We are foodies. No doubt about it.
We love exploring new restaurants when we travel and revisit old favorites. We seek out places that use fresh local ingredients and interesting food preparations. And we always like to try dishes that a region is known for.
Here are our reviews of places we have dined in Paris during our many trips to the area that are still open as of late 2022. They are listed alphabetically by Arrondissement.
Check online for current locations and menus as chefs and menus often change. And let us know if we have missed your favorite Paris restaurant so that we can visit it on our next Paris trip.
L’Escargot Montorgueil (38 Rue Montorgueil)
This Marais neighborhood spot specializes in, you guessed it, escargot. We were in the mood for some and thought this would be a good place to try. Although we were very disappointed with their “standard” garlic butter and parsley snails, we found two other offerings more interesting, if considerably more expensive. We particularly enjoyed the escargot with truffle butter and also enjoyed the escargot with foie gras melted into the butter. We paired it with a half-carafe of J. Moreau Chablis Reserve. While the lunch was filling, we felt it was expensive when compared to more interesting and sophisticated lunches at Calmato and especially Potaka.
Chez La Vieille (1 Rue Bailleul)
This casual, inexpensive bistro has wonderful food, a varied and relatively inexpensive wine list, and a very accommodating service. Tom had three dishes: veal kidneys on toast with cream sauce, roasted duck breast with figs and butternut squash, and rice pudding with peach compost and pistachios. Joyce had baked hake with white beans, clams, and pasta. The wine list also had some nice bargains. We enjoyed a bottle of Rudolphe Demougot Clos St-Desire Chardonnay from Beaune and a glass of a Provence red, Le Vallon (a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon) from Provence.
Juveniles (47 Rue de Richelieu)
We were disappointed with our dinner. The langoustines (more like moderate-sized shrimp) with beurre blanc, green tomatoes, and fig oil were very salty. The corn soup dish with mussels and pear was somewhat more interesting but not great. We finished by splitting a rice pudding and caramel sauce. Our wiine was a Domaine Paul Blanck “Schlossberg” Grand Cru Riesling from Alsace.
La Poule au Pot (9 Rue Vauvilliers)
We started with a nice escargot appetizer followed by 2 very good mains: arctic char quenelle with Nantua sauce; and frog legs in garlic butter. Our bottle of Coffinet-Duvernay “Les Gouverneurs” Chassagne Montrachet was nice but a bit too bold for our dishes, but a very nice wine. Another restaurant that deserves a return visit.
Bouillon Chartier (7 rue du Faubourg Montmartre)
This ultra-casual bistro, known as a “budget” restaurant, is perpetually packed. Patrons are seated wherever there is space. If a table for four is occupied by two, the next party of two is seated at the same table. When you order, servers write the dishes on your paper placemat and add up the total bill on the same placemat. We had two appetizers and one main dish. Both appetizers–-the escargot and the pressed foie gras–-were delicious (although little can be done to ruin either). The main dish, pan-seared dorado, was overcooked, somewhat dry, and lacked much taste. Still, it was a fun experience and a great bargain. All this, plus full bottles of sparkling water and a basic Cote du Rhone. Not a gourmet meal, but a lot of fun and inexpensive.
La Bourse et La Vie (12 Rue Vivienne)
We stopped here for lunch and were surprised at the extremely limited menu. We suspect that it was struggling with post-covid staffing and has trimmed things back. Although the food (hake with vegetables and chicken liver pate en croute) was good, it was not at the same level as our last visit. And we wish we had more food choices.
On a previous pre-covid trip, we enjoyed a fabulous dinner. We began with foie gras and toast. Then we had two main dishes: roasted pigeon with foie gras and pistachios, and roasted turbot with beurre blanc. Both dishes were delicious, as was our friend’s veal stew. We finished with a nice baba au rhum with cream. Our wine was a Fanny Sabre Burgundy.
Chez Janou (2 Rue Roger Verlomme)
Based on a friend’s recommendation, we stopped at this wonderful neighborhood spot. We each had one main plate: the perfectly cooked half a Mediterranean sea bass with mixed vegetables in a provincial sauce; and a very good rabbit confit with asparagus wrapped in bacon. We added a bottle of Les Fetoules Gigondas. These dishes were so good that we had to try one of the many tempting desserts. The excellent crème brulee was another winner. A wonderful restaurant.
