A rich history
More than 100 years: a venerable age for this Parisian bistro which continues to carry the colors of the bistro tradition in the heart of Paris. The dynasty began with Benoit Matray who bought the restaurant in 1912 and gave it his name. A butcher by trade with an excellent memory for taste, he made it a must, welcoming customers as a generous and good-natured friend. Benoit’s became a very popular address for both the traders of Les Halles (which, at the time, was home to the huge and very lively Paris market) and artists.
In 1961, his grandson, Michel Petit, succeeded him at the head of Benoit as soon as he graduated from the Paris hotel school.
Many changes were made: installation of a private lounge on the first floor, renovation of the kitchen, enlargement of the restaurant room… Michel Petit also recalled the old mother Marie, author of a book of recipes that had made the place a success. His wife, Catherine Petit, designed the plates and the trompe-l’oeil in the living room, and the pyrographer Lesage, a faithful customer, came up with the now famous slogan: “Chez toi, Benoit, on boit, festoie, en rois” (At your place, Benoit, we drink, feast, like kings), and personalised the menu with very festive drawings, to which Catherine Petit would later add her own touch.
In April 2005, the Petit family decided to sell Benoit to Maison Ducasse. Chef Ducasse followed in the footsteps of his predecessors and carefully maintained the bistro spirit of Benoit. Moreover, he gave the brand an international visibility by opening, in September 2005, a Benoit bistro in Tokyo and another one, in 2008, in New York.
The bistro spirit in every detail
Push the door and come to discover Benoit in its warm and comfortable atmosphere. From tile to woodwork, from red velvet seats to brass, from engraved glass windows to fake marble columns, from the lightings to the bar, from the huge mirrors to the art paintings, the whole decoration gives a peaceful feeling and a sensation of time travel. On the upper floor, a private room with a large oval table welcomes the guests. The paintings on the wall, the terracotta tiles, the decorative panels above the doors and the fireplace will make you feel at home.
The bistro excellence
Bistro cuisine is a repertoire and above all a spirit. The great classics are there, executed with skill and even more love: pâté en croûte and snails in their shells, black pudding and sweetbreads, profiteroles and savarin, to name but a few. Kelly Jolivet, the chef, masters them with talent. She adds a touch of creativity so that this gastronomic heritage remains a gourmet pleasure today. The wines are just as good: by the glass (don’t miss Georges Duboeuf’s pouilly-fuissé served in magnum!), by the pitcher and of course in beautiful bottles from Beaujolais, Bourgogne and the Vallée du Rhône. As the saying goes, “At Benoit, drinking and feasting like kings”
Youth and passion
At the age of 20, when she was at the Savoie Léman hotel school in Thonon, Kelly Jolivet promised herself that she would become a chef at Maison Ducasse before she turned 30. The promise was kept as she became Benoit’s chef in January 2022, when she was only 28 years old. Kelly had made her debut in May 2016 as the first commis at Louis XV – Alain Ducasse in Monaco, where she stayed for two years. After a quick stint at Mix in Dubai and the Ecole de cuisine Alain Ducasse, she was offered the position of sous-chef at Ducasse sur Seine, where she spent just over two years before joining Benoit.
Ugo Wolff joined Ducasse as soon as he graduated from the Lycée hôtelier de Souillac. His career path took him to Paris and London, in a bistro, Allard, as well as in a starred restaurant, Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester. With these experiences, he became the restaurant manager at Benoit in January 2022.
Jean de Lamartinie has been head sommelier at Benoit since summer 2019. After studying in Lyon and Bordeaux, where he began his career, he arrived in Paris in 2017, with a quick stint at the Four Seasons Hotel Georges V Paris and then at Frédéric Vardon’s 39 V before joining Maison Ducasse in the summer of 2018.