for the lovely review – it looks like we will be spending a great deal of breakfast time there!! :-)

  34. Amy says:

    Great review, Erin. I’m thrilled to hear about the 9 am opening – I’ll be staying at the Boardwalk in a few weeks and will definitely be heading here for a quick breakfast. The quiche looks great, thanks for the photo. I do agree with Joyce, though – I loved the look and feel of the old bakery, and this seems to look a little cold with no charm. Thanks to all these comments, I will stay away from the Napoleon- but the mango and coconut creme looks TRES yummy!

  35. Catherine says:

    I was there last weekend. If you want milk for your coffee or butter for your croissant, neither is available at this location. They will make you a latte but will not serve coffee with a little milk. Bring in milk and butter from somewhere else if you want it. Also observed the relative absence of chocolate in the chocolate croissant. Almond pastry and apple turnover got good reviews.

  36. Linda says:

    Thanks so much for the review. We are going to Disney next month. However, I’ve noticed over the past few years that the desserts in France have morphed into the desserts that are served throughout the parks. Many decades ago, they used to have very different desserts, including my favorite, an Opera. Now, it is rather ordinary — and it sounds as if the Napoleon has been changed. I had to look at their ingredient list a year ago to see if their apple tart had nuts, and I was shocked because it looked like an ingredient list from a cheap box of sweets in the store. I had expected a simple list — butter, flour, etc. I have wondered whether the original chefs who ran the restaurants in France have long since pulled out, so that it is now run by Disney with typical Disney offerings.

  37. Johnny says:

    A HUGE disappointment!

    The pastries went from being “very good” at the original Boulangerie to “very bad” at this new bakery. The quality of some items is the worst I’ve seen – the eclairs are half the size they use to be and the Napoleon is a joke!
    I wish I had ordered the Napoleon more often while it was still available at the old bakery.

    They won’t be seeing any more of My money.

  38. Carl says:

    I’ve been to France many times, and to the old bakery as well. I was always surprised by some of their sweets, compared to the ones I had in France, different taste. But when I visited the new bakery last week, i tried a couple of sweets and the quiche as well. The Napoleon is closer to the real one, the one I ate in France, same goes for the apple turnover.
    I was disappointed about the eclair, the filling might be different.
    Overall, very pleased with the new bakery.

    ps: very nice upgrade on the baguette, crunchy as it supposed to be.

    Carl

  39. Denis says:

    I do not have a complaint with the culinary offerings. In the past we had never been disappointed when dining at the France Pavilion in Epcot. In addition to the culinary offerings we really enjoyed the ambiance, and the romantic atmosphere of the Boulangerie Patisserie. That charm has been replaced with the character of a Food Court. What was gained in much needed space has been negated with a very unimaginative, typically American fast food decor. Flat panel menu screens? That’s what I want to get away from!

  40. Les says:

    The seating arrangements look so much better. I last visited this establishment in Dec 2011 and found it very cramped. My boyfriend and I were fortunate as a mother with a child in a pram offered us the further two seats at her table otherwise we would have had to eat our meal standing. Bearing this in mind, I had still planned to return here in early May with my boyfriend, brother and parents as the food was lovely. Knowing the seating has been expanded has just made it all the better

  41. diane alspach says:

    the napoleons were no good

  42. Alayna says:

    I just recently went to Disney and was excited to try the new Les Halles Bakery. I am pregnant, so I cannot eat raw eggs, per medical advice. To be safe I asked if any of the pastries or desserts contained raw eggs. I was told they use raw eggs in the bakery and that I could not eat anything at Les Halles Bakery. With the amount food allergies and dietary needs I was very surprised by this. No other resturant has said this to me. I hope that in the future they avoid food contamination so that all vistors can enjoy.

  43. Pam says:

    I just returned from Disney World and was very disappointed in the Napoleons at Les Halles Bakery. They are terrible now. They look and taste like the same ones from our Publix grocery store. These were tiny and too crunchy with that yucky chocolate swirl icing. Nothing special like the original ones that melted in your mouth with creamy gooey goodness. My daughter and I have had a tradition of ALWAYS having a Napoleon for the past several
    years at Disney World sometimes making two or three trips to Les Halles. Even if we go separately we snap a picture of it to make the other drool! LOL
    I would like to know who to complain to if anyone can tell me. I do not plan to buy anything else there because nothing there compares to the original Napoleons.

    PS.At least my School Bread from Norway is the same!

  44. Alicia says:

    How does the dining plan work with this restaurant? Just as snack credits or can you get a QS meal?

  45. diane alspach says:

    Pam I will answer your question. I complained to Disney and I even received a phone call who said they would tell them about the bad Napoleons. But it did no good. They do not care.

  46. Andre says:

    Husband and I stopped in here the other day for breakfast since world showcase wasn’t open yet and it was a very delicious surprise. I had the turkey BLT baguette. It was delicious. The sweet bread with the buttery spread complimented the turkey and bacon wonderfully. The simple chocolate croissant was delicious, you really can’t go wrong with one of those. Washed it all down with a frozen cappuccino, it was nothing to go crazy over. The visit here was the perfect start of a beautiful day before exploring the flower and garden festival. I’m sure this location will be a regular stop for us for breakfast if we find ourselves starting te day at Epcot.

  47. Cherie says:

    Where do you enter this restaurant? Is it behind the old bakery where the tables were?

  48. Glenn Walker says:

    A French restaurant without French fries? How absurd! ;-)

  49. Ken says:

    Have been here several times throughout the years. Always look forward to getting dessert/pastries here. The charm is gone, I understand they needed more room and the pastries where not as good as a remember them being. Was so disappointed that they got rid of their cream puffs. They were awesome. The pastries look a lot smaller in size, the napoleon tasted different. I hope they change there quality back before they expanded and bring back the cream puffs.

  50. diane says:

    Ken I have a reply to you they do not care Thanks diane

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