La Poule au Pot is a looker. It's wonderful to walk in and witness the vintage wallpaper, the globe lighting, and the silver-plated serving chariot wheeling between Pepto-Bismol colored tables. It is at once a little elegant and also a touch cheesy. One can almost picture the 80s pop stars who used to slouch into these red banquettes, the mirrored pillars reflecting their manliner and sprayed hair. Today's Poule au Pot, having been recently rebooted by star chef Jean-François Piège, reflects something different - a desire for traditional cuisine bourgeouise and also the willingness (by some) to pay for it.
L’Ami Louis has been the subject of one of the most deliciously harsh critiques ever published. And while I adore reading A.A. Gill’s particular brand of snuff review, with lines like “the cramped tables are set with labially pink cloths, which give it a colonic appeal and the awkward sense that you might be a suppository,” I find myself in the uncomfortable position of defending L’Ami Louis. It’s uncomfortable because L’Ami Louis is one of the least proletarian places I’ve ever been, and exclusivity is a great part of the appeal. This is, I understand, at odds with our mission to help unconnected visitors find great places to eat while in Paris.