When I read about Dolce Vita Bakery Café in the Gainesville Sun, I knew I had to visit. Tucked away in a quiet, almost derelict shopping plaza on the north side of town (4908 NW 34th Street, across from the Texaco), this small bakery is off the beaten path for many folks. But I assure you the trip is worth it.
The fine award-winning journalists at the Sun (read that again while oozing with sarcasm) focused primarily on Dolce Vita’s offering of the latest dessert craze; Cronuts. For those of you unfamiliar with Cronuts, it’s essentially a donut made with croissant dough, invented by a baker in New York City. This is the only place in Gainesville (and North Florida as far as I know) that offers this novel idea. And boy, is it a hot commodity.
As I sat at a table enjoying my delicious “Breakfast Bowl” (fresh hot puff pastry filled with egg, sausage, and swiss cheese), I watched as customer after customer asked for the Cronut. In fact, I was able to snatch up one of the last ones before everyone else had to wait for the next batch. While Dolce Vita’s version is slightly smaller than the original, it’s still every bit the rich and buttery goodness covered in a donut glaze, with a chocolate/vanilla cream filling. Though I would have liked to have a fresh one right out of the oven. At $3.89 a pop, they are a little bit on the pricey side, but as the only local bakery offering this dessert, I can understand the premium price. If you do plan on trying it, I would recommend calling ahead to see when the next batch will come out of the oven. But hurry, they go fast.
That said, you would be missing out if you only went for the Cronuts. Dolce Vita certainly pack a whole lot of punch into such a small location, offering goodies like Peach Cream Bearclaws, Kolackys, a variety of Donuts, Sfogliatelles, and brace yourselves…Nutella Croissants. Most of the baked goods range from $2.50 to $3.50 in price, and are baked fresh throughout the day. Once you walk through the front doors, you will be greeted with a large display case filled from top to bottom, making it difficult to resist ordering just one item. Dieters should stay at home with their sad broccoli bowls and rice cakes, no amount of self control can prevent purchases here. There are also sandwiches, breakfast bagels, soups, and salads on the menu, though I did not get a chance to try.
Pictured are the Nutella Croissant, Cronut, Strawberry Cream Bearclaw, and the “Breakfast Bowl”. The Cronut was refrigerated but still very good (as mentioned above, try to get a hot one!), the Nutella Croissant is not quite as flaky and rich as the croissants from Uppercrust, but still very very good, and the Strawberry Cream Bearclaw was just perfect with a fresh Strawberry filling and crunch sugar sprinkled on top of a flaky crust. For breakfast goers, I would highly recommend the “Breakfast Bowl” (description above).
Dolce Vita is open from Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 4 PM, Saturdays from 7:30 AM to 4 PM, and closed on Sundays. Definitely like their page (listed in the comments) to keep up with specials! If you do visit, tell them Ken Eats Gainesville sent you! While it may be easy to miss if you drive by too quickly, just roll down the windows and follow the smell of fresh baked goodness. You’ll find your way.