payday loans
Payday loans
Payday loans online
Payday loans
payday loans
payday loans
Payday loans
payday loans
payday loans
payday loans
Payday loans
Payday loans
Payday loans
Payday loans
Payday loans
Payday loans
Payday loans
Payday loans
payday loans
payday loans
payday loans
payday loans
payday loans online
payday loans
payday loans
payday loans
payday loans
Dog and Cat

The Food Critic

Le Pavillon du Lac

Le Pavillion du Lac restaurant in Paris, FranceParc des Buttes Chaumont
75019 Paris

Phone: 01.42.00.07.21

Metro Station: Laumière (Line 5)

Type of cuisine: French

Days & hours of operation: Mon and Tues noon – 3:00 p.m. Thurs to Sat noon – 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sun noon – 3:15 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard

Joggers, parents with their children, and people just going for a stroll love the Parc des Buttes Chaumont on Sunday—even on a cold Sunday.  This is what we recently discovered when we showed up at the park’s Pavillon du Lac for lunch.  I do not remember ever having seen so many active people in a park on a cold (yet sunny) day in Paris.

The Pavillon du Lac stands inside the park and to the right of the entry gate (as one enters the park) at place Armand Carrel.  The handsome building was constructed in 1867 for use as a bistrot.  It has recently been totally renovated and has been open for business since June 2010.

We were greeted warmly by the responsible de salle, who showed us to our table next to the window.  From there we could observe the busy comings and goings of people running by or walking on the pathway in front of the building.  Shortly after we were seated the restaurant filled with diners who came for the Sunday brunch.  Many were families with young children.

We began with an apéritif, a glass of Henriot champagne, which we found to be quite dry with notes of green apple.

For the starter, I requested Saumon mariné maison, espuma de Wasabi and was presented with a rectangular plate displaying two slices of salmon and a goblet containing wasabi foam.  The salmon was succulent and chewy and I dipped morsels of the fish into the foam.  The spicy-hot wasabi (also known as Japanese horseradish) gave sharp contrast to the mild, tender salmon.  I’m not too sure that the subtle flavor of salmon should be covered up with such a spicy preparation, but I enjoyed the dish nevertheless.

My partner ordered Velouté de courge musquée, chips de patate douce vitelottes.  This was a nice presentation of pumpkin soup in a deep, oval-shaped bowl with chips of Vitelotte sweet potatoes floating on top.  The soup was dense without being creamy and only needed a sprinkling of salt to bring out its flavor.  Three crisped slices of warm, country baguette were served alongside.

After the waiter informed us that our first choice for the main course—wild deer in whisky sauce—was no longer available, we opted for the Magret de canard du sud-ouest sauce soja, écrasé de topinambour, choux Romanesco.  We were treated with another beautiful presentation:  a slice of breast of duck cut longitudinally resting on a swath of sweetened soy sauce next to a square mound of crushed Jerusalem artichoke.  The duck breast had been pan seared and cooked rare and was tender and moist.  The Jerusalem artichokes were savory and buttery.

For the wine accompaniment we each ordered a glass of Domaine du Coriancon 2010, a Côte du Rhône.  With a deep, red-purple robe it was medium bodied and slightly tannic and had a note of licorice.  However, it did not accompany the duck as well as we had hoped because of the sweetness of the soy sauce.

Thick-sliced, alveoli-riddled, fresh baguette was served alongside in a basket.

Dessert brought more of the chef’s masterful presentations to our table.  My Poire pochée au vin rouge, sphère de chocolat, chantilly maison was a fluff of white whipped cream next to a dark-purple pear that had been poached in red wine.  A finger of crispy puff-pastry and a dash of chocolate powder garnished the dish.  The presentation of my partner’s Vacherin praliné, marron glacé, émulsion lait de coco was no less interesting.  The waiter brought a squat canning jar containing a layer of milk chocolate crème topped with crumble and a scoop of chestnut ice cream.  Two vanilla meringues protruded from the jar and a pitcher of frothy coconut milk was served alongside.  The idea was to pour the coconut milk over the milk-chocolate-crumble-chestnut-ice-cream vacherin, dig in with a spoon, and enjoy—which she did!

The service was friendly and helpful and the restaurant, full of small kids, was rather noisy.  In the end however, we enjoyed the meal and the experience of lunch in the handsome pavilion of this beautiful park.

The bill for two, including two glasses of champagne, two three-course menus, and two glasses of wine came to 103€.

 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.


Le P’tit Trouquet

Le P'tit Troquet restaurant in Paris28, rue de l’Exposition
75007 Paris

Phone: 01.47.05.80.39

Metro Station: Ecole Militaire (Line 8)

Type of cuisine: French

Days & hours of operation: Mon 6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Tues to Friday noon – 2:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Sat 6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard

The plain, yellow façade of Le P’tit Trouquet belies the charm of its dining room that lies within.  Enter into a time warp, where old-fashioned ceiling lamps are dressed with beaded fringes; where lace curtains grace the windows; dining tables are made of marble; a beautiful (non-functional) copper espresso machine sits on the pewter counter of a bar faced in ceramic; mustard pots, hand-cranked coffee grinders, and plates adorn knick-knack shelves; and a handsome red-and-white, checkerboard-tile floor gives a solid foundation to it all.

We began the evening with a glass of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne.  At 7€/glass, it seemed like a good price.  While we found it refreshing, we did not think that it had the complexity that one seeks in good champagne.  We defined it negatively:  it was not crisp, but not sweet either.  It was cloudy, not brilliantly clear.  My partner has tasted this champagne before, but never recalls having the sensation of unidimensionality that she experienced with it this time.

While we sipped the champagne, the waitress placed an amuse bouche on our table.  Called Rillettes de deux saumons, it was a pâté of salmon served in ceramic spoons with slender fingers of puff pastry.  A nice start!

For the starter, I ordered Aumônière de saumon fumé garnie aux crevettes.  I learned later that an aumônière is a drawstring purse that is tied to the waist, and that most aumônières de saumon are salmon prepared in a purse-shaped brick pastry.  This particular dish was a mound of prawns draped with strips of smoked salmon.  It was dome-shaped, not purse-shaped, but that did not matter because both the prawns and salmon tasted fresh and had a moist and tender texture.

My partner selected ordered two starters instead of a starter and a main course.  The first was a Tatin d’endives aux pommes et sa quenelle de chèvre frais aux herbes.  This was prepared in a way similar to my starter:  a mound of tender apple chunks was draped with wilted endive and topped with a half-sphere of cherry tomato.  Alongside were a small salad of mixed greens and a ceramic spoon containing creamy, fresh goat cheese with flavored with herbs.  She liked the contrast in flavors –  the sharpness of the cheese and herbs against the sweetness of the apple – and found it to be both satisfying and not overly filling.

I do not believe that I have ever seen deboned thigh of rabbit on a restaurant menu before.  It was called Désossé de cuisse de lapin à la moutarde violette, and I selected it for the main course.  Served in a shallow bowl with a small mound of whipped potatoes and stewed vegetables, the deboned rabbit rested in a pond of gravy.  The flesh was ultra-tender; the whipped potatoes were not overly creamy as some restaurants like to serve them; and the stewed red and green bell peppers and zucchini were savory.  It was a satisfying dish!

My partner’s second starter was Crème de potimarron, croquants de ravioles du Dauphiné. Several crunchy, cheese-filled ravioli floated in the creamy pumpkin soup, which was dressed with a single sprig of coriander.  The soup needed just a touch of salt, which she added from the container on the table.  It tasted so good that she did not hesitate to use the wonderfully fresh bread served with our meal to collect the last drops of soup from her bowl.

For the wine accompaniment, we selected a pot (46cl) of Bordeaux – Graves – Château Le Bonnat 2008.  It was spicy and peppery, not fruity, and did not go too well with the rabbit.  A lighter wine might have done the trick, perhaps a Beaujolais.

Thick-cut, chewy, fresh, sour-dough country bread was served alongside in a basket.

For dessert, I opted for Crème brûlée à la vanille.  What a delight it was to plunge my spoon through the brittle, freshly-caramelized, burnt-sugar crust and to withdraw it laden with luscious vanilla custard!  Enough said.

My partner requested Financier aux pommes, sauce caramel au beurre salé. The thick, almond-flavored, cake-like pastry sat atop a generous drizzle of caramel sauce and a small pool of crème anglaise.  Firm, cooked apples covered the cake.  A sprig of mint dusted with powdered sugar and a kumquat served as garnish.  The cake was tender and moist and the apples perfectly cooked. The caramel sauce was a welcome accompaniment.  The addition of crème anglaise was not necessary to make this a delectable dessert.

During the meal, we were served by two waitresses.  While both were friendly, one, who appeared to be the responsible de salle, expressed keen interest in our satisfaction with the meal.

The bill for two, including two glasses of champagne, two starters, two main courses, two desserts, a 46cl pot of wine, and an espresso, came to 102.00€.

Le P’tit Troquet is a great place to dine for travelers seeking delicious, traditional French food served in an old-fashioned bistro.

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.

 


Nonna Inès

Nonna Inès Italian restaurant in Paris, France1, rue de l’Arbalète
75005 Paris

Phone: 01.43.37.23.72

Metro Station: Censier-Daubenton (Line 7)

Type of cuisine: Italian

Days & hours of operation: Tues to Sat noon – 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard

A brown awning shelters six tables set out on the sidewalk terrace of Nonna Inès, a small restaurant serving traditional Italian food near rue Mouffetard.  The watermelon-colored façade is cheery and upon entering, one steps into a small dining room whose walls are decorated in an antique-yellow wash.  A small bar standing in the corner and photographs of family members on the walls impart an intimate feeling to this place.

The waiter expresses himself tersely, which can be off-putting for some, but during the meal we found him to be helpful when we asked questions about the wine and the food.

As an apéritif we each ordered Prosecco, a sparkling white wine from Italy.  I requested that mine by flavored with violet and my partner requested peach for a variation on the traditional Bellini cocktail that she so fondly remembers from visits to Rome.

The Antipasti del nonno (which translates as “Grandfather’s appetizer”) looked tempting, and I ordered it as a starter.  It was a generously-portioned dish:  two kinds of thinly-sliced ham (Parma and coppa) arranged to look like a rose resting on a bed of marinated eggplant and artichoke hearts along with a slice of Taleggio cheese.  The dish was more filling than a simple appetizer, and when I finished I wondered if I would have room for the main course!

My partner selected the Fantasia della Nonna Inès.  The waiter brought a squat glass containing warm eggplant layered with tomato, mascarpone cheese and Parmesan, all topped with a spray of fresh arugula.  The dish was unctuous and quite tasty, without being overly filling.

I ordered the fish of the day for the main course:  Dos de cabillaud rôti au speck, poëlée de poivrons et poireaux à l’huile d’olive.  This was yet another copious dish!  Three large, roasted chunks of cod formed a tripod on a bed of stewed tomatoes, green bell peppers, and leeks.  The top of the tripod held an arrangement of thinly-sliced speck, a salt-cured ham from Italy.  The fish was flaky, succulent, and tender, and the stewed vegetables were delicious.  I could not finish the speck, as it was too salty for me.

My partner was pleased with her Osso buco mijoté aux cèpes, riz sauté au Parmesan.  This dish had everything one could want in an Italian meal:  a large portion of veal with its bone rested on a bed of medium-grain rice that had been nicely perfumed with Parmesan.  Thinly-sliced cèpe mushrooms topped the veal, which was perfectly tender and flavorful.  The entire presentation rested in a shallow bowl that contained delicious brown gravy.

The choice of the wine accompaniment was made difficult because the restaurant’s selection of half-bottles of wine is severely limited.  Consequently, we settled on red and white wines by the glass.  Both were called Anghelia Magnum 2010, and both were produced by Cantina Santadi in Sardinia.  I found the white wine to be full bodied with a note of resin.  It was too powerful for the fish, but it had an interesting flavor nonetheless.  My partner’s red was richly complex, with notes of very ripe red fruits.

