Elegant continental small plates are the order of the day at this compact restaurant and wine market. The short menu touts European staples like charcuterie, cheeses, house-cured gravlax, pate, rilettes and bresaola (crusty house-baked bread and butter accompanies each order). A chalkboard advertises rustic, hearty specials like pork cheek terrine, duck egg gratin with Paris ham, and braised rabbit over polenta.
The hummus ($7) is smooth and nicely spiced, and an open-faced grilled sandwich ($7.50) comes with lightly dressed greens, black olives, tomato and Gruyere. With a slice of optional Paris ham, the sandwich feels like something you’d eat at a French sidewalk cafe. Desserts include pastries, fruit and granita, and the huge wine selection accounts for three bottle-lined walls.
Don’t come here if you’re in a rush; service can be disappointingly slow—perhaps an unwitting nod to traditional European bistros. The sidewalk tables are a popular seating choice; inside tables can sometimes get in the way of busy wine shoppers who find themselves having to squeeze around. All in all, La Buvette makes a great location for wine lovers, outdoor dining and Old Market people-watching.