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Restaurants & Bars 17

Paris trip report (long)

spicygal | Feb 3, 201503:35 PM

First of all, I want to thank the contributors to this board for their posts, suggestions, and advice. It was a great resource for research and planning the food portion of our Paris vacation. My husband and I were in Paris January 2-8, 2015. Our goal was to avoid tourist trap restaurants, and experience Parisian bistro/brasserie fare as well as some "finer" dining. We are also very much into wine, which informed a lot of our choices. We stayed in the 9th, and found the area a good base for exploring the city, not to mention so many great places within walking distance of our hotel. Now, onto the food!

Les Saisons
52 Rue Lamartine, 75009 Paris
Dinner our first night in Paris. Shared ½ dozen oysters, I had the filet de lomo de cochon mariné à l'espelette (pork loin marinated in espelette). Husband had their version of the famous “Lièvre à la Royale" which was rabbit stuffed with some foie gras among other things, in a sauce made with rabbit blood. Very good meal.

Les Sardinac
27 Rue Richer, 75009
Found this place based on a recommendation from this board - a good choice for a place to have wines by the glass. We waited out Le Richer there. The young woman who served us was personable and knowledgeable about the wines. Recommend.

Le Richer
2 Rue Richer, 75009
They don't take reservations, and the wait on a Saturday night was almost an hour. It was worth it. We ordered 3 things to share. One was a very creative riff on stuffed cabbage – it had clementines, pork belly, cruciferous vegetables, nuts, mushrooms -- so savory and flavorful. The wild boar terrine was average, if not a little disappointing. We really enjoyed our last dish which was braised beef cheek with grapes, caramelized onion, roasted parsnips and pickled radish.

L'Avant Comptoir
3 Carrefour de l'Odéon, 75006
We liked it so much we ended up going back a second time. Both visits were at lunchtime. Great selection of wines by the glass, helpful servers, and all of the small plates we had were well done - in particular, a dish of caramelized chunks of roasted pork belly that was just fabulous.

Marche d'Aligres
Place d’Aligre 75012
A covered market in the 12th. It was fun to walk around and take in the scene and all the vendors. Appeared to be some great cheese shops inside, too.

Le Baron Rouge
1 Rue Théophile Roussel, 75012
We hit this place for lunch after visiting the Marche d'Aligre - apparently a popular thing to do, as it was packed when we went (a Sunday afternoon). There was an oyster stand outside where you wait in line to order your oysters and once you get them you eat them literally anywhere you can (inside standing at the bar, inside standing at communal-type tables, on crates and barrels outside the restaurant, on a neighbor's windowsill outside - anything goes). They have a staggering number of wines by the glass - the muscadet and white cotes du rhone were great with our oysters. We also got a plate of cheese and coppa to share. Caveat - when crowded like it was, you’ve got to be pretty aggressive and jostle your way to the bar to order which can be a little chaotic and intimidating, but ultimately it was a very fun experience for us.

Jeanne A.
42 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011
A welcome little surprise that my husband stumbled upon while doing some impromptu research. We went for dinner on a Sunday, and each had the 2 for 23E menu. My starter was called “detox vegetable soup” (it being right after the holidays, I felt compelled to choose it). It was ok but a little too citrusy or gingery in bites, for my palate. For the main I had roast chicken which was perfectly seasoned, very enjoyable, and better than any restaurant roast chicken I've had in the US. Husband’s starter was a foie gras spread with prune jam and for the main, he had the roast leg of lamb. Our mains came with sides of gratin dauphinois and perfectly dressed salad. Portions were generous for sure. Overall, a very casual and unassuming place - perhaps a locals joint - we were definitely the only English speakers. Jeanne A also offers take away and sells cheese and other kitchen/dining ware type items.

69 Rue des Gravillieres 75003
We wanted one Moroccan meal on the trip, and this ended up being convenient to some sightseeing venues. Overall, it was underwhelming. We each had the 2 course set lunch with beverage. My bourek starter was good. I’d selected the merguez and chicken couscous for the main. The merguez was good but the rest of the dish was bland. Husband started with moroccan salad, which was nice, followed by lamb tagine. In his words, it tasted more like a British pub meal than a Moroccan dish. The portions were huge, the couscous and tagine were not finishable. We wished there were more assertive flavors – more spices, preserved lemon, that kind of thing, but maybe we just ordered the wrong dishes or our expectations were out of whack with the style of food served here.