Fresh, thin-sliced bread with generous alveoli was served alongside in a basket.

For dessert, we went Italian all the way!  I ordered a Cantucci toscans et Vin Santo, a serving of sweet, almond-flavored, dry biscuits that one dips into the accompanying dessert wine.  A wonderful way to end the meal!  My partner ordered the Tiramisù du moment, which happened to be a generous portion of mascarpone cheese layered with a biscuit, chopped pear, and crumbled Speculoos, all dusted with cocoa.  Superb!

I finished the meal with an Italian espresso, a tiny cup of strong coffee displaying a magnificent crema, and my partner with a glass of Amaretto di Saronno.

The bill for two, including two apéritifs, two starters, two main courses, two desserts, two glasses of wine, one espresso, and one digestif, came to 97.10€.  Not a bad price for a moment spent in Italy!

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.


Anahuacalli

Anahuacalli Mexican Restaurant in Paris30, rue des Bernardins
75005 Paris

Phone: 01.43.26.10.20

Metro Station: Maubert-Mutualité (Line 10)

Type of cuisine: Mexican

Days & hours of operation: Mon to Sat 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Sun 12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard, American Express

Nestled near the corner of rue des Bernardins and boulevard Saint-Germain, the green façade of Anahuacalli shyly summons passersby to step inside for a Mexican meal.  The dining room is decked in textured wallpaper the color of maize; exposed beams on the ceiling support two large ceiling fans; objects of Mexican folklore and images of artist Frida Kahlo decorate the walls…the décor is tasteful and reassuring.

The servers seem to be pressed for time in this busy restaurant and one might get the impression that they are not very convivial; however, when my partner lost her earring as she was removing her overcoat, the waitress expressed sympathy and helped her look for it.  Not finding it, she gestured toward me and declared that I would buy her (my partner) another!

We began by each ordering a margarita. These drinks are expensive, but they are served nicely chilled in large, wide-brimmed glasses.  They pack a punch!  We drank them throughout the meal, rather than ordering wine.

While we studied the menu, thin corn chips were placed on our table with two kinds of sauce.  Although the waitress explained that one sauce was hot, we found that we could tolerate it quite well.

For the starter, I ordered Nopalitos compuestos, a salad of cactus, tomato, coriander, and cheese.  I found the crunchy, succulent cactus of this salad to be quite refreshing.  Intermixed were slices of avocado and tomato; feta cheese was sprinkled on the top.

My partner chose Quesadilla de cuitlacoche, a flour tortilla topped with salsa and crumbly white cheese and stuffed with melted cheese, sweet corn kernels, and a paste made from corn smut (a plant fungus called cuitlacoche that is considered to be a delicacy in Mexico).  Served on a bed of lettuce with a large dollop of guacamole alongside, this tasty appetizer was filling enough to be a main course.

The menu offered eleven different main courses from which to choose.  I selected the last on the list, Tacos de la Merced.  The waitress brought a basked of hot flour tortillas and a compartmentalized dish containing five different fillings.  The idea was to take a tortilla, add a spoonful of filling from one of the serving dishes, roll the taco, and eat it with the fingers.  The dishes contained pork, chicken, sliced beef, pinto beans, and hashed beef.  Comparing them to Mexican dishes that I had tasted in California many years ago, I thought that most of the fillings lacked flavor.  The shredded chicken was over-seasoned with lemon juice, and the sliced beef was not very tender.  But then, the starter that I had just finished was quite large and by the time I got to the main course, my appetite was diminished.

My partner opted for Mole Poblano. This consisted of two sizeable portions of turkey breast covered with a deep brown, richly scented mole sauce that was sprinkled with sesame seeds. A serving of medium-grain white rice was served alongside.  The turkey was tender and the sauce subtly spicy and chocolat-y.

Servings here are copious.  As we were satiated after this huge meal, we forwent dessert.

The service was friendly and as rapid as it could be under the circumstances of a busy Saturday night.  The waitress helped me with my coat as I was leaving the restaurant.

Saturday night dining has two services, the first at 7:30 p.m. and the second at 9:30 p.m.

The bill for two, including five margaritas, two starters, and two main courses, came to 114.30€.

We think that travelers to Paris seeking Mexican food will enjoy dining at Anahuacalli.

 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.


16 Haussmann

16 Haussmann restaurant in Paris, France16, boulevard Haussmann
75009 Paris

Phone: 01.48.00.06.38

Metro Station: Chaussée d’Antin La Fayette (Line 7), Richelieu-Drouout (Line 9)

Type of cuisine: French

Days & hours of operation: Mon to Sat 12:30 p.m.- 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard, American Express

A part of the Radisson Blu Ambassador Hotel in the 9th arrondissement, the restaurant 16 Haussmann is an ideal place for travelers who can afford the splurge to enjoy fine dining in elegant surroundings.

Tall ceilings; pewter-colored walls, benches, and chairs; heavy grey curtains; and tall, sparkling-clean windows create an atmosphere of breathtaking sophistication.  It was a pleasure to sit down and relax in stylish comfort.  While we dined, pop music and rhythm and blues played over the speaker system.

We forewent an apéritif, ordering a bottle of San Pellegrino sparkling water instead.  While we were studying the menu, the waitress brought over an hors-d’œuvre consisting of purée of chick pea flavored with basal.  We spread the purée on dried slices of baguette and enjoyed.

The restaurant offers a three-course menu for 50€.  Supplements apply to some dishes.

For the starter, I ordered Ravioles de langoustines, velouté de crustacés au basilic.  The waitress brought a wide, shallow bowl containing a frothy, peppery, orange-colored, crustacean-flavored broth upon which floated crisped basil leaves.  Resting at the bottom of the bowl was a layer of flat ravioli stuffed with langoustine.  The creamy broth and langoustine ravioli were neither too rich or too fishy.  In other words, the dish was perfect!

For her part, my partner also selected a velouté:  Velouté fin de potiron en capuccino, petits croûtons dorés. This preparation was thick and colorful – the server poured the pumpkin soup around three plump croutons made from breaded Comté cheese topped with thinly sliced basil.  While the soup was fine, it was the croutons that “made” this dish.  My partner declared that they were one of the most unusual taste sensations that she has ever experienced in a French restaurant.

The menu offered a choice of nine different main courses.  I opted for Noix de Saint Jacques poêlées, écume d’orange et fondu d’endives.  As before, the food arrived in a bowl, but a smaller one this time.  It contained five tender, succulent, lightly-fried scallops swimming in a frothy orange-flavored broth, all resting on a bed of shredded, cooked endive.  I very much enjoyed the delicious scallops, but did not quite care for the broth.  To my taste, the flavor of orange does not go well with scallops.  Nevertheless, I finished the dish entirely and felt quite satisfied.

My partner chose Suprême de volaille rôti, lait de coco et croustille d’abricot.  Plump, moist slices of chicken breast rested in a very lightly-flavored, frothy coconut milk and a bed of sliced carrots and parsnips.  The croustille d’abricot consisted of a roll of apricot paste wrapped in an ultra-thin layer of brick pastry and served on the broad rim of the bowl.  My partner had hoped for a more pronounced coconut flavor in this dish, but she found it thoroughly satisfying none the less.

To accompany our meal we ordered a half-bottle of Pouilly Fumé Laporte — Domaine Les Duchesses — 2010, a dry, brilliant yellow wine with a rapidly-changing bouquet of aromas ranging flowers and apricot to spices.  We were quite pleased with this choice.

Warm rolls were served alongside on bread dishes.

Dessert brought some nice surprises.  I ordered the suggestion du pâtissier, a Tarte fine au chocolat, crème pistache, granité de litchi.  The tart was made from bittersweet-chocolate shortcrust filled with pistachio cream and topped with bits of crushed pistachio dipped in chocolate.  A goblet of lychee sorbet was served alongside.  It was a delicious dish that was not too filling.

My partner decided on the Poire fondante au vin, cannelle, sorbet pain d’épice.  The red-tinted pear sat in a shallow bowl of thin, wine-based syrup, while the spice-bread sorbet was served on a separate dish alongside.  This dessert was light and refreshing, and my partner observed that it would be a good selection for spring or summer.

The service was attentive and friendly.

The bill for two, including one bottle of mineral water, two starters, two main courses, two desserts, and a half-bottle of wine, came to 149.10€.

We think that travelers whose budget can support this splurge will enjoy dining at this fine restaurant.



 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.

 


Le Violon d’Ingres

Christian Constant's Le Violon d'Ingres in Paris France135, rue Saint-Dominique
75007 Paris

Phone: 01.45.55.15.05

Metro Station: Ecole Militaire

Type of cuisine: French

Days & hours of operation: Mon to Sun noon – 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard, American Express

Christian Constant is the proprietor and head chef of four acclaimed restaurants on rue Saint-Dominique, including Le Violon d’Ingres. The restaurant has a modern olive-green façade with an awning that boldly displays its name.  We stepped inside to a long and rather narrow space containing three dining rooms.  The first room has a table d’hôte where one may dine in a family-style atmosphere on tall stools around a communal table.

Our table was in the next room, where our friends were already seated across from the bar.  Here, wall benches and chairs are upholstered in ivory-colored vinyl.  Cream-colored table runners on light-wood tables complement the setting.  Brasserie-style coat racks are affixed to the walls so that one can stash one’s overcoat while dining.  The narrowness of the restaurant and the presence of coat racks over the tables give the room the appearance of a comfortable railroad car.

While we were sipping kir royals, the waiter produced two different types of amuse-bouche for us to nibble on.  One was a savory choux pastry called gougère, the other a tiny pizza.  Both whetted our appetites, which was the point of it all.

For the starter, I selected Pithiviers de gibiers à plumes et à poils, sauce Grand Veneur.  A Pithvier is a puff-pastry pie, and in this case it was a generous slice stuffed with boar, partridge, and doe.  These game meats did not at all taste gamey—the meat had been ground and prepared with other ingredients to produce a moist and tender mixture.  Sauce Grand Veneur is a huntsman’s sauce, and it added hearty flavor to the dish.  I learned later that Grand Veneur is prepared with red-currant jelly, which accounts for its slightly sour taste.

My partner had the Bouillon d’herbes potagères, cuisses de grenouilles à l’aix doux. This was a light and frothy vegetable broth served atop three ravioli stuffed with small pieces of diced frog legs.  Even tinier croutons gave the dish an interesting texture.  My partner enjoyed this dish, as much because it was light as because it was flavorful.

Adhering to the theme of game, I ordered Palombe en crapaudine poêlée à l’os, pommes de terre en robe des champs, griffées au jus truffé for the main course.  I was served a wood pigeon cooked rare that had been flattened and sautéed in a pan.  It was accompanied with slices of small potatoes roasted in their skins, all served with a truffle-flavored sauce.  The pigeon was succulent and flavorful.  A finger bowl was placed alongside my plate in the event that I wanted to nibble at the bones.

My partner ordered the rôtisserie of the day, which the waiter announced in English was pork chop served with sucrine lettuce and stuffed cabbage.  When she received her plate, she noted that the cut of meat was in fact not a chop, but rather, a lean cut of meat with no bone.  Still, the copious portion was quite tasty, and she ate every bite!

Light and dark country breads were served as well as a plate of toasted country bread.  Alongside, a serving dish containing a great slab of lightly-salted butter was an invitation to adorn our bread with liberal applications of the rich dairy product.

The choice for the wine accompaniment was difficult because everybody had selected different types of main courses.  To try to accommodate the different dishes, I ordered a bottle of Sancerre – Lucien Crochet – La Croix du Roy, a fairly light-bodied wine with a raspberry bouquet.  Although I enjoyed the wine, I found it too light for my wood-pigeon dish.  The pigeon would have benefitted from a medium-bodied wine.

