This French bakery and café resides across the street of a parking garage in a roadside “strip mall” of sorts. It’s in a very odd part of the city that consists of modern-yet-plain software company office buildings clustered together. Imagine if SF opened a theme park based on downtown San Jose, and you get the idea. (Can a downtown-San-Jose-themed Las Vegas casino be far behind?)

Chef and namesake co-proprietor of Pâtisserie Philippe, Philippe Delarue, of Le Mans, France, makes some serious French pastries here — including macarons and many meringues of pastel colors. (As a French bakery, they do a great job.) They also serve salads, croissants, and cookies.

The walls are covered with color photos of pastries and framed mirrors. Along a long, windowed storefront, they’ve laid out a few nice wood and black marble café tables. There are (faux) flowers and, of course, the obligatory large café au lait bowls to be found about.

On an unassuming strip mall in SF's wannabe-downtown-San-Jose section of SOMA Inside Pâtisserie Philippe

Using a two-group E-91 Ambassador Faema supplied by Mr. Espresso (they also use their beans), they produce a rather delicate espresso with a thinner layer of darker brown crema. It has a sweet aroma, a good body from its appropriate size, and there’s a little bite at the end of the finish from a cup that has a robust spice and herbal pungency to its flavor. They serve it in a short, cylindrical demitasse.

This is no French espresso. And on, that’s a compliment: it’s actually quite good.

Read the review of Pâtisserie Philippe.

Fresh baked items and an E-91 Faema Ambassador The Pâtisserie Philippe espresso