La Petite Maison! Ahh...The buzz around this name has excelled in the Middle East with the recent opening of La Petite Maison in Beirut following the popular one in Dubai. With off springs in Cannes, Moscow, Paris and London, the original restaurant is located in the heart of Nice, France.
Honestly the one I tried in Nice does not resemble the one I have tried in Dubai. Not even close. What is considered an upscaled restaurant in Dubai and Beirut, La Petite Maison is true to its name offering Niçoise specialties in a laid back, chilled and relaxed restaurant housed in a 19th-century former grocery store. When I heard we were having dinner there, I seriously didn’t know what to expect, I was just excited to experience the original one. People had mentioned that it’s a whole different concept than that of Dubai but I didn’t expect the difference to be this much. Yes, it’s definitely something else.
Located on the sidewalk of a busy pedestrian road where a number of restaurants are located, two giant candy sculptures mark the entrance of the huge balcony fully packed with people. Customers start arriving early; tables are booked twice every night until midnight... It’s no wonder, this eatery is ranked #20 of 217 things to do in Nice by Lonely Planet travelers. Owned and run by Nicole Rubi, La Petite Maison has come a long way in the past two decades. She welcomes you into her restaurant, although in an unfriendly manner at times, she seats people like they are just another number... It's understandable, I guess, with the success and popularity of the place, it would be hard to be friendly and get personal with everyone that walks in...
A simple and nice setup:
- Chairs available for those waiting for their turn
- Two bonbons decorate the entrance
- Indoors and outdoors seating areas, full booked each
- High-ceiling room indoors
- A terrace fully booked and boasts burgundy curtains
- "Tous Celebres Ici" the restaurant's slogan
- Round tables and a couple of small square ones
- Flickering candle lights give a warm ambiance indoors
- Chandeliers in the middle of the tables
- Olive oil and fresh vegetables decorate the tables
- The painted casseroles same as Dubai pending on the wlls
- Concrete floor
- Paper menu, simple and straight to the point
- Bread is served in a paper bag like if it was just delivered from the bakery
Whatever you feel like having...
The menu features an array of grilled fish, pastas, and steaks all with a Mediterranean touch.
- Three entrees to share
- Plates from the region of Nice
- Seafood suggestions
- A section dedicated to Aestivum truffles
- Entrecote or Filet de Boeuf
I was in the mood for Tuna. We Ordered:
- A big piece of tuna served in a tournedos style, with sauce and truffle risotto decorated with two dried tomatoes: Delicious
- Giant prawns with pimento: Unique of their kind
- Calamaretti Fritti: non oily but smells too strong
- Truffle Risotto: adequately cooked and doesn't have a strong truffle odor
- Goat Cheese Salad: Goat cheese is light with rosemary sauce. Side green salad and pine nuts Tuna Carpaccio: adequately salted, Parmesan, mango, olive oil, rockets
- Artichoke Salad
- Warm Shrimps: Simple and tasty
- Lobster Tagliatele: Yum! Awesome
What I loved:
- The food is succulent
- Staff wearing black, simple and casual
- It’s a totally different place than that of Dubai (and am assuming Beirut's, as I haven't tried it yet)
- Wattwiller mineral water
- Plates are generous, beautifully presented and tasty at the same time
Domaines de Ott: White Wine: 2011, Clos Mireille, Cote de Provence Clos Mireille is one of the very few and very rare cru’s in the Côtes de Provence. The property includes 53ha of which only 40 are planted with vineyards. The property is ideally located on a terrace of slate that dives down into the Mediterranean near Bregançon. The estate dates back to the 18th century and since 1936 has been owned by the Ott family. It is known as the birthplace of the best white wine from the region, containing mainly the Semillon grape variety, but also the Rolle grape variety. This superb white wine has aromas of fresh apricot, wild flowers, honey and a hint of pepper. The long and balanced finish is supported by some oiliness and smoothness, with a return of the fruit on a silk canvas.
As I said, La Petite Maison is a unique restaurant indeed.
The ambiance is so special as the flickering lights of the candles give warmth all over. Even when they want to celebrate someone's birthday, no music is played. As the cake is placed on the table, all the guests shouted Happy Birthday and applauded. At 10:30pm, Sergio the Italian tenor joined the crowd to entertain. With his majestic voice, he made everyone happy.
A great place, great food with a homy feeling indeed.
The minuses to be aware of: A Slow service
- The service is extremely slow and what was even worse was that no one apologized for the delays we encountered. This busy restaurant is doing great, it’s understandable that they don’t care much about a couple of unhappy customers.
- Only one waiter for a complete section? Are they reducing staff to generate a higher profit?
- We were at La Petite Maison at 9pm, but the main platters reached the table at 11pm. Their kitchen cannot cater to all customers’ needs
Although I loved the desserts I had at La Petite Maison in Dubai and wanted to give theirs a try. Because of the delay we opted not to, since we surely would have waited a few more hours.
In all cases, I loved the place, I loved the generosity of the food plates, the great taste enjoyed in each and everyone of them. I loved the simplicity of the restaurant, the laid back and homey feeling that oozes everywhere... I wasn't lucky to bump into some of the many famous people like Sarkozy and Elton John who are patrons and friends of this place... But you might do so... Keep an eye the next time you're around. PS: Please excuse the quality of the photos as their were taken in a candlelit ambiance.