Friday, January 02, 2009

Friday Flash...Some French Restaurants I Ate At..

While on my Paris vacation late November early December last year I visited a few restaurants mainly round the Montmartre and Abbesses areas.
There are many restaurants catering to tourists surrounding Sacre Coeur and in the Place du Tertre.
Just off the Place is a restaurant called Tartempion on Rue du Mont-Cenis.It has a very reasonable set menu or formule.For 15 euros you get to choose an entree,main and dessert.Other places set menus offered only a starter and main for a similar price so it was very good value.
I'd recommend the thick hot onion soup served in a square white ceramic dish.The steak I had as a main came with a salad and loads of fries.I finished off with a big slice of apple pie.
The place was interestingly decorated with a collection of fire extinguishers and what looked like industrial sized wooden cotton bobbins.Definitely worth a visit.

The photo above shows a bistro La Maison Rose not far from Tartempion north of the Place du Tertre.The restaurant in a small pink cottagey building is on Rue de l'Abreuvoir.My notes omitted what I ate for dinner there...though I did write down it was reasonably priced which means it was under 25 euros.

Near the Abbesses Metro station I found a number of restaurants,some of which were in various guidebooks and others I just ventured into.
Chez Marie,the red building in the shot above, had some very friendly and helpful staff who made various recommendations and suggestions as I decided what to eat.
As with other restaurants I visited there seems a certain pride and reverence in the way food is presented and cooked.Theres no rush to move diners along and the courses come at a leisurely pace allowing you to catch your breath and enjoy what you are eating.
Also near the Abbesses is a brasserie called Le Relais Gascon.
Once again I had the onion soup as a starter and a meaty main dish.On a subsequent visit here I also tried one of the massive salads topped with garlic sauteed fried potatoes.More touristy than Chez Marie but I'd recommend both.
Finally one other restaurant in the Abbesses area roughly located between the two Ive already mentioned is a small vegetarian establishment called Au Grain de Folie.Its virtually in a straight line from the Abbesses Station exit on Rue la Vieuville.
If you need a break from steak,beef and poultry dishes then the salads,grains and vegetables served here will make a diverting,pleasant change.They even had organic beer on the drinks list.
Its a small crowded restaurant.Everything is cooked and prepared as you order.Very friendly fellow diners who swopped restaurant and travel tips with me over dinner.It was funny to see everyone pull out their own Lonely Planet guide books.I swear there were at least 5 different language versions on the tables.Also ironic that the same places had been noted and ticked off.

Eschewing the guidebooks one lunchtime I found myself near the foot of Montmartre and strode into No Problemo Bar/Restaurant having read the chalked menu but understanding little of it.The formule here was 15euros for an entree and plat(main course).I ordered a tomato salad for starter which came with bread and probably would be the equivalent of a main here in Japan.The main course I got was a large duck breast served with a kind of potato pie.Nicely tender,plump and well cooked the meat fell away effortlessly.Well satisfied I couldnt pass up on dessert though it wouldnt be included in the set menu price.Nevertheless the creme brulee was worth every penny.A generous size,creamy and covered with a thin toffee glaze.Together with a good cup of expresso a fitting end to a small feast.So if you are in the vicinity of Rue Andre del Satre at the bottom of Sacre Coeur this place is definitely worth a visit.

Other places worthy of mention include a winebar/restaurant Aux Negociants where I drank beaujolais with some locals as they waited for their friends to arrive for dinner.It was very friendly but I had the feeling that I was intruding on an almost family like event.Once the locals had assembled they sat as one at two or three tables and proceeded to order.Again I had no complaints about the meal and would recommend it.
Finally a local watering hole across from the Lamarck Caulaincourt Metro stop which serves good coffee and has a small but varied menu is the Cafe Le Refuge.The staff are very friendly and helpful as are the locals who prop up the bar.I'd recommend a cafe lait and a hamfilled breadstick off the chalk board menu if you are peckish.

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