Paris is on lockdown so the next best thing just might be a visit to the brand new Angelina Paris, the famous hot chocolate and dessert shop. It’s not just the the company’s first location in New York City, it’s also the first in all of the United States. Its only other locations outside of France are in Asia and the Middle East. The New York location of Angelina Paris opened in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic just before Thanksgiving, and people are lining up to experience its signature pastries, decadently rich hot chocolate, and full savory menu.
Angelina was founded in Paris in 1903, by the Austrian confectioner Antoine Rumpelmayer, who named the shop after his daughter-in-law. To be a known address in Paris, you must have been frequented by the city’s literary and artistic elite. At Angelina, imagine the likes of Coco Chanel and Marcel Proust taking in the tea and delicacies, stepping into the shop at 226 Rue de Rivoli following a walk through the Jardin du Tuileries or a visit to the Louvre.
Angelina’s newest outpost in New York City is located just next to Bryant Park at 1050 Sixth Avenue. The interior design clearly evokes Angelina’s Belle Epoque flagship location in Paris. There’s the blue translucent coffered ceiling, wood floors, hanging chandeliers, the Rococo style mural panels, leather seats, and crown moldings galore. There’s even vintage-style mosaic tiling on the floor when you enter spelling out ANGELINA. It’s particularly impressive given that prior to this, the storefront was a simple white box space serving as the sales office for ML House, the residential building completed in 2018.
Even more importantly, the food is delicious. I’m a stickler for two things in life as an adopted French, having married a Parisian: hot chocolate and croissants. I don’t drink coffee, so I reserve all my snobbishness for hot chocolate (and tea). First, there are only a few places in New York City to get true European hot chocolate. Until Angelina Paris, I would only vouch for Maison du Chocolat (yes yes, I know that people will interject here with some of their favorites..). At Angelina, you get a small jug of the rich hot chocolate — good for several cups each for two — and a side of whipped cream to mix in.
Now onto croissants. Same thing — there are only a few places to get croissants in New York City with that right mix of fluffiness, flakiness, and butteriness. I had both the Angelina Croissant — which comes with your choice of smoked salmon, ham or cheese) and scrambled eggs — and the mini viennoiseries (a mini croissant, mini chocolate croissant, and mini pain au raisin) that are served in an afternoon tea-style stacked tray along with three mini pots of jam. My French husband took one bite of the mini croissant and instantly gave his approval — “Yes, that’s it.”
If you want to try a bit of everything, order the brunch menu. Orange juice, your choice of tea, coffee or the signature hot chocolate, the mini viennoiseries, bread rolls with butter jam and honey, your choice of eggs benedict or the Angelina Croissant, and your choice of fruit salad, Angelina crunchy granola and yogurt, or the Chestnut crêpe with chestnut cream, Angelina hot chocolate sauce, and Chantilly cream.
The Mont-Blanc pastry
For more a la carte ordering, there’s a menu of eggs, sandwiches, salads, soups, and other savory dishes that cover both the French and American culinary demands. You can get croque monsieur and madame or avocado toast. Roasted salmon or a double decker cheeseburger (brioche bun of course). The dessert menu is long — from macarons to tartes and pastries. Their signature pastry is the Mont-Blanc, a meringue with chantilly and chestnut cream. My guest for the visit was writer Laurie Gwen Shapiro, who had been waiting to try the Mont-Blanc since opening day – it was sold out by the time she arrived. She said it did not disappoint: “It was divine. Probably the best pastry I have ever hand.” The drink menu is just as long — hot and cold coffees and chocolates, juices and teas.
Dining is indoors but you are seated at a safe distance from other guests. You can also just pop in and buy some pastries in the front, which come packed in beautiful pink bags and boxes. You can even get the hot chocolate to go, or to make at home.
Angelina Paris’s New York City location fills the void left by Maison Kayser, which closed up its New York City locations during the coronavirus pandemic. Stop in and get a little taste of France in New York City — whether to go, or for a dine-in experience.
Next, check out the secrets of Bryant Park.