I’m very lucky that during my time here in France I have acquired some great friends with the BEST taste in restaurants. Sometimes I feel like I’m in food heaven and I just never wake up, good meal after good meal after good meal. If you have an ‘average’ meal in France it’s such a shock whereas in England it’s a pretty common re-occurrence. Here are some of the wonderful restaurants I’ve been to in Paris…
Vins et Terroirs
66 Rue Saint André des Arts
Actually this is a restaurant I’ve spoken about before but it never fails to disappoint. Vins & Terroirs does a great set meal for 19 euros, one starter and one main or one main and a dessert. Unlike most places you have the choice of about six different courses for each one so there is no shortage of choice. I always have the same thing escargots (snails in garlic) and filet de canette avec pommes de terre sautees/puree (fillet of duck with sautee potatoes/mash potato and a BBQ honey sauce)…It’s such a delicious meal and such good value I would recommend it to anyone visiting or living in Paris. Just be aware if it’s Friday or Saturday night you might have to book, they get very busy! Want to know more? Read my blog post on this restaurant here!
62 Rue Mazarine
Metro: Odeon/St Germain des Pres
I still have to pinch myself sometimes when I think about this restaurant. Yes, it was real and yes, you did eat there. This restaurant came as a bit of a surprise, it’s in an area I know very well (Saint Germain des Pres) but had somehow never been brought to my attention. Probably because a) from the outside it doesn’t appear to be anything too special and b) it’s rather on the expensive side.
Luckily for me I have friends, one friend in particular who has great taste in restaurants and as always when I dine out with him, I wasn’t disappointed. I felt a little bit under-dressed in a basic blue dress and heels, I would have preferred to be dressed more glamorously but c’est la vie. After my initial shock at the restaurant’s beauty subsided I was further indulged by the menu and the champagne. Romain ordered a bottle of rose champagne that was served with little raspberries in the glass, it was divine and I felt like a princess or some kind of celebrity (oh the little things). It was just surreal to be in a restaurant like that with French people drinking champagne with raspberries in…I couldn’t stop smiling. How much my life had changed in a short space of time! After the champagne we had the most delicious starter. Romain and Jonathan chose foie gras with toast and onion chutney whereas us girls chose smoked salmon with sweet bread. Both were delicious (Romain was kind enough to let me try some of his foie gras) which I would definitely have next time, it was rich so tasty. For the main dish Romain had the roast chicken and I had a small roasted bird which the French call ‘volaille’ with a kind of sweet couscous. Again it was just delicious and it wasn’t the end yet…for dessert Jonathan and I had saint marcellin (a very strong goats cheese, not for the faint hearted) while Romain had the millefeuille which literally translates as 1000 layers, which was vanilla and brandy flavoured. Of course as with all French meals we rounded it off with an espresso and a disgestif (Jet 27 and ice)…what a meal! I was really impressed by this restaurant, a little more expensive than the normal night out but still only 26 euros for a menu of starter/main or main/dessert which really, considering the quality of the food, is not half bad. Not somewhere to go every week but perfect for a special occasion with friends, family or if you want to treat your other half.
61 Rue Jean Pierre Timbaud
Les Fabricants is a Basque restaurant, serving food from the South West of France, famous for their huge salads and snails with a cheese sauce. I went there recently and we were a large table of six so we had a few different starters including snails in a cheese sauce (Roquefort – for the strong cheese lovers), potatoes covered with ham and blue cheese and charcuterie (different sliced meats) with, of course, a couple of baskets of bread (a necessity in any French restaurant). They were all delicious and we were all like children in a sweet shop diving into each other’s starters, trying to savour the taste of each different dish. Then we moved on to mains…I ordered escalope de veau Montagnarde which is Veal escalope with mushrooms and potatoes in a creamy sauce. It literally looks like a mountain of food! They place the potatoes in the middle and the veal escalope, cheese and ham on top, and then they pour the sauce over the meat so you have plenty to dip your bread in. It’s absolutely delicious but a word of warning, go hungry because you need your appetite for the size of these meals. They also do great chicken and duck dishes; one leg of duck with forest mushrooms, a duck fillet with roquefort sauce and a chicken dish ‘Basque style.’ The salads are also delicious and absolutely huge, they are served in large aluminium bowls that look like they could be a feeding bowl for a horse! I wasn’t joking when I said you needed to be hungry…
Of course we accompanied the meal with 2 bottles of wine, both red, one Spanish and one French (a Rioja and a Bordeaux). I preferred the Rioja which is rare…it was delicious, full-bodied but not too fruity so it was really tasty. It went down a treat! Last of all we had espressos followed by a digestif (it’s very traditional and important in France to have all of the courses) which were a mix of Jet 27 and Manzana – an apple-based liquor with ice which was really tasty.
Most shockingly of all we ate and drank all of this for a mere 30 euros per person. You can spend much less than that as most main courses are no more than 13 euros, even the huge 2 person sized salads, but we were celebrating so we went all out. Great ambiance, great staff who never fail to make you smile and fantastic food. Go go go!