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Jan 16, 2014 06:21 PM

Three weeks in Paris. A long review.

I have been meaning to write a report of our three weeks in Paris in July / August but the temperature of 42c (107F) has kept me inside for the last few days so here goes. I fear it is very long.

I have been a fan of Chowhound for many years but have never posted.
We have been to Paris four times with the longest stay before this 2 weeks in an apartment on Ile St Louis.

We had been on a 28 day cruise around Norway and The Baltic so we were looking forward to shopping at markets and doing a bit of “home” cooking.
We rented a studio apartment with a great kitchen in the Haute Marais, an area we fell in love with. It was unfortunate that the temperature was over 30C for most of the time we were there.

The first day we were there we did a Paris By Mouth food tour of the Marais and were delighted that all the places visited were a short walk away. We would recommend the tour to people staying around there as well as the area.

We ate out mainly at lunch and picnicked or cooked our evening meal.
I will just give a brief overview of some of the restaurants / cafes we visited in no particular order.

Café des Musees
I enjoyed menu de jour of salmon, duck breast and clafoutis of cherries.
My husband KF had stuffed snails and pigs trotters with frites. We drank a house rose.
We loved the atmosphere and meant to return but ran out of time.

Au Fil de Saisons
We were meeting a friend and it was a Monday (not much open) so decided on this restaurant. We walked in at opening time and beat the chef in.
Good meal of ravioli, foie gras, and a delicious cucumber soup with a basil sorbet in the middle for starters. Mains were Black Angus steak, pork chop, and the disappointment of the day, an asparagus risotto.

We had called at Café des Musee to make a booking and walked by Minimes and decided to eat lunch there. A good choice as the food was very good.
Gaspacho of carrot with prawns (I wanted more) - absolutely delicious.
Good fish and chips.

Le Taxi Jaune
Had read about this restaurant and we decided to have dinner there. We speak very limited French (can usually translate menus OK ) but had a little difficulty here, and the waitress didn’t speak English which made it interesting.
Really enjoyed our meal and the great atmosphere. There seemed to be mainly locals eating and the bar was operating for people outside in a ? courtyard.
It is noted for serving horse and my husband had the Chevaline Charcuterie. He thought it was just ok and wouldn’t bother ordering it again. My starter was a very good cold vegetable soup. The stock was full of flavour and the vegetables were baby very finely diced.
Mains which we found difficult to interpret from the menu but described by the owner /chef when he visited the tables at the end of service (and after we had eaten)-
Gateau of Lamb – lamb cooked for six hours, broken up and wrapped in grilled eggplant. Very interesting and very tasty.
Calliatte – minced calves liver made into farcis and wrapped in pork caul and chard and baked for 4 hours.
The sauces accompanying the dishes were supurb.
So glad we ate there and would return happily.

Chez Omar
Around the corner from the apartment and we had 2 dinners there.
Lively atmosphere with friendly service.
We ate some Middle eastern dishes the first night that we enjoyed but nothing stunning.
The second night was steak frites, which were just OK. We had read that it was a good place for this.
If we lived in the area it could be a good local if we were looking for a quick meal.

We went twice.
The first time was very very good food and great service.
Our final night we returned but it was very different and we now regret our return.
The first night we shared a charcuterie plate which was very good, then had confit of pork and a lamb dish. Simple dishes very well prepared.
The second night we were seated upstairs and the service was terrible.
They were busy and it was hot (a string of very hot days didn’t help).
We ordered octopus and pea soup, which we enjoyed.
Our main arrived before the plates were cleared. We both ordered the duckling with honey but it was so tough it was inedible and we left most of it. The chips that came with it were overcooked and the worst I have had.
We ordered a glass of rose when we arrived and would have ordered a bottle to go with our main course but other than presenting the food the waiter didn’t come near us.
When he cleared our virtually uneaten plates I said the food was terrible but there was no reaction, certainly no apology.
A very disappointing last night to our stay.

Breizh Cafe
We were lucky to walk in without a reservation for lunch. The crepes were amazing - haven't tasted anything like them,
We drank a few different ciders suggested by the staff.
it is pretty cramped but that is part of the fun.

