Eat + Drink

Where to Find a Twist on French Bistro Classics in Paris

A steak tartare, when done exquisitely — especially in Paris — can change you for the better. The old school medley of chopped and seasoned raw beef is a French bistro classic. But when enjoyed in the 19th century Neoclassical surrounds of chef Mathieu Gontier’s Le Petit Matieu, the effect can be even more dramatic.

A server inside Paris' Le Petit Matieu. (Photo: Lisa Marie)
A server inside Paris’ Le Petit Matieu. (Photo: Lisa Marie)

Here, just moments from Canal Saint-Martin, in a neighborhood made famous by Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 movie Amélie, the Corsican chef’s tartare is known for its unique flavors. Think succulent meat with hints of ginger and cilantro served with roasted potatoes. It might not be too surprising to learn that Gontier is seen as a central part of a movement of local cuisiniers who are subtly tweaking quintessential French dishes.

Marriott experienced Gontier’s spin on French bistro classics as part of a collaboration with VSCO’s photographers to create city guides for Paris; Berlin; Cairo; Taipei; and Portland, Ore.

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At Le Petit Matieu, the chef’s Franco-Mediterranean culinary roots seem to blend with a globally influenced style. On the ever-changing lunch menu, there’s chilled ratatouille loaded with organic vegetables, wild cod and mustardy egg mayonnaise. Gontier’s even larger dinner menu changes every three weeks and is accompanied by an excellent selection of wines and homemade cordials – a subtle reference, one imagines, to the menu at A Loghia, Gontier’s former deli and wine bar.

The exterior of Le Petit Matieu in Paris and an item off its menu, known for its fresh steak tartare. (Photo: Lisa Marie)
The exterior of Le Petit Matieu in Paris and an item off its menu, known for its fresh steak tartare. (Photo: Lisa Marie)

And while the bistro is relatively new – it opened in 2012 – it is proudly recognized as a neighborhood spot. Packed into its 28 seats, visitors will find twenty-something creatives sitting next to dignified local elders and ladies who lunch.

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Where to Find Le Petit Matieu:

• Address: 55 rue des Vinaigriers, 75010 Paris
• Tel: +33 1 46 07 09 49
• Hours: Mon-Fri 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.-2 a.m., Sat 7 p.m.-2 a.m.