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Cordonnerie (La)

20, rue St-Roch (1)
Tel: 01-42-60-17-42

AMBIANCE/DÉCOR

This small family-owned restaurant has operated for almost fifty years in an ancient building built into the side of the St. Roche Church just off Rue St. Honoré. “Modest” hardly defines it. Modest in size (20 seats, including two tables in the beamed room which also serves as the kitchen), modest in staff (one chef, one waiter and a dishwasher), modest in ambition and menu. If you arrive with commensurately modest expectations, it can be quite pleasant, as it was for us. If seated in one of the two kitchen tables, a near-private demonstration of French cooking in action.

FOOD

Limited menu, with two entrée plats du jour and two plats (main courses). Stick to these. Our poached egg in cream of mushroom soup was fresh and rich. Equally so (at least the fresh part) minced salmon tartare with oil, citrus and herbs. Our breast of roasted pintade (guinea hen) was first rate, good to look at and flavorfully sauced, served with creamy scalloped potatoes. At another meal, scallops and blanquette of chicken. Limited, but adequate desserts and wines.

SERVICE

The chef’s young nephew, plus the chef himself. Informal in the extreme and totally in keeping with the spirit of the evening.

PRICE

Modest a la carte. Three courses 45€, plus wine.

(2x) (2013-2014)

Chez La Vieille (Adrienne)

1, rue Bailleul (1)
Tel:  01-42-60-15-78

AMBIANCE/DÉCOR

What remains from the legacy of the late Adrienne who owned and presided over this now-tired and cramped space in the 1st Arr. is not worth wasting a precious slot. Charmless (Michelle called it grim), in large part because of the six tables in the downstairs barroom. Only one was occupied on a Monday lunch, in addition to ours. The single waitress went through the motions, assisted by the chef when she was tending to the equally empty upstairs room.

Small blackboard menu. Actually, tasty fresh food, but the package wasn’t enough.


Published rumor that in addition to opening in New York, Daniel Rose from Spring is taking over this restaurant (also called Chez Adrienne) as of April.  It is more or less across the street from Spring.  “For Rent” sign in window and no evidence of construction.


Then it was closed, with rumors flying it would be purchased and redone by Daniel Rose, originally of Spring across the street (and now of New York’s hottest luxury spot in Tribeca, Coucou).

The space was shut up in October and sold out in April. And not only from the hype.

Still tiny. Now 16 or so stools in the unreserved ground floor barroom; 5 tables for 2 and 3 tables for 4 on the charmless first floor (in daylight at least).

Not so in the unreserved bar, though casual in the extreme.

FOOD

Four a la carte choices in each category. We tried mache salad with lardons and salmon tartare, followed by roast veal from a casserole with onion sauce, snap peas and carrots. All quite good, as was the molten chocolate cake with crème anglaise.


Very limited menu. About 15 items, half starters, 3-4 plats, 2 sides, plus 1 unlisted dessert. White asparagus, wonderful bouillon with noodles and poached egg, an old Chez Adrienne recipe, plus a shared divided half chicken with mushrooms. Cheese and simple lemon tart for dessert.

Terrific food, simply served.

SERVICE

Distracted.


Friendly, but inept. Sort of in character with the tone of the restaurant.

PRICE

A la carte. 82€ for lunch for two with one glass of wine, coffee and water.


Very low, and very much worth it.


For a city once known for its “classic” restaurants, meaning long established and rarely changing, Paris has become a whirlwind of change.

Review the chronology of what was Chez Adrienne, now Chez La Vieille. For some years, the buzz was the derelict Adrienne would be reopened by the hot American French chef Daniel Rose, whose primary restaurant Spring was across the street. And it was, but now Spring is closed and Daniel Rose is in New York, with his chef-wife opening a place of her own within the last few weeks. (Try to fit this into a published guidebook with a 1-2 year publishing deadline!)

As currently operating, Chez La Vieille is a better kitchen than it is a restaurant, meaning the food is very good.

Restaurants need energy to animate them, especially for tables of 2. Larger tables can bring some of their own energy with them (one good reason to eat out with friends). Staffs can help.

At Chez La Vieille the staff is perfectly adequate (but not professional), but bring no sense of fun or personality to the serving job. So the energy in the upstairs dining room (5 tables for 2, 2 tables for 4 or 6) dies even when the room is full, as it became halfway through our recent dinner. The downstairs bar room has plenty of energy when full, but not much comfort.

But the food from the very limited menu produced from a miniscule kitchen is excellent: beet salad in a lovely pink sauce, a fresh, homemade slab of duck terrine with novel accompaniments, roast chicken with mashed potatoes and a rich, steaming hot beef Bourguignon; a wonderful chocolate tart to share for dessert.

