Cocotte, An Authentic French Cafe and Bakery Opens in Old Saybrook


If you’ve been reading The E List long enough, you know I consider myself a Francophile, and while my French seems to get worse every year, I love everything about France, ESPECIALLY the food. So as soon as I heard the old James Pharmacy had morphed into a French bakery and cafe, I raced right over. This charming spot is helmed by a local couple; Jeffrey De Francesco is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and has worked with the likes of Jean-Georges and Tom Colicchio. His Parisian wife, Isabelle, is the inspiration for Cocotte and firmly in charge of the front of the house. During the week, you can stop by to pick up giant rustic Pugliese loaves, sourdough boules, baguettes, and pumpernickel. Meticulous cakes, tarts, and patisserie line the cases. Breads are baked in-house, and the gorgeous pastry selection is zipped up here by a pâtissier whose resume includes Fauchon and Laduree. Wow.

While you can nibble on croissants and brioche Wednesday through Sunday, full breakfast and lunch are currently only available on the weekend. Pretending we were in Paris, we grabbed a seat at a marble-topped table in the cozy cafe and cheerfully over-ordered. We feasted on perfectly rare slices of tuna atop a Salade Nicoise, and a delicately dressed Salade au Chèvre Chaud studded with warm goat cheese toasts. A menu of tartines includes a tasty spread of duck rillettes on thick slices of peasant bread. Next time I’ll come for petit déjeuner and try the Crepes Bretonnes, Omelette aux Champignons, or, of course, Oeufs Cocotte.

I grabbed a sourdough boule to go and a stunning Raspberry Fields tart: creamy raspberry mousse with a layer of chocolate and fresh berries atop a pate brisee crust. So irresistible that five of us managed to finish off the entire thing.

I am thrilled about this addition to Old Saybrook. Bienvenue, Isabelle and Jeffrey, and please save that corner table for me.

Good To Know:
Breakfast and lunch currently Saturday and Sunday only, 9 – 2:30pm
Bakery and Gelato, Wednesday thru Sunday 8:30am to 8pm

See the menu here:

323 Main Street, Old Saybrook 860.917.1251

You may also like my guide to Paris.