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By Charles Conn
Panama City has enjoyed this “small piece of Paris” for years. The perennial favorite of foodies, Petit Paris is located in Galería Marbella on Calle 50 E Este. Owners Muriel and Loic Malarbet, keeping things exciting and fresh, have brought in a new chef from France, Patrick Brieul, who has introduced a lively menu that is as fun as it is delicious.
To get the palate warmed up, a langostine carpaccio is suggested as an appetizer. The geometric presentation of the ingredients is inviting. The light flavor of the seafood is offset by the tanginess of the fruit, and complemented by the sparing use of seaweed in the micro-greens topping.
The asparagus flan, crowned with a crust of parmesan, is a delicate, mini-soufflé.
The first entrée we tried was corvina filet au champagne, served with a seafood-stuffed baby potato and a side of sautéed, julienne fennel. The Vignobles Paul Mas Chadonnay is the perfect pairing with all the above.
The Domaines Paul Mas Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah introduced the second entrée, a beef medallion dressed in mushroom sauce with truffle oil served atop a potato cake and accompanied by snow peas, and sweet baby carrots.
For dessert, try the parfait de café or the white chocolate charlotte with raspberry and maracuyá sauces, best enjoyed with Drappier champagne.
The restaurant has a friendly ambiance, upscale decor, and impeccable service and is known for its wonderful, outdoor patio seating as well as its patisserie and boulangerie; the daily-baked creations, beckoning to be tasted, line the case and walls by the checkout. Its patrons keep informed of special events through the website, www.petitparispanama.com.
Petit Paris is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. and on Sundays from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling 391-8778.