Robert et Louise (64 Rue Vieille du Temple)
We were looking for a casual spot for a quick lunch—and for good food. We took a shot at this place and were glad we did. The mushroom omelet was filled with large and tasty mushrooms. The sautéed prawns came with crunchy (just the way we like them) slices of potato. Both dishes included salads and we split a half carafe of house Chardonnay. Although we planned to eat upstairs at the bar, the server suggested we try the basement. We loved its arched stone ceilings and old mementos on the walls. Good food and service.
Au Bourguignon du Marais (52 rue François Miron)
Everything is Burgundian: the menu the wine list, the atmosphere, and the cooking. Joyce had a filet of bass with a very light verde sauce (perhaps a bit too light and sparse). Tom had beef bourguignon (a specialty), which was so good that he ended up sopping up much of the rich juices with bread. These dishes, of course, had to be complemented with a Burgundian wine—not that the wine list provided many other choices other than a few Champagnes. We ordered an old vine Domaine Daniel et Fils Cdian Cote de Nuits Village. Very good.
We were so impressed that we returned a second time on that trip. Joyce had her normal sea bass and one of our friends had the beef bourguignon that Tom had on our previous visit (both of which were again enjoyed). We also explored three new dishes. The Burgundian ham appetizer (with cornichons and pickled onions), creme brulee, and especially the roast lamb loin were all quite good. So too was the service and the same Cote de Nuits Village red Burgundy that we enjoyed on our last visit.
On a previous trip (and our first visit to this restaurant) we had a great experience sitting on the sidewalk in one of our favorite neighborhoods. We shared three dishes: pressed duck foie gras, ham pâté, and a perfectly cooked fillet of salmon with salad and a half bottle of Cote de Nuit. Close to heaven.
Brasserie de L’Isle St-Louis (55 quai de Bourbon)
A friend highly recommended this brasserie. Judging from the menu and the dishes of many of the people around us, it specializes in Alsatian fare. We, however, went classic Parisian. The perfectly cooked (rare) entrecote was very tasty. We also had what is probably the lightest, fluffiest, and one of the tastiest ham and cheese omelets either of us ever ate. Both dishes came with some welcome (although not too often) French fries
Bofinger Brasserie (5-7 Rue de la Bastille)
This ornate, old-line restaurant has served meals since 1864. Although the outside is relatively non-descript, the inside is quite ornate. The main dining room has a beautiful carved, curved staircase, that is graced with pretty light fixtures and topped by a large stained-glass dome. Even the restrooms were ornate, with stained glass windows in the doors, mosaic floors, and even huge, ornate (topped with carved fish) urinals. All very interesting! We, however, were there for the food. This too was quite satisfying, if not exceptional. We had three dishes. We were pleased with the escargot, as we were with the salmon/scallop tartare (and especially with the candied fennel slice that topped the dish with a nice sweetness). Tom had a dish he probably hasn’t had for forty years: veal kidney casserole. This dish had mushrooms, potatoes, and lentils in a heavy port wine sauce. It was great. This place has a very traditional atmosphere, solid service, and good, dependable food.
La Chaumiere (4 Rue Jean du Bellay)
We had two dishes here. The salmon tartare with soy sauce and sesame seeds was OK but we felt it was very overpriced. The frog legs sautéed in garlic and parsley butter was pretty good but not as good as the half-bottle of Chablis.
Page 35 (4 Rue du Parc Royal)
This casual art and poster-filled place is another favorite. While most of the other lunch crowd had galettes, we had large meals. We split a three-course “Terroir Menu” with charcuterie (coppa, smoked duck breast, and house pate), beef bourguignon with fries, and a Brittany-style salty butter caramel dessert crepe. We also had semi-grilled tuna with a chopped tomato salad and a bottle of St. Emillion (Chateau Tour de Beauregard,). While the food was generally good, the juice of the beef Bourgogne, especially in comparison with that at Au Bourgignon du Marais, was disappointingly thin and watery. Generally, however, the food and wine list were both pretty good, we enjoyed the atmosphere, and liked both our server and the proprietor/chef who was often out interacting with customers.
