One of my last new discoveries in terms of restaurants in Portland was a breakfast with an old high school friend at Petit Provence on NE Alberta St. As I’ve shared in some other posts about Alberta (namely Via Chicago), the street has changed dramatically since I moved to Miami. It’s pretty crazy to me still to visit and see how vibrant and alive that street has become. That’s happening in neighborhoods all over Portland. Petit Provence is a branch of La Provence, which is a French restaurant and bakery.
My friend’s mom had recommended Petit Provence and once I checked that they had gluten-free options that was our place. I was excited to see some pretty hearty dishes on the menu vs. a menu heavy on baked goods and light continental-like breakfasts like at other French restaurants I’ve been to. I also saw the menu list their French macrons, which caught my attention. The description said they were different than American macarons and “these small, crisp
meringue cookies are sandwiched with decadent fillings.”
For a while now I’ve had a problem with confusing the different gluten-free French pastries. I had macaroons, which are the puffy coconut desserts. They’re alright, but I am not the biggest coconut fan. I also have had meringues, which are the light, airy “fluffs” of sugar and whipped egg. Not my thing either. I am pretty sure I also had a macaron before, but it didn’t really catch my attention and I wrote it off. Maybe wasn’t a very good one.
Now these macarons at Petit Provence were a whole other matter. I ordered four- chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and raspberry. All four were decadent and rich, but also still light. I can’t believe I went so long getting macarons/macaroons/meringues all confused. I missed out on a lot of macarons over the years… They seem like really pastries/cookies, but they are naturally gluten-free!
When I first got to Petit Provence it was pretty packed. There is the bakery section to order baked goods and coffee from the counter and then tables set up for sit-down breakfast. Pretty much all of the open space at the entrance was filled with people waiting. It was just a Friday morning, but it was after New Years, so a lot people probably had it off. Maybe most Fridays are like that though. Very popular place it seemed, which I think was a good sign. I put my name in (it was going to be about 25 minutes) and then waited outside.
Once we got seated they put us up on the balcony over the main floor, which was a cool vantage point. There was a lot of cool woodwork around the whole restaurant. The restaurant has a lot of character, like a lot of places in Portland.
For my main meal I got the corned beef hash with a side of gluten-free bread. The hashbrowns were more chunky then a lot of hashs I’ve had, so I want to describe it more as like a hashbrown “salad” with the corned beef, peppers, and onions. There was eggs on top and a delicious horseradish-shallot creme. It was a little bit different from what I was expecting, but all the ingredients were great quality. And I loved that horseradish sauce. The gluten-free toast was hearty and I really liked it with their jam.
I was very happy with the visit to Petit Provence. I became obsessed with macarons, which I think was a big milestone. And their breakfasts are good sized and good quality. I think the fact it was packed is a good sign that Petit Provence is a worthwhile brunch spot on Alberta (and other locations around the city). I’m guessing other gluten-frees aren’t as ignorant of macarons as I was, so if you’re a fan then I would recommend Petit Provence for gluten-frees and actually anyone)!
Petit Provence- 1824 NE Alberta Street Portland, OR