This is a continued story from my most recent trip to Paris in early June, 2011. This post reviews some of my favorite dinner spots in Paris.
I was giddy about our dinner reservation at La Regalade St. Honore. Walking from our apartment we crossed the Seine via the Ponts des Arts Bridge: there were people out picnicking, playing and listening to music and enjoying the simplicity and beauty of being outside on a warm spring evening. Dave and I held hands as we strolled through the walk way on the east end of the Louvre and out the other side to Rue St. Honore.
My favorite part of this meal is the pot of ‘all you can eat’ pork terrine pate accompanied by fresh baked country style bread, a canister of cornichons (pickles) and coarse grain mustard – sublime. I followed this with an appetizer of blanches d’asperges (white asparagus) topped with a poached egg, sauce and fresh herbs. This was followed by a main course of filet de dorade (white fish), covered in fresh grilled spring vegetables. I dined on my favorite dessert this trip: rhubarb and fresh strawberries layered with mascarpone cheese and topped with a granola like crumble. We paired this meal with a crisp glass of white wine to start, followed by a smooth bottle of red. Meandering through the narrow streets, arm in arm, post dinner, without our three children in tow, was a romantic and lovely ending to the day.
A visit to Paris is incomplete without a meal at Bistro d’Henri. This rustic designed art-deco style bistro sits on a narrow, cobbled street in the bustling Rue des Princesses neighborhood. Additions to the daily menu are presented at your table via blackboard: terrine of courgettes (zucchini) with tomato coulis, goat cheese with tapenade and olive oil, escargots, beef bourgignon and magret de canard avec miel (duck breast with honey) are a sampling of the items that will tempt your taste buds and intrigue your pallet. The small wooden tables and chairs are more often than not tightly packed with locals and don’t be surprised if you find yourself seated next to an elderly French couple sporting a poodle on one of their laps.
My appetizer of fresh crab served in an avocado accompanied by a small side salad was fresh, lightly seasoned and delicious. I followed this with one of the house specialities, ‘7 hour slow roasted leg of lamb’ accompanied by gratin dauphinois (succulent scalloped potatoes). Sharing a creme brulee for dessert was a flavorful ending to another wonderful meal.
For our final evening we ventured out to the Montmartre neighborhood to dine at Le Pantruche. Montmartre is known for its artists, the Basilique du Sacre Couer and Moulin Rouge. After riding the metro we followed the steep hill climb and walked the multiple stairs up to Sacre Couer before dinner. Sitting on the steps of the church we watched the sun slowly go down over the city. There were street musicians, artists, locals and other tourists savoring the warm spring evening.
Le Pantruche had an unpretentious atmosphere and was tightly packed with French speaking patrons and bustling, busy waiters. A large antique mirror covered the length of the wall behind the bar and votive candles illuminated each table with their dancing candlelight. Practicing greeting our server in French, I was delighted with his lively response detailing the specials for the evening as well as the wonders of the newly revamped wine menu.
I dined on an appetizer of poached egg with red peppers and a smoked chili pepper cream sauce, followed by an entree of caille (roast quail) with spring vegetables. Savoring an incredibly decadent moulten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce for dessert reminded me again of why I love Paris. Being with my husband, chatting over dinner, enjoying one another’s company, savoring delicious food, and being able to have walked and wandered on our way to dinner – wonderful.
How many more times will I return? As often as my taste buds emit their siren cry for French food and my adventuring traveler’s heart beats. I look forward to more fun food encounters, walks through neighborhoods I have not yet explored, and dining at the many more bistros, cafe and restaurants that Paris has to offer.