Paris Restaurants and Food

We are foodies. No doubt about it.

We love exploring new places when we travel and revisit old favorites. This blog compiles all of our Paris restaurant reviews in one spot.

1st Arrondissement

L’Escargot Montorgueil (38 Rue Montorgueil)

2019: This Marais neighborhood spot specializes in, you guessed it, escargot. We were in the mood for some on our last day in Paris 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)

2019: This casual, inexpensive bistro has wonderful food, a varied and relatively inexpensive wine list and 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, cincault and cabernet sauvignon) from Provence.

2nd Arrondissement

Bouillon Chartier (7 rue du Faubourg Montmartre)

2012: 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, span-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 sparking water and a basic Cote du Rhone for €40. Not a gourmet meal , but a lot of fun and inexpensive.

La Bourse et La Vie  (12 Rue Vivienne)

2019: This restaurant was another hit. 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 2017 Burgundy from Fanny Sabre.

3rd Arrondisement

Chez Janou (2 Rue Roger Verlomme)

2015: A friend recommended 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 2011 Les Fetoules Gigondas. These dishes were so good, we had to try one of the many tempting desserts. Another winner with a wonderful crème brulee. A wonderful restaurant.

Robert et Louise (64 Rue Vieille du Temple)

2015: 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. Joyce had a mushroom omelet filled with large and tasty mushrooms. Tom had a dish of sautéed prawns with crunchy (just the way he likes 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 the service.

Breizh Café (109 Rue Vieille du Temple)

2015: 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 an 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.. Dessert  was on a 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.

4th Arrondisement

Au Bourguignon du Marais (52 rue François Miron)

2015: Everything is Burgundian: the menu the wine list, the atmosphere and the cooking. Joyce had filet of bass with a very light verde sauce (perhaps a bit too light and sparse). Tom had beef bourguignon (a speciality), 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 much other choice other than a few Champagnes. We ordered a 2012 old vine Domaine Daniel et Fils Cdian Cote de Nuits Village. Very good.

We were so impressed that we returned a second time 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 same Cote de Nuits Village red Burgundy that we enjoyed on our last visit. Cost was $100 one night and $130 (for 3 people) the second night with a bottle of wine.

2012: We had a great experience here, 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.

Autour du Saumon (60, rue François Miron)

2015: This restaurant/specialty store specializes in everything salmon. True, has a nice selection of caviar and a handful of herring dishes, but pretty much everything else is salmon—smoked, tartare, fume, poached, grilled; you name it. We split two dishes: an appetizer of salmon eggs, mini blinis and crème fraiche, and a main dish of grilled salmon, covered by a large slab of lightly smoked salmon, accompanied by a diced potatoes with cream sauce, topped with salmon eggs. And since salmon requires Pinot, we had a bottle of Cote de Beaune Village. We were very pleased with the meal. Cost $73 with a bottle of wine.

Pain, Vins, Fromage (3, Rue Geoffroy-l’Angevin)

2019: We returned to this wonderful, casual and inexpensive fondue/raclette and other Swiss/rustic French food-focused restaurant for its delicious cheese fondue. We had our “regular”: a fondue Savoyard with ementhaller, beaufort and comte cheeses, kirsche and spices. It was as good as ever. A bottle of a pleasant, inexpensive 2018 Domaine Gendraud Chablis topped off the meal.

 

2015: This is an interesting name for an interesting and popular restaurant that specializes in all things cheese. You can get a cheese plate with charcuterie, raclette, cheese fondues and more. We went for fondue (all servings for which, are for a minimum of two people). While the beef fondue provided a lot of meat (250 grams per person) and came with three dipping sauces (béarnaise, red pepper and spicy), it was not particularly special. But then there’s the cheese fondue, of which several varieties are offered. We had the so-called Savoyarde fondue, which consists of a combination of emmanthal, beaufort and comte cheeses with kirsh and the restaurant’s own combination of spices. Whatever the secret of the dish, it was absolutely delicious—probably one of the best fondues we have had.

Although the wine (2012 Chateau Haut-Madrac Haut Medoc) was passable, the atmosphere (in the arched stone basement) and especially the service were wonderful. And this was without even trying either the raclette or the cheese plate!

We returned for a second time during our trip: this time only for the Savoyarde fondue AND a bottle of wine. The fondue, the service and the atmosphere were as good as on our previous visit.

Brasserie de L’Isle St-Louis (55, quai de Bourbon)

2015: 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. Tom had a perfectly cooked (rare) and very tasty entrecote. Joyce had what is probably the lightest, fluffiest and one of the tastiest ham and cheese omelets either of us ever ate. And both dishes, for the first time since we arrived in France a month ago, came with some welcome (although not too often) French fries

Bofinger Brasserie (5-7 Rue de la Bastille)

2015: 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)

2015: We had two dishes here. Joyce had an okay, but greatly overpriced salmon tartare with soy sauce and sesame seeds. Tom had frog legs sautéed in garlic and parsley butter. Pretty good, but not as good as the half-bottle of Chablis.

