CONTRIBUTED BY KELLY GARCIA

After months of not needing to contribute to my own column, my baby and I made it on a little field trip a few weeks ago though that made me all excited and wanting to shout its praises from a mountaintop. I think I went back to the shop like twice that same week such was the deliciousness of their food and beverage.

Their food being my favorite thing (after coffee) — baked goods.

It was a gorgeous day. The north was calling. My husband was diving and I had baby duty.  Where could I go that would be new and interesting, yet not devolve into a crying fuss-filled mess? Suddenly I remembered. Ah! Rene told me about a good bakery, up near the Renaissance. Maybe I could stop there, pick up a croissant or two and take them down to Zanpa Beach, which is kinda near home. Perfect. Off we went.

The sign for the bakery can be seen right from 58 on the second floor of a concrete slab of a building –somewhat of a hotspot for mainland Japanese tourists, incidentally.  It houses several food stalls downstairs — soba, Okinawa donuts, zenzai and the like, and also quite a nice produce market.  On the weekend it is packed with tourists snapping up Okinawa grown fruits and veggies.  They also sell gorgeous flowers.  So if you are having a dinner party you can get your fresh produce, flowers and dessert right here.

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This is not to say it’s bad to go on a weekend.  In fact the bakery seems to offer a greater variety of treats then, but as it’s upstairs away from the hubbub it manages to retain a sense of calm and tranquility.

In any event, Gabe and I braved the crowds and the lure of dragon fruit and goya and headed up the small staircase in the back.  I was hot and irked that I’d initially brought a stroller, which I had to dump back in the car when I couldn’t find an elevator or ramp up.  But then I smelled it.  Ahhh…the scent of chocolate.  Then I saw it.  Row after row of items that looked like this:

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and this:

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and this:

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all baked right here:

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Wow.  A nice woman came from behind the counter and offered to help me as my hands were full with baby.  She took a tray and some tongs and asked me what I wanted.  Hmmm…Gabe lunged for the chocolate chip croissant thing I was eyeing, and lickety-spit his hand was in it.  Okay, I guess we’d start there.  I got that chocolate chip thing, a croissant, a cheesy asparagus filled something, a roll with pecans, and the best most delicious torte of caramel doused pecans.  Oh. my. gosh.  I couldn’t stop.  The lady looked surprised, “for my husband,”  I said sheepishly.

We took the tray to the counter where I spotted their wood-burning oven and racks of freshly baked pies, breads and cakes. Then I saw that they also served several different coffees.  Then I got the total of my bill.  Okay, I can’t remember now exactly what it was, but seriously for all that plus the coffee it was less than 1000 yen, which is really good for off-base.  This was all too good to be true.

But it wasn’t.  Gabe and I sat down at the sofa where he ate his yummy cheerios and I took a sip of the Italian coffee I’d ordered.  It was FANTASTIC.  Fresh, full, delicious.  I looked up at where they had a buffet set up.  It was a pasta lunch buffet with bread, salad, pasta and beverage for 680 yen (that’s it!)  I was amazed when I saw a lady take a still half full coffee carafe from the hotplate and replace it with a new carafe of fresh coffee.  That explained the taste.  They cared about their coffee.

The pastries–they were excellent.  No, I didn’t eat them all.  Yes I did save some for my husband, ’cause I’m a good wife like that.  But let me tell you, that pecan torte thing.  Heaven.  The crust, or whatever it is, is like this thick shortbread.  And that asparagus thing was really good too.

A couple non-food shots:

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Gabe and I eventually made it to the beach… in a fantastic mood, I might add.  And since that visit I’ve made it back to Cafe Paris a couple times, but never for the buffet.  On one trip I bought a fresh cheesecake there for about 1000 yen.  It was small — served about four-six slices, but light and perfect for my husband’s birthday dinner.  But the best thing is that you can buy a bag of day-old pastries for 300 yen! I’d say there probably about 5 or 6 in there, depending on which bag you get.  They are all different.  And the prices might vary a bit too.

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Cafe Boulangerie de Paris

Hours: Open 11:00 – 19:30 (Lunch buffet 11:30-14:00)  CLOSED Mondays

Address: 1656-9 Nakadomari, Onna

Google Maps Coordinates: 26.4361551, 127.79484219999995

Directions: From Kadena, Foster, Kinser — Head north on 58 toward Nago.  Pass Kadena Circle and the turn-offs for Rte. 6 and Rte 12.  After you pass the Renaissance Hotel, you’ll get this gorgeous ocean vista on your left and on the right see two concrete buildings — the first with a big wooden boat in the second floor window, the second with a red roof and the sign “Cafe Boulangerie de Paris” — that’s where you want to get to.  Just after you see those buildings and just before you get into Onna/Nakadomari, turn Right at the traffic signal. Then immediately on your right you’ll see a big parking lot. You can turn in there to park.  Go inside the building to the stairs in the back.  The cafe will be on the second floor.

