I'll have the calf's head please

### Ancient Parisian restaurant still serving great food at amazing prices
Review of business [Au Petit Riche Restaurant](http://www.aupetitriche.com) 25, Rue Le Peletier Paris 75009 France
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 ![](http://beta.loudervoice.com/static/images/small-star.png)![](http://beta.loudervoice.com/static/images/small-star.png)![](http://beta.loudervoice.com/static/images/small-star.png)![](http://beta.loudervoice.com/static/images/small-star.png)![](http://beta.loudervoice.com/static/images/small-non-star.png)
A bunch of us geeks attended the pretty weak Le Web 3 conference in December 2006\. The main party was on near l'Opera and we wanted to get something decent to eat (we'd had a Chinese the previous night!). Jan from [Touristr](http://www.touristr.com/) is French and knew of an "institution" called Au Petit Riche which has been around since the mid 1800's. It was only a few minutes from the incredible Haussmann animated shop-window Christmas display which made the Switzers/BT display look like a sad joke! I was immediately impressed by the stall outside the restaurant selling Oysters. [![Au Petit Riche Restaurant](http://farm1.static.flickr.com/142/323910127_9be2ad0d32_m.jpg)](http://www.flickr.com/photos/bandon1/323910127/ "Photo Sharing") It turns out that the people selling them have been supplying the restaurant for generations. Could you imagine something so cool outside an Irish place? Inside was broken into large booths with maybe four tables in each. A giant cheese sat on the counter. The waiters were grumpy which made me happy. [![Au Petit Riche Restaurant](http://farm1.static.flickr.com/140/323909209_f0e38108c6_m.jpg)](http://www.flickr.com/photos/bandon1/323909209/ "Photo Sharing") There was no problem seating the 6 of us. The menus came out and I realised they served traditional classic French food; escargot, fois gras, tete de vache, oysters. I drooled. Then I saw the fixed price menu cost - €30! I was gobsmacked. All of us went with it except Joe who wanted the fois gras and who will probably be stabbed by Keith the next time he meets him ;-) I went with snails to start which were awesome, dripping in garlic butter in one of those compartmentalised dishes. [![Au Petit Riche Restaurant](http://farm1.static.flickr.com/132/323908011_eacf20ce97_m.jpg)](http://www.flickr.com/photos/bandon1/323908011/ "Photo Sharing") Unfortunately I decided to be adventurous and have the calf's head for main. This was a mix of cheek, tongue and brain. It came out in a mini crock-pot thing and was basically a watery stew with those components and some veg along with a nice side gribbiche sauce. [![Au Petit Riche Restaurant](http://farm1.static.flickr.com/129/323908181_2b8ec712a0_m.jpg)](http://www.flickr.com/photos/bandon1/323908181/ "Photo Sharing") The problem was that most of the meat was wobbly non-rendered fat and just wasn't very appetising. I was glad to try it but won't do it again. Brains were fine! [![Au Petit Riche Restaurant](http://farm1.static.flickr.com/125/323908355_1daa64cd08_m.jpg)](http://www.flickr.com/photos/bandon1/323908355/ "Photo Sharing") We nearly all went with the creme brulee which was killer - one of the best ever. Great coffee too. [![Au Petit Riche Restaurant](http://farm1.static.flickr.com/144/323908832_685f4f90aa_m.jpg)](http://www.flickr.com/photos/bandon1/323908832/ "Photo Sharing") The highlight for me was the fun we had with the wine. I was brow beating Jan about how the French approach of having 16-word titles on wine had no hope of working in the modern world where the Aussies just said "Shiraz". He argued that there is far more to wine than the grape and that needed to be highlighted on the bottle. Yes terroir came up. The waiter gave Jan the wine menu and to his credit he admitted defeat! It consisted of maybe 8 or 9 sections. Within each section was a type of wine and then just a list like this: * 2004 Yannick Amirault Bourgueil La Coudraye * 2003 Yannick Amirault Bourgueil Les Quartiers * 2004 Yannick Amirault Bourgueil Tin Pan Alley * 2003 Yannick Amirault Bourgueil Yama Lama Ding Dong * 2004 Yannick Amirault Bourgueil Nanoo Nanoo Over and over. I asked him what the difference between each one was and he didn't know. He called over the waiter who was similarly stumped. He called the sommelier and had a detailed chat of which I caught a tiny part. The sommelier had narrowed it down to Yannick Amirault Bourgueil La Coudrayeand Yannick Amirault Bourgueil Les Quartiers. I said "Jan please tell me that I misheard and he didn't say that the only difference between those two wines is the side of the valley they were grown on in the vineyard.". Oh yes indeedy! However the sommelier had described the differences between them. One fruitier, the other more dry etc. So we got one and enjoyed it immensely. [![Au Petit Riche Restaurant](http://farm1.static.flickr.com/129/323909008_6b55152964_m.jpg)](http://www.flickr.com/photos/bandon1/323909008/ "Photo Sharing") My googling afterwards showed that it is a very highly regarded but inexpensive Cabernet Franc from the Touraine region of the Loire Valley. We finished the first bottle and then agreed we would try the other variant "just to see". Conor is a donkey - we could all bloody tell the difference and none of us are wine experts. Wow! Sodding Aussies have been conning us for twenty years. Only problem is that my brain is too small to remember all the French info. Back to the restaurant. Great great food in a lovely location with a killer price. If you are around l'Opera in Paris, you should definitely give it a go.
LouderVoice Review Tags: [classical](http://www.loudervoice.com/tags/classical), [dining](http://www.loudervoice.com/tags/dining), [food](http://www.loudervoice.com/tags/food), [french](http://www.loudervoice.com/tags/french), [restaurant](http://www.loudervoice.com/tags/restaurant), [wine](http://www.loudervoice.com/tags/wine)
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Conor O'Neill

Tech guy who likes running slowly

Bandon, Cork, Ireland http://conoroneill.com