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La Panetière


Each August, this charming, elegant, Provençal-style restaurant in Rye celebrates its anniversary. This month, it hits the 32-year mark (La Panetière received four stars from this magazine 16 years ago). “I’ve had the satisfaction of realizing the dream I had in my professional life,” says owner Jacques Loupiac, who reveals that his success is “a matter of passion. I try not to rest on my laurels.”

photo by Jacqueline just

The French-culinary-arts stronghold is also an exemplar of expertly attentive service that never has diners feeling overwhelmed but rather like royalty.

Customer loyalty is warranted: The contemporary French food, which varies with the season, is perennially well executed and beautifully presented. Whether you dine in the greenhouse room upstairs or the main dining area — replete with faithfully costumed Provençal dolls, painted terracotta figures, and vases of blooming flowers — try its signatures: garlic-crusted baked escargot topped with breadcrumbs, caramelized Emmenthal soufflé, Dover sole, seared Long Island duck breast, and grand dessert soufflés that necessitate 15 minutes prep time. Also come for the brand-new brunch service.

When you visit, know that the ambience in this fine-dining spot might not be quite as formal as in the past, thanks to the relaxation of the dress code. “Now, when people ask, we say jackets are preferred but not required,” Loupiac says. Vive la différence!

Excerpt from the January2001review: “Among the array of delectable main courses was turbot roasted on the bone and enriched with the emulsion of pan drippings and olive oil, accompanied by tasty, dwarf shiitake mushrooms, fondant potatoes, and fresh asparagus heads — a winner. La Panetière also created magic with tournedos of codfish and a sherry-laced chickenjus brandade purée.”

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