The dessert menu gave me opportunity to try something that I have never tried before:  Mont-Blanc glacé aux marrons comme autrefois.  The wide-brimmed, shallow dish that I was served contained a dessert consisting of a foundation of cooked meringue upon which rested a scoop of chestnut ice cream; a layer of squiggly chestnut spread; a layer of candied chestnut; all topped by spun sugar.  Oh, did I forget to mention that the meringue had been drizzled with dark chocolate syrup?  This dessert was not only delicious, but also fun to eat, because each layer revealed different texture and flavor.

My partner ordered Tarte des Demoiselles Tatin, crème crue fermière which is one of her favorite desserts.  It too was topped by spun sugar, and was served with a large dollop of clotted cream.  The apple chunks were generous and warm through and through, to the delight of my partner, who often finds that Tarte Tatin served in restaurants is hot on the outside but cold the in the middle, due to incomplete reheating of the pie.

For an after-dinner drink, we ordered Sauternes and Muscat, both sweet wines.  We were surprised, though, that the wines were served in standard size wine glasses, rather than small ones.  I could not finish mine because it was too generous a portion.

The service was attentive, friendly, and helpful.  Our waiter brought over the label of the Sancerre wine that we had ordered when I mentioned to him that I wanted to note the name.

We did not see the final bill, because our friends paid for the dinner.  However, to give an indication for the cost for two, we estimate that it came to 157€ for two starters, two main courses, two desserts, and a half-bottle of wine.  We did not note the prices of the before and after-dinner wines.

Travelers whose budgets cannont accommodate these prices will find great fare served at lower rates at the nearby Les Cocottes and Café Constant, both run by Christian Constant.



 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.


Le Vin du Soif

Le Vin de Soif Restaurant in Paris24, rue Pierre Leroux
75007 Paris

Phone: 01.43.06.79.85

Metro Station: Vaneau (Line 10)

Type of cuisine: French

Days & hours of operation: Mon to Fri noon – 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.  Sat 7:30 p.m. – 10 :30 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard

Le Vin du Soif is a soberly-decorated bistrot located not far from Le Bon Marché department store in the 7tharrondissement.  It is a small restaurant with a bar at the entryway and a dining room displaying ivory- and plum-colored walls.  At one end, tall, narrow mirrors give the appearance of spaciousness to the room.  Tall windows contribute to the feeling of ample roominess, while chalkboards affixed to the opposite wall announce the dishes and the wine list.  We sat down on light-brown wooden chairs with vinyl cushions at a sand-colored, composite table.

As if in counterpoint to the minimalist décor of the place, the server, Marylène, was cheery and upbeat.  She advised us on the dishes that were being served that evening and left us to study the menu.

For the starter, I selected the soup of the day—a vegetable soup made with clear poultry broth.  The soup had a delicious smoky flavor and contained diced carrot, turnip, and cauliflower.  It was a satisfying dish for a cold, rainy day.  My partner opted for Galette de pied de cochon, a dish of loosely packed, deboned pig’s feet cooked in a frying pan with a molded macédoine of carrot.  Served with a small, mixed-green salad, it was delicate and flavorful.

Scanning the menu for a main course, we both opted for the Chartreuse de plumes et légumes anciens, a dish of four kinds of game bird (male pheasant [cock], female pheasant [hen], partridge, and wild duck [col vert]) combined with a small quantity of pork.  The meat had been shaped and cooked in a round terrine and was served as a disk smothered in gravy on top of a bed of diced, sautéed vegetables—potato, carrot, beets, parsnips, and Brussels sprouts.  The poultry was tender and succulent, and not overly gamey.  It was a hearty, savory dish.

For the wine accompaniment, we asked Marylène what she would suggest in the way of a light red wine.  She brought a carafe of Karim Vionnet – Beaujolais Village – 2009.  A red-violet, light-bodied wine, it initially exuded an aroma of chocolate.  As time passed, a red-fruit bouquet was predominant.  It went well with our meal.

Fresh, thinly-sliced bread was served alongside in a basket.  The first serving of bread was cut from a round loaf; the second from a large baguette.  The bread was flavorful, soft, and chewy and exhibited large alveoli.

Although my partner forwent dessert, I ordered a Pot de crème de chocolat, a glass containing a serving of firm, bittersweet chocolate pudding.  The pudding was thick, smooth, and delectable.

The bill for two, including a carafe of wine, two starters, two main courses, and one dessert came to 84€.



 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.


Le Janissaire

Le Janissaire Restaurant in Paris France22 – 24, allée Vivaldi
75012 Paris

Phone: 01.43.40.37.37

Metro Station: Daumesnil (Line 6, 8), Montgallet (Line 8)

Type of cuisine: Turkish

Days & hours of operation: Mon to Fri noon – 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.  Sat 7:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard, American Express

We have long wondered whether Paris had a good Turkish restaurant.  Our recent experience at Le Janissaire proved that it does.

The restaurant is located off the tourist circuit in the distant 12th arrondissement.  For enthusiasts of Turkish cuisine, we believe that the trip out there is well worth the effort, even if only to have lunch or dinner there.

The multiple dining rooms of this establishment are variously decorated with Oriental carpets on bare-wood floors; large, wood-framed mirrors; small, framed drawings of Turks in traditional costume; and Turkish coffee pots on walls.  While we dined, a variety of music—which we rightly or wrongly identified as Turkish—played softly over the sound system.  There was a constant coming and going of waiters who moved quickly and efficiently to serve customers.  We noted that some diners came with small children, none of whom caused a ruckus.  Late in the evening, as tables filled, the sounds of conversation grew quite loud.

We arrived without a reservation and were seated at the dark wood-paneled bar to wait for a table to clear.  While there, I ordered an Efes, a blond Turkish beer with a slight flavor of anis.  My partner inquired about the Yeni Raki, a Turkish apéritif, but declined when she learned that it was flavored with aniseed, She ordered a kir pêche (kir flavored with peach liqueur) instead.

Once seated at our table, we studied the menu and were pleased to see that the restaurant serves a wide variety of dishes.  For the starter, I ordered Patlican Sarma, a generous portion of sheep’s cheese wrapped in strips of eggplant and served with garlic- and paprika-spiced yoghurt.  This cold dish was filling and delicious.

My partner forwent the starter.

For the main course, we noted that on Friday and Saturday evenings, Tandir and Islim are served.  I chose the Tandir—shoulder of lamb oven-cooked for eight hours.  It arrived thinly sliced on a plate accompanied with a mound of crushed potato flavored with paprika and two endive halves.  The savory lamb was fork-tender and succulent.

My partner ordered the Islim—lamb shank wrapped in sliced eggplant.  It arrived so tender that the meat fell off the bone.  Served atop a tomato-based coulis, it was accompanied by a thick, beefy slice of tomato, a wedge of green pepper, and a mound of paprika-spiced crushed potato.  The portion of lamb was so copious that my partner could not finish it.

For our beverage accompaniment, we ordered a half-bottle of Yakut, a popular red wine from Turkey.  Medium-bodied and slightly tannic, it had a pleasant red-fruit bouquet.

Round loaves of Turkish pide bread were continually served fresh from the oven.  Just as we finished one loaf, another was placed on the table!

Kabak Tath was my choice for dessert.  A seasonal treat, it was a large slice of pumpkin that had been preserved in sweet syrup.  It was served with a dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and crushed pistachio nuts.  Wonderful!

My partner’s dessert was also unusual.  Called Künefe, it was an angel-hair pastry with a soft-cheese filling.  Served in a ramekin with sugar syrup and topped with crushed pistachio, it was sublime!

The service was fast, friendly, and helpful.

The bill for two, including two before-dinner drinks (a beer and a kir pêche), one starter, two main courses, two desserts, and a half-bottle of wine, came to 79€.

Afiyet olsun!

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.


L’Eclaireur

L'Eclaireur restaurant in Paris, France10, rue Boissy d’Anglas
75008 Paris

Phone: 01.53.43.09.99

Metro Station: Concorde (Lines 1, 8,12)

Type of cuisine: Modern French

Days & hours of operation: Tues to Sat noon – 3 :00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard, American Express

Located in the posh 8th arrondissement, just steps away from the Hôtel Crillon and the American Embassy, L’Eclaireur operates as a bar, a salon de thé, and a restaurant.  Benefiting from a 50% promotional discount that the restaurant was offering, we had the occasion to dine here recently.  Throwing caution to the wind, we ran up a bar tab (not discounted) by ordering expensive champagne as a before-dinner drink.  Without champagne, the bill would have come to 86€, a nice price for a chic restaurant!

The restaurant has two main rooms: a bar and dining room in the back, and a dining room in the front that lies under an enclosed canopy that extends into a vast and elegant hallway.  We were seated in the front room (under the canopy) at a dark-wood table dressed with a crisp, white runner.  The upholstered, cushioned chairs in blue-violet and cranberry fabric are particularly comfortable.  Overhead, the fabric ceiling of the canopy displays images of newspaper print, flowers, and butterflies.  Subdued lighting and soft lounge music complement the scene.

After we were seated, we each ordered a glass of Roederer champagne as an apéritif.  We later realized that we would pay 15€ a glass for this, but we also learned that expensive champagne does taste better than its less expensive cousins.  The champagne was delightfully crisp with fine bubbles.  It was kind of beverage that one would want to drink all evening if the dining budget would permit it.  A small goblet of plump, black olives was served alongside.

Examining the menu, we spotted foie gras prepared two different ways—au torchon and mi-cuit. Au torchon indicates that the foie gras has been wrapped tightly in a dishtowel and poached in water for the appropriate cooking time. Mi-cuit is foie gras that has been semi-cooked in a terrine.  I ordered the first, while my partner ordered the second, for our starter.  I was served a disk of foie gras on a plate with toasted country bread and morsels of dried and roasted fig.  The liver had a pink interior and tasted slightly bitter, not at all an unpleasant sensation.  My partner declared that her serving of mi-cuit was dense and buttery.

For the main course, a choice of four different types of sea food and four different types of meat were listed.  I selected Saint Jacques rôties, choux fleur et romanesco, beurre noisette citronné.  I received a narrow rectangular dish containing four perfectly-cooked, sautéed scallops, each separated on the plate by a dollop of puréed cauliflower.  Aligning the top and bottom portions of the dish were morsels of romanesco broccoli cooked firm to the bite.   The scallops were wonderfully delicate and succulent, the puréed cauliflower light and smooth, and the broccoli crunchy and tasty.

My partner was not entirely pleased with her Brochette d’aigueillettes de poulet, citron & gingembre, wok de légumes au soja.  While she found the chicken breast tender and flavorful, she did not detect lemon and ginger that supposedly seasoned the dish.  The wok-fried vegetable accompaniment was carrot, parsnip, cabbage, and green onion, all seasoned with soy sauce.

As a wine accompaniment, my partner ordered a glass of Pouilly Fuissé with her foie gras.  She found this wine to be round and assertive – an excellent match for the fatty liver.  For the main course, we each ordered a glass of Château Ferran – a dry, medium-bodied red wine from the Bordeaux region.  While I enjoyed the wine, it did not harmonize with the scallops as the restaurant’s electronic “wine advisor” had promised.  The “wine advisor” was a novelty for us:  it was an iPad that the waiter handed to us to consult the wines offered by the restaurant.  When the screen was touched at the appropriate spot, it listed the suggested dishes that each wine would supposedly accompany.  I touched the screen and was zipped off to cyberspace where I had to find my way back to the wine list and start over.  I found this heavy, cumbersome gadget to be more of an annoyance than a helpful innovation.  I would have preferred consulting a printed wine list on a standard menu card and asking for suggestions from the server.  Human, not electronic, interface please!

