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Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe

Map & Directions
(30 Reviews)

1114 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

(773) 929-1100

Today: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
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General Info
Since 1992, Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe has been providing a complete assortment of pastries and sweets. Located in Chicago, Ill., the company offers numerous products, including desserts, cakes, pies, tarts, cookies, breakfast breads, cheesecakes and brownies. It also provides ice creams, soups, sandwiches, croissants, muffins and coffee. Additionally, the pastry shop renders wedding and celebration cakes as well as gift shop services with various gift items. Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe also offers special menus for several holidays, including Christmas.
Regular Hours
Tue - Fri:
Extra Phones

Fax: (773) 929-1136

  • Gourmet Foods
Payment method
all major credit cards
Price Range
North Side, Lakeview

Bittersweet Bakery

Bakeries, American Restaurants, Breakfast, Brunch & Lunch Restaurants, Caterers, Ice Cream & Frozen Desserts, Restaurants
Other Information

Parking: Street

Wi-Fi: No

Bike Parking: Yes

Attire: Casual

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Cuisines: Caterers, American, Breakfast, Brunch & Lunch, Dessert, Ice Cream, Bakeries

Alcohol: No

Takes Reservations: No

Outdoor Seating: No

Price Range : Average


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What a huge bakery! I ordered a block forest cake for my sister birthday. It was very colorful and yummy. It was delicious. Our family and friends loved it. I highly recommended. Thank you so much!

Barbara F.



I couldn't find anything from any Bakery that could compare to Bittersweet's scrumptious Pumpkin Cheesecake! ! Ok last year must admit I found something more than comparable in the burbs at Marriano's in Arlington Heights! So this year that was to be not only Thanksgiving dessert for two but our 32nd anniversary! Well Marriano's supplier closed, and thank God for Bittersweet they can always come through.



Provided by Citysearch - 
A beautiful and tasteful creation!

Last week was our 25th wedding anniversary; I had placed an order with another bakery I had used for 23 years. Saturday morning that bakery called and said they had dropped the cake and wouldn't be able to replace it.

I called my son, Eric, whose girlfriend Lisa, uses Bittersweet frequently. He made a 3 way conference call to the owner who promised that by 5PM I would have an anniversary cake.

She created a beautiful cake, fresh spray of flowers adorned the top. The cake was chocolate, with creme brulee filling and white butter cream frosting.

Our anniversary dinner was aboard the dinner cruise ship the Odyssey at Navy Pier. Our dinner guests and those seated near by ooh'd and aaahh'd as the cake was wheeled to the table. The cake was not only beautiful, but the flavors blended beautifully as well, truly a taste sensation not to be forgotten.

I want to thank the owner and staff for personally rescuing our anniversary dinner party. Without you it would have just been dinner.

Thank you again for your hard work; you are the best of the best.

Pamela Krause
Glenview, IL



Provided by Citysearch - 
Bittersweet is great treat!

I'm finding some of the negative reviews of Bittersweet---at least with regards to the bakery goods--- to be quite off the mark. Bittersweet is one of those small bakery/cafe's that make you feel as though you've just walked into Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory! There are just so many different, decadent treats to choose from! We got our wedding cake from Bittersweet---and guests still comment about how fresh and scrumptous that cake really was. As a result---I've been getting all of our family birthday cakes from Bittersweet for the last four years! Not to mention the various selections of cookies, brownies, custards, breads---and any type of sweet treat that one's heart desires. I recommend Bittersweet Bakery to any and all seeking a place to satisfy a sweet tooth!



Provided by Citysearch - 
Bitterseet Bakery and Cafe dissappoints

This cafe/ bakery is very clean and pleasing to the eye, however we went there for dinner and ordered a roast beef sandwich and they substituded the multigrain bread that was supposed to be served in with day old white bread without even a word or choice in the matter. For a bakery that is really bad, we had high expectations. Won't go back



Provided by Citysearch - 
Avoid the French Macaroons!

After spending the last few years living in London and becoming addicted to the macaroons in the London branches of Laduree and La Maison du Chocolat and the numerous patisseries that sell them in Paris, I decided to look for them upon my move to Chicago. I tried them at Bittersweet and they were the WORST macaroons I have ever had. I also tried some of their tarts. awful! They need to send their pastry chefs to France to truly learn the art of making this extremely difficult pastries. However, there is a silver lining for Chicago, I then went to Vanille Patisserie on Clyborne and tried them there. They were phenomenal!! The chef is french and has brought the art of french pastries to Chicago. I wish this store had a more visible location and seating like Bittersweet, because it would then have the atmosphere that Bittersweet has but would have the wonderful pastries that Bittersweet lacks.



