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“A French Experience on all fronts”
Review of The Petit Snail

The Petit Snail
Ranked #13 of 205 Restaurants in Byron Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $14 - $36
Cuisines: French, Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Description: Traditional French Cuisine. All-French staff. Affordable French and Australian wine list. Fully licensed.A la carte and menus options . Gift vouchers available.Vegetarian and gluten-free friendly. We hereby certify that ALL testimonies are genuine, unlike some of our competitors, who need to improve their rating, we have not bought testimonies from any dubious websites.. Extensive range of French wines and belgian beers.
Reviewed January 28, 2014

Welcome to a corner of France in Byron Bay.
Lyon is renowned for cuisine and this couple have reached out to their cultural origins to create a distinctively French experience in Byron.
As we perused the menu we enjoyed seeing the personal touch they brought to a birthday celebration on the nearby table, and later - a wedding anniversary on another. Both Dominique and Igor are larger than life - and their philosophy about life is reflected in food that is generous and distinctly French.
The duck was not the best I have eaten, (twice cooked duck legs- a little dry - and my taste buds missed any sense of the combination of blood orange and grand marnier which lured me to select this dish) - and the fish (perch filets) enjoyed by one of my friends was OK but not exceptional. A generous serve - but the poor filet was simply drowning in hazelnut butter. The Berkshire pork neck with lentils was excellent. The terrines were a taste sensation. (The terrines is described as "Selection of pates du chef" if you are trying to find this on the menu).
The mains were accompanied by sides of vegetables shared by the table. The sides of salad - almost drowned (a french theme) in a dressing that was simply delicious, but other vegetable sides were passable.

On value - The Petit Snail offers a menu with prices rivalling the top end dining options in Melbourne or Sydney. The setting is basic, and food a little hit and miss. Frankly the prices are "Parisian" - and more than a little cheeky for a converted corner store in Byron Bay serving predominantly paysanne fare that is unreliable. But this gets washed over by the powerful personalities and good marketing skills of both Dominique and Igor.

As a guide- with prices at $18 - $33 for entrees; $37 - $48 for mains, $16 - $18 for deserts, there is no latitude for an inconsistent menu in a shabby setting.
The wine list offers a cheap house wine by the half litre or liter carafe - but these were unforgivably rough for a country with amazing possibilities given a little care to source something from the enormous range of clean skins available. We were left with a wine list that starts at $50 and is heavily weighted to $90 a bottle.

This combination would be short lived in the competitive dining environment of Sydney or Melbourne - but in holiday mode you can be swept up in the moment and maybe you tend to be more forgiving.

We didn't rate this highly for value. Nor would we hurry back for a repeat experience. But if the prices were lowered and were more aligned with the experience - we could eat there regularly.

The Petit Snail is often fully booked and you need to book to guarantee a table.

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1  Thank Karin D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Igor A, Owner at The Petit Snail, responded to this reviewResponded February 23, 2014

Dear Karin

Thank you so much to have taken the time to write such a detailled review of our small establishment.
Just for the record, we've been serving duck with pears since Christmas when blood oranges went out of season...
Our house wine is sourced from a fourth generation Italian wine-maker in Stanthorpe and we find it quite good by French standards of wines to drink with food. Prices on our wine list starts at $27 a bottle - with a large number of wines by the glass, including French wines - with a large number of wines priced between $35 and $55. Obviously Châteauneuf du Pape, Sancerre, Bourgogne are more expensive (they all fetch between $45 and $90 in bottle shops when you can find them)
You might have been expecting contemporary French fusion food or something a bit more trendy, but please compare what is comparable: with your meal you receive free mise-en-bouche, free French baguette, free wine sorbet as palate cleanser between courses and free vegetables with ALL your mains, these are certainly not trade marks of peasant food as you would have it (when working out the cost of meal in these high end restaurants in Sydney or Melbourne it is worth considering the extra expense of getting vegies and bread with your meal!!!), it is traditional French cuisine as it is still found in some of the best restaurants in France. It is our customers who have put us number 1 on trip advisor; this doesn't change the fact that we are a traditional French Restaurant, serving fresh produce consistently for nearly 6 years.
I sincerely hope that you'll come back to see us and we can discuss the finer points of French cuisine around a glass of our fine house wine.

Many thanks again for all your comments

Chauby and Igor

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (415)
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208 - 212 of 415 reviews

Reviewed January 25, 2014

Just home with a full belly and a smile on my face!

A wonderful birthday dinner with excellent service! The food was 100% divine and the atmosphere was intimate and personable.

Try the new beer and the beef

To the host and hostess: my thanks! (Excited Grandparents!)

To the waitress - Jennifer, Outstanding!

I recommend this venue for all!


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1  Thank RainbowsandSmiles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2014

We have eaten in a lot of French restaurants, even in France and I have to say this is one of my favorites. Not only is the food ( especially the snails and the creme brûlée ) fantastic but the service is impeccable. Dominique makes each and every person that walks in there feel welcome and at home. She is made for the hospitality industry! Some people have it and some people don't... Dominique has it! I love this place and every time I visit beautiful Byron I visit "The Petit Snail"

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1  Thank Jeannette T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2014 via mobile

Nice food and friendly service. Compliments to the Chef and Hostess! I first heard of this lovely French restaurant 2 years ago. A family friend would often take the 2 hours drive to come to this place and another 2 to go home. So, I had high hopes... It was disappointing, not that I didn't enjoy the food, it was nice and rustic French cuisine, though the escargot was smaller and slightly mushy. The lady who sat at the next table seemed to hold the same view as she raised the issue with the hostess and got the reply "our escargots are from France and came in bottles/jars so the size varies and we have no control over it. If we get the larger ones they will be too expensive". Hmmm... After I heard that I decided not to say anything. Perhaps the other escargots I had in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne came from factories which has better quality control and pay cheap labour to keep their price down!!!
The place just doesn't have the usual elegance nor the shabby chic as one would associate with a typical French Restaurant. Though the high price tag was not unexpected, however the chill-lax environment and friendly staff suits Byron well. If this is your thing, bon appetite!

2  Thank TravelTwinkleToe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2014

Wonderful wonderful wonderful, the service is unparalleled and the food defies description...whatever you do have the crime brûlée, it is divine. They went out of their way to make our four year old happy, cannot fault them.

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1  Thank Jo M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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