Two kinds of sliced bread were served alongside in a metal bowl:  poppy- and sesame-seed baguette and standard baguette.  Both had soft and chewy crumb.  The standard baguette had a crispy crust and its crumb was riddled with large alveoli.   Delicious!

For dessert, I ordered a Poire Dame Blanche déstructurée.  I had no idea what this was, but wanted to see what novelty the chef would come up with.  I was served a small bowl and goblet.  The bowl contained a perfect sphere of whipped cream enveloping a vanilla ice cream center, all resting on a warm bed of cooked, diced apple.  The goblet contained warm chocolate syrup.  It was a delectable, well-presented dessert and I was left wondering how the ball of whipped cream could be made so perfectly spherical.

My partner requested the Tarte Tatin maison.  The waiter presented a small portion of Tarte Tatin (caramelized apple pie) in the shape of a half-sphere.  A scoop of vanilla ice cream was served alongside in a ceramic cup.  While she enjoyed the flavor of the pie, she noted that it was served at room temperature.  She prefers her Tarte Tatin served piping hot from the oven.

The service, by multiple servers, was friendly and helpful.

The bill for two, including two glasses of champagne, three glasses of wine, one bottle of mineral water, two starters, two main courses, and two desserts, came to 116€.



 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.


Joe Allen

Joe Allen restaurant in Paris, France30, rue Pierre Lescot
75001 Paris

Phone: 01.42.36.70.13

Metro Station: Etienne Marcel (Line 4)

Type of cuisine: American

Days & hours of operation: Sun to Wed noon – 12:30 a.m. Thurs to Sat noon – 1:00 a.m.

Credit card: Visa, American Express, MasterCard

Joe Allen’s restaurant is a distinctive American brand, having opened first in New York and Miami before making its way across the pond to London and Paris.  It seemed the perfect place to spend Thanksgiving, and the 45€ menu included an apéritif cocktail, ½ bottle of wine, a selection of seven starters, three main courses, seven desserts, and coffee or tea to finish.  It was a wide and varied banquet from which to choose.

The interior of the restaurant is in brick facing with framed posters of program covers for theatrical and dance performances.  Round tables with red-and-white checkerboard tablecloths and low lighting complete the scene for intimate New York style bistro dining.  In the dining room in the back, a jukebox spins out American songs over the sound system.

We were seated in the back room and, because our party was large, we were split between two large tables.  The seating around the tables was rather confined, but most of the diners seemed to enjoy the evening in spite of the constraint.

We were offered a choice of three apéritifs.  My partner and I chose the Cranberry Kir Royal made from cranberry juice and sparkling white wine.  It was a fitting beginning to a Thanksgiving feast!

For the starter, the Joe Allen foie gras with five peppers, Maker’s Mark bourbon and sautéed apples was particularly tempting.  I found the foie gras to be not only smooth and silky, but tangy due to the infusion of bourbon.  It was served sliced from a terrine and was topped with crunchy bits of pepper.  Baked cubes of apple were served alongside in a small, square goblet.  Lightly flavored with cinnamon, they accompanied the foie gras well, although I found their texture to be spongy.  I like cooked fruits and vegetables to have some resistance to the bite.

My partner ordered the Creamy wild mushroom and parsnip soup with white truffle oil croutons.  It was a thick, creamy, perfumed soup with a round of toasted bread topped with morsels of cooked mushroom and parsnip.  Flavored with white truffle oil, the soup was sublime!

For the main course, I selected the Roast Thanksgiving turkey with quince, apple and walnut stuffing, candied yams, green beans and cranberry sauce with orange and juniper.  The serving of turkey included slices of both white and dark meats.  Tender and succulent, they were accompanied with crushed, baked, sweet yam and sautéed green beans cooked slightly firm to the bite.  This was an entirely satisfying dish.

My partner ordered the Baked ham with wine-soused pear, ice wine and sweet mustard sauce, maple-glazed butternut squash and Thanksgiving mashed potatoes with crème frâiche and chives.  She found the fruit and vegetables to be sublime, but said that the ham fell short of her expectations as it had the texture of charcuterie used in French sandwiches.  She had hoped for more robust texture and flavor.

We served ourselves from the bottles of Wente Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 from Livermore Valley, California that had been placed on the table.  It was a round, medium-bodied wine with a hint of vanilla.  I later learned that it had been aged in oak, which would account for the note of vanilla.  No one on our side of the table was enamored of this wine – we wished for something more complex with the meal.

The waitress placed a basket of small cornbread muffins and sliced bread on the table at the start of the meal.  The muffins were warm, tender, and light – not dense as some cornbread is made.  They were delectable!

I opted for Apple cranberry crumble with vanilla ice cream for dessert.  Although I found the slightly-sweet dessert satisfactory, I was disappointed that the apples had the texture of apple sauce—they had not been sliced and baked slightly firm as I had imagined that they would be.

My partner’s dessert, the Pecan pie infused with Maker’s Mark bourbon and crème anglaise, was dense with pecans and had firm texture.  She was quite pleased with this traditional Thanksgiving treat, though she noted that the crème anglaise that was served with it did not add to its appeal.

Overall, we were satisfied with the food and service and left the restaurant in good spirits.  It was a hearty Thanksgiving feast to remember!


View Larger Map
 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.


Le Télégraphe

Salon Telegraphe Restaurant in Paris, France41, rue de Lille
75007 Paris

Phone: 01.58.62.10.08

Metro Station: Rue du Bac (Line 12)

Type of cuisine: French

Days & hours of operation: Tues to Sat noon – 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. – midnight Sun to Tues noon – 3:00 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard, American Express

On the outside, arched windows with Art Nouveau fanlights give a hint of the elegance within this building that was once the Maison des Dames des Postes, Télégraphes et.Téléphones. Step inside to view tall ceilings, slender columns, and more Art Nouveau archways.  It would appear that the female workers of the former PTT dined in sumptuous surroundings!  The architecture of the dining room is reminiscent of the types of stylish salons that one finds in Venice.  It is a pleasure to eat in a place like this in Paris.

We were at Le Télégraphe to dine on a specially-priced, four-course menu that we had reserved through lafourchette.com, an on-line reservation service.  For this meal, there was no choice to be made—after we were seated, the waiter simply announced what we would be served.

For the apéritif, the waitress brought us a kir, a refreshing, sweet beverage consisting of white wine flavored with currant liqueur.

An amuse bouche of two tiny, lightly-toasted salmon sandwiches came next.  Amuse bouches are not meant to be filling—they are served to whet the appetite.  These sandwiches fulfilled this role admirably—the salmon was moist and flavorsome.

Vélouté de potirmaron, a pumpkin soup served in a shallow, stylish bowl with a swirl of olive oil and light cream, was served as the first course.  While mine was hot, my partner was dismayed  that her soup was only warm. Nevertheless, we were both satisfied with the flavor of the savory dish.  It was not heavy with cream as some véloutés are.

Declaring antipathy to seafood, my partner forewent the second course, a serving of two succulent prawns on a bed of sautéed green beans.  I neglected to ask the waiter what kind of sauce the prawns were served in, but it had a slight lemon flavor that went well with the crustaceans.

The third course was a serving of a tender lamb chop (having foregone the seafood course, my partner received two), thinly cut and cooked medium-rare.  They were accompanied with tender, diced, sautéed potatoes and served in delicious gravy.  It was a simple, yet excellent main course.

Bread rolls similar to sour-dough bread were served alongside in a dish.

We selected a carafe of red Hubert Veneau Côteaux du Giennois 2008 to accompany the meal.  When we first tasted it we detected animal notes, but these mellowed over the course of the meal.

Dessert was a serving of four sweets:  a scoop of red-current sorbet, a small vanilla macaron filled with chocolate cream, a small crème brulée, and a petite gâteau tout-citron.  We were pleased with these desserts except the latter, which was lacking the assertive, tart flavor of lemon that we had anticipated.

I ordered an espresso to end the meal.  Along with the coffee, we were served two mignardises, each consisting of a madeleine topped with pistachio cream and a large, fresh raspberry.  It was a nice finish to a mostly satisfying dinner in a beautiful restaurant.

The service was friendly and helpful.

The bill for two, including two four-course menus, a carafe of wine, and an espresso, came to 79.30€.

We think that travelers to Paris seeking to dine in elegant surroundings without having to pay upper-end prices will enjoy this restaurant.  Brunch is served on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.



 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.


Le Pearl

Le Pearl restaurant in Paris France46, rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud
75011 Paris

Phone: 01.48.07.48.98

Metro Station: Parmantier (Line 3)

Type of cuisine: Modern French

Days & hours of operation: Mon to Fri 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Sat 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard

A grey façade with white trim; curtainless, wide, tall windows; and a tall entry door give this restaurant a rather austere appearance.  Inside, the décor is also austere—the walls of the room are dressed in light-grey and the tiles of the floor are black slate.  Chairs with crimson backs and cushions add color.  A bar and a semi-open kitchen stand at the far end of the room, and one can see Thomas, the chef, working there.  In the front of the room, a curious mechanism stands to the right of the entryway.  It is a hand-operated monte-charge (service elevator) that once served to raise and lower material when this space was a print shop.

If the ambiance is industrial, the food is far from that.  The night that we dined there we were served copious portions of delicious, modern French cuisine.

A list of Chef Thomas’ imaginatively-prepared dishes are displayed on chalkboards affixed to the wall. The restaurant does not offer a fixed-priced menu.

To begin the service, the waitress, Mélanie, presented us each an amuse bouche—a small goblet containing morsels of carrot confit, apple, pineapple, and red pepper.  The warm, spicy delicacy piqued our appetites.

For the starter, I decided to order the Aubergines parmesan, mozzarella dish.  In trying to imagine what this dish might look like, I thought that it might be a cold salad of roasted eggplant served with grated Parmesan and slices of mozzarella cheeses.  I was surprised when it turned out to be a hot dish:  a ramekin containing baked, thinly-sliced eggplant topped with these melted cheeses.  It was rich and delicious.

My partner’s starter was also satisfying.  Her soup, a Velouté potimarron, radi noir, was served in a wide-brimmed, shallow bowl.  The smooth, thick purée of pumpkin was garnished with a mound of shredded black radish and bits of parsley, and dotted with olive oil.

The menu offered seven choices of main dishes from which I selected Filet de bar cuit à l’unilatéral et fenouil parfumé au romarin.   The pan-seared filet of bass had been cooked on the skin side only.  The succulent, flaky fish was served on a bed of moist, tender fennel that had been flavored with rosemary.

My partner chose Cuisse de poulet farcie en robe de larde, gratin dauphinois, but requested that the stuffed chicken be served with vegetables other than potatoes (gratin dauphinois).  The plate contained sliced chicken thigh stuffed with pistachios and ground pork and wrapped in bacon.   Served with firm-to-the-bite cooked carrots, parsnips, celery, and turnips, the chicken was tender, the bacon wrap crisp, and the stuffing not overly salty.  A copious and nicely presented dish!

To accompany the meal, we ordered wine by the glass.  My Sauvignon Blanc, dry with notes of citrus, went well with the fish, and my partner’s red Côte du Rhône was smooth and silky.

Fresh, thick-cut baguette was served alongside in a basket.

Dessert was a reminder that life can indeed have its pleasant moments.  My La poire, vanille, crème, chocolat tested the limits of self-indulgence.  Served in a tall sundae glass, it consisted of morsels of poached pear drizzled in chocolate and topped with a generous dollop of heavy whipped cream.  Calorific to the extreme, the sweet dessert was a treat that I will not soon forget!

My partner equally enjoyed her Douceur de speculoos.  Eight strawberry halves were arranged around the inside perimeter of a goblet that contained a layer of crumbled Speculoos cookies.   The strawberries were held into place by a dollop of dense, whipped cream.  A single large strawberry topped the dessert.  The strawberries were sweet, the cream unctuous, and the Speculoos delightfully crunchy.