A mixed group of guests who enjoyed their food, but who had no trouble hearing. 129€ for 2, with a 42€ Morgan.

(3X) (2014-2018)

Chez Denise – La Tour de Montlhery

5, rue des Prouvaires (1)
Tel: 01-42-36-21-82

AMBIANCE/DÉCOR

Touristy Les Halles location. Touristy “old bistro” look. Surprise: good food, professionally served. Hearty menu, with some fish choices. In fact, few tourists, at least foreign ones.


Walked by unexpectedly, decided to return for lunch after 4 years. A good choice.

With tens more restaurant experiences under my belt (!) since my original write- up, a few different thoughts: Touristy look, because it is original and authentic, one of the original Les Halles restaurants, before Les Halles became a shopping mall.

Spacious, but not large, with closely spaced tables for 4 around 3 sides of a rectangle. Even when not full parties of 2 are seated next to other twos. Ignore or embrace your neighbors.

Hearty bistro food with many plats du jour. Immense portions. Wine, Bordeaux or Brouilly, poured into open bottles from casks, pay for what you drink. Not a Michelin caliber meal, but great fun.

FOOD

Not much finesse, but well executed, traditional bistro choices.


Twice as much as you can (or should) eat, but sharing probably not encouraged. Of course, no doggie bags. Salmon cru: four fillets make a portion. Terrine du Chef: 2 thick slices. Grilled lamb chops: 4, plus frites. Salmon with mustard sauce: enough for 2. Ditto chocolate mousse. All without finesse, and completely agreeable and appropriate.

SERVICE

Professional. Without charm.


As advertised above. Practiced. Not unfriendly, but not warm either.

PRICE

Not cheap, but reasonable for what it is. A la carte.


With water, coffee, 1⁄2 Bordeaux, 126€, all a la carte.

(2x) (2011 – 2014)

Café Des Abattoirs

10 rue Gomboust (1)
Tel:  01-76-21-77-60

AMBIANCE/DÉCOR

Michel Rostang pioneered the concept of a Michelin-starred chef opening a second, more modest restaurant, what is now nearly universal. Along with his 2-Star restaurant he has four other restaurants in Paris. Café des Abattoirs is the fifth, in some collaboration with his two daughters (which also may define their relationship to the others).

The space is small, modern and tastefully decorated. Empty, it boasts charm. Full, as it was on a Sunday night, it looks good, suffuses energy and offers a compact, but generous and well-executed meat-centric menu as part of a three course formula meal.

This is surprisingly good food offered in a pleasant, low-key environment in a convenient part of the 1st behind the St. Honore.

FOOD

Meat. Beef, pork, lamb (with a grilled chicken for two). They select the entrees (red pepper soup, bacon-wrapped cheese). You choose the style of potato accompaniment and the dessert. Lamb shoulder prepared for three and carefully sliced served at the table on a platter. Very good sides. Large meal. Wonderful chocolate tart, plus other dessert choices.

SERVICE

Friendly. Casual. Bilingual.

PRICE

32, 38 or 45€, depending on meat chosen. Our wonderful lamb, 38€. Reasonable wine prices. Three people, 195 with wine, aperitif, coffee.

(1x) (2014)

Au Vieux Comptoir

17, rue des Lavandieres (1)
Tel:  01-45-08-53-08

AMBIANCE/DÉCOR

From the outside, it could be any one of hundreds of similarly looking corner bars/cafes, with food as an afterthought. This is a real bistro, nearly all French on a Saturday afternoon. Fresh bistro dishes; welcoming, professional staff. Every seat taken. Every customer happy.

FOOD

Classic bistro food: Celery remoulade, razor clams in wine, pates and foie gras. For plats: beef, scallops, blood sausage, ballotine of chicken, lamb. For dessert, prunes with armanac, Tarte Tatin. Fresh. Good if not great. The overall experience probably better than the individual elements, but very authentic.

SERVICE

Friendly. Professional. Appropriate.

PRICE

A la carte starters 10 – 12€. Plats 20-25€. Plus wine.

(1x) (2012)

Goust

10 rue Volney (2)
Tel: 01-40-15-20-30

AMBIANCE/DÉCOR

No personal pride of “discovery” of the new restaurant, Goust. Alex Lobrano, a normally dependable blogger, alerted readers to what he described as the best new restaurant to open in Paris in recent years. Others echoed his praise.

Whether the superlative is fully due can be debated. What cannot be is the combination of elegant surroundings, polished and attentive service, unusual and careful selection and presentation of a multi-course menu, amazing and bountiful wine pairings, and fair prices, albeit at the high end.

