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La Petite Maison: A Must Do in Istanbul
Oh what a restaurant! "Tous Celebres Ici" is the motto to which I'll add "You're Never Disappointed". Dubai, nice, Beirut and now Istanbul, I've been pleasantly surprised every time I visit enjoying the music, the choices, service and beautiful decor. La Petite Maison Istanbul is a recommended favorite.
Combining the best fresh seasonal ingredients with the culinary influences of the Côte d’Azur and neighbouring Liguria, La Petite Maison offers an inspired yet simple and delicious interpretation of French Mediterranean and Niçoise cuisine. Local products, notably artichokes, courgettes, lemons, olives, tomatoes and peppers are used generously with sea food, meat and fresh pasta to produce a style that’s light and healthy. Oil obtained from olives groves on the hills of the Alpes Maritimes behind Nice and extending into Liguria is used throughout.
Located at the Park Hyatt Hotel, La Petite Maison is a big restaurant spread on two levels and offering a terrace with an over view of the hotel lobby below. Access the restaurant from bar area, walk down the stairs to the main dining space where the open kitchen is, before visiting the terrace outside the tight wooden door. A cozy space is lit with candles and yellow lights, decorated with the signature open kitchen enchanted with bowls filled with colorful vegetables.
The first impression is enchanting. Calm and serene, French and jazz music play in the background while an English speaking smiling waiter approached the table for water. He served us some Turkish sparkling water which I enjoyed. Round tables, white table clothes, and of course the olive oil bottles, tomatoes and lemon decorate all the tables.
Art takes over the white space with design paintings and cylindrical wall lights. Light brown leather sofas surround the space facing relaxing sofas. I loved the curtains, the wooden floor, the art pottery and the colors. Classy, the experience at La Petite Maison is unbeatable.
The menu is the same or close to the one in Beirut. I could spot the tartare, the tapenade, quinoa tabbouleh, marinated beetroot, warm prawns, the fresh pasta, entrecôte and the sides of which I missed the green beans. Plates are written in French - with spelling mistakes- English and Turkish.
- Burrata and fresh tomatoes
- Endives salad with Gorgonzola and caramelized walnuts
- Warm prawns with olive oil
- Fusilli duck ragout grilled 200g filet steak
Dinner started with bread. Fresh bread with a moist heart and crunchy borders. Best enjoyed with olive oil, salt and pepper. Wow! The olive oil is outstanding.
- The burrata is a big ball of cheese cut in half and decorated with cherry tomatoes and green leaves. Its size is generous, its heart tender and moist before reaching the taste part, that kind of taste I never encountered before. You feel like you are drinking a cup of milk. Rich, intense buffalo milk, probably one of the best qualities I've ever had. Tomatoes are as good as the cheese adding value to the plate. Sweet and full bodied, I personally added a bit of oil, sprinkled salt and pepper before taking plunging in. All of this for only $12! A restaurant in Beirut charges this dish for $60 and it was not worth it.
- Endives cut in quarters, decorated with green apple slices and sprinkled with chunks of cheese and walnuts. You have to pick all of the ingredients with your fork to feel the plate; an equilibrium of flavors balanced by the crunchy endive, the sweet apple, the dry walnuts and the acidity of the cheese.
- Warm shrimps, half a dozen of them served on a hot plate bathing in olive oil and lemon. Oh my goodness, their texture and tenderness with the juice they're marinated in! I was smiling unconsciously...
Now for the main plates:
- I've rarely had a meat as tender as this one, as juicy and without any red juices around. The meat is smooth offering a red balanced heart, a cooked brown envelope and perfect taste. It comes with mustard on the side which marries well with it. The side spinach on another hand are so loaded with garlic spoiling their taste. I'll reconsider this plate.
- The fusilli ragout is a spot on. I couldn't stop digging my fork in again and again while the aromas enriching this sauce enchanted my nostrils. Al dente cooked fusilli, tender and juicy minced meat, flavorful sauces... It has a certain enjoyable sweetness to it. That's fine dining! There is something addictive to it that made me want to lick the bottom of the plate. The meat, it's texture, the spices... OMG!
If desserts are as good as dinner itself we surely have to try at least one. Dark chocolate mousse with caramelized popcorn, pain perdu, profiteroles, Mojito ice cream, buffalo ice cream... I wish I could have them all. The two signatures desserts are Pain Perdu and Profiteroles so we had one of them.
At La Petite Maison, perfection is in the details like the napkins and toothpicks provided between dinner and desserts.
The profiterole is made of four portions of pastry dough -Choux balls- baked to crunchy level and stuffed with cream and topped with a hot chocolate sauce. Pistachio ice cream cones on the side. What a dessert! You'll understand why it's called a signature as soon as you have the first bite. A crunch like biscuit, smooth cream and intense chocolate... I need an explanation; why are all their plates are so addictive?
It could not have been better, more enjoyable, nor tastier; it's the La Petite Maison saga and it's continuing all around the world. My next visit is London and of course the one in Beirut for more.