While we dined, New Orleans jazz, old-time jazz (Billie Holiday) and more recent music (Frank Sinatra) played over the speaker system.

The service was friendly.

The bill for two, including four glasses of wine, two starters, two main courses, and two desserts, came to 72€.

We think that travelers will enjoy dining at this restaurant where the portions are generous and the food imaginatively prepared!



 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.

 


La Maison Géorgienne

La Maison Georgienne restaurant in Paris France3, rue du Sabot
75006 Paris

Phone: 01.45.48.48.08

Metro Station: Saint-Germain-des-Prés or Saint-Sulpice (Line 4), Mabillon (Line 10)

Type of cuisine: Georgian

Days & hours of operation: Open every day from 11:00 a.m. until midnight

Credit card: American Express, Visa, MasterCard

La Maison Géorgienne is a gorgeous theme restaurant located in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter.  We entered here unsuspecting, and soon found ourselves dining like aristocrats!

The restaurant is spacious with four floors for dining.  We were ushered to the top floor by elevator and found ourselves in a large room exuding old-world ambiance:  large, cloth-covered tables—each set with a candelabrum; glass chandeliers; gilded-trim chairs with padded, beige cushions; and an inlaid wood floor.  Save for the modern art on the walls, the room looked like a parlor where an old aristocrat might receive his guests.

Although the restaurant offers a number of fixed-price menus, we ordered à la carte.

For the apéritif, we each ordered a glass of Bagrationi, a Georgian sparkling wine.  Priced at three euros less than French champagne, it was refreshingly dry and had a slight toasty flavor.  We were so pleased with this wine that we ordered a second glass to accompany the meal.

For the starter, I selected the Stumari, a plate of finely-sliced salmon that had been marinated in tchatcha, an eau-de-vie distilled from grape pomace.  Served with crushed avocado and red caviar, the moist, delicious salmon had a fresh, melt-in-the-mouth texture.

My partner selected the Soupe Tchikhirtma, a large bowl of hot soup containing bits of egg and parsley, and generous morsels of chicken breast.  It was an appropriate dish for a chilly day.  She was so pleased with the soup that she dared to tip her bowl to drain the last few drops into her spoon so that she could consume every bit.

For the main course, I thought that the Chakhokhbili au Lapin would be appropriate for the Bagrationi that I determined to continue drinking.  The waiter produced a shallow, square bowl containing three morsels of tender rabbit that had been stewed with herbs in Georgian white wine.  A molded, steaming-hot, carrot purée was served on the side.  The rabbit and carrot purée were delicate, as I had anticipated.  It was a dish fit for an aristocrat!

My partner’s dish, Tchakapouli d’Agneau à l’Estragon, was a stew of lamb that had been marinated in white wine and flavored with fresh tarragon.  It was served in a clear broth in a glazed terra cotta bowl.  A small serving of medium-grained rice with bits of yellow and red pepper was served on the side.  The surprise for her was that the lamb had been prepared in white wine, not red.  She found the dish to be quite flavorful, and was intrigued by the quantity of tarragon used to prepare it.  The herb reminded her of the greens (mustard, collard, kale…) that she used to eat in the southern U.S.

Long loaves of warm, spongy bread topped with sesame seed were served alongside in a basket.  This was a type of bread that we had never seen before—each loaf looked like a large, flattened sausage and vaguely resembled the shape of a boomerang.  We had to restrain ourselves from eating too much!

Normally, I like to have a very sweet ending to my meal, but when I spotted Matsoni, a traditional Georgian yoghurt, on the menu, I thought that I would try that.  A generous portion of the yoghurt was served in a yoghurt cup and topped with a spoonful of honey.  The yoghurt was not consistently smooth as one finds in commercially prepared yoghurts.  It was clotted and quite sour, but not unpleasantly so.  Hooray for artisanal yoghurt!

My partner ordered Medogui, a four-layered torte flavored with caramelized sweet milk and praline.  A layer of frosting separated each thin layer of cake, making this a delicate-looking dessert similar to the kinds that one is served at high tea in London

While we dined, we listened to a live performance by Elga Porchkhidze, who sang in Georgian, as well as in French and Italian.

The service was friendly and helpful.

The bill for two, including four glasses of sparkling wine, two starters, two main courses, two desserts, and one espresso came to 151.50€.  Our lafourchette.com discount brought the price down to 90.90€.

We were pleased that our evening at this restaurant brought us into contact with the culture of Georgia, a distant country that we may never have the opportunity to visit.


View Larger Map
 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.


Le Preum’s

Le Preum's restaurant in Paris France70, rue du Mont Cenis
75018 Paris

Phone: 01.42.55.01.03

Metro Station: Jules Joffrin (Line 12)

Type of cuisine: Trendy French

Days & hours of operation: Tues to Sat 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard

Le Preum’s is located on the north side of Butte Montmartre, an off-the-beaten-track location where most tourists do not venture.  Opened in November 2009, it is operated by two young women:  Julie as chef in the kitchen and Sabina, who welcomes diners, takes their orders, and serves the food.

The restaurant is narrow and long and has two dining rooms, one in the front and the other in the back.  Textured chocolate-colored wallpaper; dark, wooden chairs with cream-colored vinyl cushions, terra cotta floor tiles, and an avocado-colored green archway dividing the two rooms give this restaurant a reposing feeling.  I was disappointed to note, however, that the windows were not sparkling clean.  In my mind, this is one of the first things that distinguishes a good restaurant from a mediocre one.

After being seated, we ordered before-dinner drinks.  My partner chose a white port and I a Leffe beer.  Sabina took care to explain that the Leffe that she was serving was a Ruby, flavored with red fruit.  I found the beer to be slightly sweet and very refreshing.

The restaurant offers a three-course 15€ menu, but we chose to order à la carte.

To begin the meal, I chose the Verrine de feta et tomates cerise au pistou de poireaux.  It arrived in a clear glass serving dish, which permitted the tomatoes, the cubes of feta cheese, and pesto to radiate their splendid colors.  The feta was moist, the tomatoes juicy, and the pesto strong with garlic.  An appetizing salad!

My partner was pleased with her decision to order Ravioles de Royans gratinées aux Parmesan.  These are not Italian ravioli as the name would imply, but rather are ravioles, a specialty from Dauphiné, an area in the southeastern part of France.  Stuffed with ricotta cheese, placed in a ramekin with light cream and Parmesan cheese, and passed under a broiler, they were simply delicious!

I was intrigued by the Pavé de saumon en croûte de Satay et wok de légumes, and ordered that for the main course.  The narrow, thick cut of salmon that I received was tender and moist.  It had been prepared in peanut sauce and then cooked in such a way that the sauce formed a crisp coating around the succulent, flavorful flesh.

My partner was not as pleased with her Croustillant de poulet, sauce vin rouge et galette de polenta.  The chicken breast was served in a brick pastry garnished with a reduction of red wine sauce.  Two sautéed polenta cakes were served alongside, also garnished with the sauce.  The disappointment came with the temperature of the chicken and polenta:  they were served tepid, not hot, as a hearty dish like this should be served.

As a beverage accompaniment, I ordered another Leffe Ruby, while my partner ordered a 25cl pitcher of Savignon blanc — La Cave des 9 Clés.  Balanced between sweet and dry, the white wine had a passing licorice flavor.

Fresh, warm, thick-cut baguette was served alongside in a basket.  The crust was wonderfully dark and crispy.

Dessert returned the meal to a high point on the pleasure meter for my partner.  We both ordered Cheesecake, a New-York style cheesecake that Chef Julie told us was prepared with Philadelphia cream cheese.  It was served with strawberry sauce and garnished with a fresh, half strawberry.  The sauce was an unusual and welcome treat, as most red fruit sauces in Paris are made from raspberries, a fruit that my partner does not care for.  Complete with a thick sablé crust, the cheesecake was dense and moist and revealed a hint of lemon.

The bill for two persons, including two 25cl bottles of beer, one 25cl pitcher of wine, two starters, two main courses, two desserts, and an espresso, came to 79.50€.  Our lafourchette.com discount reduced the bill to 55.90€.

Although the service was friendly and helpful and the meals appetizing, I would not return to this restaurant because of its unwashed windows, which, in my mind, give the establishment a “greasy spoon” feel.  Getting to the restaurant requires a long metro ride from the center of town, and we can find lots of good restaurants with windows that sparkle closer to the center of Paris!


View Larger Map
 


le Quincampe

le Quincampe restaurant in Paris, France78, rue Quincampoix
75003 Paris

Phone: 01.40.27.01.45

Metro Station: Les Halles or Etienne Marcel (Line 4), Rambuteau (Line 11), Châtelet – Les Halles (RER A, B, and D)

Type of cuisine: French and Asian

Days & hours of operation: Mon to Fri Noon – 11:00 p.m. Sat 3:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. From November to April, open for Asian brunch on Sundays from Noon until 4:00 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard

We learned of le Quincampe when we interviewed Simon Thillou at La Cave à Bulles, a beer shop located at number 45 on the same street.  Simon told us that le Quincampe stocks some of the artisanal beers that he sells.  Shortly after our meeting with Simon, we dined at the restaurant.

The front room of the restaurant is somewhat narrow, but the back room is spacious.  In it stands a large fireplace that will keep diners toasty in the winter.  The bare-stone walls of the room are painted ivory, and the floor is rust-colored terra cotta.  Cranberry-colored velour benches, old-fashioned restaurant tables, ceiling fans, exposed beams, and eclectic décor give the space a comfortable feeling.  Even better, after we settled in, we ordered a champagne apéritif (produced by Constant Lemaire) at only 6€ a glass!

The menu offers a wide variety of dishes from which to choose, and, as we were to find out, the portions are quite copious.

For the starter, I selected Chèvre fraîs de M. Lethielleux à l’huile d’olive et ciboulette. The portion of fresh goat cheese (produced by Yves Lethielleux at Fougeré in Maine-et-Loire, an administrative département western France) that the waitress placed in front of me was huge.  It had been drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with chopped chives.  A mixed-green salad was served alongside.  The delicious, dense, mild cheese was moist and slightly crumbly.  My partner forewent the starter—wisely, in turned out, because her main course was big enough for two persons.

She ordered Pastilla au confit de canard accompagnée de mesclun (sucre/salé composé d’une au canard confit, amandes grillées, raisins secs, feuille de brick).  The very large pastilla contained moist, shredded confit of duck, white raisins, and grilled almonds and was dusted with cinnamon; sliced, toasted almonds; and powdered sugar.  The accompanying green salad was dressed in balsamic vinegar and dusted with sesame seeds.  It was a very tasty dish!

My main course was a generous portion of filet of marlin, poached in white wine and served in a light cream sauce.  It was accompanied with steamed broccoli and roasted pear.   The fish was succulent and flaky; the broccoli tender; and the roasted pear sweet and delectable.

Fresh, wide-cut baguette was served alongside in a basket.  The soft interior of the bread was riddled with alveoli and the crust was crispy.

To accompany the meal, I ordered a bottle of La Noiraude, a dry, slightly bitter, cloudy white beer brewed in the Lorraine from malted barley and malted wheat.  I found that the beer went well with the fish, as proclaimed on the beverage menu.  My partner ordered a glass of Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil produced in the Loire Valley by Nathalie and David Drussé.

Because of the copious portions, we forewent dessert.

The bill for two persons, including two champagne apéritifs, one bottle of beer, one glass of wine, one starter, and two main courses, came to 60€.

This is a great spot to stop in for tea (as well as a restaurant, it operates as a salon de thé), or to take friends to who are seeking a comfortable place for informal dining in the vicinity of the Centre Pompidou.



 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.