Provided by Citysearch - 
NOT recommended for cakes

I ordered a birthday cake here and I agree while the cake was very pretty on the outside, it was very dry and tasteless on the inside. The icing tasted like paste, it had no flavor. The chocolate cake was dry and not enjoyable. I asked for fresh strawberries on the inside of the cake and I was disappointed when I got little chunks of strawberries in the strawberry gel, exactly what I didn't want. We ended up throwing most of this cake away and eating a deliciously moist cake from Jewel. Very disappointed and I would not go back here.



Provided by Citysearch - 
, florist, etc.) but when we received a peach tart from Bittersweet, i found my new sweet supplier..

Suburb to city without recommended sources, (dry cleaner, florist, etc.) but when we received a peach tart from Bittersweet..i found my new sweet supplier...since that first tart, i have ordered over the phone and in person , pastries for all occasions...the wait staff is very knowledgeble and always come up (patiently) with good ideas when i start to hem and haw over my great joy they even serve in a lovely cafe, wonderful tasting and creative more suburbs..hello Bittersweet



Provided by Citysearch - 

Cake was beautiful at first glance but after specifiying that I was looking for a dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate frosting, I learned that they have to coat the cake with some gooey white stuff in before adding the dark chocolate ganache icing and the white showed through the icing. Plus the cake was very dry and tasteless. The dark chocolate filling between the layers was pretty good but not worth the effort to maul a piece of cake just to get to the small sliver of ""good stuff."" It was dissappointing. to say the least, to pay $130 for a cake with the bulk of it ending up in the trash.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Numerous guests said it was the best cake they?ve ever had

Everything from the tasting to the last bite went really well. We had a quick scare when they called us to tell us the original icing we had was having a problem, but they sorted things out and it looked perfect when it arrived. We requested a slightly different cake with a light yellow (I forget the name?wife would know) cake on top and a cheese cake layered under. We had numerous people tell us it was the best cake they?ve ever had. Thank you VERY much!



Provided by Citysearch - 

I decided to visit Bittersweet (it's close to where I'm visiting friends) after a good review in Chicago magazine. I was a little concerned by some bad reviews I read here, but actually I had a really nice experience. I was there around 2 pm, when there were about five others at the counter also. It's a nice shop, though not in the most upscale neighborhood (for example, I passed a lot of ummmm . . . ""adult"" shops and ""We Call the Police"" signs in store windows on the way there). I spent a few minutes looking around -- lots of delicious pastries. They have a system where you can take numbers and wait your turn, but no one was doing that as there were (as I said) only a few of us in line. A previous reviewer here mentioned the tables being close together. I'd estimate (eyeball) the table spacing as being almost two feet apart. It didn't seem cramped to me. My server was excellent: pleasant, patient with me the newbie, and friendly. In fact she seemed like she'd just read a nasty review on here about service and was DETERMINED to prove it wrong. She even brought up the weather (it was a lovely day) when there was a slight lull in my asking her questions about the food (which I did a lot of, though a little worried I was taking too much of her time). I got the pistachio French macaroon and a burned baked butter custard with incredibly fresh raspberries on top -- both absolutely delicious. The ice cream wasn't particularly outstanding (they had a roasted banana ice cream and then just ordinary flavors). Here's my recommendation: get pastries to go, and definitely sample the fruit tarts. Also, don't go during peak times. There are tables inside, but also benches outside (though again, not the nicest neighborhood). The #77 Belmont bus stops almost right outside Bittersweet. This is not the best bakery I've ever been to, nor is it an indispensible ""Chicago experience,"" but I certainly recommend going if you're nearby and looking for something sweet.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Bad tasting experience

I had high expectations from Bittersweet, after reading glowing review upon glowing review about their wedding cakes. After going in for a tasting, I feel fairly disappointed. I think perhaps they are getting to the point of having so much business that they don't need to provide friendly and helpful customer service anymore? It seemed to me that they really didn't want our business. Upon being greeted by the woman who was facilitating our cake tasting, we were told (AWKWARDLY) that I was the first pregnant bride she had ever dealt with. Nice opening, huh? With little fanfare, we were left with a pile of photo albums of cakes, a couple plates of plain cake squares, a platter of fillings, and instructions to taste different combinations and decide what we liked. Now, I'm not one for sales pitch, but the assumption seemed to be that we were there, therefore we had already decided we wanted a cake from Bittersweet, therefore we could be processed like cattle (and sure enough, there were two other tables of cattle going through the same experience while we were there). No discussion of the bakery, what they felt distinguished them from other bakeries, what made their cakes special or unique... And when we took more than 10 minutes to discuss the combinations of flavors that we liked, we felt very much like we were wearing on the woman's patience. Now, in her defense, we had shown up 10-15 minutes late (we called ahead to warn them), and perhaps by doing so, we really threw off their schedule; however, we feel we gave a consistent impression that we were willing to wait as long as was needed for service, in order to avoid inconveniencing others by our lateness. There was no mention of free delivery of the cake, which was quoted at more than $400 (for a cake to serve 70) plus tax and $35 delivery. I don't know, though the cake and fillings were good, and some of the example photographs were stunning, the whole experience really left a bad taste in our mouths.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Worst Service, Over-rated food

