Le Patio

Desert plate - Peach Crumble. Photo: Roberto Koltun.
Desert plate - Peach Crumble. Photo: Roberto Koltun.

Le Patio is so diminutive, its owners call it “the tiniest, cutest restaurant in South Florida.” If you happened to drive past the little venue on a Wilton Manors side street, you could blink and miss it. But with delicious dishes at recession-busting prices – the most expensive is $12.95 – Le Patio has been thriving since it opened in September.

Wherever you sit, you can breathe in heady aromas of garlic, onion and basil wafting from the minuscule kitchen and listen to the favorite tunes of owners Jean Doherty and Vero Leroux, whose eclectic menu melds French bistro fare with American comfort food. Doherty and Leroux don’t even have room for a coffee pot – they rent a nearby caterer’s kitchen, where they spend the morning cooking. They serve lunch, rush back to prepare dinner and bring back more food that they heat up in convection ovens to supplement what they can cook on premises. They’re a two-woman show, handling all the service and cleanup.

Ambiance: The place only has two tables inside and four seats at the bar, with prime seating under the stars on the patio, a cozy, fenced setting with romantic lighting.

What Worked

  • French onion soup topped with bubbling Gruyere
  • A juicy hot starter of tomatoes strewn with herbs de Provence and bread crumbs
  • Escargot in classic garlic-butter sauce
  • A winning assortment of lavish country French, chicken-liver and pork pàte served with cornichons, Dijon mustard and sliced baguettes
  • Fresh green salad tossed with lightly cooked green beans and toasted baguette slices topped with roasted goat cheese spread
  • Homey mac and cheese
  • Standout lasagna – four layers of ground beef, mushrooms and onions in a bolognese sauce with a hint of béchamel
  • Wonderfully indulgent lobster and spinach ravioli bathed in a lavish champagne cream sauce
  • A homey shepherd’s pie topped with mashed potatoes
  • Quesadillas filled with bolognese sauce and topped with Gruyere
  • Delightful, warm, homemade tarte tatin
  • Peaches with roasted almonds, a crumble crust and cream