Top Wine Critic Robert Parker Calls Bibou Best French Bistro in U.S.

The most important wine critic in the world, Robert Parker, visited Philadelphia on Thursday, September 23 with a mission: Eat at Bibou, arguably the best restaurant in town. His critique of Pierre and Charlotte Calmels' cozy little South Philadelphia eatery was more than positive.

"It might be the best French bistro in the entire country," starts the post on his blog. "[The] snail ragout, boudin noir, terrine en crout, out-of-this-world beef marrow bones as well as superb stuffed pig's feet with foie gras over a bed of black lentils had me in Rabelaisien Nirvana."

Of course, Parker didn't appear without pulling a few gems from deep inside his cellar, most notably the ridiculously lauded and rare '82 Chateau Haut Brion, and a few famous bottles of Cote Rotie; Guigal's La Landonne and La Mouline.

"He was very accessible, and a nice guy," said Chef Calmels. "He shared wine with folks in the dining room and they did alike with him. He had four courses from the kitchen, which is quite a lot on a Thursday evening. He and his guests stayed for four hours."

Co-owner and front-of-the-house extraordinaire Charlotte Calmels said they knew he might come. "In August, one of our regular customers said 'we know Robert Parker and will bring him here.' But, you know how that goes, so we didn't bet on it. But, we got the call the day of, and we told them we could only seat them at 6:30 p.m. -- that's all we had."

This is just the latest in a fair amount of praise heaped upon the couple, and there's no end in sight. But, they work hard for every bit. Charlotte mentions that she could only stay until 7 p.m. before she had to leave her celebrity guests for a parent teacher meeting. 

"We love this business, but our children always come first," she said.

Collin Flatt is the Philadelphia food editor of, a new lifestyle franchise being launched by NBC Philadelphia later this year.

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