If you are looking for a nice, cozy, neighborhood bakery with tasty pastries and at least decent waitstaff, this is not the place for you. I have repeatedly tried to like to like Bittersweet and I have been there on three different occassions. The only redeeming thing about this place is the cuteness of the store. It is very small with tables pushed tightly together. The staff is usually too busy talking to each other to tend to customers who are seated or trying to get some bakery item to go. The last time I went, the girl was very rude. I ordered an italian soda and she filled the entire cup with ice so there was barely any drink in it; a total rip-off with no regard for the customer. She even wrapped my cafe in the same box as a few short bread cookies I ordered and the cookies inevitably got pressed up against the cake and both items were ruined. If it was so important to save money, I would have wrapped the cookies in a napkin, but she chose to mush them together in one box. There are many other bakeries in the city that are more worth your money and will actually please your tastebuds. This is not the place for anyone who knows food or wants to be treated well. To be honest, the previous reviews were mostl iikely written by the store staff or owners. Avoid this place at all costs!!!!



Provided by Citysearch - 
Absolutely perfect Wedding Cake!!!!

We just got married and we couldn't have been happier with our cake from Bittersweet. They were a joy to work with from beginning to end. They have a wonderful tasting process that allows you to combine their cakes with their fillings. They provided a tasting cake prior to the wedding to ensure we got the cake we expected (the cost of the tasting cake was deducted from our final bill, so it was essentially free). They will give us a free one year anniversary cake if we bring in a photo of the cake from our photographer, so we don't have to eat yucky freezer burned cake on our anniversary. Finally the excecution of the cake on our wedding day was flawless. We got a chocolate cake with chocolate and mocha mousse filling, with buttercream frosting and a chocolate pour over the top of the buttercream. The cake was beautiful and delicious. The serving size were perfect as well. I hate going to weddings where you barely get a piece of cake. All in all, I would recommend them to any bride to be!!



Provided by Citysearch - 
Dreamy wedding cakes

Bittersweet is one the things I miss most about moving out of Chicago. I used to go there almost every day for coffee and delicacies, and on Sunday mornings I would treat myself to an egg salad sandwich that I still dream about. When I got married in Chicago in 2000, my husband and I knew that our cake had to be from Bittersweet, and we were thrilled with it. It was the prettiest and most elegant cake I had ever seen or tasted, and was worth every penny. I highly recommend their wedding cakes. Yummy!



Provided by Citysearch - 
Heaven on Earth for a visitor from California

Note to self: enjoy life more--move to Chicago, Belmont neighborhood, eat every day at Bittersweet.

A tough two weeks in Chicago was temporarily transformed into Paradise daily with visits to Bittersweet. The owners are wonderful people. I have arranged to have their products sent to Sacramento, CA and received them in lightning time, all goods in perfect condition. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Contino from the Arostegui and Saia families in California -- your generosity and talents have never been more appreciated.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Best in the City--unbelievable display of lucious goodies!!!

To treat yourself to a gourmet lunch, take home a perfect cake, have delicious homemade icecream on a hot day, marvel at the beautiful display of goodies--from cookies to breads, from tarts of various flavors to numerous gift items, there is no better place to visit than Bittersweet Bakery and Cafe. It offers a touch of class with its marble-topped tables and fresh decorative flowers. The display cases are well-lit and attractively designed. Scrumptious, not to be missed!!! We've returned many times and will continue to do so!!!



Provided by Citysearch - 
my favorite bakery

bittersweet is quiet, cute and the food/sweets are ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. try everything! including their half coffee/half hot chocolate drink.
i will definitely be using this bakery for my wedding cake one day. :)



Provided by Citysearch - 
by far one of the finest bakery

how can anyone not like this place,there is something for everyones taste.unless of course you dont have any taste............



Provided by Citysearch - 
User review by rrgriego

Visiting from San Francisco, we had heard of Bittersweet Bakery and had it on our list to visit. By chance we found ourselves driving by the bakery and decided to try it out for lunch. We enjoyed our lunch so much, we returned three more times during our short vacation. Each day there is at least one featured home made soup, sandwich, salad and quiche on the menu. The soups were great. We tried the tomato/jalapeno, mushroom, eggplant and cucumber (served chilled and very refreshing). Each served with a large slice of fresh bread. I don't remember the types of sandwiches we had, but they were all big and delicious. Each served with a choice of fresh fruit, potatoe salad or potatoe chips. Even though we were feeling full with the lunch, we forced ourselves to try their desserts. The capachino, lemon, pecan tarts were wonderful. We will return.