The Dish List: Le Petit Bateau
Down Pacific Coast Highway, in the five-mile stretch that is the watercolor dream world of Corona del Mar, there is no shortage of nifty, although not so thrify, shops and cafés. The process of finding good, local businesses may seem daunting especially when the goal is food: the right place with relaxed yet personal service and affordable prices.
Walking into an eatery where we feel rushed or unwelcome because we are not familiar with how the business works may be frustrating and will often limit how far outside of our comfort zone we extend on the food front. It’s a shame, though, because there are brilliant local businesses that are struggling to survive.
One of these happens to be a local favorite of Corona del Mar; born from corner cafés in every arrondisement central to Paris. Le Petit Bateau embodies the sophisticated simplicity of all things Francaise, but especially their attitude towards food.
Just past Marguerite on the left side of PCH, you’ll find Le Petit Bateau, perched in all its patisserie-style glory, open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Owned by father and son Kamran and Kam Khadivi, it is a coastal gem and a much needed interruption to the monotony of overpriced quality-deprived nourriture in the area. Kamran, the jovial older gentlemen, with his handsome style and worldly smile, has an international eye for aesthetics.
This café and bistro is the epitome of elegance, dressed head to toe with French inspiration from the minimalist design of their tables and display cases to the soft yellow lilies that adorn the tables of the outdoor seating. All things French permeate your soul as light French music sweeps you in through the door. One would need nothing else to understand this is a café of French descent, but the menu does help.
The display cases of Le Petit Bateau tantalize your taste buds for their in-house made macaroons (I suggest the rose macaroon), croissants, danishes, specialty confections and chocolates, while the full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu transports you to another place.
Petit Dejuner (breakfast) features freshly baked croissants, Omelets Parisienne with the most delicious tomato compote – a type of sweet tomato jelly – and the best breakfast potatoes I’ve ever eaten, old-fashioned Croque Monsieurs, Panino Proscuitto & Burrata Italian-style sandwich, Mediteranian influenced Salade Cote d’Azur, pasta, pizza and flatbreads – you’ll be encouraged to pick at least one.
Their smooth and rich coffee/espresso is provided by Delta Coffee, a local Orange County roasting company, and they offer every specialized espresso drink at incredible prices.
But you’ll never be disappointed in the presentation, quality, taste and most importantly the price. Breakfast items start at $5.95 and increase to $10.95 while the sandwiches, salads and pastas range from $7 to $11, with the flatbreads all $11.95 and the pizzas a bit more expensive at $14.95.
Le Petit Bateau is a lot less expensive than a meal you would get at a traditional bistro in the heart of Paris, which makes this place an undiscovered gem of Corona del Mar. It may be small, but it’s a café with a certain je ne sais quoi.