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Dennis and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary in the city of Paris, France. You can't explore the city of love without some good eats, right? We were in the city for a couple of days sightseeing (read our 3 days in Paris - itinerary and tips post) and picked restaurants close to the hotel and nearby our tourist destinations. Below we describe what we found and what we thought of them.
Sandwiches and pastries were found on almost every block. Near our hotel, proximity got us in the door of Boulangerie l'entracte (1 Rue Scipion).
I was fond of the brie and tomato sandwich which had a richer goat cheese flavor on soft bread. Dennis only ate curry chicken sandwiches with lettuce, tomato and sliced hard boiled eggs. A 9 EU breakfast for two quickly powered us through sightseeing until the next food break. It was our breakfast three days in a row. It would have been four if they were open at the time we left Paris.
Rue Mouffetard Market
After settling into our hotel room, we asked for local suggestions and were directed to Rue Mouffetard Market, a 5-10 minute walk away. On a lovely Saturday afternoon, we treked north along Rue Mouffetard observing vendors at this popular street market.
Our tummies were tempted by option after option within the open glass cases! This display of fresh pasta from Delizius would have been so awesome if we had a kitchen to prepare it!
Our initial pass by Boulangerie Patisserie (113 Rue Mouffetard) showed a line of eagar people and we found ourselves returning for a little snack.
These wonderfully rich cheesy items felt hot and fresh after a brief reheat in their ovens! The left was a quiche (3,20 EU) and the right was a ham and cheese sandwich (4,50 EU) with a really thin but hard crust. Past the crust, we really enjoyed these.
Paul France (chain)
After exploring the Louvre Museum for 2-3 hours on Sunday, we were famished! Paul France was within easy reach, in the downstairs area between the three museum area entrances.
The Salade Paul (6,05 EU) and Pavot Poulet (5,70 EU) were enough to fuel us for the rest of the museum walk. Halfway past stiff croutons and lettuce, a bottom layer of ranch-like dressing made its appearance. Mixing was somewhat difficult with the small bowl but it did improve the taste, if not overdressed a tiny bit. The chicken sandwich was decent though we liked the softer bread near our hotel.
Le Sirocco Morroccan Restaurant (8 bis rue Gobelins)
A large number of restaurants and businesses were closed on Sundays so we had to change our plans for dinner. A nearby moroccan restaurant sounded intriquing so we made our way to Le Sirocco Morroccan.
Here were the free appetizers which we snacked on while debating what to eat.
One of the main sections was couscous and our pick had a variety of meats. Can you believe all these dishes were part of one order? Components included a plate of couscous, two different sauces, a brothy vegetable soup with a slight kick, juicy dark grilled chicken, medium rare steak, kefta (seasoned ground meat), and a very different style/texture of lamb meat, perhaps boiled but without the gaminess. After sampling several items piece by piece, we noticed our neighbors mix their ingredients and soup into the couscous. They seemed to know what they were doing so we followed suit! Portions were insanely HUGE and could have been for two people.
The other main section was tangine and our choice of the slow cooked lamb and tomatoes was a delicious choice. The magic meat was tender off the bone surrounded by a sweeter flavored base (licorice? cranberry?). The bread was lightly toasted and eagarly dipped into the oily meat drippings.
The restaurant was packed when we got there so thankfully we got the last table. The tables were compactly arranged so we were within arms reach of our neighbor's shoulders! The meal was 40,00 EU total and we left stuffed and satisfied.
With a view of the famous Eiffel Tower, we snacked on a crepe from the nearby street cart. It wasn't very good but I didn't have high expectations. We'll definitely make up for this at a raved about spot for hopefully Paris visit part 2!
Pizza Cesar (81 bd Saint-Marcel)
After walking past several times, we decided to drop by Pizza Cesar for Monday's dinner. Olives were set before us while we waited for the main entrees.
The Pizza Paysanna (14 EU) had a description reminding us of potato pizzas from Basic Pizza San Diego. Their version was well liked with its fresh cream layers, roasted potatoes (instead of mashed), and little bacon bits without the greasiness. Portions were more than enough for one so leftovers were saved for midnight snacking.
The veal, mushroom and tomato sounded appealing in the Fusilli Vitello (14 EU) but tastewise seemed to be missing something. We wanted a little more spice or oomph because it became flat after a while.
I love this patio shot. That night we did what Parisians do... people watching outside. During our meal, the delivery guy (bike on right) took care of at least 3-4 meals too so they seemed popular in the neighborhood. Overall, Pizza Cesar was reasonably priced with a white tablecloth feel and pleasant service.
Le Bistrot Des Campagnes (6 Rue Léopold Robert)
Travel friends recommended prix fixe meals, especially lunch as it was very reasonable. Not far off from Jardin du Luxembourg was Le Bistrot Des Campagnes, our choice for Tueday's anniversary lunch. The prices were great at 20,50 EU for a three course or 15,50 without dessert. The whole menu was in french so our server gave a quick overview of the many options.
These were my favorite appetizers from all of Paris. Light vinigrette and the crunch of the pork crisps? Slightly candied beet spread? Smoked duck like salted bacon goodness? Uh yes! The medium rare center had more chew to it. The spice of the thin green item on the duck dish was like whoa! I loved the quinoa underneath with apple sweet nibs. In the upper left was FOIE GRAS, amazing, rich and well portioned. I believe it was an additional cost of 5 EU or so but in France, we could splurge! The bread was white bread soft and a delicious jam texturized it with bits of pecan.
The main plates were beautifully presented but not as mind-blowing as the appetizers. The robust balls of pork cheeks had a sauce that reminded us of pork strognaff. The underside of the soft fish was partially separated and required delicate maneuvering around bones. Two limes added some bitterness to the pieces that touched it. We added the provided butter for more richness.
One of our meals had the third course which we chose creme brulee.
We wanted to eat within walking distance of The Eiffel Tower and chose La Coincidence for our anniversary dinner.
magret de canard 23
bourgogne chardonnay 14L 8, pouilly fume 10
The duck tasted like liver to me for some pieces. We do love the honey glazed sauce though, raved about by the waiter. The side of mashed potatoes were great as can be expected. The salmon dish had a crispy skin but otherwise was quite average to me because I wanted a stronger flavor. I was also not a fan of the vegetables here but that could be a personal preference. It was the most expensive meal we had in Paris, a little under 100 EU but not as favorable as we had hoped! Perhaps it was not suited to our taste because many others have enjoyed their visits here based on the yelp reviews.
I love you dear Dennis. Happy 5 year anniversary to us and many more to come!
General restaurant tips in Paris
Some places already include tip and the bottom of the bill shows "service compris". When paying, some places require going to the front, otherwise they will bring a portable credit card charge machine to you. For places that don't include tip, you have to tell them the total amount to charge before they run the card. For example, if the food bill was 18 euro, tell them to charge 20 on the card. There is no write in tip on the receipt to sign after the card is charged.
For nicer restaurant, try to get a reservation if you can. Lots of restaurants are small.
Check the restaurant lunch vs dinner menu. Sometimes you can get the same 2 or 3 course meal at lunch but for a lot cheaper.
France has a lot of Michelin Star Restaurants and advance reservation is a must.
We ate sandwiches every morning to save money. It they were also super good if you find the right place. Hello fresh bread in the morning!
Of course, we missed out on things like Michelin Star Restaurants and other really popular paris food stops. that could always be for next time if we planned ahead more!
Did you find any wonderful spots on a Paris visit? What is your favorite city for eats?