Page 35 (4 Rue du Parc Royal)

2015: This casual art and poster-filled place is one of our favorites. While most of the other lunch crowd had galettes, we had a large meals. We split a three-course “Terroir Menu” with charcuterie (coppa, smoked duck breast and house pate), beef bourguignon with fries, and a Brittony-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, 2012). 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.

Le Saint Regis (6 Rue Jean du Bellay)

2012: The restaurant on Île Saint-Louis was fun, if not particularly exciting. If we were in the neighbor looking for a place to eat, we might return for lunch. Tom had the special, a blanquette of veal in a cream sauce with mushrooms and rice. Although the taste was good, the veal was bit fatty. Joyce had an omelet with a cream tomato sauce that she thoroughly enjoyed. We added a wine from the Languedoc which was rather basic, but full flavored fruit and ready to drink.

5th Arrondissement

Le Symposium (29 Rue de la Huchette)

2015: 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 chose the restaurant.

Les Bouquinistes  (53 Quai des Grands Augustins)

2012:  Les Bouquinistes is one of Michelin-star chef Guy Savoy’s restaurants. We began with lobster bisque with almond mouse. We followed with a roasted cod with artichoke-shallot confit and a roasted duck with seared foie, chestnuts and pumpkin purée (with a bottle of Cote de Rhone du plan le Deux). While almost everything was wonderful, the foie gras was unforgivably overcooked and the response of our server, for a restaurant of this quality (not to speak of price), almost as inexcusable.

6th Arrondissement

Allard (41, rue Saint-André des Arts)

2015: 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 a 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, most fluffy we ever had). Given the wine prices, we were happy to find a very nice Cote de Nuit Village Burgundy for $65. Still at $200 for a nice, but by no means extraordinary meal, we can’t bring ourselves to recommend Allard. Paris has too many alternatives with more favorable price/value.

Le Comptoir du Relais (9 carrefour de l’Odéon)

2015: Chef Yves Camdeborde’s restaurant, located in the Hotel Relais Saint Germain) is so hot that the restaurant told us that dinner was fully booked way out and don’t even try to find a cancellation. Fortunately, we were able to walk in (after a very short wait in line) for a weekend brasserie lunch, with a menu that is far different and much more elaborate than other brasseries.

Since we were luckily seated with another U.S. couple who were anxious to share food, we got to taste more dishes than we otherwise would have been able. Our favorite dishes were an 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. Of less interest were pork belly and our least favorite of all, a pre-cooked veal sliced and served Carpaccio style with cod liver and parmesan. We enjoyed a wonderful 2012 La Fortune Cote Chalonnisse Village red Burgundy with our lunch.

Although the service was spotty, this was somewhat understandable given the continuous lines waiting to get into the restaurant and the steady pace of customers. In fact, before we even ordered, we were moved to 3 different tables as they tried to juggle tables to seat larger parties together.

Given the experience, we would certainly go again, although we would prefer to experience dinner. Cost was $150 for lunch with a bottle of wine.

7th Arrondissement

Les Fables de La Fontaine (131 rue Saint Dominique)

2012: This small, upscale restaurant has wonderful food and service. After an amuse-bouche of pumpkin velouté with cream, we shared two seafood dishes: Joyce had Normandy lobster with cepe mushrooms and grilled potatoes in lobster bisque. Tom had skate on mozzarella foam, with caper and herb crust, with a “salad” of green lentils with foie gras emulsion and smoked bacon. We added a bottle of a white Burgundy Pouilly Fuise. It was a relatively steep price (about $200), but well worth it for excellent food and very good service.

Café Constant (139 Rue Saint-Dominique)

2015: Our meal here was pretty good on balance. One dish (shrimp tartare with citrus foam and spinach) was wonderful, one dish (quail stuffed with foie gras, carrots and smoked bacon) was very good. And two dishes (lobster ravioli in a light cream shellfish sauce, and deep-fried frog legs with watercress puree and light garlic cream) were somewhat disappointing. We were both greatly tempted by another appetizer (tartare of oysters, seabass and salmon with ginger and lemon), which our neighbor diner said was as delicious it looked. We think we would have preferred that to our lobster ravioli and frog legs. Perhaps next time, when we expect to stay in the neighborhood and have a chance to explore even more of its restaurants.

Pottaka (4, rue de l’exposition)

2019: This is still a must-visit restaurant.  We thoroughly enjoyed three dishes: pan-fried octopus with buckwheat vinaigrette and Jerusalem artichokes; seabass on Iberian ham with white beans, herb foam and snail croquettes; and pork-belly, pork sausage and pork trotter-stuffed conchigliani pasta. With this, we had a nice 2015 Marie-Paul Dumacol “La Muzolaose” re Rhone blend wine.

