The French literary salon comes alive at Colette, a new bistro and wine bar in Cambridge

"We are two French owners and one French chef," said co-owner Sandrine Rossi. "You can’t get more French than that."

Colette Wine Bistro at the Porter Square Hotel.
Colette Wine Bistro at the Porter Square Hotel. –Sandrine Rossi

The Porter Square Hotel has landed a new restaurant in the form of Colette, a vibrant, charming French bistro and wine bar owned by Sandrine Rossi (Frenchie Wine Bistro) and Loïc Le Garrec (Frenchie, Petit Robert) that officially opens for dinner service at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

Rossi said that, with Colette, she wanted to create a casual environment reminiscent of 20th-century French literary salons.

“As a French person, I really like to share my culture with people here,” she said, noting that the restaurant is named after Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, a French author who was nominated for a Nobel Prize in 1948.

Colette Wine Bistro in Cambridge.
Colette Wine Bistro in Cambridge. —Sandrine Rossi
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Chef Cyrille Couet, who was the former chef at The Intercontinental Hotel’s Miel, will serve traditional French dishes like steak frites, mussels, cannelloni coq au vin, and a Colette burger (with French fries, naturally) for dinner; beignets and crème brûlée for dessert; and breakfast items that range from croissants and granola bowls to a mushroom and onion tartine.

Rossi is in charge of the bistro’s beverage program, which will include cocktails, wine, and beer. She said that she has tried to highlight French liquors, including whiskey, rum, and gin, that don’t get a lot of limelight, and that French wine will be available, of course. But there will be more than just bottles from Bordeaux.

“The good thing about being in the U.S. is that it’s such a melting pot,” she said. “We also have wine from Oregon, New Zealand; we try to sample different wines from all over. And we have 20 wines by the glass, so you can create your own experience.”

Colette Wine Bistro in Cambridge.
Colette Wine Bistro in Cambridge. —Sandrine Rossi

Inside, the charming bistro is decorated with velvet booths, furniture sourced from the Brimfield Antique Fair and Cambridge Antique Shop, and tropical wallpaper from Ananbô, a French company that takes its inspiration from 18th-century landscape paintings.

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Rossi said that Colette eventually will offer events that were commonplace in a tradition French salon, like a “philosophie cafe,” where a professor is invited to present a lecture on a timely subject. Above all else, she hopes her love of France will shine through.

“We are two French owners and one French chef,” she said. “You can’t get more French than that.”

Colette is currently open for breakfast and dinner, with plans to launch brunch next weekend and, in a few weeks, start serving lunch.

Colette; 1924 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge; Daily from 7 a.m.–10 a.m. and 5 p.m.–10 p.m.; colette1924.com