Pain, Vins, Fromage (3 Rue Geoffroy-l’Angevin)
We love this wonderful, casual, and inexpensive fondue/raclette and other Swiss/rustic French food-focused restaurant. As our favorite fondue restaurant, we return to it every time we are in Paris. In fact, we like it so much that we sometimes visit it twice on a longer trip. If we are lucky, we sit in the downstairs stone-arched cave. Each fondue requires a minimum of 2 orders so bring friends if one of you likes cheese and the other likes beef. Or, do what we sometimes do. Order both and just gorge.
Although several varieties of cheese fondue are offered, we usually have the Savoyard fondue. The combination of emmenthal, beaufort, and comte cheeses with kirsh and the restaurant’s own combination of spices is excellent. Whatever the secret of the dish, it is absolutely delicious—probably one of the best fondues we have had.
While the beef fondue has a lot of meat (250 grams per person) and comes with three dipping sauces (béarnaise, red pepper, and spicy), it is not particularly special–or maybe not as special as the cheese fondue.
Every once in a while, we even have room for dessert: chocolate fondue with fruit or a large serving of coconut ice cream.
And wine always makes it better. Past wines have been a passable Chateau Haut-Madrac Haut Medoc, a pleasant, inexpensive Domaine Gendraud Chablis, and a Chassagne Montrachet.
The fondue, the service, and the atmosphere are all wonderful. And maybe someday we will pass on the fondue and try the raclette or a cheese plate.
Pure heaven if you like fondue.
Le Saint Regis (6 Rue Jean du Bellay)
The restaurant on Île Saint-Louis is fun, if not particularly exciting. If we were in the neighborhood looking for a place to eat, we might return for lunch but we wouldn’t go out of the way. The blanquette of veal special in a cream sauce with mushrooms and rice was tasty but the veal was a bit fatty. The omelet with a creamy tomato sauce was very enjoyable. We added wine from the Languedoc which was rather basic, but full-flavored fruit and ready to drink.
Le Symposium (29 Rue de la Huchette)
We were looking for something other than the standard fare you can get on Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis. We found it just over the bridge from Île de la Cité. Fondues, and not just any fondue, but goat cheese and duck meat—two that we had never before had. We were hooked and, by the end of the meal, we were satiated and happy we choose the restaurant.
Allard (41 rue Saint-André des Arts)
We were anxious to try the Allain Ducasse restaurant in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. We began with escargot Bourgogne (pretty good, but too much parsley). We enjoyed sea bass with a mixture of tomato, capers, zucchini, and lemon that made the dish. Our other main dish was frog legs sautéed in garlic sauce with rice. The frog legs were pretty good but nothing special. But the rice was the most delicate, fluffy rice we ever had. Given the wine prices, we were happy to find a very nice reasonably-priced Cote de Nuit Village Burgundy. While the food was good, it was not extraordinary enough to justify the price in our opinion. Paris has too many alternatives with more favorable price/value.
Breizh Café (109 Rue Vieille du Temple)
This very popular, perpetually crowded café is known for its galettes (buckwheat-based savory crepes) and its dessert crepes. We had two galettes: one was ham, Gruyere, and mushroom with a sunnyside-up egg and the other was a combination of blue cheese with pine honey and walnuts. The latter one was an interesting combination, but we thought the earthy flavor masked the tastes of the ingredients. Our dessert was on wheat flour, rather than buckwheat crepe. It was heaven for two chestnut lovers: chestnut paste with chestnut ice cream and whipped cream. Although we enjoyed the combinations, we would have preferred all of the servings to have been with wheat flour crepes. This, however, is our particular taste. Indeed, as we discovered, most of the creperies that we saw serve all savory crepes as galettes.
Le Comptoir du Relais (9 carrefour de l’Odéon)
Chef Yves Camdeborde’s restaurant is located in the Hotel Relais Saint Germain. It is a brasserie with a menu that is far different and much more elaborate than other brasseries.
We thoroughly enjoyed most of the dishes we have had here in several visits: a very nice steak tartare; a standout blue lobster tail in lobster bisque cream with penne pasta, peas, chopped zucchini ginger, and lobster bisque foam; incredible bone marrow with peas, beans, and bacon, topped with a flavorful fume; beef tartare with egg, chives, capers, pureed eggplant, and parmesan; roast octopus with ink, pasta, and another fume; and escargot. the pork belly was of less interest. Our least favorite of all was a pre-cooked veal sliced and served carpaccio style with cod liver and parmesan.
