Our third week in Paris: Les Parisens, Massale, Virtus, Sadarnac, Dilia, Amarante, Parcelles

Les Parisiens - We were intrigued to give Les Parisiens a try after reading about it on HO. Because the dinner menu seemed a bit rich, we opted for lunch and loved it, except for an overly sweet Paris Brest for dessert. I should have known to give it a pass, especially since it’s one of those menus where you can choose among an entrée/plat or a plat/dessert or all three. And you can also share a dessert. The oeuf mollet in a parsnip soup laced with bacon, chorizo oil and chives, as well as the onglet de veau with a spelt risotto and girolles, were a splendid lunch for 39€ (if I had skipped dessert it would have been 34€).

Massale - We love this place, the perfect neighborhood bistrot in which to find refuge on a rainy night. We’ve been coming here since 2018 and have rarely been disappointed with any dish. Everything was delicious with preparation and creativity that goes beyond your standard fare. The one server and the kitchen crew were in friendly harmony, probably a big reason for the generally positive vibes. Loved my charred poulpe on creamy hummus mixed with various pickled veggies.

Virtus - We took a leisurely walk on a sunny day from the Hôtel de Ville to the Marché Aligre (try to go when the indoor market is open to check out the cheeses), followed by lunch at Virtus. We received a very warm welcome from the new staff and settled easily into the lovely space. Beautiful and self-assured cooking by the new chef, Fréderic Lorimier with an impressive pedigree. His wife Camille graciously handles the front. We chose the 4-course lunch which included an entrée, two mains (a fish and a meat) and dessert. The sauces on the various plates were sensational - a truly splendid meal which is why Virtus stays on our list. The restaurant was just about full (about 35+) which added to the wonderful vibrancy.

Sadarnac - The last few years we don’t mind trekking out to the Saint Blaise neighborhood east of the Père Lachaise cemetery to take in some of Lise Deveix’ cooking at Sadarnac. This year was no exception although there was one course I was not mad about, a thon blanc (albacore) with a provençale sauce with a hearty bite to it (not sure if it was the wine, vinegar or some other ingredient). But ALL other dishes were knock outs: a perfectly crunchy gyoza filled with celery in a light parmesan sauce as an amuse; a practically charred piece of artichoke and eggplant in light cauliflower sauce; roasted winter squash in a puddle of a very light butternut and smoked haddock sauce; pigeon breast alongside cooked chard stuffed with les abats. And the best part of Sadarnac is the totally irreverant chef Lise Deveix.

Dilia - We hadn’t been to Dilia in the 20th arrondissement since pre-Covid and wondered how things were going. From the moment we walked in and encountered Fréderico’s happy face we knew we were in for a treat. Anglophones pay heed - Fréderico (FOH) speaks perfect English so no need to fear this small out of the way place. We actually walked there from HdV and it was only about 45 minutes. Anyway, chef Michele Farnesi has gotten past service problems under control and our meal was sensational: small raviolis stuffed with leeks in a smoked sardine court bouillon with a couple of chunks of foie gras and a few seeds of passionfruit to add a tinge of sweetness to the broth; a lovely small piece of sole with champignons de Paris; mallard duck breast with polenta mixed with the duck liver; radicchio and roasted beets - the plate looked like a symphony in red. I really can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t love it. If we had any questions about the service issues in the past with Dilia, they have vanished. Most importantly, the meal exceeded anything we had previously had there, which had already had us coming back.

Amarante - We had a splendid meal at Amarante: veal tongue and the slow-cooked gigot d’agnelle (female lamb) on one side of the table, creamy vegetable soup and ris de veau with a decadent purée of pdt on the other. Despite a lot of criticism of indifferent or rude behavior by past server(s), Loris - or Lolo - was incredibly helpful with a quirky independence about him that we loved. And we were able to pry shy Christophe out of the kitchen because Lolo inadvertently added a zero to our bill and Christophe had to come out and fix it. (I showed him the photo, Parigi - he loved it!)

Parcelles - Parcelles was all we hoped it would be: friendly staff, lively ambiance and great food. And we loved returning to this location which Parnassien had first sent us to in 2014 when it was Le Taxi Jaune. Tonight was my turn for perfect ris de veau with ptd puréed with only about half the butter as Amarante’s, but still delicious. R’s lotte was meltingly smooth served on top of a spinach purée with brown butter. R had a quite good tarte au chocolat of which I was able to scrounge a few bites.


Carole, thank you so much for this perceptive and detailed account, which I’ve just now seen. As usual, you have a knack for finding places of character, and connecting with the chefs and staffs. We are paying attention and hope to visit some of these that are new to us. And in the meantime, we look forward to the “week four report.”

