Head downtown and give Tatte a try

Katrina Sanville, Arts Writer

In downtown Boston, just a short walk from the Boston Public Garden sits Tatte, a café, and bakery you’d swear was straight out of a romantic movie. With its friendly staff, cases of nice pastries, and bright interior, Tatte would be the ideal place to sit and talk for hours – if only the prices were not so high.

Tatte – at least the Boylston Street location – had a few tables of outdoor seating for customers who had been lucky enough to grab a table. Upon entering, customers are greeted with beautiful white tiling on the floor and walls, as well as freshly baked pastries in gleaming cases. Tatte’s welcoming staff is more than prepared to help customers and take their orders, all the while sparking conversation and creating a warm environment. Furthermore, amidst the pandemic, Tatte’s business still seems to be strong. Lines to order and pick up were at least three people long at two in the afternoon, and every table in the outdoor seating area had been filled. Circles had been put on the ground to indicate the required six feet of social distancing between parties, and a barrier had been put up between customers and workers.

All the bread and baked goods are baked daily, with plenty of gluten free options for those who avoid wheat or gluten. The menu also features a handful of vegetarian options. Ingredients, such as eggs and vegetables, are sourced from local farms so you know they are fresh. Also, Tatte overall has a unique menu as they have tried to include dishes from other cultures like the Shakshuka, a North African dish.

However, although it is a fresh and organic menu, due to these same reasons Tatte’s prices can be fairly high. The average price of a salad – without chicken, which costs an extra three dollars per salad – is $12.80, while the average sandwich price is around $10.14. Pastries ranged from $3 to $10, depending on the size and ingredients.

Finding seating also seemed to be an issue. With the pandemic, there was no indoor seating, so outdoor seating had been set up for customers. With that, though, there had only been around ten tables outside, most of which only had one or two people at the tables made for four people. I ended up walking down to the Boston Public Garden to eat, which ended up being a much better experience in the long run, though inconvenient when I got my food.

I ordered the Turkey Avocado sandwich, which was $10, and the Mixed Seasonal Fruit box, which was $7. I couldn’t bring myself to order a drink, especially not coffee. Coffee ranged from $3 to $6. Once again, the coffee and teas had probably been fair trade, and worthy of their price, but after spending money on lunch, I could not justify it. Instead, I just walked down the street to Dunkin’, which definitely had not been fair trade coffee, but I could not afford to splurge on my entire meal.

I am, in no way, claiming to be an expert food critic. However, I love to cook and grew up going to my grandparents’ diner on the weekends when I had been younger. I also have experienced very good food from cafés similar to Tatte, as well as some not-so-good food from similar types of cafés.

With that said, I felt as though the turkey avocado sandwich had been fairly lackluster. The sandwich seemed intriguing when I read the menu – it was a turkey sandwich, with pieces of cut up avocado and pea shoots from a local farm, finished off with a cucumber herb dressing on homemade challah bread – but it did not match my expectations.

To start, the $10 price tag of the sandwich only covers the cost of the sandwich, which had been standard size. I had been expecting a sandwich with a side of chips, or a salad or soup, however I had been let down. The challah bread was soft, and the cucumber herb dressing had been pretty flavorful, but that is all I can say in praise about the sandwich.

The sandwich had been a standard size, similar to something that I would pack for a school lunch, and the turkey and avocado were bland. While turkey and avocado are both bland ingredients, I had been expecting a bit of seasoning on the avocado, or some spices on the turkey. This sandwich – except for the dressing – could be recreated at home for less than the cost of the sandwich itself.

On the other hand, Tatte’s pastries blew me out of the water. The Mixed Seasonal Fruit box – which looked appealing from the case with the brightly colored berries and sweet cream – had very few flaws.

The fruit box, which was a pie crust shell filled a sweet cream and topped with strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries, reminded me exactly of summer. The berries were fresh, despite it being past berry season, and the cream filling reminded me of the amazing cannoli filling from a bakery in my hometown. The shell of the box, however, had not lived up to my standards. It had been fairly tough and hard to bite into, despite the good flavor of the crust.

Pastries are more bang for a buyer’s buck, per se. The pastries, both the fruit box, and the lemon cake, were as big, if not much bigger than the sandwiches, and tasted much better, in my opinion.

Overall, I would give Tatte a 6/10 for the sandwiches, 8/10 for desserts, and 9/10 for atmosphere. I think the food had been good, and definitely better if I ate it immediately, and the staff and atmosphere had been warm and welcoming. However, if any Beacons were to go to Tatte, I would recommend the desserts first, then the main dishes, in order to get the best bang for your buck.