Africasa

Africasa Restaurant in Paris France59, rue du Cardinal Lemoine
75005 Paris

Phone: 01.43.26.47.73

Metro Station: Cardinal Lemoine (Line 10)

Type of cuisine: World Food

Days & hours of operation: Open every day from noon to midnight.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard, American Express

Africasa is located on the slope of rue du Cardinal Lemoine that lies between rue Monge and place de la Contrescarpe.  A trendy-looking restaurant, it has a handsome wooden terrace sheltered by two great umbrellas.  Within, shades of taupe and huge dome-shaped and spherical lamp shades create an atmosphere of modernity, while bare-stone walls lend an air of rusticity.  It is a fusion, of sorts, of opposing décors.  Interestingly, the theme of fusion is also reflected in the cuisine, which balances between traditional African and modern French cooking.

Though the restaurant offers a fixed-price menu for 21€, we chose to order à la carte on the evening that we dined there.

Shortly after we were seated, we were served an amuse bouche of fried plantain and fruit juice.  The plantain tasted sweet, like a fried banana, and the blend of pulpy orange and pineapple juice was refreshing.

I ordered a starter with a curious-sounding name:  Entre Picadilly et Dakar (Fish and Chips à l’africaine).  The fish consisted of deep-fried fingers of sole and the chips were deep-fried sticks of yam.  Accompanied by a small cup of mayonnaise, they were served each in its own goblet and wrapped in parchment paper.  This was a satisfying, filling dish—perhaps too filling, because I began to wonder if I would have an appetite for the main course!

My partner chose a starter intriguingly named La Panafricaine et sa quenelle de glace au basilic.  The Panafricaine turned out to be a molded salad of diced red, yellow, and green tomatoes and chopped parsley served with an oval-shaped scoop of basil ice cream.  The plate upon which these were served had been drizzled with balsamic vinegar.  She found the dish to be light, tangy, and delicious.

L’Africasa offers two traditional African dishes:  Mafé de Bœuf, Riz et Bananes Plantain and Poulet Yassa, Riz et Bananes Plantain.  I selected the first, and my partner, the second.  Mafé de Bœuf is a popular West African dish of chunks of stewed beef served in peanut sauce.  The morsels of meat were tender, and the peanut sauce in which they were served was thick and flavorful.

Yassa, also from West Africa, is a spicy, marinated dish of poultry or fish.  My partner received a mound of morsels of chicken breast covered with cooked onions and topped with three black olives.  She declared the chicken to be perfectly cooked, but the onion topping to be lacking in seasoning compared to Yassa preparations that she has eaten elsewhere in Paris.

Both main dishes were accompanied by a large bowl of rice dressed with a small portion of chopped green and red pepper and red onions.

Fresh, chewy, diagonally-cut baguette was served alongside in a basket.

For the beverage accompaniment, I ordered a Corona beer while my partner ordered a glass of Leopard Leap red wine (a blend of Shiraz and Pinotage grapes) from South Africa.  She was pleased that the wine married well with her dish.

For dessert, I ordered a fusion dish: Dèguè en entremets, sauce caramel, beurre saléDèguè, another West African dish, is made out of fermented pearl millet.  In this restaurant, dèguè is unfermented semolina of manioc blended with panna cotta (Italian cooked cream).  I was served a generous-sized goblet of this pudding-like product, topped with a layer of caramel sauce.  Although the creamy, grainy pudding itself was not very sweet, the caramel sauce provided the necessary sugar to permit it to be called a dessert.

My partner ordered two scoops of ginger-flavored ice cream.  They were served along with a crunchy ice cream cone.

The service was friendly and helpful.

The bill for two, including one beer, two glasses of wine, two starters, two main courses, and two desserts came to 82€.

Diners who want to try African food transformed to suit western tastes and served in a trendy setting will enjoy this restaurant!



 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.


Cuisine L’E7

Cuisine L'E7 restaurant in Paris, France39, avenue de l’Opéra
75002 Paris

Phone: 01.42.61.56.90

Metro Station: Pyramides (Lines 7 and 14) and Opéra (Lines 3, 7, and 8)

Type of cuisine: Trendy French

Days & hours of operation: Mon to Fri 12:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, American Express, MasterCard

Cuisine L’E7 is a restaurant operated by the Hotel Edouard 7, located not far from the Palais Garnier.  The dining room is quite attractive, with burgundy and bronze fabric on the backs of the chairs and burgundy and rose fabric on the backs of the benches.  Textured brown wallpaper and dark wood tones throughout, cherry-wood floors, and tables with aluminized tops with dark-wood trim, all combine to lend a reposing atmosphere to this place. While we dined, lounge music, and then jazz, played over the sound system.

The name Lepers 6° on the drink menu sparked my interest to order this beverage as an apéritif.  Served on tap at the bar, it is an artisanal beer brewed in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, one of the twenty-seven regions of France.  Unfortunately, the keg was empty so I settled for a 1664 Blanc, a beer brewed from wheat by Kronenbourg.  1664 Blanc is a white beer and was, as the menu described it, fresh with a fruity bouquet.  My partner ordered a Kir à la crème de pêche and remarked about how she enjoyed the assertive flavor of the peach.

For the starter (which the restaurant calls préludes), I ordered Chaire et minces de tourteau, gelée de pamplemousse et avocat, mayonnaise ponzu.  The waiter brought a wide goblet containing crab meat prepared with ponzu, a citrus-based sauce used in Japanese cuisine.  The dish was quite tempting, and the jellied morsels of grapefruit added special appeal.  My partner opted for Velouté de potimarron en capuccino de noisette, paysanne de légumes au lard.  Served in a wide-brimmed, deep bowl, it was pumpkin soup cradled in a hazelnut-flavored froth and flavored with finely sliced bacon and bits of cooked vegetables.

Continuing the gourmet adventure, I requested Noix de Saint Jacques grillée, purée de courge butternut, émulsion mandarine à la moutarde, a flavorful dish of five plump, succulent grilled scallops resting on a bed of coarsely-puréed butternut squash.  The scallops were mouthwatering and the butternut squash added an autumnal touch to the dish.  My partner selected Suprême de volaille au romarin, tartine d’aubergine, courgettes grillées, tomates cerises et concombre.  It was an unusual and colorful dish.  The chicken breast was rolled around a sprig of rosemary and served in the shape of a log.  Next to it lay an elongated slice of eggplant topped with baked cherry tomatoes, grilled sticks of zucchini, and rolled slices of cucumber.  The chicken was tender and nicely perfumed with the rosemary.

Bread rolls were served alongside in small dishes.

To accompany her meal, my partner ordered a glass of Château Chanteloiseau 2010, a medium-bodied red wine with an assertive finish from Graves—a subregion of the Bordeaux wine region.

Out of the eight desserts from which to choose, I selected Crêpe Suzette et sorbet à l’orange, comme l’aimait Edouard 7.  This little bit of information (comme l’aimait Edouard 7) that King Edward VII of England loved crêpes Suzette influenced my choice, and I was served a plate of three folded crêpes topped with a scoop of orange sorbet.  The sorbet supplied most of the orange flavor—the pancakes were not doused with Grand Marnier as I had anticipated.  My partner decided upon the Mousse de marron en feuilles de brick croustillantes, glace noisette-caramel.  Two layers of chestnut mousse sandwiched between three layers of brick pastry made a light, satisfying combination.  A scoop of chestnut ice cream provided an additional treat!

The service was friendly and helpful.

The bill for two persons, including two apéritifs, two starters, two main courses, two desserts, and one glass of wine, came to 87.70€.  (As we had reserved through lafourchette.com, a 30% discount was applied to the food items.  The original total would have been 115.00€).

This restaurant should please diners who seek modern French cuisine presented with stylish panache.



 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.


La Bouteille d’Or

La Bouteille d'Or Restaurant in Paris9, quai Montebello
75005 Paris

Phone: 01.43.54.52.58

Metro Station: Maubert-Mutualité (Line 10)

Type of cuisine: French

Days & hours of operation: Continuous service from 9:00 a.m. to midnight

Credit card: American Express, Visa, MasterCard

We rarely venture down to quai Montebello to dine because its location, so close to Notre-Dame Cathedral, attracts a lot of tourists.  Our untested belief was that restaurants in areas highly-frequented by tourists would not serve quality food.  This theory was recently proven wrong when we dined at La Bonne Franquette in Montmartre. (Click here to read our recent review; requires a paid subscription to access.)  And the theory was disproved a second time when we dined at La Boutelle d’Or last Saturday night.

The restaurant has recently been renovated and has reopened under new management.  It is a huge place with a grand terrace and four dining rooms on the ground floor.  There is a dining area upstairs as well.  The rooms are tastefully decorated in subtle tones of beige, chestnut, cream, ivory, and dark brown.  The tables are comfortably spaced, and those by the window afford a view of the cathedral.  The ambiance is quite elegant.

We had reserved through lafourchette.com, which gave us a special price (starter + main + dessert + wine + coffee) of 35€.  The best thing was that we could choose à la carte (a supplement of 5€ applies to some dishes).

The menu has a wide variety of dishes from which to choose.  Of the thirteen different starters I opted for Croustillant de Saint-Marcellin aux pommes et miel. Saint-Marcellin is a soft, mild cheese produced in the Rhône-Alpes region of France.  It was served in a crunchy brick-pastry crust shaped like a drawstring bag.  Honey and morsels of baked apple gave this starter a sweet, apple-pie appeal.  It could almost have been served as a dessert!

My partner chose the Terrine de joue de Bœuf à la moutarde de violette, and received two generous slices of dense, spiced terrine of beef cheek.  White raisins were embedded in the terrine, and it was brushed with balsamic vinegar.  Although she found the dish slightly dry, she declared it quite flavorful.  It was accompanied with an undressed green salad:  tomato wedges, endive, oak leaf lettuce, and bitter greens.

For the main course, there were fifteen dishes from which to choose including two vegetarian plates.  I selected Gambas “Black Tiger” au raifort, riz safrane, a dish of three giant prawns served around a mound of fluffy, white, saffron-flavored rice.  The delicious, succulent, tender prawns had been shelled, but not deveined, a task that is somewhat messy at the table.  A fingerbowl would have been appropriate here!

Sauté de veau à la Pietra, polenta au basilic was my partner’s choice.  She received five pieces of sautéed veal shank cooked in Corsican beer and four generous portions of basil-flavored polenta.  She was quite pleased with the presentation and the preparation of the dish, and although she loves polenta, the serving was so copious that she could not finish it.  She sagely saved room for dessert.

Although the choice for wine was limited for this special meal, I was pleased with the white Bordeaux that was served.  It had a brilliant straw color and a light peach bouquet.  My partner received a red Bordeaux, medium bodied and dry with a hint of licorice.

Fresh, thick-cut baguette was served alongside in a basket.  Two pats of butter accompanied the bread.

Dessert was a real treat.  There were twelve to choose from, plus a cheese plate.  Spotting Crêpes à l’orange et Grand Marnier, I opted for that.  It turned out to be a good choice!  Three folded, warm crêpes were served on a place doused in Grand Marnier and sprinkled with sugar.  The pancakes were tender and delectable.  I transferred some butter from the bread basket onto the crêpes, making the dessert even more heavenly!

My partner was initially not quite so pleased with her Baba au vieux Rhum.  She found the pastry to be standard with a mild rum flavor.  However, when the waiter placed a bottle of Clément Rhum Vieux Agricole from Martinique on the table, she doused the baba liberally. This extra dose of rum added so much flavor to the dessert that she wondered what rum had been used originally.  Three generous dollops of whipped cream accompanied the baba.

The service was friendly and helpful.

The bill for two persons, including two starters, two main courses, two desserts, and two 25cl carafes of wine came to 70€.

We think that the new La Bouteille d’Or restaurant has a great future!



 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.