2015: Our meal here was our absolute favorite in a trip filled with phenomenal restaurants.  We began with a wonderful tempura of octopus on a bed of paper-thin slices of radish, with two dipping sauces: an okay smoked eggplant puree and a citrus vinaigrette that perfectly complemented the octopus. Joyce had black-crusted (with squid ink) cod with fennel, maiche coulis and lemon foam. Excellent! Tom’s  dish was just as good: duckling fillet with ginger-spiced apple/pear compote, mashed sweet potato and red onion crisps. While we were sorely tempted by a few desserts, we decided to pass—even though we had to suffer through the barbs of our neighbors who kept extolling the virtues of their choices. We had all these dishes with a bottle of 2012 Domaine des Haut Chassiss. Les Galets, Croz Hermitage.

And one of the most pleasant surprises: Pottaka is incredibly affordable. Indeed it was the least expensive fine dining experience we had in Paris. (Dinner with a bottle of wine cost $130.)

L’Ami Jean (27 Rue Malar)

2015: This wonderful restaurant is run in 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 yells 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. Its 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.

Our first dish of a lobe of seared foie gras did not excite us. Instead of being served with some type of sweet complement 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. Joyce had 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. Tom was bowled over by the roast wild pigeon which was cooked to perfection with a mild, slightly gamey taste.

After these two dishes, the disappointment with the foie gras and the service faded into meaningless. Overall, it a wonderful experience (dinner was $166 with a bottle of wine and glasses of sauterne,  reservations made via telephone).

8th Arrondissement

Maison de le Truffle (it has several locations including 19 Place de la Madeleine)

2015: We have eaten here on past trips and wanted to return. 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. We shared one appetizer (beef Carpaccio with black truffles, parmesan cheese and arugula salad) and one wonderful pasta dish (summer truffle ravioli with truffle cream). And we couldn’t resist the wonderful bread with truffle olive oil. Yum. We shared a half bottle of 2014 Domaine Vourdan Chablis. Cost: $110

2012: As the name suggests, the restaurant specializes in truffles. It sells them at retail and any dish can be ordered with white or black truffles. We began with crab mille feuille, an imaginative dish that layers tasty crab salad between leaves of celery root and Granny Smith apples. For our main dishes, Joyce had Scottish salmon on crisped skin with zucchini and candied cherry tomatoes. Tom had roasted bass in a delicate cream sauce, topped with a generous layer of white truffles and accompanied by sautéed spinach and watercress. Each of the three dishes (especially the mille feuille and the bass) were wonderful and the service was friendly and attentive. We choose a 2006 1st Cru Beaune Bastion from Domaine Chaston wine which had bright red cherry with nice mineral. We recommend this restaurant to anybody.

10th Arrondissement

Le Paradis (76 rue Saint Martin)

2015: We stopped at this restaurant for a fast lunch before an afternoon at the nearby Pompidou Center. We split three dishes. Our escargot fetish continued to get the best of us (those we had here were good, but pretty much in the middle of those we had so far). Next was an avocado tartar, topped with smoked salmon, which was also good, but not extraordinary. The best dish, by far, 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 wines: a Brouilly and Cote de Rhone.

Sur Mer (53 Rue de Lancry)

2019: Sur Mer is another casual small-plate seafood-focused restaurant and is in the St.-Martin district. We shared four dishes and a bottle of wine. We particularly enjoyed the steamed clams with rutabaga and infused vinegar; the grilled shrimp with Kasmiri 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 2017 Domaine Claie Obscur chardonnay ffcomprom the Corpeau region of Burgundy’s cote d’Or. While the restaurant is very nice, the dishes did not have quite the complexity of those of Clamato.

11th Arrondissement

Septime (80 Rue de Charonne)

2019: We wish we could have updated our review of Septime, but alas, we were never able to get a reservation for lunch or dinner in spite of trying way in advance and getting on the wait list.

2015: Although this is one of the toughest Paris restaurants in which to get a dinner reservation, many of the same dishes are served for lunch, which is available as either as three or six courses. While our aging metabolisms cannot handle six-course meals, we were able to alternate our choices for 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, we had the chicken en plancha with tranche-ciboulette yogurt sauce. It  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 cheeses (a 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 or which excited us), the restaurant does offer a large and interesting list by the bottle.

