REVIEW: Tiny Madeleines, Bouchon Brownies, Gold-Topped Tarts and More Afternoon Pastries at the New Le Petit Café in Disney’s Riviera Resort
Ev’rybody wants to be a cat at Le Petit Café, the quaint new coffee lounge at the newly-opened Disney’s Riviera Resort. During the day, the cafe serves pastries and coffee, and when the sun comes down, the liquor cabinets open, adding a variety of top-shelf spirits to sip on while you mingle, people-watch, or simply get some work done.
While tiny, the Le Petit Cafe packs a punch in terms of its offerings. It’s usually packed with guests looking to get their coffee fix, be it to-go or to have while lounging in the plush seats or barstools. The pastries are far from your usual pre-fabricated sugary treats, flaked with sheets of gold and set atop gilded sheets and resort logo-printed parchment. Without further ado, let’s waddle into one of my favorite new establishments on property:
This cafe is located on the second floor lobby of the resort, to the left as you walk in from the main entrance. The hanging, Art-Noveau styled sign fits the French-inspired resort theme perfectly, with both wine and coffee pictured as part of its offerings.
Most of the space is taken up by the large bar and glass pastry case.
If you’re looking to sit back and relax, there are about four tables on one side, with casual, comfy bench and chair seating available.
The fancy candle-lit vases and chic drink menus come out after 4:00 PM, which is when cocktail service begins.
There’s a station set up with various sugars to sweeten your coffee just so. (FYI, there are Stevia in the Raw packets, I’ve noticed a dearth of Sugar in the Raw across all dining locations here.) While many paper products around Riviera Resort are printed with the resort logo, the current insulated coffee cups used are un-themed and generic. For reasons you’ll see below, I strongly recommend having your coffee inside the Café in one of their lovely, oversized ceramic cups, and taking in the ambiance.
You’ll notice I mentioned “waddle” at the intro. That’s because this eatery boasts one of the best pieces of artwork in the entire resort. It’s the Uncle Waldo scene from The Aristocats, showing Amelia and Abgail waddling down the cobblestone streets of Paris with their very drunken uncle who’s been basted––no, marinated in white wine. Off to the side, you see the cafe’s namesake––the very Le Petit Cafe that made a brief appearance in the animated movie. This print is also available for purchase via the Art on Demand kiosk in La Boutique right next door.
You order over at the corner register, and Cast Members package your pastries in these large white boxes if you’re planning on traveling with them:
The display case boasts five different pastries, ranging from fanciful tarts to colorful cupcakes.
A seasonal Mickey cupcake is available for kids. This one was pretty basic, with a vanilla base and vanilla buttercream frosting, dotted with M&Ms.
To the side of the pastry case are some cake stands with glass covers with some madeleines, blueberry muffins, and brownie baskets on display.
As you can imagine, it’s hard to pick just one…
… so we got them all.
Whatever you decide to order, make sure you take in the quality of the presentation here. These desserts could rival any Laduree patisserie!
I mean, just look at those tiny madeleines…
Hazelnut-Caramel Profiteroles – $6.99
For $6.99, you can get a stack of profiteroles piled high and topped with gold foil.
A French pastry classic, these airy choux pastry profiteroles are filled with a creamy hazelnut-caramel filling and held together with a dense, dark ganache.
I prefer my profiteroles halved and served with ice cream (as they’re served in Topolino’s for dinner), but if you like the combination of hazelnut, chocolate, and caramel, you’ll enjoy these.
I actually got a bit of coffee flavor from these due to how intense and slightly smokey the caramel filling was. This is also a good option for sharing because four people can just pop off one profiterole each.
Lemon Cheesecake – $6.99
A beautiful Lemon Cheesecake is also available for $6.99.
As yet another ring-shaped dessert on a Disney pastry counter, I thought this cheesecake would taste generic or gelatinous, but the presentation here was indicative that this was far beyond that.
This lemon cheesecake will satisfy lemon lovers, cheesecake lovers, tart lovers, and everyone in between. It was in the top three of our dessert rankings at this tasting, and was incredibly refreshing and light.
Milk-Chocolate Ganache Tart – $6.99
If lemon is not your thing, a chocolate tart is also available for $6.99.
I didn’t expect to love this tart as I’m more of a dark chocolate person, but this tart is stacked high with pillowy clouds of pastry perfection.
Each dollop of vanilla bean cream at the top, when eaten with a bit of chocolate ganache, a chocolate disk, and some tart, makes for an incredible combination. All of the chocolate used here is incredibly high quality, too. This was arguably our number one dessert here.
Fruit Tart – $5.99
A fruit tart packed with berries is available for $5.99.
For all its beauty, the fruit tart tastes somewhat plain. This or the Lemon Cheesecake would be my go-to if I wanted to show off a pretty dessert on social media, but once you get into the custard, it’s vaguely vanilla, with little more than the fresh berries to give it flavor. Again, I have to give all of Riviera’s dining locations points for fresh, high-quality berries in their desserts.
Madeleines – $5.99
I’d been eyeing this basket of impossibly tiny and cute Madeleines since arriving here early Monday morning, and they’re a quintessential French snack.
For $5.99, you also get something you can easily share amongst a group. You could also snack on them all day.
These are one-bite desserts, so just pop them and savor the dense, buttery crumb. They’re also great dipped into a milky latte!
Bouchon Brownies – $6.99
Another item from the glass cake stand, these brownies are similar to cannelés in that they’re cylindrical, and come five to a basket.
They’re a dollar more expensive than the basket o’ madeleines, but these are far more dense and filling.
If all you’ve ever known are Little Bites or Two-Bite Brownies, you’re missing out. These small, brownie-like cakes are named for their shape, which resembles a cork, or bouchon in French; and are very rich and chocolatey, dusted with confectioners’ sugar for some visual contrast. Your group will fight over the last brownie, and my only recommendation here is to stand your ground and at least demand half.
Cafe Latte – $4.29
Lastly, I highly recommend getting a latte or some kind of coffee to accompany any one of these pastries. Le Petit Cafe makes its whipped cream in house, with a touch of almond flavor (plain whipped cream is also available) and while I usually stay away from almond-flavored anything, this was delicious. You can get any of their coffees topped with this specialty whipped cream. I got the cafe latte and was not disappointed. In fact, this is one of the best coffees I’ve had on property. (Sorry, Joffrey’s…) Somehow, the combined experience of sitting with a warm mug of coffee on a comfy couch and a basket of madeleines becomes the quintessential Riviera experience, and at a price point that’s accessible, I’d make it a must-do whether you’re staying here or just visiting.
As a reminder, most of the pastries in this review are on the afternoon lineup for the cafe. A different set of early morning pastries are set out in the AM hours, but don’t worry, we’ll have a review up for that as well soon.