Le Verre Vole
67 Rue de Lancry, 75010
Liked this place a lot, in spite of its "hipster" vibe. We shared monkfish cheek beignets to start. I had the sausage dish which was very traditional, with excellent mashed potatoes and salad on the side. Husband had pork loin with pureed parsnip, cockles and pickled shiitakes - outstanding and inventive combination of flavors. There’s no wine list, your server picks for you. The bottle of St. Joseph we had with our meal was perfect, as were the whites by the glass to start – a Corsican white and a white blend from Aix en Provence. Finished with a small cheese course. Wine by the bottle is available for purchase/take away.

Cafe Constant
139 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007
We went for lunch, and it was booming (in particular we suspect it's listed in guidebooks for tourists from Asia). Husband had the 3 course set menu – a fried cod ball stuffed w/egg and onion, duck breast with ginger coriander sweet potatoes, and a divine millefeuille for dessert ... there was so much vanilla bean in that creme! I had a veal chop with white beans - veal was cooked perfectly but a little tough. The beans on the side were superb.

Le Cave des Abbesses in Montmartre
43 Rue des Abbesses, 75018
A poster on this board recommended it for wines by the glass, and it was wonderful, to our taste anyway. It’s in the back of a wine shop and has no ambience whatsoever. The night we were there we had a great server – a young man with a real passion for wine. We didn't eat there, but people who did all seemed to order the grande mixte plate which could easily be enough for dinner for two – a gorgeous looking platter of cured meats, pates and cheeses, with great looking bread.

Le Dit Vin
68 Rue Blanche, 75009. Also recommended on this board for wines by the glass. We went in for wine and ended up liking our server and the vibe so much we stayed for dinner. Husband started with a rutabaga soup that was so creamy and thick, we think it may have had pureed nuts in it (in addition to copious amounts of cream, of course). For my main, I ordered the beef braised in cider with carrots and mushrooms. It was similar to a Boeuf Bourgignon - well done, could’ve used a little more salt, but ultimately a little boring after awhile as there were no sides or other accompaniments. Husband had the boudin blanc which had some foie gras inside, with parsnip puree on the side. Fantastic. We had to finish with a cheese plate, as the cheeses were on display in the restaurant not far from the entrance. The “small” plate for 7 Euro had 7 cheeses – all perfectly on point. Wine is available to purchase for takeaway.

Le Rouge et Le Verre
8 rue de Maubeuge 75009
Another 'hound's recommendation for wines by the glass. It is a wine shop with a couple of tables inside. We’d planned to simply have a glass of wine here, but ended up having to get food (a mixed plate of cured meats and cheese) because their license requires food be served along with alcohol. OK, but not as good as Le Cave des Abbesses or Le Dit Vin.

Le Chenin
33 Rue le Peletier, 75009
A pretty much "down the middle" type place - overall a solid dinner. Traditional bistro food and ambience. We got our beef fix here - husband got the entrecote de boeuf, and I got the steak tartare. Proprietors were very friendly and welcoming. Mostly French speakers, save for one other table of American tourists.

5-6 Rue du Nil, 75002
We splurged for our last dinner in Paris and it was a very memorable meal. We chose the 5 course (+ dessert, so really 6 courses) chef's menu with wine pairings. Every dish was beautifully presented and excellently done. They were: tete de veau, scallops with dried persian lemon and vanilla powder, a white fish in broth with mushrooms, a gnocchi dish, and roast chicken with kumquat and sunchoke. The dessert was an apple "terrine" with shiso ice cream and salted caramel sauce. I am not a dessert person, but this ranks among the best desserts I've ever had. Our only criticism of this place is that for 50 Euro each, the pours on the wine pairings were stingy.

Other standouts:
Landemaine Bakery on Rue des Martrys
Cheesemonger on Rue des Martrys - did not get the name, but I think the address is #3? The store is near the bottom of the hill. We bought a lot of cheese from here on our last day, and managed to get it all back to the US without difficulty.

Ahhhh if only vacation didn't have to end...

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