Restaurant? Bistro? Brasserie? I’d call it an expensive neighborhood eatery that serves up traditional French food from a limited menu. All Parisian restaurants are expensive, which explains why I don’t eat out much. (To be truthful, I love cooking. I really enjoy buying good wine and produce and making nice meals at home.) But we were celebrating our upcoming shared birthday, Andreas and I, and had decided on this restaurant in the 11th arrondissement near Place de la République.
Last night was cold and clear, a perfect winter’s night for walking outdoors. I took the metro to Parmentier then strode along the avenue de la République to this place.
The interior was warm and welcoming … with a décor that hasn’t changed since the 1970s (or earlier.) It’s small inside with tables placed in a somewhat higgledy-piggledy fashion.
I have a sixth sense about restaurants. I can walk in and pretty much know (more or less) what’s in store. This was my appetizer of snails. (Correction: I thought I was eating a modernized version of the traditional snail dish, because I had ordered snails. But I’ve just looked at the bill again and it’s marked “tartelette champignons” which means I was eating a mushroom tart!) In any case, it was delicious.
Delicious lamb to follow. Do you see that tiny tureen of gnocchi on the left? That was for us to share. And the wine was disappointing, I’m afraid. I called it “flabby.” “Flabby?” said Andreas. “Unstructured,” I replied. In other words, limp. At 33 euros for the bottle, I had expected something better.
The cheese tray was a hit.
After dinner we walked to the Place de la République for a nightcap in the lobby bar of a hotel. I had Drambuie on the rocks. A mouse was scampering around the lobby. The staff saw it and did nothing (actually, they laughed.) We said something, but they still did nothing, other than offer us a drink “on the house”.
Two of my favorite Parisian restaurants – reasonably-priced, delicious food, fun places with lots of ambience – remain the Bistro Paul Bert and Le 6 Paul Bert, both on the same street. I drank a memorable Saint-Joseph Côte du Rhône at the 6 Paul Bert exactly three years ago. Here’s the link to that fun evening and restaurant review –