Paris is our feel-good city, so Jan and I were feeling good when we headed off by train for the City of Light last Saturday. We were travelling there to celebrate Jan’s birthday, to enjoy some culinary delights, and to spend time with great friends from Toronto, Keith and Kathy, who had braved the transatlantic crossing for some biking and sight-seeing in France.
With this post, I’m just going to show off some of the dishes we really enjoyed — even if they weren’t always in fine-dining restaurants.
One dish that may seem surprising for a Paris restaurant is the lobster roll. Yes, it’s the New England classic that consists of cold chunks of lobster in a mayonnaise, served on a sprinkling of crisp chopped lettuce and placed in a soft roll. (This being Paris, the bun is a delicious brioche.)
Jan and I each had the lobster-roll-and-fries special, at 32 euros each, at the Café Tourville, a short walk from our hotel. In fact, we had this meal twice — once on the Saturday afternoon of our arrival, and once on the day we left. It’s absolutely wonderful, which you might tell from this photo:
The Café Tourville has been one of our favourite haunts in Paris for years, and so has the Romantica Caffé, an authentic Italian restaurant where we’ve lunched many times. On this trip, we enjoyed lunch at Romantica on Monday, when Jan had pasta with clams, and I had a creamy pasta that had been stirred in a large, hollowed-out wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano. Have a look:
In addition to the high quality of the food and the friendly service, the location of Romantica Caffé is also a plus. The restaurant is located on the Boulevard de la Tour Maubourg, right across from Les Invalides, the impressive building that houses Napoleon’s tomb. Here’s a view from our table:
Our friends enjoy oysters as much as we do, and so on Monday night we all repaired to Huitrerie Regis in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district. This restaurant specializes in oysters (quite obviously) and is also notable for being incredibly tiny. At our table for four, it seemed as if we were taking up most of the restaurant’s inside space. Here’s our tray of slipperies:
We did have two disappointments on the lunchtime front. First, we were looking forward to Sunday lunch at an Indian restaurant that Jan and I know and love (Chez Raja, on the rue Surcouf) and had our reservation confirmed by an online service. However, the online service had missed the rather important fact that the restaurant would be closed on Sunday, and so when we arrived we were greeted by a locked front door. (We ate at a not-very-special café around the corner.)
The other disappointment was Tuesday’s lunch (for Jan’s birthday) at a Michelin-starred restaurant. I’ll cover that in a future post.