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Essence Bakery Café

Bakery and French Restaurant
825 W University Dr (at S. Hardy Dr.), Tempe, AZ 85281, United States
Closed until 7:00 AM tomorrow (Show more)
  • Tue–Sat
    • 7:00 AM–3:00 PM
Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch
Credit Cards:
Yes (incl. American Express)
Outdoor Seating:

Based on 136 votes

People like this place

  • Ranked #2 for bakeries in Tempe
  • What you need to know
    David H.
    "Fantastic lunch and ever better macarons."(15 Tips)
    Cj S.
    "delicious egg salad sandwich and the Macaroons"(11 Tips)
    Christine B.
    "The croissants are the best I've found anywhere in Phoenix."(22 Tips)
    Cheryl ❤️ M.
    "Grilled Cheese And Croque Monsieur"(3 Tips)
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  • Recent
  • Popular

85 tips and reviews.

  • Filter by taste:
  • all tips and reviews
  • croissants
  • breakfast food
  • sandwiches
  • croques
  • coffee
  • brioche
  • Quiche Lorraine
  • organic food
  • outdoor seating
  • spanakopita
  • casual
  • brunch food
  • French toast
  • trendy
  • family-friendly
  • good service
  • salads
  • hot tea
  • cozy
  • blueberries
  • Cj S.

    Great food, good service. I had a delicious egg salad sandwich and the Macaroons were excellent.

    Cj Sternisha · February 21
  • Jill M.

    Macaroons, croissants, and breakfast foods

    Jill Murphy · July 28, 2015
  • Tiffany A.

    The macaroons are amazing!!!!! It was a little crowded but it was to be expected because the food is amazing.

    Tiffany Anderson · April 3, 2015
  • Jacq D.

    Best chocolate croissant in the world!

    Jacq Davis · March 6, 2015
  • Jessica R.

    Croissants look better than the ones in France. Granola is excellent.

    Jessica Raile · November 4, 2014
  • Tessa M.

    Their croissants are delicious. If you get the cheese one ask if you can get it heated up slightly. It's much better warm.

    Tessa Malayan · August 12, 2014
  • Sarah F.

    Everything is great here. Fresh, local and delicious.

    Sarah Ford · August 7, 2014
  • Christine B.

    The croissants are the best I've found anywhere in Phoenix.

    Christine Baer · July 17, 2014
  • Olinda H.

    Come early for fresh croissants that are the best I ever had in the south west

    Olinda H · April 10, 2014
  • Rachael M.

    Really great food, and great prices!!

    Rachael Myers · April 4, 2014
  • Pheenix B.

    My favorite is the cinnamon raisin croissants, it's great if you're on the go. Or try the fruit tart, not sure what sauce they use but it's amazing!

    Pheenix Brown · November 18, 2013
  • Cassie A.

    Probably the most underrated spot in town. Fantastic pastries and real deal croissants that are as good as any bakery in France. Great to take home and share with the whole family.

    Cassie Anderson · November 17, 2013
  • Marlee B.

    If you are craving the perfect macaron then come to Essence! Make sure you try their caramel macarons, they are to die for!

    Marlee Bever · November 13, 2013
  • Ron H.

    Had the fruit tarte and the banana chocolate tarte. A plate of heaven!

    Ron Harper · November 5, 2013
  • Phoenix New Times

    You won't be disappointed by the French toast. Essence's signature brioche bread is the perfect building block for this breakfast treat, served w/ fresh fruit & a caramel sauce with toasted hazelnuts. Read more

    Phoenix New Times · September 24, 2013
  • Vicki

    The macaroons are better than the ones in France.

    Vicki · September 14, 2013
  • Chelsea S.

    I loved this place until I was treated rudely for having my puppy on the patio. Here's a tip: post the sign on the inside of the gate if you're gonna leave your gate hanging open all the time! :( fail

    Chelsea Striemer · September 13, 2013
  • Serious Eats

    The Double Bar Chocolate Croissant here will transport you to the cafes of Paris.

    Serious Eats · August 28, 2013
  • Adam B.

    The pastry selection is limited to fruit tarts & macaroons. This is a pro as well as a con; selection is limited but executed deliciously. They also offer basic breakfast fare which won't disappoint.

    Adam Banks · July 27, 2013
  • Brianna F.

    mmmmM, raisin rolled croissant!

    Brianna Folk · June 5, 2013
  • Alec

    Best breakfast in Tempe! The eggs (scrambled) are the best I've ever had, rich & creamy. Delicious homemade sausage complete with potato cake :)

    Alec · May 30, 2013
  • Casey B.

    I was, unfortunately, disappointed by these macarons. They are not the light crispy traditional french macaron that I am used to. <sigh>

    Casey B · May 21, 2013
  • Amanda S.