Ragueneau

Ragueneau restaurant in Paris, France202, rue Saint-Honoré
75001 Paris

Phone: 01.42.60.29.20

Metro Station: Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre (Lines 1 and 7)

Type of cuisine: French

Days & hours of operation: Mon to Fri Noon – 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.  Sat to Sun Noon – 3:00 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard

The restaurant Ragueneau is named in honor of one of the characters in Edmond Rostand’s famous play about poet and swordfighter Cyrano de Bergerac.  Ragueneau was a pastry chef, and upon entering the ground floor of the restaurant, which serves as a salon de thé, you can see his influence.  To the left stands a display case that presents myriad pastries available for takeout or for eating sur place.

The theme of the theater is reflected in the décor of the establishment.  Its dining room displays heavy cranberry-colored curtains, chairs cushioned in cranberry-colored velour cloth, a cranberry- and gold-colored carpet, and tables with dark-wood finish.

We recently came here for lunch and were seated upstairs, where posters and pictures mounted on the walls display scenes from the famous play.

Having made a reservation through lafourchette.com, we were entitled to a two-course lunchtime menu (starter + main or main + dessert) with a glass of wine included.  At 19€, the price seemed right!

We each ordered a Kir à la crème de pêche as an apéritif.

For the starter, I thought that the Pâté Landais en Croûte de Filet de Canard & Foie Gras du Pâtissier Poète sounded good.   I received a generous 1.5cm-thick slice of duck pâté in a pastry shell drizzled with a zigzag of balsamic vinegar and accompanied by a small green salad.  I found this country-style dish quite tasty.

My partner opted for a Gâteau Tiède de Foie Gras & Champignons Marinés, Roquette.  She was served a ceramic cup containing a layer of warm mousse of foie gras atop a thin bed of chopped, marinated mushrooms.  A spongy cake-like layer topped the foie gras mousse.  She was delighted with the unusual presentation and declared the dish sublime.

As well as starters, the menu offered a wide selection of main courses.  I chose Filet de Canette Poëlé Sauce Foie Gras & son Flan de Carotte.  The waitress served a plate containing four slices of filet of duck, cooked rare and served in a foie gras sauce.   The duck was tender and succulent and was accompanied by a small carrot cake that was dense, like a flan.

My partner’s choice was also a success.  The Emincé de Veau Rôti, Gratin de Navet au Parmesan, Jus Court au Romarin turned out to be three generous, well-seasoned slices of roast veal cooked medium (but not cooked medium-rare as requested).  The veal was accompanied by a turnip gratin flavored with Parmesan cheese.  A satisfying dish!

Fresh, thick-cut, crispy-crust baguette was served alongside in a basket.

To accompany the meal, we ordered a carafe of Château Tour des Gendres, a round, fruity red wine from Bergerac, the region from which Cyrano hailed.  Low in tannin, it developed a note of licorice after breathing for some time.

The service was friendly and helpful.  One waitress offered to substitute the kir apéritifs that we ordered in place of the wine that came with the fixed-price menu.  (Later, we decided to order a carafe of wine after all.)  The other waitress, spotting our camera on the table, offered to take our picture.

The bill for two, including two fixed-price lunchtime menus at 19€ each (two apéritifs, two starters, two mains), and a carafe of wine, came to 52€.  We were pleased, once again, that we had made our reservation through lafourchette.com.  By using this service we learn about fine restaurants that we would otherwise have never heard of, and, at the same time, we reduce our restaurant bill.

This restaurant offers jazz performances on Friday evenings.  For further information, visit its Web site.



 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.


Godjo

Godjo Ethiopian restaurant in Paris8, rue de l’Ecole Polytechnique
75005 Paris

Phone: 01.40.46.82.21

Metro Station: Maubert-Mutualité (Line 10)

Type of cuisine: Ethiopian

Days & hours of operation: Open every day from noon until 2:00 a.m. except Monday at lunchtime

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard

According to the Web site of this Ethiopian restaurant, the word Godjo means “a farmer’s house, the most humble of all abodes.”  It was here that we dined last Friday night on a huge platter laden with generous portions of food, eating it in the most humble manner…with our fingers.

Although we had made a reservation for 8:00 p.m., we had to wait on the sidewalk for about fifteen minutes for a table, so popular is this establishment.

Once seated, I sipped the house cocktail, made of rum and the juices of mango and papaya, while studying the menu.  The nectarous beverage was served without ice and topped with a slice of strawberry.  Because it was served at room temperature, it was not very refreshing, but was, nonetheless, sweet and pleasing.

I ordered Ye Feseg, portions of four traditional Ethiopian dishes all served together.  The serving consisted of ground beef, sliced beef, chicken, and stewed string beans.  My partner chose to order à la carte and requested Ater Azifa (purée of chickpeas) as a starter and Key Wot (spicy chicken).

We anticipated that our separate orders would each be served on a separate plate, but at the same time wondered how all of them would fit on the small dining table at which we sat.  The answer came when the waitress returned with a large metal platter set in a colorful basket.  The platter contained all of the courses that we had ordered, except for one:  the purée of chickpeas had been replaced by purée of lentils, apparently due to the waitress’ inattentiveness when taking the order.  We did not ask her to replace the dish because we did not realize the error at first.  When we tasted the purée, we liked it and chose not to have it replaced.

Along with the food, the waitress placed a plate containing round sheets of injera (the traditional, spongy flatbread of Ethiopia) on our table.  To eat the food, one must tear off a portion of the flatbread and use it to pick up the stewed meat and vegetables.  We learned very quickly how to eat with our fingers!  The appetizing food was quite spicy.  I ordered an Ethiopian beer, called St. George Beer, to cool the palate.  My partner ordered hot spiced tea, and found that it was heavily perfumed with clove.  This spice does not always agree with her, so she requested a carafe of water to accompany her meal.

The portions of food were so generous that I could not finish the meal.  As well as the four dishes mentioned above, the serving included two hardboiled eggs, lettuce and tomato salad, and white cheese (similar to cottage cheese).  I left behind one of the hardboiled eggs and a half-breast of chicken spiced with cumin, even though I found the meat tender and delicious.  My partner left a portion of spicy chicken breast for the same reason—the amount of food was too much for her as well.

Dessert, of course, I could not pass up.  I requested a bowl of ice cream and received two scoops, banana and coconut.  I especially liked the later—the rich ice cream contained delightfully chewy, shredded, sweet coconut.  My partner opted for an after-dinner drink instead, and selected the digestif Godjo aux épices.  This consisted of rum, sugar, lemon, ginger, and cinnamon, topped with a mint leaf.  She declared that it was quite flavorful and not overly strong.

Although the service was friendly, it was difficult to catch the servers’ attention because they were rushing around serving tables in the main dining room, the downstairs dining area, and on the sidewalk.  Tables are close together and there is not much room to walk in the center aisle. Our meals were slow to emerge from the kitchen, so we were obliged to wait quite a while for the food to be served.  These vexations will try the patience of diners who are accustomed to prompt service in a spacious dining area.

The restaurant is decorated with African motifs, including knick-knacks on display shelves, paintings, and masks.  It is a noisy place, but the sounds are those of happy customers enjoying their meals and each other’s company!  Apart from the intense dinnertime conversation, jazzy music playing over the sound system contributed to the clamor.

The bill for two persons, including one apéritif cocktail, one spice tea, one bottle of Ethiopian beer, one fixed-price menu, one starter, one main course, one dessert, and one after-dinner drink, came to 70.50€.

Diners in search of an exotic dining experience will find it at Godjo!



 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.


L’Atelier d’Antan

L'Atelier d'Anton restaurant in Paris, France9, rue Léopold Robert
75014 Paris

Phone: 01.43.21.36.19

Metro Station: Vavin (Line 4)

Type of cuisine: French

Days & hours of operation: Mon to Fri Noon – 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Sat 7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard, American Express

When we had lunch at L’Atelier d’Antan recently, the day was sunny and warm.  Consequently, the folding windows of the entire width of the restaurant were opened wide, and we could step inside as if we were entering onto a stage.  It was a stage of sorts, where the ritual of dining on delicious food was played out.  It had a start (an apéritif) and a finish (an espresso), followed by exclamations about the quality of the meal.

We had come here because we had heard that the restaurant serves a 3-course lunchtime menu for 17.50€.  There were four choices for the starter, four for the main course, and four for the dessert.

I was eager to try a starter that I initially thought I had never tasted before:  Museau de bœuf en vinaigrette.  It turns out that this does not translate into “muzzle of beef” as I thought, but rather as “headcheese,” something that I had tried before.  Be that as it may, I received a generous portion of thin slices of beef headcheese served in vinaigrette and resting on a green salad.  The appetizing flavor of this country-style dish was attributable largely to the vinaigrette, and I finished the portion feeling quite satisfied.

My partner ordered the Terrine forestière, a moist pâté of pork and morsels of eggplant wrapped in a thin layer of fat and served with a green salad and cherry tomatoes. This, too, was a country-style dish, which she found flavorsome.

The main course of the day was perch, and I selected that.  It was served with white rice and stewed, diced zucchini, onions, and tomatoes.  The proprietor told me that the sauce for the fish was made with white wine, shallots, and butter.  As with the starter, the flavor of the fish dish was attributable to the sauce, which I found rich and tempting.

Tendron de veau was my partner’s choice for the main course.  A generous slice of veal was braised in a tomato-based sauce with onion and carrot and served with a side of tender, perfumed rice. The meat was cooked to perfection and, surprisingly, the sauce was ever so slightly sweet.  My partner proclaimed that it was delicious!

Thick-cut Pain de lin (linseed bread) was served alongside.  It was fresh, slightly sweet, and chewy.

To accompany the meal I ordered a glass of Chardonnay, which I found somewhat tart.  My partner ordered a “petit vin rouge de Gascogne,” which she found light and refreshing.

Following the main course, the proprietor came by and announced the desserts of the day.  I opted for Ile flottante (floating island), made of whipped, baked egg whites served floating on a pond of crème anglaise (milky custard sauce).  I am rarely disappointed with this traditional French dessert, and this time was no exception.  The baked meringue was served in the shape of a triangular slice.  Its beautiful dark-brown crust was drizzled with sweet caramel sauce.

My partner selected Cheesecake aux noix, a triangular slice of cheese cake containing morsels of walnut and resting in a pool of crème anglaise.  Being accustomed to American-style cheese cakes, she did not find the dense, moist cake sweet enough to please her palate.

While we dined, jazz played over the sound system.  The restaurant has an old-time feel to it, with its rose-colored, terra-cotta floor, burgundy-colored vinyl benches, and light rosy-beige walls.  A framed certificate hangs on the wall, attesting to a diploma of honor awarded to chef and proprietor Pascal Alcaraz for excellence in the kitchen.

The service was friendly, efficient, and helpful.

The bill for two, including two champagne apéritifs, two three-course lunchtime menus, and four glasses of wine, came to 74€.  (An after-lunch espresso was served gratis.)

We think that travelers seeking traditional French cuisine served in old-time bistro ambiance will be pleased to dine here!


View Larger Map
 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.

 


Brasserie de l’Hôtel du Louvre

Brasserie du Louvre Paris FrancePlace du Palais Royal
75001 Paris

Phone: 01.44.58.37.21

Metro Station: Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre (Lines 1 and 7)

Type of cuisine: French

Days & hours of operation: Open every day.
7:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. and Noon – 10:00 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard, American Express

The Brasserie de l’Hôtel du Louvre lies on place du Palais Royal and is only a stone’s throw from place Colette across the street.  From the restaurant, depending upon where one is seated, there are superb views of either square and the magnificent buildings that surround them.  It is an ideal place for travelers looking for a impressive location at which to dine!

The interior of the restaurant corresponds with the allure of the neighborhood.  Shiny brass coat racks perched on wood-paneled space dividers; seating on plump burgundy- and gold-cushioned benches; cranberry- and navy-colored carpet; windows displaying frosted grand arches and a curtain motif…can the quality of the food here match the sumptuousness of the décor?