19 COMMENTS

  1. My son and I went today and I will be returning many times! We bought three delish pastries and a loaf of bread for 400 yen. The downstairs market is very cool and there are even more places to eat outside, including a place that sells shaved ice like I’ve never seen and it was incredible! I can’t wait to go back and try their lunch!

  2. My friend and I ate lunch at this place yesterday and it was not only worth the drive, but well worth the price! We had the Carbonara pasta with our buffet lunch. It was sooo good! When we were finished, we strolled through the market downstairs and then drove about ten minutes up the road to Cape Manzamo.

  3. The produce/fruit market here at Onna Vilalge is GREAT! We buy all of our fresh produce/veggies here, sure beats the Commissary. And you can’t beat the prices. I actually bought 3 zuchinni for 250 yen, compare that to over $6.00 at the Commissary. Remember, you are also supporting the local farmers, so you’re doing a good deed. Oh and do try the Parisian boulangerie upstairs. Good stuff.

  4. We went there today, and it looked like they had either pasta or a pizza buffet. The pasta you had to request at the counter, and the pizza was out. It looked really good, but we just got some pastry. The savory roll was super good.

  5. YUM! I about lost hope of finding true “sweets” in Okinawa, thanks for posting on this bakery! Can’t wait to get up there. 🙂

  6. this place in Onna village is actually one of the major “rest stops” along Hwy 58. another big one is located up north in Nago at the Kyoda intersection. the produce part is all organic and varies depending on what’s in season. you can also buy potted plants that are reasonably priced. the main area is set up as a souvenir shop with food items and attached produce area. the different food stalls outside are a must to try. for anyone who likes seafood, there’s an area on the right end of this establishment that sells freshly cooked seafood stuff: fish, shrimps, more fish, different shellfish, etc. they have frozen packed ones to buy too. there’s fresh hot rice to buy and you can also request for a BIG bowl of fish or crab soup that’s miso-based that they cook right there. the soup was real good and my husband said the fish and crab were fresh. he loves seafood so i left it for him to judge. they also have different bento boxes there with a variety of food combo that are freshly made. and yes, dont ever leave without trying the shave ice in another stall. this one is very popular esp in the summer time, when ive seen a really long line for it. i got the one with passion fruit, pineapples, oranges, kiwi slices and a little condensed (sweet) milk. OMG it was perfect. they usually offer mango topping when in season too. i agree with you on the fresh pastries located upstairs. their chocolate croissant is to die for. check it out!

  7. Rene, that place next to the restaurant is owned by the same people. They usually let us use the upstairs room when we bring a large group.

  8. This post made me so hungry for pastries after looking at all the yummy pictures you posted!!!! The restaurant that Paul mentioned is really good, but I don’t think it is actually the Beach House (I think that was a bar that is no longer open), but it is next door to the Beach House…anyway, someone told me they serve pufferfish soup which we didn’t try, but whatever it was everyone was ordering it up, but us!!!! We got the fish instead and that was really good! Next time the soup!

  9. Thanks for the comments, guys. Paul, you’re the third person now I’ve heard say that Beach House place is really good for fish (the other two, hubby’s Japanese coworkers.) Gotta go!

    Joelle, banana bread? Yum!

    Sheena, I don’t know if you’ve seen this post yet: http://www.okinawahai.com/2008/05/fresh-in-oki-a.html but it might be something that interests you when you get here! Glad the site could be of help!

    Okay, so I got myself hungry writing this post and went back again today. A couple extra things:

    1. I found a ramp up to the second floor. It’s on the very right of the building next to the vending machines and handicapped parking spaces.

    2. The lunch buffet this time was 850 yen. It was a pizza buffet this time, not pasta. The pizza looked yummy.

    3. There were NO bags of bargain baked goodies! The last couple of times I went there were, but today no. Maybe they sold out?

    4. They had baguettes today at about 250 yen a pop. I got one and it was great. I got an eggplant bun thing though which wasn’t so good. Most of the other pastries are about 150 yen a piece.

    5. And, this might be the most confusing/disturbing thing of all. I ordered coffee again — the Italian blend. When I looked around the corner I saw them “making” it in one of those machines like at Marino’s or wherever, where you push one button for a cappuccino, another for a latte, etc. I was aghast!