    Nice low key place great choices for organic hot tea. Music is a little loud inside for my taste.

    Amanda Santana · May 12, 2013
  • Mike O.

    Absolutely the worst. Slow and rude staff, the inside was stuffy and smelled bad. After already paying $3 for an iced tea they have the audacity to charge another $.50 to take it to go. 0/5 stars

    Mike Olsen · April 19, 2013
  • Greg T.

    This place is great, but it's always a debate if it's worth the really long wait for food.

    Greg Taylor · March 16, 2013
  • Ron A.

    Excellent food, but a tiny dining room.

    Ron Archuleta · February 23, 2013
  • Phoenix New Times

    Start off with something delicious from the French-inspired breakfast and lunch menus, like the Quiche Lorraine or Croque Madame, before diving into the irresistible pastry case. Read more

    Phoenix New Times · February 20, 2013
  • Shelby S.

    The atmosphere here is amazing. Sit on the patio with a cup of coffee. The food is wonderful. My favorite: The Big Breakfast. Yumm!

    Shelby Staats · February 14, 2013
  • Michael W.

    Double Chocolate-Bar Croissant!

    Michael Witham · February 14, 2013
  • Shawn L.

    Heed the note on the front door about outside drinks. They can be quite rude about it.

    Shawn L · February 13, 2013
  • Kelly N.

    The macarons are the best macarons I've ever tasted, and I've had them all over the country! I've tried a couple, but the caramel is by far the best! Go early in the day so they don't run out!

    Kelly Nish · February 13, 2013
  • Diana R.

    If you want state of Heaven, you have to get there at 7.. Their Chocolate, Almond Croissants sell out in a New York minute.

    Diana Rodriguez · January 11, 2013
  • Alice D.

    This place is usually busy, but for good reason. Food is terrific; fresh, organic, handmade everything. But be prepared to wait for your food & for a table. No one's in a hurry here.

    Alice Daer · January 5, 2013
  • Ben A.

    The big breakfast is my only joy in life.

    Ben A. · December 4, 2012
  • David H.

    Fantastic lunch and ever better macarons.

    David Huerta · November 22, 2012
  • AM C.

    Promptly stops serving any breakfast at 10:30!

    AM C · October 1, 2012
  • Anna M.

    Best macaroon in town!

    Anna Miller · September 27, 2012
  • edward p.

    small hole in the wall bakery with some of the freshest bread in AZ. Croissants are a must here.

    edward proctor · March 28, 2012
  • Sara H.

    Get the iced coffee :-) great patio for lunch

    Sara H · March 27, 2012
  • Hilton Phoenix Airport P.

    Their Macaroons are amazing! Perfect for any occassion! Weddings, Birthdays, Anniversaries, or our favorite...Just Because! Don't leave the place without one!

  • Alice F.

    Try the Egg Sandwich With Ham - Delicious brioche

    Alice Ferris · March 13, 2012
  • Kiara W.

    Sooo bloody slow. The cashiers always have something far more important to do than take your order.

    Kiara Williams-Marks · March 3, 2012
  • Jess T.

    Yikes. Very slow service. :(

    Jess Trounce · February 9, 2012
  • Deanna S.

    The french toast brioche is pretty good... French influences!

    Deanna Schaffino · February 4, 2012
  • Phoenix New Times

    Best of Phoenix 2011 Winner: Best Breakfast, Tempe! From the housemade granola to the hot breakfast cereal to the Quiche Lorraine, every dish is exquisite! Read more

    Phoenix New Times · January 27, 2012
  • Patrick W.

    Croque Monster was delish! Don't leave without a macaroon or ten.

    Patrick Williams · January 23, 2012
  • Shasta P.

    Everything here is so fresh and delicious! The ingredients are all wonderful.I love the sandwiches and salads! The macarons are to die for.I asked for those for my birthday instead of cake, yippee!

    Shasta Payne · December 31, 2011
  • Cheryl ❤️ M.

    Try the Grilled Cheese And Croque Monsieur Sandwiches - Half of each sandwich #nom

    Cheryl ❤️ Marquez · December 31, 2011
  • Christina R.

    If you are so lucky to go in on a day they are serving pink grapefruit macarons don't leave without one.

    Christina Ramos · December 17, 2011
  • Jan

    Always seems to be busy. Be patient. It's worth it.

    Jan · December 17, 2011
  • Danielle R.

    Great for breakfast, lunch, and dessert.

    Danielle Ricketts · November 15, 2011
  • tiffia e.

    Great croissants and other yum baked goods

    tiffia e. · October 27, 2011
  • venus j.

