It is not easy to find one’s way around Montpellier with its medieval winding narrow streets. But there is hardly any chance that you loose your way so thoroughly that you wander past the Restaurant Le Petit Jardin by accident. It is in a tiny little alley very close to the Arc de Triomphe just behind the Palais de Justice, on rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau. But it is well worth the effort to find it. It is excellent. It is elegant without being luxurious and pretentious. There are two sections: the restaurant and the wine bar. And in season – you guessed it – they have an outside garden. The cuisine is ambitious and innovative relying on good raw material.
There is a handful of fish courses (bouillabaisse, gambas, sole meunière…) and a handful of meat courses (filet de boeuf, carré d’agneau/lamb chops, ris de veau/sweetbread…) ranging between 19€ and 37€. But don’t be fooled by the very traditional sounding names. The cuisine is actually more modern than old-fashioned – but with good quality raw material. Starters are 10-15€ and desserts just under 10€. Unusually for a French restaurant they also have a children’s selection. The bar section has a separate choice, more tapas-like. Very tempting! It also has an OK selection wines by the glass. The wine list is (naturally) dominated by Languedoc wines – a good selection going from 19€ to 74€ – but also has an honourable list of wines from the rest of France. Definitely one of the better restaurants we have tried in the Old Town.
Le Petit Jardin, Restaurant Bar et ses petits plats, 20 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseaux, 34000 Montpellier, ph 04 67 60 78 78, http://www.petit-jardin.com
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