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This is a fabulous list of great restaurants away off the “common ground.” Sadarnac produces great food, and the wallpaper provides adventure. I haven’t been back to Virtus since the turnover, but you convinced me to return when I visit in December. Massale and Dilia are places that refresh my love of Paris. Thank you for stirring those memories.

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Without being the least disparaging, this is what we’ve come to expect from @sfcarole. Thanks much for these exceptional reports.

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We also went to Le Taxi Jaune based on parn’s recommendation so long ago on Chowhound. I will have to check out this new place when we go back to Paris in May!

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Although I miss the presence of idiosyncratic chef Otis Lebert at Taxi Jaune, I must admit that Parcelles is perhaps even a wee bit better foodwise.

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Thanks for that. We’re finally coming back to Paris and I need to diversify and try some new things! This looks good.

Happy to hear Parcelles was a success. We will be returning on our next trip. Thanks for the recommendation of Virtus. The menus look wonderful. Dilia sounds great too.

We’ll be returning to Parcelles as well. Virtus I prefer for lunch; plus it’s fun to go to the Marché Aligre beforehand and scout around. Dilia is delightful, lunch or dinner. You might also like Sourire in the 13th, which I think onzième also enjoyed not too long ago.

Yes, we had a very good lunch at Sourire last fall. If you like game, it’s an especially good location.

Parcelles has become very popular with the American press and it has very limited seating (on nice days they add two tables across the street, but that’s not much help). Consequently, reservations can be difficult to snag and it may be largely American clientèle (although it’s also very popular with Parisians). I’ve basically written it off for the tourist season, even though it’s a pleasant 15-20 minute walk from my apartment through some of the most historic parts of the Marais.

I haven’t been able to get myself up to go to Virtus because I have such fond memories under the old team.

We don’t go to Paris until May but I went to Parcelles website and they do have online reservations. I will have to keep checking back to try to snag one. It wasn’t clear when they open up reservations-maybe a month before…

My recollection is that Parcelles allows bookings 30 days out. Each day another day is added. I forget which time of the day a new available date is added, but if you check a few times you’ll be able to figure that out. I had no difficulty getting a res once I knew when to make it.

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FWIW, and I enjoy eating at Parcelles and do so about once a month or so when I’m in Paris, Parcelles is not a can’t-miss restaurant. It’s a very good, pleasurable meal, not more.

For me it’s the ambience at Parcelles, as well as the food, that makes it a bit special.

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It’s walkable from where we are staying which unfortunately is a requirement since my husband works all week and we have to make dinner fairly close but still hopefully delicious. I did get a reservation at Kubri which sounds interesting. I’m actually freaking out presently about my passport situation (process is hopelessly backed up and I renewed on Jan 26 and nothing has moved since then). May be sending my husband alone to all these places.

Oops, that was in response to previous comment and I appreciate your response. I love that it’s in the old Taxi Jaune location also.

You should be okay with your passport since they are currently saying 8 to 11 weeks (up from February) for a routine renewal. If you mailed it on Jan. 26, even assuming a week in the mail, you should have it by mid April.

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Read something online about state dept now saying 6 months. I hadn’t even realized it had expired since we stopped international travel during Covid and then discovered in January it expired in 2021. I’m going to keep fingers crossed and maybe get in touch with local congressman.

Someone I follow on Instagram-Lindsey Tramuta who wrote The New Paris- posted about a dinner she enjoyed at Bistrot des Tournelles. Have you heard anything? Thanks!

We got our daughters passport back in less than 7 weeks a year ago

For a trad restaurant, Bistrot des Tournelles is exceptionally agreeable and, it seems, very tourist-pleasing. The old-school trad cuisine is impeccably done (and unlike many trad restos in the tourist zones, made from scratch), but the menu does not change often. And I don’t remember seeing steak au poivre on the menu. I suspect it would be less enjoyable in warm weather because of the very trad cuisine, poor ventilation/ no air-conditioning (a problem shared by many small restaurants in Paris) and no outside tables. As good as Bistrot des Tournelles is or was on my one and only visit last autumn I still prefer other restos, especially those with a few more offal and old-school dessert choices on the menu, for my dose of trad. But chacun son truc.

A slight worry. It, like Parcelles, could become a part of the Great American Funnelling Machine because of good reviews by expat and visiting food writers of a small number of restaurants that they happen to know and like. A lot of tourists, obliged to rely on English-language sources, tend to follow the footsteps of other tourists and, as a result, the handful of praised restaurants attract a predominately foreign rather than local clientele. The vibe and ambiance can change drastically and quickly, from an authentically parisian experience to an American-in-Paris one. For some this could matter, others not so much. The food remains the same.


@ParnParis any recommendations for casual/mid tier restaurants that have outdoor dining in the 2nd, 3rd, 8th, or 9th districts or near the river seine?