I arrived in Paris with several carefully considered restaurant reservations, which are necessary even now, during the off season. But then came an incredible list of restaurant recommendations from American friends who have lived here for many years. I made a few additions and replacements.
So far, one of my picks (after copious research) is a favorite: Mokonuts, a tiny place in the Bastille neighborhood that doesn’t serve dinner. So glad I decided to book a lunch there. We watched a steady stream of people enter without reservations and get turned away. It only serves Lunch but with dinner-like offerings and prices. There were only two mains swordfish and veal, both excellently cooked, seasoned, sauced and presented. The ‘clam chowder” was more of a clam stew, with a thin broth, small pieces of ham, little clams in their shells. The food was served on rough hewn ceramics, not the typical bistrot white plates. But just as meticulous in its care and delivery of food.
We have also eaten at 3 bistrots our friends suggested, all excellent and Comme Chez Maman turned out to be on rue Des Moines , which the host confirms means “the monks” not “the mounds” as some think. He seemed more confused than impressed that we were from Des Moines, Iowa (or used to be.) Dinner, especially the meat mains (steak, duck) and pork belly appetizer, was excellent at Le Pantruche in the Pigalle. We also enjoyed Bistrot D’Yves near us in the 17th arrondissement where the filet mignonette was pork not beef and delicious.
11th arrondissment Comme Chez Maman – this is a bistro with a Belgian chef; it was also awarded a Michelin “little red man” and is very popular and is open throughout the weekend. …a very warm welcome and lively ambience.
9th A Le Pantruche – Small, old-fashioned Paris décor, simply wonderful food, great service. It is very popular. (has a wonderful Soufflé Grand Marnier and you should definitely order it–you just have to request it at the beginning of meal.
Here are three special occasion places our friends described :
(1) Restaurant H. 13 Rue Jean Beausire, 75004 Paris; 01 43 48 80 96. more expensive than the Bistros listed…had the five course meal this week and the chef did more things with root vegetables than I would have thought possible…recommend the 7 course one mostly for the sheer adventure of it. …The five course meal (they are small courses) was 60 euros
(2) Petrelle: It is a really romantic restaurant and has a fixed menu, …food is light, but since you have five courses, you leave feeling you have had enough but not too much.
(3 if you like Japanese food) is Enyaa.37 Rue de Montpensier, 75001 Paris . +33-.(0) 1 40 26 78 25 It’s on an oddly empty alley just in back of the Palais Royale but you step inside and it seems very Japanese. The waiters and waitresses do not speak much if any French. They speak Japanese and a bit of English.