In Paris, it’s possible to do a Tour de France without a bicycle, since one of the most unique layers of the city’s food chain is its many French regional tables. Indeed the cooking of almost every corner of France is available in Paris, although some regions, notably the Auvergne and Alsace, are better represented than others, like the north of France, which has just a single address, Le Graindorge, vaunting such Flemish favorites as waterzooï (chicken and vegetables stewed in cream enriched bouillon) or carbonade, beef cooked in a sauce of beer.
Café des Abattoirs (75001) Lindsey Tramuta reported on Café des Abattoirs in the Times this week, calling it a “modern grill-meets-Lyonnaise bouchon” run by the Rostang sisters who “uphold their father’s penchant for simple dishes prepared with top-tier ingredients, in a family-friendly environment that has a whiff of nostalgia… Despite a few missed opportunities — a short, predictable wine list and uninspired desserts — this is feel-good Rostang cooking at its finest.”
LiLi (75016) Alexander Lobrano thinks this brand new Cantonese restaurant will be one of the biggest hits of the rentrée with “an extravagant but carefully edited program of temptations that debuts with dim sum, including the juicy Shanghai style soup dumplings below and also other more delicate and tantalizing versions of the genre, including the lobster-stuffed caviar-dressed single dim-sum that was so good I ate it in one excited bite.”
Find practical information and additional reviews on our guide page for LiLi
Stephane Davet reports today that Yam’Tcha – the celebrated and nearly impossible-to-book restaurant from chef Adeline Grattard – will be closing at some point in the next few months in order to reopen in a larger space. The new restaurant will also be in the Les Halles neighborhood but will pass from 20 to 35 covers and have space for four cooks instead of three. Anyone who has seen their current set -up can understand why she might want some more elbow room in the kitchen.
Le Comptoir du Relais (75006) Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport acknowledges the (still) impossibility of scoring a reservation at Yves Camdeborde’s restaurant, and then gives it some more much-needed mainstream press coverage. The appeal for him lies in “the restaurant’s bustling, studio-apartment-size space, completely free of pretense in a city famous for pretense,” and the fact that “there is no menu—you eat whatever inventive, abundantly fresh, elevated bistro dishes Camdeborde chooses to cook that evening.” Also, the cheese (much of which comes, we’ve heard, from Twiggy’s place inside the covered Saint-Germain market): “Finally, there is the cheese board, oozing with only-in-France creations (and honey and quince jam and all that good stuff) that your waiter plunks down on the table after your meal and lets you have at it.”
This rural French auberge, located in the beautiful Norman countryside near Pont l’Évêque, offers fresh, classical French cuisine prepared by chef/owner, Nicolas Vincent. The rustic half-timbered dining room is cosy and lit with a big fire in the winter, and bright and airy in the summer, when the doors are thrown open on to the terrace on sunny days. Dishes include regional specialties, seasonal seafood, homemade pork terrine served with sweet and sour confit d’oignons, and a light, fruit studded mousse au fromage blanc for dessert.
A mix of old stone and classic refinement, this restaurant, housed in a 17th century manor that was once home to the local blacksmith, offers an exemplary dining experience from the moment you walk through the door. The passionate owners, Denis and Christine Leclerc, have been serving exquisitely prepared, sophisticated, seasonal dishes for 30 years in the bright, spacious dining room overlooking the gardens. They offer an eclectic array of apéritifs, an extensive wine list and a sublime specialty of the house – a fricassee that combines sole fillets and local foie gras – it can be ordered either à la carte or as part of the €49 menu.
Normandy cream and fresh seafood are the stars of the show at le Vauban, an old fashioned restaurant tucked away on a tiny street just up from the daily fish market. The owners, Dominique and Patricia Gancel, and their staff, will make you feel right at home as they show you to your table in one of the two cosy dining rooms. The food here is unpretentious and the servings are generous. Authentic Norman dishes such as homemade soupe de poisson topped with a healthy dollop of crème fraîche, local fish with beurre blanc, towering fresh seafood platters and poulet Vallée d’Auge are some of the highlights of the menu.
Aaron Ayscough clocks the first review of the long-awaited Le Servan from sister duo Tatiana (formerly Arpège & Astrance) and Katia Levha. He’s impressed: “Almost every component of my meal at Le Servan was sterling, a tour de force of talent and good taste.”
John Talbott calls chef Levha the “very attractive Filipino… consort of Bertrand Grebaut (of Septime),” which hurts us inside. Apparently he likes this, naming Le Servan “the best prix-qualité ratio of the year 2014.” Talbott isn’t alone in tittering about Levha’s love life: the number of writers who have managed to review this restaurant without mentioning the chef’s boyfriend can be counted on three fingers.
Lazare was the biggest opening of the rentrée 2013 – a splashy restaurant from a three-star chef inside the Gare Saint-Lazare. Eric Fréchon, who has been branching out from his home base of L’Epicure (formerly Le Bristol) ever since he opened Le Mini Palais in 2010, was purportedly serving Normandy-inflected comfort food to travelers en route to that region or arriving from the other side of Paris. Reviews had been ecstatic, praising the menu as “glorieusement française,” (Gaudry), noting the “friendly, professional service” (Moore) and celebrating the casual openness of the place (Rubin).
In nine years of dining in Paris and writing about its restaurants, this was the worst service I have ever experienced. It was shockingly, almost comically bad.