- Colette and I have had such on and off experiences at Vieil Ami that it’s off our list
- L’Epigramme has a new team at the helm
- Le Reminet is back to what it was 15 years ago, top flight food
- I haven’t been to most of the others in a long time, but
- Ribouldingue and Sola have come onto the scene with a roar and
- Ze Kitchen Galerie never fails to dazzle.
Thus my list now consists of:
10, rue Saint Julien le Pauvre 5th (Metro : St Michel)
T : 01.46.33.98.80
Closed Sunday and Monday
Menu-carte 25 €, a la carte 30-35 €.
3, rue des Grands-Degres, 5th (Metro : St Michel, Maubert-Mutualite)
T : 01.44.07.04.24
Lunch menu 13.50 €, dinner a la carte 40-60 €.
Sola aka Sola par Hiroki Yoshitake
12, rue de l'Hotel Colbert in the 5th, (Metro: St Michel)
T: 01.43.29.59.04 (but beware quirky phone-answering reliability)
Closed Sundays and Mondays
“Surprise” menus at lunch - 2 entrees, 1 plat, 1 dessert = 45; one more plat = 50E; dinner 45 and 60 E for the same.
The most tourist-trafficked spot in Paris, indeed the world, may well be around Notre Dame on the Ile de la Cite. Unfortunately, that’s also about the most culinarily desert-like place there is in the city.
If you’re dragging your feet so much that you cannot stand, you’re really stuck with Le Vieux Bistro, a 4.5 in my book, newly taken over by Sarah Peronnet, a former lawyer who trained in cooking in England and Canada, who serves Lyonnais comfort food (onion soup, boeuf bourguignon, quenelles de brochet, cheese and tarte tatin) that’s not bad but her wine is priced outrageously, e.g. starting at 29 €.
Counter-intuitively, the next closest place is actually on the Ile St Louis, Antoine Westermann’s (pre-Drouant) initial foray into Paris, yclept Mon Vieil Ami. I’ve had all good meals here except one famous time I was bragging about my sniffer-outer qualities to two buddies and the meal fell flat for me, them and the poor mother fro Eastern Europe that we pulled along. Usually though, it’s of high quality and fun food. While jam-packed, needing reservations, there is a “common table” one can sometimes luck out at.
In the other direction, that is West, just up the quai des Orfevres past the justice boys, is a much better and more interesting new place than Le Vieux Bistro, where the food was great a while back – indeed a solid 6.5. It’s run by the same team that manages the Cinq Mars, Lei, Cailloux and l’Altro and is called Quai-Quai. I very much liked* the oeufs mayo, salad with microtomed strips of seasonal veggies, rare lamb chops with curried beans, cod and fresh spinach and a broche perdu with a honey sauce.
If you could fly across the river you’d be at my favorite restaurant in Paris, perhaps the world, the impossibly-named Ze Kitchen Galerie which almost breaks the rating system, it’s that good. I will not bore you with more of my praise for it, but simply say that it’s worth the extra 10 minutes walking or flying across the Seine to dine there. Our last meal* was even better than our first one, years ago.
And then, presuming your feet are still functioning, a mere 200 meters farther on, is another new place - l’Epigramme (which clocks in between 6.6 and 8.8, depending on who’s counting). I think by now I’ve tasted pretty much everything on the carte and I have found nothing lacking, although my dining partners occasionally quibble. I like the amuse bouche terrine, tete de veau, scallops on a puree of cauliflower, poitrine of veal, lievre royale, ox-tail stew with chopped root vegetables, beef cheeks, veal, rascasse, St Nectaire, rice pudding, chopped apples in a sable "sandwich" and banana, chunks of chocolate cookie and formage blanc.
Finally, just past Ze is the Spanish bastion, Fogon St Julien, which is reputed to dish up the best paella in town, something I cannot dispute. It’s not new, but in new digs, but you probably didn’t come to town to have paella anyway. However, there is a French spin to what chef Alberto Herraiz does, and what he does is quite good, so don’t dismiss it out of hand.
NB – One place I’d tout you off is called l’Orangerie, located up the street from Mon Vieil Ami, run by Michel del Burgo, who should have learned good cooking at Taillevent, but the one and only time I went, performed horridly.
Mon Vieil Ami
69 St Louis en l’Ile, 4th, (Metro : Pont Marie)
T : 01.40.46.01.35
Closed Monday and Tuesday lunch
Menu 38 €.
74 quai des Orfèvres, 1st (Metro : Pont Neuf)
T: 01 46 33 69 75
Closed Sunday and Mondays
Lunch formula 17, menu 35 €
Ze Kitchen Galerie
4, rue des Grands Augustins, 6th (Metro: Saint Michel)
T: 01 44 32 00 32
A la carte 30 €.
9, rue de L’Eperon, 6th (Metro: Odeon)
T: 01 44 41 00 09
Closed Sunday nights and Mondays,
Menu-carte: 28 €
45, quai Grands Augustins, 6th (Metro : St Michel)
T : 01.43.54.31.33
Rice menu : 35 €, paella for two 36 €.
*Originally published in 2008