Auguste (54 Rue de Bourgogne)
We have eaten here numerous times and always thoroughly enjoy this Michelin-starred restaurant. It starts with the initial amuse bouche, to the complementary last bites, and pretty much everything in between. On our recent visit, the amuse consisted of a parmesan wafer with artichoke cream and tomato with smoked eel in a light phyllo dough. Our main courses consisted of a tender, tasty veal saddle with carrots and carrot puree and foam and an equally rewarding turbot with Chantilly perfume and wild herbs. They were followed with small madeleines. Given the “plague” of tiny, limited wine-by-the-glass and half-bottle offerings that we face in most Parisian restaurants, we ended up with a bottle for lunch: 2018 Domaine Borgeot “Vielles Vignes” Santenay red Burgundy.
Pottoka (4, rue de l’exposition)
This is still a must-visit restaurant and we find ourselves returning here on most trips. We thoroughly enjoyed many of the dishes we have had here: pan-fried octopus with buckwheat vinaigrette and Jerusalem artichokes; seabass on Iberian ham with white beans, herb foam, and snail croquettes; pork-belly, pork sausage, and pork trotter-stuffed conchiglie pasta; tempura of octopus on a bed of paper-thin slices of radish, with two dipping sauces: black-crusted (with squid ink) cod with fennel, mache coulis, and lemon foam; and duckling fillet with ginger-spiced apple/pear compote, mashed sweet potato, and red onion crisps.
And the best part: Pottaka is incredibly affordable.
L’Ami Jean (27 Rue Malar)
This restaurant is run in a military-like fashion by a perfectionist chef. At first, we were a bit turned off by our server’s coolness and curtness. Then, after some time in the restaurant, hearing repeated sharp claps of the chef’s hands to signal servers that a dish was ready to be served—and the occasional angry yell when something was not done to his satisfaction–we understood the reason for the staff’s brusqueness. This crisp efficiency was also apparent in the menu. The very brief descriptions did not begin to describe the dishes (and our server had similarly limited and oblique explanations). We were, however, more interested in the food than in conversations with the staff.
On a recent lunch, we had a satisfactory, although not exciting, roast grouse (with sinfully delicious, creamy pureed potatoes). Less impressive was a lobster risotto with squid ink. As in many places, the wine list by the glass was also disappointing.
We had better luck at a dinner here on a previous trip. Our first dish of a lobe of seared foie gras did not excite us. Instead of being served with some type of sweet compliment that cut the fat of the liver, it was in an austere sauce dominated by the taste of the large poblano chili and the accompanying eggplant. Even the Sauterne we had ordered to complement the foie couldn’t compensate for the chili. Our two main dishes, by contrast, were incredible. The grilled octopus (an appetizer that was the size of a small main course) with Britanny spices and bacon, feta, and a little onion—covered with what appeared to be a smothering amount of grated parmesan that ended up melting into the dish and creating a dish with a subtle taste and a tender (but not mushy) texture. The roast wild pigeon was cooked to perfection with a mild, slightly gamey taste.
La Maison de l’Aubrac (37 Rue Marbeuf)
This popular meat restaurant was a huge disappointment. The entry wall lined with refrigerated cases of aging beef looked promising. Our high expectations of the rib steak were dashed when a thin slice of meat (cooked rare, as requested) was mostly tough, stringy, and tasteless. We didn’t fare better with the half chicken which was dry and tasteless. The only redeeming factors were the creamy pureed potatoes and a bottle of Perrin “Les Sinads” Chateauneuf de Pape.
Maison de le Truffle (it has several locations including 19 Place de la Madeleine)
As the name suggests, this is a truffle restaurant. Truffles can be put on most dishes and you can choose from more price-friendly (but less flavorful) white summer truffles or more expensive black truffles. As we had a big dinner planned for the evening, we stopped for a light lunch. For appetizers, we enjoyed the beef carpaccio with black truffles, parmesan cheese, and arugula salad) and an imaginative and tasty crab mille-feuille that layers tasty crab salad between leaves of celery root and Granny Smith apples. The main dishes we have enjoyed are: summer truffle ravioli with truffle cream; Scottish salmon on crisped skin with zucchini and candied cherry tomatoes; and roasted bass in a delicate cream sauce, topped with a generous layer of white truffles and accompanied by sautéed spinach and watercress.
