French Restaurant Review: Le Petit Retro, Paris

French Restaurant Review: Le Petit Retro, Paris

There are few restaurants in the French capital that have such a delectably Parisian atmosphere as Le Petit Rétro, which opened in 1904 in the 16th arrondissement and has a magnificent landmarked interior of Art Nouveau tiles in exquisite floral and vegetal motifs.

Now it’s been taken over by chefs Irwin Durand and Guy Savoy, head chef and owner respectively at the soigné Le Chiberta. Their simple idea for this much-loved place is to serve good, solid, traditional French food made with the finest seasonal produce, and not surprisingly, the restaurant’s been mobbed since the new menu launched.

Irwin Durand © Alban Couturier

To be sure, there are a few modish dishes (doubtless included to appeal to younger people who frequent the Costes brothers’ chain of restaurants with their identikit menus), including salmon and avocado tartare and vegetable gyoza; but otherwise starters run to beautifully prepared classics like pâté en croûte and bone marrow toast.

A pavlova of red fruits with basil at Le Petit Rétro © Alexander Lobrano

Superbly prepared main courses include local favourites like steak tartare and crowd-pleasing dishes that are too much trouble for many people to cook at home, including blanquette de veau (veal in a satiny cream sauce with mushrooms and baby onions) and veal sweetbreads with mustard-grain sauce and a
gratin of Swiss chard. Don’t miss the Paris-Brest or the pear clafoutis with vanilla ice cream for dessert. This convivial restaurant is a good address to bear in
mind for an easygoing, fairly priced meal in a beautiful Parisian setting.

5 Rue Mesnil, 16th arrondissement, Paris.
Tel. (33) 01 44 05 06 05
Average à la carte €55

From France Today magazine 

Lead photo credit : Le Petit Rétro’s stunning interior © Alexander Lobrano

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Alexander Lobrano grew up in Connecticut, and lived in Boston, New York and London before moving to Paris, his home today, in 1986. He was European Correspondent for Gourmet magazine from 1999 until its closing, and has written about food and travel for Saveur, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, Travel & Leisure, Departures, Conde Nast Traveler, and many other publications in the United States and the United Kingdom. He is the author of HUNGRY FOR PARIS, 2nd Edition (Random House, 4/2014), HUNGRY FOR FRANCE (Rizzoli, 4/2014), and MY PLACE AT THE TABLE, newly published in June 2021.

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