Every American city should have a French bakery. In Miami, that bakery is the Buena Vista Deli. The bakery is owned by Corentin Finot, a long time restauranteur, and Claude Postel, a seventh generation French chef. One of Claude’s forefathers was a chocolatier at the French court. The antique chocolate molds, decorating the walls of the bakery, are testimony to his family legacy.
I love the Buena Vista Deli. The croissants are buttery, crunchy and flakey. According to a Parisian, who I once met, the croissants taste even better than the ones in Paris. If you have a sweet tooth, try the chocolate croissants.
When I am stopping by for lunch, I usually have one of the lunch specials, either a quiche and a salad or a sandwich and a salad. My favorite sandwich is the Cafe de Paris with salmon, ham and brie. The combination is a usual one for me, but the flavors work well together. I often order the Niçoise, a rich and filling salad with tuna, string beans and hard boiled eggs. My husband prefers the white bean salad with white beans, red unions, celery and parsley. This is a more light and refreshing salad.
All the quiches are home made. They are moist, cheesy and have the perfect crust. You can order the crab, spinach, goat cheese, leek quiche or the quiche loraine. The leek quiche and quiche loraine are the more traditional ones. They remind me of my childhood vacations to France. The pate is home made too and then there is a great selection of cheeses to choose from as well.
Next door of the Buena Vista Deli, you will find the Buena Vista Chocolate. Here you can try any of Claude’s family chocolate recipes. The chocolate is buttery, creamy, and there is a distinct European feel. The alligator shaped chocolates make for great Florida presents! The store also carries small vineyard wines and an exclusive French tea brand, named Nina.
Corentin or Cory is a fantastic host. He is gracious and knows most of his costumers by their first name. The bakery is charming, with classic red dinner chairs, chrome tables and a chalk board with the daily specials. Laying around you will find some classic French comic books, like Asterix and Obelix and Tintin. It is a true neighborhood destination and always buzzing.
For deserts, there are lots of French classics to choose from: macarons, chocolate and coffee éclairs, napoleons and strawberry millefeuilles, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry and strawberry fruit tarts. I never leave with taking some meringues home with me. I have tried many meringues in town. What makes the Buena Vista Deli meringues so special is how fine and powdery the sugar is. They are also more compact. I love it how they melt in my mouth and I always wonder how something so simple, just consisting out of sugar and egg white, can become something so delightful.
When the bakery just opened up, I was confused by the not so French name, the Buena Vista Deli. The bakery is actually named after the neighborhood, Buena Vista. Most people, however, call it the Design District. During the last year, the neighborhood has undergone a dramatic change. It is quickly turning into Miami’s most luxury shopping destination. Hermes, Cartier, Prada, Christian Louboutin and Louis Vuitton already have opened their doors. However, just like the Buena Vista Deli and Dr. Paul George, History Professor at Miami Dade College, I still prefer to call the neighborhood Buena Vista. It just sounds better.
Buena Vista Deli
4590 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami
Buena Vista Chocolate
4512 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami
1. All photographs are a courtesy of the Buena Vista Deli. Thank you Cory!
2. Check out The Miami Herald Buena Vista Flashback.