Enrico Bernardo calls himself “the world’s best sommelier”, presumably on the basis of a 2004 competition. He owns this restaurant and chooses the wines. Located just off the Place Vendome on a one block quiet street, on the first floor.

FOOD

An all-Spanish kitchen crew serving French/Spanish dishes characterized by unusual ingredients and extraordinary flavors. A la carte, plus two menus, 75€ and 110€. For lunch two courses for 35€, plus dessert (10€). A large wine list or pairings at 25€, an amazing bargain characterized by variety and abundance. This is very fine food, if not at the level of a 2 or 3- star, but close enough.


Michelin star in 2014 Guide.

SERVICE

Intelligent, solicitous, friendly, informed and attentive – from every member of the young team.


Surely one of the most pleasant and helpful bilingual service experiences ever.

PRICE

A la carte – 3 courses 75€±, menus at 75€ and 110€. Lunch a la carte at 35€. Wine pairings 25€. The only extra, a cheese course (36 month Comte), 12€. Very good value.


Now a la carte. Plus 85€ tasting, with pairings at 35€. With a la carte, pairings at a giveaway 8€ per glass refilled 2x.

(3x) (2013-2014)


RECENT UPDATE:

As of Fall, 2017, permanently closed. Sad.

L’ As du Fallafel

34, rue des Rosiers (4)
Tel: 01-48-87-63-60

AMBIANCE/DÉCOR

As the name and address suggest, a kosher falafel joint in the Marais with a bare bones dining room in case you don’t want to eat on the street. No décor and barely anything resembling ambiance. So what explains long lines every day, all day? A great sandwich and an unforgettable experience. (And the long lines move quickly.)

FOOD

Hardly more than falafel. Chose the accompaniments; all of them fresh, delicious, put together in front of you, assembly-line fashion. Also lamb, chicken. Save coffee and dessert for a nearby café.

SERVICE

Basically, no service. Someone works the outside line, takes your order and collects the money. Pick up your falafel at the window. Or, for an extra 1€ per person, sit inside and have it brought to you.

PRICE

Two world class falafels, two Diet Cokes: 14€, plus 2€ to sit inside. Try to beat it in New York – or Jerusalem.


A visit to Paris isn’t complete without a walk in the Marais and lunch (inside) at L’As du Fallafel. Terrific food. Low prices. Helpful service (such as it is). More energy than any other restaurant in this guide.

(9X) (2010-2019)

Affriole (L’)

17, rue Malar (7)
Tel: 01-44-18-31-33

AMBIANCE/DÉCOR

Simple. Busy. Low on ambiance, high on food, without the energy of Epi Dupin, but similar mission and high level execution.


A complete redo. Now modern, with a full blackboard wall listing the menu. The food is (or has become) exceptional, particularly for the price. Busy. Booked; deservedly.

FOOD

Very good. Sophisticated for the price.

SERVICE

Cool. Professional. Unpretentious.

PRICE

Low/formula 38€

(1x) (2009)


(1x) (2010)

Quincy (Le)

28, av Ledru-Rollin (12)
Tel: 01-46-28-46-76

AMBIANCE/DÉCOR

A movie set bistro. In Gare de Lyon neighborhood. Elderly, energetic owner dominates the room; takes orders, checks on tables, advises on menu, creates a completely memorable experience – with one caveat: An offered digestif gift is 15€ on the check. A recommended wine substitution priced 75% higher. Great food, great fun.


Another spectacular dinner demands amplification.

Le Quincy illustrates the range of Paris dining and the peril inherent in lists of “favorite restaurants”.

On two back to back nights Versance (see 2nd) and Le Quincy.

One in spacious, formal surroundings, with an ambitious chef serving complex works of art on the plate, assisted by a serious and somber staff. Midweek, a dining room half full, mostly couples.  Very high prices, very precious food.

Le Quincy, a Paris “farmhouse” in décor. Small. Every table boisterous and full, almost all men. Two waiters and a larger than life owner, everywhere at once. A talented, but anonymous chef (plus one helper and a dishwasher) in the tiny kitchen (which guests pass through on the way to the courtyard toilet).

A menu replete with every bistro classic: terrines, hams, sausages and salamis, followed by coq au vin, chicken with morels in cream sauce, stuffed cabbage, grilled beef, veal chop, inexpensive wines. Family style bowls for dessert: chocolate mousse, prunes, sliced oranges, etc.

Which do you like better? Impossible to answer, two completely different ambitions. Both serve good food, one self-importantly, the other joyously. Different strokes.


