best meal in Paris
Posted on 01 / 29 / 2012
On a rainy day in January, I found this restaurant for a late lunch. It's small and might have felt cramped if all the seats had been taken, but the close quarters added to the sense of being in a family kitchen. A smiling woman seemed to fill the jobs of owner, server and cook, and was still not too busy to joke with customers and answer questions. The large array of choices was listed on a board on the wall. Salads seem to be a speciality, but I wanted something warm and ordered potage aux legumes (vegetable soup) and vegetarian couscous. The soup was thick and the flavor was vegetables in general rather than one in particular. Each spoonful was a pleasure--luckily the portions are quite generous.
I've eaten the vegetarian couscous at the Raspail organic farmers market, and this was similar. The vegetables were perfectly cooked and the wholewheat (I think) couscous was not lumpy and reheated.
Two students at the next table ordered the salads of the day, and after some trepidation about creating their own dressing from the tray of ingredients on the table, they seemed to enjoy trying various combinations. They finished by swabbing their plates with the wholewheat bread that comes with every meal and agreeing that it had been delicious.
Two women across the room bought chocolate cake to go after finishing two big portions for dessert. The atmosphere in the little space was relaxed and friendly. The encounters between the owner and what looked like neighborhood regulars were warm and low-key. It was fun to watch Parisian life go by: a window washer efficiently doing his job, the owner's son coming home from school, a table of local business owners gathering for a late lunch.
The prices were reasonable considering the portion size and the quality of the food and cooking. Wine was available and so was a free carafe of water. Although I had fancier and more expensive meals during my stay in Paris, this one was my favorite: a perfectly satisfying lunch.
delicious food, good value, pleasant atmoshpere