LE PETIT GOURMET 1064 Yonge, at Roxborough, 416-966-3811 Rating: NNN
Linda and Christian Boniteau's Le Petit Gourmet (1064 Yonge, at Roxborough, 416-966-3811, rating: NNN) has always been a world of its own, from the quintessential Gallic charm of its long-time owners to the autographed photos of hockey great Johnny Bower on its walls. But take the stairs that lead to the French café's kitchen, then make a sharp left, and you'll find a 12-seat tented terrace that wouldn't be out of place in the south of France. They've even airbrushed one wall with palm trees for that full Saint-Tropez effect.
Like the surroundings, Le Petit's classic pre-nouvelle cuisine is pure Provence. Whole chickens ($12/kg) come sweetly roasted in thyme and garlic, while halved avocados ($4) get extravagantly stuffed with shrimp, puréed potato salad and hard-boiled eggs.
Can't make up your mind? Go with the three-salad sampler - curried chicken salad with strawberries, creamy green beans, marinated 'shrooms 'n' peppers, say - and a crusty baguette ($2.50). Or make a light lunch out of a wedge of pâté paired with a few cornichons and a simple bun. Follow with a slice of Gateau Basque ($2.65) and a quick shot of strong espresso ($1.95) and be jolted back to the reality of Summerhill.