If good things come in small packages, then get yourself to this tiny French eatery fast. With cheerful white walls and bakery cases bursting with delicate, drool-worthy pastries, Bonjour Bakery Cafe is a hidden gem, tucked into a corner spot of a brick courtyard that abuts a supermarket. In warm weather, you'll be happy for the location, as the minimal indoor seating and outdoor tables can by bypassed for a picnic at the lake, which is only a few blocks east.
With a limited menu of sandwiches, soups and salads that hover around $6, Bonjour makes almost everything from scratch, from the quiche Lorraine bursting with Gruyere cheese to the salad dressing of capers, olive oil, lemon juice and peppers. Soups rotate, and if you stumble in on a day that's ladling roasted yellow pepper or fennel, leek and potato soup, order up a bowl without hesitation. Grilled paninis like goat cheese with roasted red peppers and cilantro are delectable testaments to the French art of combining simple, savory ingredients really well.
For many, though, Bonjour is all about baked goods, from the crusty, chewy multigrain to the sweet yet tart lemon pistachio cookies. Though there's a lengthy list of simple sweets, from chocolate croissants to buttery cookies, we can't get over the prettiness of some of the fussier offerings. The raspberry pistachio tartlet, pistachio mousse set atop seedless raspberry preserves and surrounded by fresh raspberries, is reason enough to head to Hyde Park in the summer, though the chocolate espresso tart and creme caramel are neck and neck for second best.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Rockwood