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November 25, 2013

Now Open: Chef Pierre Calmels Brings His Refined French Fare To Rittenhouse Square With Le Chéri In The Philadelphia Art Alliance

Make your reservations now. Chef Pierre and Charlotte Calmels opened French bistro Le Chéri inside the Philadelphia Art Alliance this month. (Image courtesy Le Chéri)

Thanks to the recently reopened dining room within the Philadelphia Art Alliance, there’s a new culinary treasure to discover in Rittenhouse Square.

Le Chéri, a French term of endearment which translates to “darling,” is now open in the gorgeous restaurant space within one of this city’s very oldest multidisciplinary exhibition spaces.

Chef Pierre Calmels and his wife Charlotte — she runs the dining room; he, an alum of Philly’s Le Bec-Fin and New York’s Daniel, the kitchen — have helmed lauded French BYOB Bibou near the Italian Market since 2009.

The bistro’s loyal following ensures all 30 seats at Bibou are booked weeks in advance, and the impeccable fare turned out of the kitchen clinches many a return visit.

Now, the couple’s soulful cuisine and charming service can be had in a much-larger space in Rittenhouse Square, which most recently held the now-shuttered Rittenhouse Tavern.

More than doubling capacity from Bibou, the spacious rooms at Le Chéri allow for more than 70 seats, though the wood-paneled walls and warm tones of the historic space capture the beloved intimacy of dining at the South Philly jewel box.

At his new venture, Chef Calmels continues his focus on carefully composed, rustic French bistro fare — think classic French items like pâté en croûte, escargot and foie gras, as well as steak frites, seared scallops, braised short ribs and cassoulet.

And though Le Chéri is currently BYOB, a liquor license is pending.

Like Bibou, seats at its sister restaurant are booking quickly.

Check here for availability and make plans now to dine at this sweet addition to the Philadelphia restaurant scene.

Now Open: Le Chéri
When: Wednesday-Sunday, 5 p.m.-close
Where: 251 S. 18th Street
Cost: $7-$30
More info: www.lecheriphilly.com

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