And we couldn’t resist the wonderful bread with truffle olive oil. Yum.
Monbleu Faubourg Montmartre (37 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre)
We wanted to relive the past of a wonderful cheese store/restaurant that seamlessly integrated cheese into sophisticated dishes. Although that restaurant is long gone our hotel suggested Monbleu as an alternative. While Monbleu does integrate cheese into its dishes, most of the dishes are fairly basic, the cheeses rather pedestrian, and the results very mixed. We most enjoyed Club Des 5, a combination of five soft, very melty kinds of cheese over potatoes and red onions in a form of raclette. The ham and cheese croquettes were a near miss due to an insufficient amount of cheese that was not well integrated into the lukewarm croquettes. The compte buns and a large but uninspired selection of five kinds of cheese were both disappointing. Our wine was a pleasant Viognier-based white from Condrieu (a northern Rhone River Valley town renowned for its whites) and La Combe de Mallevalle from Stéphane Ogier.
Le Paradis (76 rue Saint Martin)
We stopped at this restaurant for a fast lunch before an afternoon at the nearby Pompidou Center. We split three dishes. The escargot was good, but we have had better. Also good but not extraordinary was avocado tartar, topped with smoked salmon. The best dish was a large plate of steak tartare (with capers, shallots, and topped with an egg yolk) that no matter how much we wanted to finish, we were unable to do so. The only disappointments were the two glasses of wine: a Brouilly and Cote de Rhone.
Sur Mer (53 Rue de Lancry)
Sur Mer is another casual small-plate seafood-focused restaurant and is in the St.-Martin district. We particularly enjoyed the steamed clams with rutabaga and infused vinegar; the grilled shrimp with Kashmiri masala and chrysanthemum leaves, and the roast octopus with fennel BBQ sauce and whipped fennel potatoes. We were less enthused by a rather tasteless bonito tartar with a sour-ish goat cottage cheese, sumac, and beetroot. Our wine was a decent Domaine Clair Obscur Chardonnay from the Corbeau region of Burgundy’s cote d’Or. While the restaurant is very nice, the dishes did not have quite enough complexity.
Septime (80 Rue de Charonne)
This is a tough Paris restaurant to get a dinner reservation. Fortunately, we were able to get in for lunch several times (it serves many of the same dinner dishes for lunch). We ordered two three-course meals and get to taste most of the options.
Our starters consisted of sliced grilled duck hearts with hazelnuts and mushrooms, withed spinach, and a blueberry sauce drizzle; and mussels with egg fume sabayon and rhubarb. While both were good, the mussels were a standout. For our main courses, the chicken en plancha with tranche-ciboulette yogurt sauce was nice and juicy with crisp skin but was hardly a dish to remember. Not so for the grilled squid with a light pepper-mustard sauce and tomatoes, which was very good. Since we both love cheese, we both ordered the cheese plate and had two kinds of cheese (camembert and a hard, aged, Tome de Valcivieres) which made for a perfect ending.
We were surprised at the wine selection which was small, obscure, and from our perspective, not very satisfying. One could choose a glass of wine from a list of three reds, three whites, and one orange wine. No half bottles were available and we didn’t want a full bottle of wine with lunch. While we ended up with glasses of white and red Languedoc wines (neither of which excited us), the restaurant does offer a large and interesting list by the bottle.
We enjoyed a return visit as much as we did our initial one. Another lunch, another six dishes between us. The bone marrow appetizer was served with marinated mussels, seaweed, and thinly sliced cornichons which transformed the dish from okay to very good. The bonita crudo with rhubarb, cabbage, and horseradish cream was good, but not as flavorful as the bone marrow. Both main dishes were tasty: a lightly poached pollock with white beans, andouille, and butter/pepper sauce; and a 24-hour crisp-skinned pork belly with watercress, spinach, and lightly grilled onions. We ended our meal on an even higher note: sharing a cheese plate (Auveranche cow milk and Ardeche goat milk) and a dessert of figs and blackberry with fig compote and fig ice cream. We accompanied the meal with glasses of white burgundy wine and a Mouvedre from Languedoc.