We arrived at 7:00 p.m. and were seated in a room that gave a splendid view of place du Palais Royal.  Although my partner’s back was turned to the square, she could see it reflected in the huge mirrors on the wall.  No matter where one sits, there is an outstanding view!

While sipping our apéritifs, served with goblet of green olives, we studied the menu.  For the starter, I ordered Effilochée de daurade à la moutarde en grains et aubergines au pamplemousse, a disk of shredded sea-bream flavored with mustard grains and topped with purée of eggplant flavored with grapefruit.  The fish had a delicate flavor, not at all fishy; its flavor contrasted sharply with the bits of grapefruit in the eggplant purée.  Surprisingly, the four different ingredients (mustard, sea-bream, eggplant, and grapefruit) made a satisfying combination!

My partner ordered Foie gras de canard aux zestes de citron vert, confit de physalis.  She received a plate containing two large triangles of toast, two disks of foie gras, a dollop of red Physalis (a small fruit similar to a tomato) mixed with apricot, and a sprinkling of fleur de sel (sea salt).  The foie gras was firm, but yielded in the mouth; its flavor was delicate and buttery.  The red Physalis chutney was fibrous looking (like rhubarb), yet its texture was soft and its flavor slightly sweet.

The appearance on the menu of Noix de coquilles Saint-Jacques sur une mitonnée de courgettes apprêtées aux câpres et pignon de pin, vinaigrette à l’orange tempted me, and I was not at all disappointed to receive five large, plump scallops for the main course.  Three of the scallops rested on a bed of slow-cooked, diced zucchini and red bell pepper with capers and pine nuts.  The scallops were extra-tender and were not overly-seasoned with garlic, as they often are in some restaurants.

My partner enjoyed her Selle d’agneau rôtie au tandoori, jus à la menthe et pointe d’ail.  The three thick portions of lamb saddle that she received had been cooked tandoori style and were served with a pitcher of mint sauce subtly flavored with garlic.  She had requested that the lamb be cooked rosé (medium rare), and that is the way it arrived.  A mixed-green salad was served alongside in a square bowl.

To accompany the meal, we each ordered wine by the glass.  My white Vallée de la Loire – Sancerre – 2010 – Domaine Serge Laloue was dry with bright citrus notes.  My partner’s Vallée du Rhône – Châteauneuf du Pape – 2007 – Le Clos de l’Oratoire was round, supple, and slightly tannic.

Fresh, thick-cut baguette was served alongside in a basket.  As the bread had not been cut all the way through, we had to grasp the loaf by its crispy crust and pull away the pre-cut slice, an action that revealed the soft crumb riddled with alveoli.  Delicious!

Dessert was also a grand affair.  I opted for the Baba au rhum, crème légère à la vanille parfumée à l’eau de rose et ananas caramélisé, a dense yeast cake resting on caramelized pineapple, soaked in rum, and topped with whipped cream flavored with rose water.  My partner selected Pêches sanguines enrobées de mascarpone au citron vert.  The dessert that she was served resembled a miniature baked Alaska.  It consisted of a layer of chocolate cake, topped with mascarpone and sanguine peaches, all covered with whipped cream, forming a small dome.  Surprisingly, she was not fully satisfied with this treat, because she did not expect and did not want the flavor of chocolate to compete with that of the peaches and mascarpone.

The service was efficient, friendly, and helpful, although I was surprised that the waitress did not clear the tablecloth of crumbs (as is usually the case in upscale restaurants) before the dessert was served.  (We noted that this was not done for other customers as well.)

While we dined, “beautiful people” music (soothing, soulful, easy listening, contemporary) played over the speaker system.

As we had reserved our table through lafourchette.com, we received a 40% reduction off the price of the meal (beverages excluded), permitting us to enjoy a fine-dining splurge in this handsome restaurant.  The bill for two after the discount, including two apéritifs, two glasses of wine, one bottle of sparkling water, and two three-course à la carte meals, came to 112.10€.



 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.


Toi

Toi restaurant in Paris France27, rue du Colisée
75008 Paris

Phone: 01.42.56.56.58

Metro Station: Franklin D. Roosvelt (Line 1) or Saint-Philippe du Roule (Line 9)

Type of cuisine: French

Days & hours of operation: Open every day. Lunch 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (except Saturday); Dinner 7:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.; Sunday brunch 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard, American Express

The colors plum, rose, salmon, and beige dazzle the eyes of diners who enter here, as we did on one recent Tuesday afternoon for lunch with our friend Roger.  Many would call the ambiance of this restaurant “contemporary,” I would call it “futuristic.”  It was as though we had entered the dining room of a spaceship bound for Mars.  What kind of food could possibly be served here, I wondered, if this décor was any indication?  A glance at the menu would reveal that it was largely French cuisine, and that the food did not, in fact, have any connection with the ambiance.

Cautiously, I surveyed the carte and found dishes whose names looked familiar, but whose prices were rather high.  Consequently, I ordered from the lunchtime menu, whose prices ranged from 6€ to 7€ for starters, 14€ to 15€ for mains, and 6€ to 7€ for desserts.  My partner, throwing caution to the wind, ordered à la carte.

For the starter, Roger and I selected Croque chèvre et canard au pain d’épices, and received a plate displaying a small salad of arugula dressed in balsamic vinegar and three slices of spice bread between which rested creamy goat cheese and thin slices duck breast.  This was an appetizing dish, and I appreciated the touch of sweetness that came from strips of honey that had been dabbed on the plate.

My partner requested L’Ardoise de petits nems, façon Thaï, a platter of five deep-fried, crispy rolls containing vegetables and shrimp, and resting on a bed of sucrine and mint leaves.

Pavé de saumon meunière, grattin de courgettes was my choice for the main course.  The slice of succulent salmon came dressed in a light cream sauce alongside a serving of sliced zucchini baked with cheese. It was a satisfying, tasty dish.

For twice the price, the name of my partner’s main course was almost twice as long:  Filet d’agneau en croute d’herbes, onctueuse purée et morilles.  She received a slice of lamb that had been roasted in a crust of semolina and herbs.  As she had requested that vegetables be substituted for the puréed potatoes (with morel mushrooms), she was pleased to get a mixed side-dish of zucchini, green beans, and carrots.

Roger ordered the lunchtime lamb dish, which was served with a generous portion of tagliatelle pasta.

For the wine accompaniment, we ordered a bottle of Domaine Serge Laloue – Sancerre – 2009.

While my partner declined to order dessert, Roger and I plunged ahead and each ordered the Café gourmand (Verrine surprise, cookies, sorbet), which sounded like a good deal at 8€.  We each received two macarons, one scoop of raspberry sorbet on a bed of crumble, and one vacherin (a small jar containing raspberry syrup resting on a layer of thick, sweet cream).  All this and an espresso, too!  Sumptuous!

While we dined, soft rock music and rap played over the sound system, including music by Sade and Nu Shooz.

The service was helpful and friendly.

The bill for three persons, including three starters, three main courses, two desserts, and a bottle of wine came to 144€.

Travelers who seek a restaurant serving appetizing food in a trendy atmosphere will find it here.  And, the fact that the restaurant is open seven days a week will be of interest to those who arrive in Paris on a Sunday and are looking for a suitable place to eat.



 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.


La Rotonde

La Rotonde Restaurant in ParisPlace de la Bataille de Stalingrad
75019 Paris

Phone: 01.80.48.33.40

Metro Station: Stalingrad (Lines 2, 5, and 7)
and Jaurès (Lines 2, 5, and 7bis)

Type of cuisine: French

Days & hours of operation: Open every day from 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, MasterCard, American Express

La Rotonde is a newly-opened restaurant in a newly-renovated rotunda that once served to house administrative offices of a tax wall that had been built around Paris. A magnificent example of neoclassical architecture, it also served as a monumental gateway into the city.

The building is in the shape of a cylinder (rotunda) set into a Greek cross.  The central part of the restaurant has a clear glass dome for a roof.  Here, the tables and chairs are lightweight (the chairs look like those that one finds in the Luxembourg Garden), indicating that the area is appropriate for informal dining.   From this vantage point, customers can look into the open kitchen, which is quite impressive.  In the left wing, just off the rotunda, the tables and chairs are sturdier for more formal dining.  In the right wing, one finds the huge, amply stocked bar.

We were greeted courteously and were seated quickly in the dining area in the wing.

In a celebratory mood, we each ordered a glass of Jacquart champagne.  Its taste was fresh and light, with very fine bubbles.  It was not sharp as champagnes sometimes are.

I ordered my entire meal from the chalkboard (called ardoise, in French) listing the suggestions of the day.  For the starter, I selected the Gaspacho de tomates andalou, crème d’herbes.  The soup was thick and cold with accents of garlic and topped with a dollop of thick cream that had been mixed with chopped chive and other spices.  It was a refreshing start to what would be a fine meal.

My partner ordered Salade de jeunes pousses, oreilles de cochon grillées from the menu.  Thin slices of breaded, deep-fried pig ears were served on a lightly-dressed mesclun salad.  If you like red onions, you’ll be pleased to find these in the salad.  The unlikely combination of crunchy pig ears and salad was delightful!

From the chalkboard again, I requested the Daurade entière rôtie aux épices douces, sauce thaï. It was an entire roasted gilthead sea bream resting in a shallow pool of sweetly-spiced “Thaï” sauce.  I do not know what the spices were, but the tender, succulent fish was delicious (but also quite boney).  Mashed potatoes were served alongside in a bowl.  Olive oil had been added instead of cream, giving the potatoes tempting sweetness.

Côte de veau rôtie, croûte d’amandes torréfiées, jus arabica was my partner’s selection from the chalkboard.  She was served a generous portion of veal chop covered with roasted, crushed almonds and accentuated with coffee-flavored gravy.  In a bowl alongside was a tombée de légumes: lightly sautéed red, yellow and green peppers, carrots, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and red onions.  The veal chop was thicker than anticipated, and perfectly prepared.  My partner had no worries about going away hungry after consuming this dish!  The vegetables were brightly colored and flavorful, with the spinach leaves being an unusual, but welcome addition to the medley.

As a beverage accompaniment, we ordered a carafe of Savignon Saint-Clair, a fresh-tasting white wine expressing a hint of apricot.

A basket of thick cut, country baguette with crunchy crust and soft alveoli-riddled crumb was served alongside.

When time for dessert came, I ordered Fraises au balsamique, glace vanille.  The strawberries were served their balsamic-flavored juices in a stout glass, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  The vanilla flavor of the ice cream was quite pronounced and one could see flecks of vanilla pod in the frozen dessert.

Whenever a restaurant offers baba au rhum, my partner usually selects it.  This time was no exception, and she ordered the Baba moelleux au rhum, chantilly vanille.  Resembling a tiramisu, it too came in a stout glass with baba pastry at the bottom layered with an equal volume of thick crème Chantilly.  A clear, plastic dropper containing a portion of Montebello run from Martinique and a straw protruded from the cream.  She had only to give the dropper a squeeze to inject the alcohol into the cake and then begin eating! The baba pastry was finer in texture than most babas that my partner has tasted, which she approved of.  She also quite liked the unusual presentation – including the straw, which allowed her to enjoy every drop of the fine quality rum used for this dish.

While we dined, the music of Prince, Chaka Khan, and David Bowie played over the sound system, and then, somewhat incongruously, the Beach Boys sang Surfin’ Safari.  After a while, the music was turned down and eventually got lost in the background conversation.

Service was attentive and friendly.  This is a newly-opened restaurant and the staff went out of its way to please.

The bill for two, including two glasses of champagne, two starters, two main courses, two desserts, one carafe of wine, and an espresso, came to 84.30€.  We had reserved a special 25% promotion through lafourchette.com, and were pleased to enjoy the reduction in price as well as experience the excitement of dining in a new restaurant!


View Larger Map
 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.