Bagatelle brings its rowdy French party to South Beach


The Who: Owners Aymeric Clemente and Remi Laba bring their rowdy yet upscale French bistro to South Beach, following outposts in New York, St. Barthélemy and Saint-Tropez, France. Executive chef Matthieu Godard (formerly of db Bistro Moderne) helms the kitchen.

The Space: An oblong dining room festooned with crystal chandeliers, cushy banquettes and colorful pop art curated by Opera Gallery. On the weekends, it turns into a European-style dayclub with a notoriously raucous brunch (spraying champagne bottles, dancing on the banquettes). By night, chatty French expats and high-rolling out-of-towners fill the seats.

The Dishes: Modern French. Expect plenty of truffles, caviar and foie gras. Seafood towers piled high with oysters, shrimp and other oceanic delights are par for the course here, as are magnums of champagne.

Prices are skewed to the jet-set with starters averaging $16 and mains in the $30s.

Thick-crusted French bread starts things off, then it’s on to house favorites like tuna tartare with avocado salad and lime-soy vinaigrette. The truffle gnocchi are also a crowd-pleaser, as is the truffle flatbread made with smoked scamorza cheese. Mains include steak frites, whole-roasted truffle chicken and pan-seared branzino.

For dessert, look for chocolate opera cake and housemade cookies served warm.

The Bottom Line: If boisterous brunch parties are not your thing, opt for dinner, where the proceedings are more subdued.