Le Quincy has become among my favorite Paris restaurants. It is more “real bistro” in style and quality of cooking than any other. On every visit, almost all French (and mostly men!). The “elderly, energetic owner” still brings personality and oversight to the floor, with humor and charm.

Rotating daily specials: chicken with mushrooms, blanquette of veal. Otherwise small, but diverse menu of bistro classics.

Large portions. Small, now more diverse wine list.

The surroundings are tired, but the restaurant is always full of happy, well-fed guests. We love being among them.  (Including Henry Kissinger hosted by a former French Foreign Minister on our last visit).

FOOD

Terrific bistro food with daily specials, several unusual. Simple, good. Very well executed. Stuffed cabbage, baby lamb. Don’t miss the “Grand Assortment” dessert for the table.  Bowls put on table. Serve yourself. As much as you can bear.

SERVICE

Competent waiters supported by owner – there since 1972.

PRICE

Medium-high, but worth it at twice the price. Cash only.


Nothing changed, the best we could ask for!

(11x) (2010-2019)

Origins 14/Regalade (La)

49, av Jean Moulin (14)
Tel: 01-45-45-68-58
(See La Regalade St-Honore in the 1st for the distinguished history.)

AMBIENCE / DÉCOR

This is where it all began, and the original does not disappoint. The food quality and menu inventiveness is the same, but this less convenient location in the 14th boasts wonderful bistro décor, a young, high energy crowd heavy with French which seem to never stop coming (they book until 11:30 p.m.), a busy but skilled wait staff and the same diverse three course formula menu which revolutionized Parisian dining when first introduced.

People seem to be having more fun at this restaurant than any other we know, staff and customers Always full. Always good.

FOOD

The food is first rate, the dishes unusual (beef cheek, stuffed cabbage in court bouillon, risotto in squid ink, St. Pierre in cream sauce, pork belly). A flood of impeccable Grand Marnier soufflés flows from the kitchen as part of the 35€ formula. Luxury supplements, a few daily additions, but no steak frites here. A good range of wines, some high-priced.

SERVICE

In contrast to its St. Honore branch, the service is experienced, attentive and professional, though harried – more or less appropriate to the format.

PRICE

With water and a half bottle of wonderful red wine, our 34€ formula was 114€ (a neighboring table of three spendthrift Americans worked their bill up to 450€. It must have been a record.) On another night with more supplements, it was 128€.


The history is hard to follow: La Regalade in the 14th (there are now 3 others, see La Regalade St. Honore in the 1st) began the entire modern bistro movement. When it sold 15 or so years ago, its style, menu and clientele were left untouched – to everyone’s advantage. A second La Regalade was opened (then relocated across the street). Two others were added. And in April, 2017, this original location was sold. And change has begun.

Beginning with the name. The old business cards are a carry-over, but the credit card receipt bears the new name “Origins 14”.

The daily menu is not unchanged, except for the terrine of house-made pate which is put on every table, along with a large crock of cornichons. And the dessert list on the 37€ three course prix fixe still includes a wonderful Grand Marnier soufflé. In between, and out in the dining room, change is everywhere, and it isn’t all bad, except if you showed up looking for the original.

The crowd is all French, and all middle-aged friends and family. Not a motorcycle helmet in sight. Three young children (at 3 separate tables), plus one dog. The ambiance is still attractive and the energy still strong, but La Regalade has moved from destination to neighborhood restaurant. The menu is more diverse, with less emphasis on long-cooked traditional dishes using less familiar ingredients. The execution is good – if not as good – the menu arrestingly different.

Our dinner: oyster in bouillon and scrambled eggs with truffles; a small portion of grilled bass and house-made sausage with mashed potatoes, both served with roast cabbage with cheese; the soufflé and orange segments under glazed sabayon. Coffee served with fresh Madeleines and 2 glasses of port – gratis.

Service professional and friendly.

With a 56€ wine, 143€ for 2.

(4x) (2012-2018)

Photo from “Trip Advisor”

Restaurant du Marche

59, rue de Dantzig (15)
Tel: 01-48-28-31-55

AMBIANCE/DÉCOR

A nearly 50 year old bistro hidden on a nondescript street in the 15th can hardly be described as a “find”. Obviously, plenty of people found and enjoyed Restaurant du Marche over the decades, but it was not known to me. I discovered it thanks to the normally discerning “Hungry in Paris” website.

A small, classic bistro, ten or so tables for 35 guests – all middle aged French when we were there. Authentic, bordering on seedy, as in untouched, but charming because of that. Movie set-typical, but try to find many more like it. Best of all, it is not limited to the look. The greeting, menu, friendliness and execution all aligned perfectly.

