Market Hall Bakery
5655 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
Nestled in the Rockridge District of College Ave., Oakland, CA, this place is a sugarholic’s dream come true – as an added perk, it is actually a mecca for those foodies looking for high quality gourmet food and a nice fresh treat from the friendly bakery, as well. Inside Market Hall you will also find a coffee shop, a fresh pasta shop, a gourmet wine and cheese stand as well as fresh meat and seafood stalls. Lots of free and yuuum samples! Sharing the building is Oliveto, the renowned Italian cafe and restaurant that I can only dream of visiting and reviewing one day. Despite the prices and because it is only a short 51-bus ride down College, Olivia and I love frequenting Market Hall. All your baked good bases are well covered at the Market Hall Bakery, and a treat every now and then won’t leave a permanent hole in your wallet, I promise. It is about $2 for a morning bun, $5 for soda bread (delicious and a must try!), $22 for a fruit tart, and about $12-13 for a pound of cookies. The cookies ARE on the expensive side, but very much worth it if you aren’t a broke college student on federal loans.
Beyond your typical cookies, cakes and pastries, I was surprised to find other less talked-about treats like Mexican Wedding Cookies and even baklava. I have yet to try either (why? when I can easily make both), but they DO look VERY appetizing. The display windows are crammed with sweet (cupcakes, cookies, cakes, tarts, tortes, etc) and even savory (scones, turnovers, pizzas) items, not to mention their extensive selection of sandwich breads behind the counter. And not to forget all the specialty breads (cranberry-pumpkin, braided cinnamon, challah, etc to name a few).
On this particular trip, Olivia and I were in search of a fruit tart as La Farine (review soon!) had sold out all their tarts on V-Day. This is fairly typical of La Farine, and they are pretentious enough to not care to make more. Fine, it’s just an excuse to visit Market Hall and expand our tasting range. No big. Once there, I could not stop just gawking over all the fab food. It’s my 10th visit or so in the last 4 months, but it never ceases to put me in a complete stupor. Amazing! It also renews my own vows to run my own bakery some day… I can dream, can’t I??
But Olivia and I did eventually get the fruit tart after lots of indecision, running around Market Hall trying samples, and taking pictures of the pretty food. And let me just say that our fruit tart standards are rather high, after being absolutely spoiled by La Farine’s divine fruit tarts for the last 2 years. Presentation-wise, fruit tarts never fail to deliver a pleasing array of fruits in the best and most vibrant colors. The coloring of the green kiwis, and the bright yellow of the mango, and of course – the epitome of the perfect strawberry, all on one dessert! The fluted crust and the white cream peeping out from under all the fruits, yum! So, it definitely passed the visual test. On the olfactory test, Market Hall’s fruit tart aced for sure. The scent of tart fresh fruits and sweet vanilla cream. Mouth-watering!
And the biggest factor — taste??? A complete let down!!! The Market Hall fruit tart paled in comparison to La Farine’s fruit tart. Market Hall’s tart was only skin deep (looks only), but the flavor just wasn’t there. The cream was a flavorless whipped cream, unlike La Farine’s fabulous custard cream filling. A flavorless whipped cream + bland fruits = lackluster fruit tart & almost a complete waste of $22. But the picture turned out well, no? So it failed the Fruit Tart test, but Market Hall is still my shrine for other baked goods and pastries, a must come for all carb lovers. So Berkeley students! You should most definitely try this place – unless if you are looking for a fruit tart, in which case you should try La Farine instead. It is a not-to-be-missed bakery shop for pastry aficionados.
Side note: V-Day this year was absolutely gorgeous! Perfectly pale blue skies, brilliant sunshine, and the gentlest of bay breezes that wisped rather than blow – a great day to break the rainy monotony of the past few weeks. And spring is definitely in the air, because we saw these on our Market Hall adventure:
Cherry blossom in bloom.
Daffodils are my favorite. And to the right are “Olivias.”
So thanks for reading, see you at Market Hall!!!!