Text: Brendan Seibel
Image: Au Petit Tonneau
Nestled amongst the glitz and glitter of the 7th Au Petit Tonneau brings the neighbourhood back to Earth. Walking inside this unassuming restaurant is like crossing the threshold of a family home. The small staff are welcoming, polite yet informal and attentive without smothering.
For over twenty-five years this restaurant has been headed by a female owner/chef who believes in the importance of shopping daily for ingredients. Lovingly crafted provincial plates recreate home-cooked meals only grandmothers can make, whether starter soups and salads or heartier fare of duck, veal or scallops. For all the wholesomeness the food never descends into an arterial gamble which leaves plenty of room for dessert. A good French vocabulary will help keep the waitress from becoming flustered, although she keeps her wits about her enough to warn Americans who order the andouillette in mustard sauce that it’s not really sausage. Any critical breakdowns in communication are deferred to Madame, who often appears in her towering chef’s hat, asking after her guests with a beaming smile.
Prices, not cuisine, will remind you this is Paris and not the countryside. The wine selection is broad but reasonable and nightly specials can cause ordering guilt. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited and diners take a leisurely pace.
Au Petit Tonneau
20 rue Surcouf, 7th
Ph. 01 47 05 09 01
Hours Tues-Sun 12-2pm, 7-10.30pm
Metro: Invalides/La Tour-Maubourg (8)