A Table for Two

17 Oct

If you wanted to eat out every single night of your life at a different and delicious restaurant, I think it would be possible in Paris. It’s hard to walk even a block without passing by a bistro or brasserie that has a mouth-watering menu of seasonal works-of-art perched upon an unassuming little stand outside. But if you are curious to test out my claim, I have a feeling your pocketbooks and figures would significantly suffer, because as you’ve seen from my other posts, French food is neither the lightest of fairs, nor is it cheap. So you’ll just have to take my word for it and save up your calories and money for a few choice restaurants if you’re ever in the area. Here are a some of my favorites if you’re in need of a little inspiration…

[Part 1: Lunch]

Café Constant:

*139 rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris. 01 47 53 73 34

*http://www.cafeconstant.com

Owned by esteemed chef Christian Constant, this traditional French bistro is popular with locals looking for delectable and down-to-earth food. Conveniently located right by the Eiffel Tower in the 7ème arrondissement, this is a perfect stop on your way to photo-op heaven.

My suggestion? Grab lunch here, saunter down to the infamous tower, take a couple snapshots and then go for a ride on one of the boat tours down the River Seine. I would recommend getting a day-pass for the Batobus, which allows you to hop-on and hop-off at various sightseeing hotpots of your choosing.

But whether or not you decide to do my little itinerary, I would still highly recommend going to this bistro for reasonably priced and extremely scrumptious French cuisine. Here, you can do a fixed menu (prix fixe) of either a starter + main, a main + dessert, or all three (this is a common trend in French restaurants and is a great deal for amazingly fresh and innovative chef favorites). And if you don’t like what they’re offering that day, you can simply do the à la carte option. I went with the main + dessert and enjoyed a succulent veal dish prepared in a rich butter and shallot sauce with scalloped potatoes, and an amazing fig tart to finish things off.

My friend decided to go à la carte, and ordered a beautifully prepared starter of oyster and salmon tartare served on a mound of rock salts, as well as grilled sea bass with pesto sauce accompanied by a mélange of seasonable vegetables as her main.

To top off our near perfect dining experience, we were amicably bid adieu by the owner himself, who was perched up beside the bar as we left the café with big smiles and full bellies.

La Terrasse du 7ème:

*2 Place de l’École Militaire, 75007 Paris. 01 45 55 00 02

Another great and reasonably priced place to get a bite to eat in the 7ème arrondissement is La Terrasse du 7ème, located in Place de l’École-Militaire. At this lively corner café you can grab a coffee and a pastry or better yet, opt for one of their delicious and light lunch options. For an arguably clichéd French food experience, my friend and I chose a sampler plate containing rabbit terrine, salmon tartare, marinated green beans and boccocini salad (yes I know that’s Italian, but everything else is very French, I promise).

To accompany this, we ordered escargot flavoured with butter and pesto. A quick bite during one of our lunch breaks at school on a day when we didn’t have a morning meal, this place would also be a perfect stop during a visit to the notorious tower.

Marché des Enfants Rouges:

*39 Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris. 01 40 11 20 40

If you’re not in the mood for a sit-down traditional lunch, or you’re getting a little sick of the butter-smothered French cuisine, make your way to the Marché des Enfants Rouges in Paris’ hip Le Marais district. This is Paris’ oldest covered market and is host to an international array of lunchtime options including Japanese, Italian and Moroccan cuisine.

At this market you’ll also find an assortment of fresh fruits and veggies, baked goods, wines, cheeses and specialty food items that come from all over France.

But be forewarned, this market is popular and busy, and most of the amazing places to grab a bite to eat come with a hefty wait-time.  I personally waited for over 20 minutes to obtain my Moroccan feast, but I assure you, it was definitely worth it!

In all honesty the choices were overwhelming, and I wanted to hop over the glass divider and shove my face in every dish in front of me. But then they would have kicked me out of the market, and even worse, I’d have a very dirty face. So after much debate (maybe it was a good thing the line was so long), I settled on an aromatic lamb tagine with apricots, dates and an assortment of vegetables, served on a cushion of couscous and washed it down with sips of sweet Moroccan tea.

For dessert I wandered over to an adorable little stand tucked away in the corner called La Petite Fabrique. Although they were offering some amazing looking savory mini-muffins served in innovative wooden cones, my sweet tooth was harassing me so I went for one of their custom-made pintsized cakes, a homemade lemon flavoured marshmallow, and some organic rooibos tea.

Le Jardin du Luxembourg:

*6ème arrondissement, between St. Germain des Près and Montparnasse

The Jardin du Luxembourg is in my opinion, one of the prettiest and most romantic spots to take a stroll in Paris. Gorgeous leafy trees line walkways sprinkled with passionate couples making out on park benches, all to the soundtrack of laughing children playing ball and whipping around the carousel.

You could truly spend an entire day in this lovely stretch of royal grounds, but of course not without a little bite to eat. Good thing there are a few food stands placed conveniently throughout, containing warm options like crêpes and apple cider. For a satisfying snack, my friend and I chose savory crêpes filled with fried eggs, grated emmental cheese, and ham. But make sure you grab lots of extra napkins, because these oversized envelopes are rather messy to eat.

So those were a few lunch suggestions. Coming up next, my top choices for Parisian dinner spots in part 2 of A Table for Two

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3 Responses to “A Table for Two”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A Table for Two: Part 2 – Dinner « Shortt and Sweet - 18/10/2011

    […] part 1 of A Table for Two, I mentioned a few suggestions about where to grab lunch in Paris. But if you’re really looking […]

  2. Digesting the Experience « Shortt and Sweet - 19/10/2011

    […] A Table for Two: In this post I will be highlighting some of my favorite restaurants I visited while in Paris, along with other culinary experiences that occurred outside of the classroom. […]

  3. Dinner for One « Shortt and Sweet - 21/10/2011

    […] part one of the post A Table for Two, where I shared with you my favorite lunch spots in Paris, I mentioned a market call Le Marché des […]

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