FOOD

Limited three course menu with unusual specialties, plus a handful of supplements. Blackboard wine list across a price range with good choices.

Entrees included foie gras, house specialty pig’s foot prepared as a grilled open sandwich with chevre and a delicate green salad. Plats included another house specialty, steamed whole duck liver, plus a grilled and a roasted fish, duck Sheppard’s pie. Five dessert choices, including a sublime slice of brie and sherbets from Berthillon. Very good food.

SERVICE

Two in front, the senior English speaking and exceptionally welcoming in a low-key way. Service style very casual.

PRICE

Three course formula 34€, plus mid-range wine 40€. Supplements (oven roasted scallops) 5- 8€. Very fair prices. The blackboard listed lunch: salad, plat, water and one glass of wine: 18€.

(4x) (2010-2014)

Grande Cascade (La)

Bois de Boulogne Allee de Longchamp (16)
Tel: 01-45-27-33-51

AMBIANCE/DÉCOR

We have been going to Le Grand Cascade since the market menu (offered lunch and dinner) was 68€ with two glasses of wine. Given the elegance of the food, service and location (and in warm weather the opportunity to eat outside), it was a standout bargain. Nothing has changed since 2011, but the price. Le Grand Cascade is on a par all-in with special occasion lunch-only choices such as Hexagone, Le Grand Restaurant and Sylvestre, with more spacious historical surroundings and more formal traditional service. If no longer a standout bargain at 89€, plus 10€ for two glasses of wine and 10€ for water and coffee (109€ total), it remains a great splurge choice.

Zagat says “A step back in time”. Indeed it is, in the best sense of the phrase.

Glittering turn of the century building set in the Bois Boulogne within earshot of Longchamp. Large, grand style room. Jacket and tie not required, but certainly in the majority. Formal, but friendly welcome.

A family celebration venue, the perfect spot for Sunday lunch in celebration of a great family event.

FOOD

Elegant. Refined. 2 – 3-star quality. A la carte plus 135€ and 185€ set menus. But wait, a small carte as well. “Market” menu. Four choices for each of three courses. 89€ served at lunch and dinner, 99€ with two wines. No embarrassment in ordering from it. A la carte wonderful, but shockingly expensive.

SERVICE

Formal. Choreographed, but friendly. No intimidation.

PRICE

Even at 89€ for a meal of such caliber and finesse, it makes high-style, traditional French cuisine affordable, and in an unequalled setting.


What used to be 70€ with two glasses of paired wines is now 89€, without the wines. Two paired wines, 10€ each. 70€ has become 109€.

It is hard to call that a bargain, and maybe in bad taste.

Yet on an 80° spring Saturday afternoon with all of the tables set under umbrellas on the terrace in and facing the Bois de Boulogne, with kind service and art on every plate, it doesn’t get much better.

(8x) (2011-2018)

Frederic Simonin

25, rue Bayen (17) 
Tel: 01-45-74-74-74

AMBIANCE/DÉCOR

This is a find, if not a bargain. Simonin was the Atelier Rubichon chef in London, now back in Paris on his own, on a small market street in an otherwise busy Etoile-area neighborhood. Small. Modern. Comfortable surroundings. Based on the menu, expensive. A la carte at dinner, but at 39€, an extraordinary several course lunch at a giveaway price. Good enough to make one think about the a la carte dinner menu.  And surely not to last.  (And it hasn’t:  Lunch now 49€.)

Michelin star quality food in comfortable, but sophisticated surroundings served by friendly professionals.

After an early 2014 menu change which added an 86€ three-course “Inspiration” menu to the still very expensive a la carte dinner menu, we tried for dinner, following many happy lunches. This remains quite special.

Three “surprise” (no choice) courses: pan roasted cepes, choice of meat or fish (duckling with apples or mullet and pastry with Provencal accompaniments), warm chocolate cake with mint sherbet. Each course exquisite to look at and to taste, each complex without being overly fussy, each carefully arranged and carefully prepared. This is a great restaurant.

FOOD

Sophisticated. Beautiful. Complex. Modern. On the fixed price lunch, two choices in each category, plus extras; escargot or egg in a truffle cream sauce, chicken or fish. Another meal: pork or eel, or rabbit loin or cod. Equally sophisticated desserts. Several notches more refined than most other restaurants in this Diary.

SERVICE

Reserved. Friendly. (An elderly client who left before us on our last visit took my hat from the small coat closet by mistake. They knew where he lived and retrieved it.)

PRICE

Expensive a la carte. Very expensive tasting menu. 49€ lunch.  Relative to the care, beauty and intelligence of the food, still a bargain, if less so.

(9x) (2012-2016)