This was our most anticipated dinner and it lived up to expectation.
I had been in Bertram’s masterclass at the Melbourne Wine and Food Festival earlier in the year and watched him cook and describe his food. He had demonstrated a tomato consume where he blitzed varieties of tomatoes including the stems, and hung them in the fridge in a muslin bag over a bowl.
First course was this soup with roasted tomatoes, mussels and microherbs.
It was a fresh tasty sensation.
Next came a slab of aubergine (I think probably gently roasted) with a teriyaki style sauce and served with chanterelle mushrooms and a few pieces of charred octopus. Delicious.
Third course was a piece of perfectly cooked tuna accompanied by green beans and zuccini with some broccoli paste (described to us as broccoli lightly cooked and then blended with some fresh basil) also some fresh cows milk cheese .
Fourth course was beef which was described as shank but we didn’t recognise it. Served rare with a wedge of charred baby cabbage with dried lemon zest powder. There were small sweet white onions and micro herbs made of freshly germinated carrot seeds.
Desert came in two plates. One poached fig with lemon infused ricotta with cinnamon shortbread which was packed with flavour.
The next, rhubarb compote with raspberries and cherries on a bed of honey roasted nuts and pollen flower and honey icecream.
We gave the sommelier a price for the wine and he matched it for us. He decanted it and I think he thought he would have some fun with these Australians when he asked us to guess what it was. Fortunately I love chardonnay and have tasted LOTS. We had also stayed in Beaune for a week a few years ago so was able to dredge through my memory so was able to tell him it was a chardonnay from burgundy a few years old. He did look surprised.
A great night with good service and wonderful food.

We were going on a tour at Opera Garnier and I remembered I had seen a review of Goust and rang to book for lunch and we are very glad we did.
We had the lunch menu and some wine to match.

The amusee bouche was aubergine puree with whipped goat cheese, so delicious I could have licked the bowl.
My husband ordered the foie gras and when it was presented we thought they had made a mistake as it looked like 2 asparagus spears. It was actually foie gras enclosed in a casing of melted butter and coloured with asparagus juice
and solidified in the fridge. This was accompanied by sticks of granny smith apples and infused ricotta.
I had tartare of tomatoes and beetroot topped with cold cod in a cold tomato soup. A delicious starter.
We both had the main course of pork loin with carrot mash, baby potatoes and onions.
The service was outstanding and I would love to return.

Thank you for all the reviews and suggestions on Chowhound.
Although we ate at restaurants that aren't mentioned often we wanted simple good food at reasonable prices. We love Paris and the food and markets.

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  1. Great review. I especially like your saying that the fact that you spoke little French and a waitress spoke no English made things interesting. Travellers like you get - and deserve - all the best experience.
    And haut Marais may just be the best 'hood of Paris. Good choice. Next time you want a North African in the 'hood, don't go to Omar, go to the ever-improving, atmospheric Enfants Rouges market, to the very good couscous place there.
    Thank you for the good report again.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Parigi

      Thank you. It was long in coming but wanted to give back to Chowhound for all my browsing.
      Enfant Rouge Marche was at the end of the street and we did eat there a few times.
      I have to say, this wasn't my first review as I stated. I reviewed a restaurant in Copenhagen, I must be getting old!
      I have also cut and pasted some of these reviews to

    2. "It was long in coming but wanted to give back to Chowhound for all my browsing." And your give-back was charming and informative. Many many thanks.

      I've never had a less than enjoyable meal at Le Taxi Jaune and am so glad you were able to find your way there. And your experience at Glou eerily mirrors my own. Two great meals in the main dining room but bad food and bad service for a third meal upstairs. But not a good au-revoir for you. Let's hope that the memory of Septime and the other places that you enjoyed will define your souvenirs de Paris.

      And I gotta echo Parigi's sentiment that the Haut Marais might just be the best 'hood in Paris.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Parnassien

        "Haut Marais"
        Now called "The HaMas" by the hip crowd.

            1. re: Parigi

              In my day, Cholon was a far better market than anything found in France or the US, but of course that's because it was run by the Chinese. After its bombing, however, I'd say it was "NoMo".

              1. re: John Talbott

                The thrill of mentioning Cholon and the HaMas is to get all 3 of us on NSA's radar, if not already. Hysterical, no ?

          1. re: Parigi

            Being terminally hip myself (except for long spells as BCBG branché ...and, of course, short bouts as BCBG classique for the races in Chantilly), I must inform you that you have been misinformed. It's "O-mar", not HaMas, silly ! But we are only allowed to whisper it until the Head Hipster aka Talbott le Vénérable gives his okay to say it out loud. D'ac ? And oh, there's also Haut O-Mar (centered around Le Barav bar à vins) and Bas O-Mar around Café des Musées/ La Perle. Um, do the moderators allow us to have fun ?

        1. Thanks for the report.
          Minimes is another of those places that gets no respect on CH, despite the fact that its chef is half the brilliant brother-in-law team formerly at the Clocher Pereire - perhaps it's because it looks from the outside just like a hundred fungible lousy Marais joints.
          Your experiences at Glou are interesting since I think the reason it's so popular here (on CH) is because people have your first experience, whereas I have had your second and will not go back. In fact, I have had major issues at all Julien Fouin and Ludovic Dardenay's places, Glou, Jaja and Beaucoup. At Beaucoup, for instance, I had good food, so long as I waited for it, forever. At Glou and Jaja it was the food.

          1. Great report - thanks for posting! Le Taxi Jaune meal sounds right up my alley - eggplant and grilling and lamb and 6 hours - oh my.

            I love your Septime wine story. Nice when that kind of thing happens.