    Leave your email address at the register! They will tempt you weekly with AMAZING lunch specials that make you drool! ;) enjoy!

    venus j · October 19, 2011
  • manuel c.

    Amazing Crossaints and tasty maccroons; they are not a breakfast to be missed. Read more

    manuel chavez · October 4, 2011
  • Deana G.

    The blueberry bostock is wonderful!

    Deana Gray · September 23, 2011
  • Doug B.

    Parking is hard to find at lunch time...

    Doug Baer · September 15, 2011
  • Genesis N.

    Better get here a little early to beat the crazy lunch lines.

    Genesis Nichols · September 6, 2011
  • Joe J.

    Best croissants in the Valley. The line is pretty convoluted so try to go during off times.

    Joe Johnston · August 28, 2011
  • Carol C.

    Yum! Get there early for lunch. It fills up fast!

    Carol Clark · August 23, 2011
  • Marisol C.

    The Greek caesar salad is amazing if you love calamata olives.

    Marisol Chavez · August 17, 2011
  • Elyssa U.

    The chicken salad sand-which will change your life.

    Elyssa Urquhart · August 16, 2011
  • Mick D.

    Who's buying?

    Mick Davey · August 12, 2011
  • Phoenix New Times

    Don't forget to grab a 'Croissant' before you leave! It was voted one of the top 100 favorite dishes in 2011 by the Phoenix New Times!

    Phoenix New Times · August 3, 2011
  • Amber H.

    I've searched the world from NY to Paris and the Essence caramel macaron is still the best!

    Amber Huntley-Ruiz · June 2, 2011
  • Tanae L.

    I really didn't like this place, it was a little to "healthy" for me. The place is always busy, just wasn't my cup of tea

    Tanae Lanese · April 15, 2011
  • Sara R.

    Awesome breakfast/lunch/sweets spot that composts and recycles! All you earth-conscious, hungry ASU students take note! Hardy and University

    Sara Richter · April 1, 2011
  • Kalia

    The chocolate croissants are bliss. I've Never had anything on the lunch menu that I didn't enjoy!

    Kalia · January 26, 2011
  • Nadia T.

    These are no Laduree macarons, but they're still very good cookies.

    Nadia Thinks · January 14, 2011
  • Philippos

    Best spanakopita in town.

    Philippos · November 13, 2010
  • Delilah L.

    Get here early: at 11am they had already run out of croissants. :(

    Delilah Love · November 10, 2010
  • David@MusicPlayce ♫.

    Holy Moly!!! The ham and cheese jalapeño sandwich is unreal.

    David@MusicPlayce ♫ · October 25, 2010
  • Cooper D.

    Egg sandwich + bacon + side of bacon.

    Cooper DeMarse · October 11, 2010
  • Stephanie H.

    The Quiche Lorraine is tasty-good.

    Stephanie Horn · September 23, 2010
  • Valerie G.

    Everything is good here. But specifically - chocolate croissant & vanilla bean iced coffee. Do it.

    Valerie Griswold · September 15, 2010
  • Leah S.

    Their caramel and pumpkin French macarons are insanely good. Be sure to stop by early, as they sometimes run out of their most popular flavors by afternoon. Large pre-orders are great hostess gifts.

    Leah Starr · September 15, 2010
  • Mandy M.

    Try the iced caramel coffee! Yummmmy!

    Mandy Minette · August 20, 2010
  • Gideon H.

    If you're across the parking lot waiting for a Starbucks, get out of line and come here. Best breakfast/lunch you'll have around here! Caramel iced coffee + croissant is perfect!

    Gideon H · June 9, 2010
  • Whitney K.

    Get the Grilled Cheese with tomato and basil, it's perfect lunch amount and great flavors!

    Whitney Kraner · June 1, 2010
  • Jenny C.

    Don't wait in the line hanging out the door unless you specifically want a croissant!

    Jenny Carnie · May 29, 2010
  • Barbara T.

    If you haven't tried an Essence caramel macaron yet, you haven't lived. Read more

    Barbara Toombs · May 16, 2010
  • Ty L.

    Don't walk out the building without a macaron.

    Ty Largo · April 15, 2010
  • Michael B.

    Potato cake: good.

    Michael Burchett · March 27, 2010
  • Monica T.

    Try the almond croissant. It's delicious.

    Monica Takacs · February 11, 2010
  • Alice D.

    Weekend brunch is omg good. Fluffy eggs, great coffee and pastries. And those macarons!

    Alice Daer · December 2, 2009
  • FrenchConnect

    Tu trouves des supers brioches decapitees, car les Americains les preferent ainsi d'apres ce que disent Eugenie et Gilles, les proprietaires, tres sympa,qui me vantent leurs macarons.

    FrenchConnect · July 31, 2011

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