La PanotiQ is a family affair, run by father Mikhail Guterman, wife Natalya and daughter Maria. Inspired by trips to France, they opened their own version of a French cafe first in Campbell, then San Francisco last month and now, at 331 Castro St. Three more are due this year in San Francisco, Berkeley and Livermore.
The café's name is reportedly a play on "panothèque," the French word for "a library of panoramas."
La PanotiQ cafes serve a range of desserts, pastries, their own freshly baked bread, sandwiches, soups and salads. There are savory and sweet tarts, croissants, waffle leiges, macarons, eclairs, canelles, beignets, torsade (a twisted pastry that can be filled with cream and/or studded with chocolate chips or other ingredients) and the like. Breads include baguettes, ciabatta, levain, buns and more. All treats are made on-site with French AOC butter, which is made in a particular, small region of Normandy.
Sandwiches, made on La PanotiQ bread, of course, come with organic, hormone-free and nitrate-free meat from Zoe's Meats in Santa Rosa. Pair with a French-inspired salad, soup du jour or charcuterie plate. There's also risotto, ratatouille, polenta and mushroom flan.
Coffee comes from Oakland-based Bicycle Coffee (grab a growler of cold brew to take home if you'd like) and tea from a family-owned San Rafael company, Silk Road Teas. Check out the full menu to get an idea.
Mountain View has been eagerly awaiting La PanotiQ's arrival since a sign indicating something called "Tartine" would be moving into the Castro Street space, which formerly housed a scientology center. (Was San Francisco's beloved Tartine Bakery expanding to the 650?) It turns out that La PanotiQ's parent company is the Guterman's La Tartine Group.
La PanotiQ is also the second upscale French bakery concept to arrive on Castro Street in recent months, joining Alexander's Patisserie just down the street. The La PanotiQ space itself has a much more casual feel than Alexander's, however. There's plenty of indoor and outdoor seating; a large French window was thrown open on Monday and packed with diners, reminiscent of a true French cafe.
La PanotiQ's Mountain View location, between Dana and California streets, is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.