Clamato (80 Rue de Charonne)
This casual, small-plate seafood-focused restaurant is in the Charonne district. The chef is from the next-door restaurant Septime. All of our 5 dishes were good, but two were standouts. We loved the deconstructed dish of squid with pickled grapes, hazelnuts, and chili sauce and also the roasted cepes mushrooms with fig leaves and sabayon. The deviled egg with caviar was very nice but overpriced for the experience. The mesclun salad with sliced pear and smoked haddock was pleasant, although the special clam with lime and vinegar was a bit strong for our taste.
Little Café (62 Rue du Roi de Sicile)
We began our meal with escargot, which was pretty good, but the garlic butter was not as rich or flavorful as we would have preferred. We then had a very good salmon tartare atop couscous and a good, but not especially notable, sliced duck breast with honey and ginger sauce. We had these with a Cote de Rhone. It was, however, probably our server that was the best part of the experience. Despite being very busy, he was always helpful, friendly, and available. And when a mistake was made (the duck initially came well done, rather than medium rare), he immediately took responsibility, saying that he input the order incorrectly and replaced the first dish very quickly. Our perception of the cafe, however, diminished significantly when we later returned for lunch. While the escargot was again good, the beef carpaccio and beef tartare were very disappointing, almost totally lacking in taste, as if from an inferior piece of meat. We would not recommend this place after the disappointing lunch.
Les Jardins du Marais (35 rue du Roi de Sicile)
We wouldn’t normally go to a restaurant that offers everything from pizzas and pasta to burgers and grilled fish. But we were looking for something else—salads. And they offered one of the best selections we had seen. The salads were light and pretty good: a Gorgonzola salad with mixed greens, tomato, and hard-boiled egg; and avocado and shrimp on a bed of lettuce, with a little tomato. The downside was that the second salad had a relatively small handful of tiny shrimp that came only mixed in a Louis sauce.
L’Avant Gout (26 Rue Bobillot)
While we aren’t normally in this area, the restaurant came highly recommended to us. The roasted quail appetizer with mashed eggplant, cheese, and cumin was delicious. The house specialty, a pot-au-feu with ham, sweet potatoes, and fennel with a horseradish sauce served with a cup of spicy broth was pretty good, albeit less inspired. We felt the same way about a red plum crumble dessert with white cheese sorbet. The greatest disappointment, however, was the soy-glazed smoked salmon with vegetables in phyllo. It was very salty and very smoky. While the Croze Hermitage wine went particularly well with the pot-au-feu, we were not especially excited by the restaurant, especially for the distance we had to travel to get there and back. We will not return.
Restaurant Waknine (9 Avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie)
We had two very nice dishes at this upscale, generally business restaurant: a light, but very good fig carpaccio with fresh mozzarella and basil; and grilled veal scallops in a light, white wine/lemon sauce with fresh spinach, along with a carafe of a Pinot-Gamey blend.
This Alain Ducasse restaurant is reputed to be the best seafood restaurant in the city. Although we can’t vouch for that claim, we had a wonderful experience and even managed to escape with our wallets intact despite some nosebleed pricing. We did, however, order a bit sparsely—too sparsely according to our server (who we assured that we would order more if we were still hungry—which we weren’t) and in relation to the dinners of others in our room. Even so, we couldn’t eat everything we ordered and ended up leaving some of our food on our plates. We also left with a very favorable impression of the restaurant, its food, and its staff.
After an amuse-bouche of marinated gray mullet with quinoa, we had two starters: the restaurant’s signature crab cakes (small, moist, filled with crab, and very tasty) with three different sauces (tomato/pepper, crustacean paste, and coriander/miso); and sea breen carpaccio with capers, olives and parsley (very nice, although with something of a steely back taste, which we assume is characteristic of the species). We then shared a main dish, the size of which, according to our server, the chef increased (in apparent pity for diners he didn’t want to leave hungry). The dish, skate wing Grenobliose, with brown butter sauce, capers, lemon, and parsley, was just what we wanted. And not just because it was little more than half the price of the next expensive meal. The dish was wonderful, as was the wine (from a surprisingly affordable wine list) that the sommelier recommended with the dish: a white Givry Burgundy from Domaine Ragot. It was a wonderful meal.
