Interior Restaruant Review

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French cuisine is a Pedasí hit

By Ursula Kiener Ford

Le Petit Bistro is located inside of the Hostel Residencial Pedasi.

Le Petit Bistro is located inside of the Hostel Residencial Pedasi.

Le Petit Bistro is on the main street of Pedasí, a town in the Azuero Peninsula. Located in a hostelry, Residencial Pedasí, the restaurant became a favorite recommendation among locals so much so that now it is necessary to make reservations if one wishes to eat there on a weekend nights.

The restaurant’s chef is Kléo Névoret and her story is quite fascinating – one that proves that it is hard to predict what destiny has in store for the traveller. Originally from France, she came to Panama in 2006 for a wedding and fell in love with the country. In July 2007 she moved here for good, without speaking Spanish. Two months later she fell in love again, with Luis Garcia, a photographer from Chitré. Originally a makeup artist, she met Luis on a photo shoot.

While they were living together in Chitré, Kléo would cook her family recipes for friends visiting their home. Her food received great reviews so she started selling lunch plates. One Father’s Day she sold over 70 plates and thus decided to open a restaurant. Chitré was not ready for a haute-cuisine French restaurant, so the couple decided to move south to the beach destination of Pedasí.

The restaurant always includes sea food options in its menu. A signature dish is the octopus sautéed with herbs and vegetables.

The restaurant always includes sea food options in its menu. A signature dish is the octopus sautéed with herbs and vegetables.

The restaurant is only open for dinner and is closed on Sundays. The menu changes weekly and diners select their meal from a blackboard with a short list of options for appetizers, entrees and dessert. Everything is made in-house, including the bread and desserts. Kléo believes in using natural ingredients, and she even brings some of the spices and ingredients for the desserts from France.

French music in the background gives this restaurant a bit of an exotic flair while diners enjoy the delicious cuisine. Options for appetizers include a plate of cold cuts or a Greek salad with seasonings that give it a particular touch. The herbs used are grown in the organic orchard of Prince Max of Liechtenstein.

Main dishes may include salted shrimp with rice and a tika masala paste of cream of spinach and sun-dried tomato pesto, pistachios and Romano cheese. Another option could be octopus sautéed with onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, peppers, chives, Sambuca liqueur, served with fried yuca to dip in pesto mayonnaise.

A homemade organic ginger cheesecake confit with red fruit marmalade was a great way to finish such an exquisite meal. Le Petit Bistro has a good selection of liquors, wines and also offers natural juices. Prices for appetizers are less than $10, entrees less than $25 and desserts under $7.

Contact Le Petit Bistro at 995-2405 or on its Facebook page.

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