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Patou Restaurant, 312 Market street. French riviera style food. Credit: Priscilla des Gachons

Prepare to embark on a journey to the legendary Cote d'Azur. Located in the heart of Old City near 4th and Market streets, Patou Restaurant and Bar will allow the Philadelphia resident to be transported to the land "blessed by the gods" through both its decor and dishes.

Patou is the second creation of owner Chef Patrice Rames, following the popular Bistro St Tropez at 2400 Market St. While Bistro St. Tropez proposes more universal bistro food, Patou specializes in traditional dishes of the French Rivera. Upon the creation of this second restaurant, Rames' goal was to return to his Mediterranean roots: "Patou" refers to his childhood nickname.

The menu includes dishes ranging from pasta to meat to seafood; even the pickiest eater will be bound to find something to his or her taste.

Patou also offers options for vegetarians. I tried the salmon appetizer, prepared with asparagus and caviar sauce, which was almost too beautiful to eat.My entrée, the Coquilles Saint-Jacques, was served with one of the best-cooked and seasoned risotto I have ever tasted.

The bar has a wide selection of cocktails, each one sounding more delicious than the next. I highly recommend the fruity "Passyflore" for Champagne amateurs. The "Patou Cosmo," one of the specialty drinks, offers a delightful twist on this staple drink.

The restaurant's atmosphere also contributes to its character.

In accordance with French culture, the meal is transformed into a spectacle; the sounds emanating from the glistening metallic kitchen, around which the main dining room is organized, recall the soft ocean breeze blowing into the sails of small fishing boats. Every detail, from the white drapes that are hung like sails to even the cobalt blue of the bottles of sparkling water, comes together to create a seamless picture.

After Renoir, Gaugin, and Cezanne, it is a Greek expressionist painter, George Klees, that this legendary region has charmed. His huge canvases of blue and yellow seascapes adorn the walls and make the illusion complete.

All in all, even if you can't afford to summer in the South of France, just remember that the Cote d'Azur is only a few SEPTA stops away.

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