    Was this where my awesome coffee was coming from?! I’d assumed those coffee machines were filled w/ ancient coffee pods or coffee flavored powder or something. I waited for my cup feeling all deflated-like. But then I saw something which kind of gave me hope–a couple workers producing ziploc bags of coffee, placing it in filters, weighing it carefully on scales and then putting it into regular coffee makers. Hmmm…

    So…was my coffee fresh? Was it not? I nervously took a sip and again…Good stuff.

    I don’t know what the heck this says about my coffee palate! Y’all will have to let me know what you thought about it!

  10. hahaha…kandy, i watch yo gabba gabba with my daughters all the time and we too sing “there’s a party in my tummy, so yummy, so yummy!” fairly often when we eat…it’s catchy 🙂

  11. I LOVE reading about places in this area of Okinawa, as that is where I spent much of my time when I was on Okinawa last July. The Renaisssance staff was gracious enough to allow me to use their lobby as my office and I spent countless hours, at all hours of the day and night in that atrium lobby working on my blog while I was staying at the precious Yamauchi Inn in Nakadomari.

    All that intro to say, please treat yourselves to the delicious fare at Nakadomari Seafood if you are in the Onna/Nakadomari area. You’ll pass the Renaissance and the wonderful ocean vista on your left after it (I always thought of it as a bridge, but it probably isn’t) and take the first left into Nakadomari when you cross the “bridge”. It takes you to the sweet little Nakadomari and before very long, you will see Nakadomari Seafood on your left. You’ll know it by the seafood painted at the top of the 3 story (parking on the bottom and 2 stories above) building with the wide street side staircase.

    The proprietors are the Yamashiro family and I was taken in and treated like a daughter/sister while I stayed in Nakadomari. Mrs. Yamashiro’s daughter even invited me to the Nago Fish Market with her one day, an experience I shall treasure and never forget. She travels to Nago I think 6 out of 7 days to buy the freshest of fresh bounty of the sea for the restaurant. The process at the fish market is a sort of wonderful and colorful auction and I felt like it was a real privilege to be able to experience it, not to mention that was a fabulous photo opp! A meal at Nakadomari Seafood will be one you thoroughly enjoy and never forget. Please give hugs to the Yamashiro family from me if you go!

    Can you tell I’m feeling sentimental today? I hope you can feel my smile as I recall my time there with so many special people, including my Oki Hai friends – “hello” and hugs to you all! And, thanks for indulging me… Robin

  12. You guys are finding my secret hideouts! This place started out quite small and is growing quickly. Glad you like it. There is a seafood resturant on the same side street, I think it is called the “Beach House”. Great food in there too. One of you should go there and do a write up on it. Doesn’t look like much, but the food is really good.

  13. Dang it! You’re not making it easy for me to diet. Okay, I’ll start MONDAY after hitting up this bakery this weekend. 😉 Anyone ever watch Yo Gabba Gabba? You know that song? “There’s a party in my tummy! So yummy! So yummy!” Okay, I’ll stop now.

  14. I also have a weakness for chocolate, pastries, and especially chocolate pastries. Also, I am so encouraged to see all the fresh produce. We usually do two shopping stops for groceries: one at the commissary and another at Whole Foods (we live in CA) or a local farmer’s market for produce and organic items. I can’t stand commissary produce.
    We arrived this spring, Lord willing, so I check this blog every day before hitting the hay. I was a little worried about finding good produce in Okinawa, but no more!
    This bakery will have to be one of the first places we check out when we arrive on the island. Thanks for the great post.

  15. There is also a place downstairs in the outer part of the market that does those shave ice/ice cream/doused in fruit and yumminess desserts! Love that place! The soba is also good and try the sweet potato (beni-imo) chips or the fresh banana bread they sell in the market!

  16. oh, i soooo have to go here 🙂 coffee and pastries, mmmmmm….i’ve been wanting to take my little girls on a very girly, fun afternoon trip somewhere and this seems right up our alley 🙂

  17. This is in the Onna Market. We stopped here for lunch when I went (a few months ago) on the free Newcomer’s tour that the Airman & Family Readiness Center offers. The pastries were really good, and the fruit on the pastries was really fresh. They also had some cool necklaces that were really cheap in the market/tourist part downstairs. I’m glad you posted directions since I’ve been wanting to go back, but I had only remembered it being near the Onna Glass Factory and couldn’t remember where to turn. Thanks!

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