Marais, but with a twist?
Will not be seeing the sights of Paris this summer. Just want to walk the neighborhood. I aspire to become a “regular” at a few local eating and drinking establishments.
So, the plan is to find restaurants that I’d like to eat at more than once. My fungible limit: a twenty-minute walk from Place des Vosges.
Assuming twelve lunches/dinners at apartment and twelve out, that’s 3 to 4 restaurants, 4 to 3 times each.
Happy to sample a range of prices, but not all the same prices and understand that in Paris this will cost some money. Cuisine not a major issue, although I can satisfy Asian food cravings in other cities.
Multiple visits in this neighborhood the overriding goal. Will be back in November for a more traditional city and restaurant tour and, if all goes well, re-acquaintance with my new regular haunts.
I realize that restaurants in the Marais have been discussed in depth and I’ve read the threads, but it appears that most of those discussions are in the context of sampling a restaurant once per trip. Does my multiple meals goal change your thinking?
Food quality a given. But then, menu variety? Comfortable place? Friendly owners or patrons? How would you lean?
Thanks for your guidance.
I'll probably get blasted for this because it's occassionaly inconsistent or not the absolulte best, but I really enjoy les fous d'en face in that area. I think it's the best of the bunch in that little square. Granted, i've had a bit of inconsistency in the meals - but in general I think it's good (sometimes great), solid, french food. owner philippe is friendly and fun, especially if you get to know him. They have a nice wine selection (some of which isn't actually on the menu). I've never taken anyone there who has been disappointed. It's not someplace I'd necessarily go now because a lot of what I like to order is heavy fare for such warm weather. But, I think it fits the bill for someplace where you can become a 'regular'
Chez Janou -- Provencal bistro in the 3rd, short walk from Place de Vosges
Le Manguier -- Senegalese restaurant in the 11th...about 20 minute walk...i'm a regular there and enjoy the comfy vibe...the grilled daurade and the poulet yassa are yummy...
A Petit Fer Au Cheval...hallowed Marais wine bar w/ charcuterie...
I'll 3rd Chez Janou.
Another place Ive been going to regularly since 1989 is Pom Cannale (not exactly sure how to spell it, but any variation seems to come up on google) on Ile St Louis - which to this fast walking NYer is probably 20 minutes from Place des Vosges. I always get a quiche, salad and Berthillon but a friend who was just there said it was the best boeuf Bourginion (sic?) of her life. Very untouristy for the Ile - its mostly large groups of French coworkers at lunch.
I also like Auberge de Jarente on the Rue de Jarente near Place du Marche St Catherine.
And, on my last trip, I went to St Paul on Rue St Antoine with some French friends (who refused to go anywhere where there could be an American) - its no Michelin level place, but they had great magret du canard.
And, L'As is always good for a quick stop if you're in the mood for falafel
I had hoped to write long before now about my plan to become a regular at a few places in the Marais. But life got in the way.
Thanks again to forestcollins, simon, johnecampbell, and evening for their help in getting me started on this project.
As for my plan, let me say that I can provide another data point for that old quote that goes something like: “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” And, as is often the case, friends are the greatest of enemies.
Our visit happened to coincide with those of three friends and the chaos of coordination was lots of fun, but not conducive to the laid-back neighborhood vibe I had intended or the serious attention required to become a regular. Next time.
Places we tried:
Café des Musees – Fit the bill. Locals having lunch and good food as noted many times on this board. Our highlight was a snappingly fresh gazpacho. A hot week. So we ate mostly salads and all were fresh and quite tasty. Staff recognized us on our return visits and welcomed us back. Just what we were looking for.
Chez Janou – Our apartment was a block away, so we had hoped to make this our local. Alas, that was not to be. We tend to eat late lunches and that didn’t work here. On two occasions they had sold out of much of the menu leading to humorous five-minute exchanges. “OK, then, I’ll have… Désolé, M…Well, what about… Désolé, M …Perhaps the… Désolé, M.” Our seven-year-old called it, “The restaurant of no food available.” We then tried to make a reservation in-person for any of the next three evenings and were told that would not be necessary. “But, just come in. We will be happy to welcome you.” We declined and decided on confirmed reservations elsewhere. Our fault for not making reservations at earlier serving times on our first two attempts, but our third try is still puzzling.
Les Fou d’en Face was closed on the day we wandered by so we went across the square to Le Bistro de la Place – A good basic lunch of vegetable soup, snails, and mussels. And good value. The seven-year-old preferred the mussels to the snails.
Café Martini – Just off the Place des Vosges at 11 Rue du Pas de la Mule. Had a decent ham sandwich here, but came back for the 4€ Stella special. Yes, a hot week and a real bargain compared to the 11€ I paid for beer in desperation at some places. Again, a hearty welcome back. Only dropped by during the day. Small and relaxing here except when the Moms roll the baby strollers in.
Le Manguier – Missed this one.
Enjoyed the attempt and will try this plan again.
sorry that Chez Janou did not work out...my very first visit there (a dinner) was slightly off service-wise (the waitress was nice to me but somewhat brusque w/ my two female dining companions)...but subsequent lunches and one second dinner were very good...
your "Desole, M..." descriptions made me laugh though and i like the quote from your seven year-old :)
the "desole" was especially funny to me because about ten minutes ago i just used the word on the street in downtown Manhattan: a family of French tourists approached me and asked me in broken English where they could find the building from the TV show "Friends"...i informed them that "Friends", while set in NYC, was filmed in LA, and besides a facade that might have been used in an exterior there wouldn't be too much to see...the mom in the family started to insist to me in a rather pushy way that the Friends building was absolutely right near by and that i must have some idea...
me: "Je suis desole, Madame..."
fortunately or unfortunately, this is a pretty common experience at any popular resto in Paris -- there are only so many servings of the specials made, so when they're gone, they're gone.
(it would help if they started out by telling you what WAS still available, though!)
Chez Janou is a standby for us -- rarely knock-your-socks-off, but never less than reliably very good, at reasonable prices with good to very good service. Noisy as anything, though -- so great fun for a group, but not really a great place for a quiet tete-a-tete.