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May 2, 2012 09:27 AM

Paris- L' Estaminet on Des Enfants de la Marche in the Marais @ 39, rue Bretagne. WARNING.

My son & I are visiting Paris & just had lunch at L' Estaminet on Des Enfants de la Marche in the Marais @ 39, rue Bretagne. I can not believe how awful thé food is. Son ordered whitefish which was undercooked & had a large pièce of foil in it. I could not find my glassses & asked thé waitress for a recommendation. She suggested foccacia?? I went with that. It was a pièce of burnt bread with a slather of tomato sauce on a bed of greens. I had nothing to drink & my son had a cup of tea & thé bill was 25 euros. The ambience is zero. It's a small plain cafe at the back of a market place. Is this normal? Yuck!

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    1. Maybe in Paris it's perfectly normal to pay 25 euros for bad service, bad food, a piece of trash in the dish & horrible prices. As i said, I did not have my glasses & had trouble reading the menu & relied on the waitress's suggestions. I said nothing about Bad Tea. I'm sure it was fine.

      1. re: annie_pie

        There is no place by that name. Perhaps you meant L'Estaminet des Enfants Rouges.

        1. re: annie_pie

          It is common to pay a lot for bad food in Paris as it is in any big tourist city. Think of San Francisco or London, both have great food and equally dire food. There is a misconception that all food in Paris is great and every cute bistro is home to a brilliant chef knocking out traditional frustic food whilst the clientele quaff fantastic wine from carafes.

          The reality is very different, much pre-prepped food, lots of industrial wine, and often apathetic service. And that is why This board or resources like Paris by Mouth are so useful. They sort out the wheat from the chaff, follow the recommendations and you will generally be safe. Research more broadly, flooding, John Talbot etc. But choose a random place that has not been recommended like L'Estiaminet and buyer beware.

          1. re: PhilD

            thank you for your thoughtful input. so true!

            1. re: PhilD

              The irony is that L'Estaminet des Enfants Rouges is frequently and widely recommended: LeFooding, Figaro, and lots of food blogs. I've had half a dozen meals here (all 15 € lunch "formules" and all with the daily special) and, other than the boring eating space, have had no complaints. And on a sunny day when I eat my meal in the nearby Square du Temple, it tastes even better.

              I can only assume it was just an off day when Mme Annie-Pie was there. It's such a laid-back and casual place that off-days probably happen more than I realize.

              1. re: Parnassien

                I've had good meals at L'Estaminet des Enfants Rouges. In particular, one of the best grilled pig's feet I've ever had. Served with excellent wholegrain mustard and lovely waxy roasted potatoes.

                I found their insistence on serving soup in Le Parfait jars perfectly silly and impractical, but the soup inside was very decent.

                1. re: Ptipois

                  I have enjoyed good food there and said so in at least one of my posts. I don't think much of the market itself but I rather like l'Estaminet.

                  1. re: jock

                    That makes me the 4th hound who has also enjoyed the simple good food at the Estaminet. That, and Candelaria, and l'Ouest du Lac, Banh Mi chez Angela, Phot at Song Heng, all 3 on rue Volta, are the reliable spots for simple good fodo for that area.

                    As for the Marché Enfants Rouges, I do not consider a real Paris market in that it has more restaurant stalls than fresh food stalls. Therefore I don't go there to buy veg and fruit, but usually for a meal, at either the Estaminet o the couscous place.

                    Maybe all 4 of us went separately there on the Estaminet's "off" days when it lucks into being good. :-)

                    1. re: Parigi

                      I had a really nice lunch there a few years ago, so make that 4 and 1/2 (since I am unfortunately only a part time Paris Hound)

                    2. re: jock

                      You should try Taeko, the Japanese caterer/restaurant at the other end of the market. It is delicious. Just don't go on a Saturday.

                      1. re: Ptipois

                        I do like it too The market is a really nice lunch spot.

                        1. re: Ptipois

                          The Sunday-only stall selling sweet and savoury pastries etc is also a gem. Mmmm-mmm!!! And the delightfully sassy woman who makes/ sells the stuff is a goddess. :)

            2. Your warning is well received. Today we are able to preview our travel via the internet, reading others' evaluations of both elaborate and simple places places to eat. We approach each new place colored by the expectations set up by our research.

              So we make a small market stall a destination, are startled by fish cooked to the French taste, and realize that 25 euros goes a lot farther at home than in France. (I can't explain the foil, but it could also happen at Applebee's.)

              You do a favor by alerting newcomers to the culture shock that invariably takes place in any new city. I hope that you and your son enjoy(ed) the remaining meals on your visit, and I look forward to reading about them.