2099 Pine Ridge Road, Naples, FL
If you go
2099 Pine Ridge Road, Naples
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. lunch, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for dinner Monday through Saturday
Cuisine: French bistro
Beverages: Wine and beer, house selection of reds and whites, merlot, cabernet, pinot, shiraz, white or red carafe $6.50, by glass $7.00 to $9.50; $4.50 to $5.00, soft drinks, teas, coffee $2.50
Prices: Items on the lunch menu range from $7.75 for French onion soup or a house salad to $15.95 for a crabmeat salad, with most between $11.95 and $13.95. Dinner items range from $5.95 for a soup to $32.75 for an entree with three pork chops, with most between 17.75 and $24.75.
Atmosphere: Small, bistro restaurant tucked in the corner of a strip mall. Inside, the atmosphere is nicer than the strip mall’s exterior suggests: About 15 wooden tables are arranged in the space, with one wall of windows letting in natural light and the opposite wall occupied by a bar area.
There’s something very friendly and homey about Mimi’s Cooking, a small French restaurant in Naples.
On a recent weekday afternoon, owner Marie-Michelle Rey flitted around the room, saying “Bonjour!” to diners, asking them how their meal was and even helping an elderly man using a walker from his car, through the door, to his seat at a table.
Rey is not new to the business — she owned Marie-Michelle’s at the Village on Venetian Bay for 14 years.
The food at her new, smaller restaurant was simple, fresh and well presented. I went twice for lunch with friends, and each time had soup and sandwiches. The roast beef sandwich with horseradish-chive havarti was a standout, along with the French onion soup and a chicken pita with fresh veggies and cilantro vinaigrette dressing.
Most of the lunch entrees fall between $11.95 and $13.95. That’s higher than many other local lunch menus. But if you can afford it, you’ll get a great meal that’s worth the little bit extra. They are also open for dinner.
On the first visit, my friend and I were very hungry, so we were relieved when our server was quick to ask what we wanted to drink and eat.
I ordered a half sandwich of the baguette jambon fromage, or ham and cheese, and a cup of leek and potato soup ($12.50 for cup of soup and half sandwich). My friend ordered the French onion soup ($7.75) and a half pita Méditerranéene, or Mediterranean pita ($12.95 for full sandwich,
$6.75 for half). My meal and her soup came out first, which made us wonder if they’d forgotten her sandwich. It arrived a few minutes later.
The French onion soup had gruyere cheese baked on top and a sweet beef broth with caramelized onions and pieces of hearty bread inside. We both immediately noticed that the soup was not as salty as other French onion soups we’d been served in the past — a big plus, for us. We also were pleased that the cheese they used was filled with flavor, not a cheap white cheese.
It was a big portion, and along with a salad would make a great lunch.
My friend’s pita was also a standout, with small pieces of diced chicken, cucumber and celery mixed with a creamy cilantro vinaigrette. She particularly liked that the chicken was cut small, so it blended into more of a chicken salad instead of being large pieces that were awkward to chew.
My ham and cheese was served on a nice, crusty half-baguette and the brie made it more decadent than a plain old ham and cheese. On the side I had mixed greens with a dill vinaigrette dressing and potato-leek soup. The soup had a smooth consistency and a light leek flavor.
On my second lunch trip, the small restaurant was filled, and the only table available was in the back corner between the kitchen and the dining area. When the owner saw us sitting there, she greeted us and asked if we’d want to move to a better table by the window that had just opened up — we said yes.
This time we decided to try different sandwiches and a different soup. I ordered a half of the roast beef baguette and the soup of the day, which was split pea ($12.50 for cup of soup and half sandwich).
The roast beef baguette was on the same, fresh crusty bread as my sandwich the first time, and it had a nice amount of roast beef along with tomato, lettuce, cheese and dressing. The cheese — a horseradish and chives havarti — had just the right amount of horseradish bite, and the dressing was a creamy horseradish vinaigrette.
Again, the sandwich came with mixed greens on the side with the same vinaigrette dressing. The split pea soup was a nice blended consistency with a few bigger pieces of pea, and the flavor was right, but it could have used a bit more salt.
My friend ordered the croissant Nova Scotia, which is smoked salmon on a croissant with cream cheese, tomato and onion. The salmon was fresh and a generous amount and the cream cheese had seasonings that looked like chive and dill. My friend’s only complaint was and over-abundance of onion. But since it wasn’t chopped very small she was able to take some off without trouble.
We had the same two servers as our first trip, and they were both very friendly. When a drink came out wrong at the beginning they apologized, and the food came out very fast.