We have longed for a nice cafe in Evanston that sold delicious pastries and coffee for a while now. There are places that satisfy one need or the other, but now we have Patisserie Coralie (600 Davis Street, Evanston) to help us out with both! Coralie is located in the former home of Cafe Mozart, and more than fills the long-vacant spot. Coralie is the brainchild of Pascal Berthoumieux who also owns the Evanston restaurant Bistro Bordeaux (the patisserie is named after his daughter).
Inside the cafe, there are some comfy couches and chairs as well as a small counter by the window and some wooden tables, and we appreciated the nice touch of the chandeliers. They seem to be pretty much constantly busy, which is good for them, but means that it is always pretty crowded! When we arrived, every seat was filled, and we were lucky enough to snag two counter spots that opened up just in time. Coralie serves Julius Meinl coffee, and a variety of coffee drinks both hot and iced prepared by very nice baristas. The chai tea latte is also quite tasty for those who prefer to go coffee-free. Though Julius Meinl coffee is always a plus, the true treats are the pastries, courtesy of pastry chef Manuel Bouillet.
On our initial visit we tried an excellent eclair and a perfectly flaky pain au chocolate. At this point in October, they were not producing macarons yet – “they’ll be here in November” was the response. True to this promise, we visited on November 1st, and there we found a delicious assortment of macarons! We tried the coconut milk chocolate and passion fruit (though the raspberry also looked particularly tempting) and were really impressed. On our second go-around we were also truly excited to try one of chef Bouillet’s signature desserts – which was especially enticing on appearance alone – the “Exotic egg,” which true to its name does look like an egg! In this concoction, vanilla cream is served in a white chocolate cup with a “yolk” of passion fruit gelee. The egg cup is then balanced on a chocolate sable cookie. We really enjoyed the combination of vanilla and passion fruit and the unexpected crunch of the cookie.
Each time we visited Coralie, there was a wider variety and quantity of pastries and desserts on offer, and an ever-growing crowd. We are glad they are ramping up production to meet demand! Coralie definitely satisfies a unfilled need in the Evanston cafe scene. We look forward to visiting again soon to satisfy our pastry cravings, and we are even prepared to wait.