Even so, we were sufficiently pleased with our meal and service as to make a repeat reservation for later in our Paris stay. We enjoyed our return visit as much as we did our initial one. Another lunch, another six dishes between us. Tom chose a bone marrow appetizer with marinated mussels, seaweed and thinly sliced cornichons which, in his opinion, transformed the dish from okay to very good. Joyce had bonita crudo with rhubarb, cabbage and horseradish cream (good, but not as flavorful as Tom’s). Our main courses were a lightly poached pollock with white beans, Andouille and butter/pepper sauce; and 24-hour crisp-skinned pork belly with watercress, spinach and lightly grilled onions. Both were very tasty (especially the pig). Our meal ended on an even higher note, sharing a cheese plate (Auveranche cow milk and Andeche goat milk) and a dessert of figs and blackberry with fig compote and fig ice cream. We accompanies the meal with a white Burgundy wine and a Mouvedre from Languedoc. (Lunch cost around $100 for 2 with 4 glasses of wine.)

Clamato (80 Rue de Charonne)

2019: This casual, small-plate seafood-focused restaurant is in the Charonne district. The chef is from the next door restaurant Septime.  We had five dishes. While all were good, 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)

2015: We began our meal with escargot, which were pretty good, but the garlic butter was not as rich or flavorful as we would have preferred. We than 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 were 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.

Restaurant Le Jardin du Marais (35 rue du Roi de Sicile)

2015: We wouldn’t normally got to a restaurant that offers everything from pizzas and pastas to burgers and grilled fish. But we were looking for something else—salads—and they offered one of the best selections we had seen. Joyce had a Gorgonzola salad with mixed greens, tomato and hard-boiled egg. Tom had avocado and shrimp on a bed of lettuce, with little tomato. While Tom was a bit disappointed in the relative small handful of tiny shrimp that came only mixed in a Louis sauce, but both dishes were light and pretty good. Just what we needed after too much cheese, foie gras and butter sauce—and to prepare us for more of the same.

13th Arrondissement

L’Avant Gout (26 Rue Bobillot)

2012: 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 desert 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.

16th Arrondissement

Restaurant Waknine (9 Avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie)

2015: The upscale, generally business restaurant, has what appeared to be an established, older clientele. We had two very nice dishes. 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.

17th Arrondissement

Rech (62 avenue des Ternes)

2015: 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 plate. 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 2013 white Givry Burgundy from Domaine Ragot. A wonderful meal that ended up costing $170, which seems like a lot but was $30 less than that for a much less impressive meal, at Allard, a generally less expensive Allain Ducasse restaurant (where we admittedly, had more food).

Chez Andre (12, rue Marbeuf)

2015: This was a wonderful restaurant at which we had two winning dishes: sautéed frog legs provencial with nice, fluffy basmati rice; and scallops with slow-cooked leeks with pine nuts. And to top it off, a nice bottle of 2012 Belissand Aeqerter Beaune 1er Cru. Not only was the food and wine good, but our server seemed to truly enjoyed her job. And as an extra bonus, our sidewalk table provided a perfect view of the show as the huge line formed for dinner at Relais de l’Entrecote, a restaurant that doesn’t take reservations and where you need answer only two questions (so you want rare, medium or well done steak and do you want dessert). Unless you want something to drink, all else is determined. You get a green salad, slices of entrecote and a load of French fries (for 26E)–and this does not even include the standard hour+ wait for a table. We think Chez Andre was a much better choice and we didn’t have to stand in line.

L’Avenue (41 avenue Montaigne)

2015: 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. And since we were in Paris, we had to have at least a half-bottle of wine with lunch, a very nice 2013 Fourchaume “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)

2015: We stopped here for a drink then decided to stay on for dinner the basis of one particular item on the menu—a veal chop. While the chop was large, and prepared as Tom likes it (medium-rare), its taste and texture seemed to be of an inferior cut of meat. Nor did Joyce’s sea bass fare any better—overcooked to the texture of cardboard. They replaced her meal with tuna, the only fish which the kitchen appeared able to cook rare. On the positive side, the steamed vegetables were very good (and not overcooked), the atmosphere pleasant and our bottle of Croze Hermitage good (although it was not the one shown on the wine list). Overall, however, we would not return.

18th Arrondissement

Restaurant Camille (24 Rue des Francs Bourgeois)

2015: 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. Tom had grilled lamb chops with ratatouille—overdone the first time it arrived (medium-well, rather than medium-rare) and was much better on the redo.  Joyce wasn’t as lucky with her scallops with fresh spinach.  Although the unadorned spinach was good, the scallops had so much garlic on them that it overpowered the delicate taste of the scallops. We had both dishes with a bottle of Haut Medoc, Clos du Petite Corbin, 2012. Pretty good—except for those scallops.

Pick Up Food to Eat Chez Vous

And don’t forget just going out and buying 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, we particularly liked:

Fromagerie Laurant Dubois (multiple locations)

2015: This cheese shop has a wide selection of French cheeses. We were in heaven. On our first visit, we bought three cheeses

  • 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 a 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 Epicurie de Paris (multiple locations)

2019: This store can address virtually all your epicurean shopping needs in one place. Looking for beef that is aged and cuts 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, vinegars and cheeses? 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.

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