Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mainly Food: Paris

I have heard people before use the term "Foodie" as if it were a bad thing.  Husband and I will proudly proclaim to anyone that we are indeed foodies (most likely you can look at us and tell.)  We love to eat. Not cheap or fast but rather fresh, thoughtfully prepared, quality food items.

When it came time to start planning our trip to Paris, I looked to several resources for help in deciding where Husband and I should eat.  Paris is filled with thousands of restaurants and we only had roughly 12 meals to find the perfect places. Here are the places we found and I have rated them between 1 to 5 stars.

Saturday Dinner:
Le Bistrot d'Eustache ***
Reason for Choosing: The patio chairs looked more comfortable than the neighboring restaurant
Atmosphere: Quaint, truly French bistro, frequented by locals and a few tourists
Menu: We ordered off the Formula Menu which meant we got 2 courses for a set price.  For the main course I had pork because they were out of the mussels.  The pork came with potatoes au gratin and a small salad.  I was surprised that the potatoes were fairly bland and lacking in flavor. The dessert was a chocolate mousse so big and rich I could not finish it! We enjoyed this place and would go back again.

Sunday Dinner:
Cafe de l'Industrie ***
Reason for Choosing: Travel guide listing as one of the Top 10 Bistros in the Bastille district
Atmosphere: Young crowd, dark walls with French decor, vintage feel in this small bistro
Menu: Husband and I ordered Escargot as a starter.  It was our first time and we were hesitant if we even wanted to try snails!  When the dish was set on our table we were surprised to find out-of-shell Escargot smothered in pesto and butter.  They were delicious!  My main course was a bit of a let down.  I ordered "safe" and chose Penne au Gorgonzola.  I thought that the dish would at least have mushrooms but it was basically just mac 'n cheese.

Monday Dinner:
Taverne de l'Arbre ***
Reason for Choosing: Tired of walking and crowded patio seating
Atmosphere: Nice English speaking staff, we were pick pocketed here
Menu: I can't remember what I ordered... I was too upset to eat. The owner was very nice and wrote down directions to the nearest police station.  The bar tender recommend two electronic stores to buy our new camera. You can't be in Paris without a camera.

Tuesday Dinner:
Creperie Le Minos ***
Reason for Choosing:  We weren't too hunger after our Eiffel Tower picnic 
Atmosphere: Street food in the St.Germain/Latin district, a high tourist area
Menu: My crepe was so stuffed with Nutella and bananas that I could only eat half of it!  We stood watching street performers while eating our crepes.  He also had savory crepes but I can't resist Nutella.

Wednesday Dinner:
Les Grandes Marches ****
Reason for Choosing: It was a bit out of our daily price range but after walking so much Husband said "Who cares."
Atmosphere: Seafood galore, white table cloths on a closed in patio, attentive waitstaff
Menu: This was by far one of my favorite meals in Paris.  Our meal started out with a glass of fruity champagne, French Onion Soup with bread, and a bottle of white wine. Then for the main course I had a white fish with vegetables and a salad with a cheese board selection of two cheeses my choice. For dessert I had a massive creme brulee that Husband had to "help" me eat.  After dessert was cleared away the waiter then brought Husband an espresso and myself a cappuccino.  In all our meal took us about 3 hours from start to finish.  I LOVED this style of eating!  It's not just a meal, it is an experience to enjoy course after course.  While the set menu price was more than we wanted to spend on a meal, what we got for the price of under 70 Euros (total) was incredible. I highly recommend Les Grandes Marches if you are visiting Paris.

Thursday Lunch:
Léon de Bruxelles ****
Reason for Choosing: I had been craving mussels since we stepped foot in Paris.
Atmosphere: We broke our "No chain restaurants." rule, suckered in by their bright advertisements around town. We ate on their patio at the  Avenue des Champs Élysées location.
Menu:  Set menus are popular in Paris.  For 25 Euros (each) our meals included drinks, bread, mussels, a side dish, dessert, and cappuccinos.   I've become a pretty big fan of these set menus... The price was more than we would normally spend on lunch but it was our last day and again, it was mussels. I love mussels. I recommend this place for lunch in Paris and will go back next time.

Thursday Anniversary Dinner:
Bofinger *****
Reason for Choosing: Our Paris Walks guide recommended Bofinger and it was listed in our Top 10 Paris book.
Atmosphere: Opened in 1864 and considered one of the oldest brasseries in Paris, beautiful architectural details in the oval stain-glass ceiling, tiled floors, and paintings through out.
Menu: As you probably have guessed, another set menu! I had the best raw oysters I have ever had as my starter, salmon with potato puree as my main course, and ice cream with strawberry soup (not sure what else to call it!) for dessert. The wait staff were extremely classy and attentive to our needs.  I love when they use those little scoop files to clear the crumbs off your table.  If you decide to visit Bofinger, a reservation is a must and make sure you reserve a table in the main room.  This place is exactly what you envision when you think of local Parisian eateries. 

I wish we had spent more time planning where we would eat the first three days of our trip. I felt like I was missing that great Parisian place that I had imagined in my head until our second to last night when we ate at Les Grandes Marches. When you go to Paris plan out a few of your meals and then take a chance with the rest.
Husband and I are already talking about our next trip to Paris.  Our dream is to take a short two or three day trip to really explore the fine dining options in Paris.  I'm also interested in taking a wine or chocolate tour of the city!  The great thing about Paris is a lot of the cooking styles have now spread to many parts of the world.  You can find great dining options just about anywhere you plan to travel. 

Bon Appetit,

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