Chez Andre (12, rue Marbeuf)
We have had multiple winning meals at this wonderful restaurant: sautéed frog legs provencal with nice, fluffy basmati rice; scallops with slow-cooked leeks with pine nuts; grilled octopus with vegetable tian and chimichurri sauce; and a large, perfectly grilled veal chop with thyme jus. Not only was the food and wine good (most recently a nice bottle of Belissand Aegerter Beaune 1er Cru), but the service has also always been great. For us, it is a better choice than the Relais de l’Entrecote restaurant across the street where you have to stand in line as they don’t take reservations, and where you need to answer only two questions (do you want rare, medium or well-done steak and do you want dessert).
L’Avenue (41 Avenue Montaigne)
We had two large appetizers at this high-end packed restaurant. Our cantaloupe with parma ham and spicy tuna tartare with lemongrass on finely chopped avocado were both OK but not memorable. We added in a half-bottle of a very niceFourchaume “La Chablisienne” 1er Cru Chablis. While the restaurant was packed, and we got our wine and food very promptly, the service was chilly.
La Galeria (31 Avenue George V)
We stopped here for a drink and then decided to stay on for dinner on the basis of one particular item on the menu—Tom’s craving for a veal chop. While the chop was large and nicely prepared medium-rare, its taste and texture seemed to be of an inferior cut of meat. Nor was the sea bass any better—overcooked to the texture of cardboard. The restaurant replaced the sea bass with tuna, the only fish that the kitchen appeared able to cook rare. On the positive side, the steamed vegetables were very good and not overcooked, the atmosphere was pleasant, and our bottle of Croze Hermitage was good. Overall, however, we would not return.
Restaurant Camille (24 Rue des Francs Bourgeois)
This casual spot just looks like a classic Parisian bistro, with its red-painted corner building, its line of outdoor seats, and its daily menus printed on blackboards that are brought to diners’ tables. The grilled lamb chops with ratatouille were overdone the first time it arrived (medium-well, rather than the medium-rare that we ordered. The redo was much better. The scallop dish had way too much garlic which overpowered the protein. However, the accompanying unadorned spinach was good. We added a bottle of Haut Medoc, Clos du Petite Corbin. It was petty good—except for those scallops.
Pick Up Food to Eat Chez Nous
And don’t forget to just go out and buy food and beverages. Paris has an incredible range of specialty foods and stores that specialize in meat, fish, produce, bread, cheese, pastries, and anything else you could possibly want. While you can find many such shops, here are some that we particularly like.
Fromagerie Laurant Dubois (multiple locations)
This cheese shop has a wide selection of French cheeses. We were in heaven. On our first visit, we bought three kinds of cheese
- Vreux Comte Millesime, a nice, hard cheese;
- Blue de Laqueville, which is obviously a blue (and a nice one at that); and;
- Langres Fermier, a mild, not especially distinctive soft, runny, bloomy-rind cheese.
We returned for others including a tasty, but not especially complex Saint-Felician and a number of other blues and camemberts. But after much experimentation with cheeses from stores and farmers’ markets, we still preferred, and kept returning to our two, long-time French standbys:
- The wonderfully pungent Epoisse; and for good measure
- St. Agur, our favorite soft blue cheese.
La Grande Epicerie de Paris (multiple locations)
This store can address virtually all your epicurean shopping needs in one place. Looking for beef that is aged and cut to order? Snout-to-tail pork offerings? Their own three- and even five-year-aged prosciutto? A wide selection of fresh seafood (including lobster and a selection of oysters)? Immaculate, organic produce, obscure spices, oils, vinegar, and cheese? And what would gourmet dining be without a choice of dozens of types of caviar or foie gras? Got that too. Need beverages? Check out their huge selections of juices, specialty soft drinks, beers, and, mon dieux, wine. Or, you can choose to eat there, at their Asian and Italian eateries, cheese and charcuterie bars, or for that special food, at their Petrosian caviar café.