Paris 2023 Part One: Oktobre, Baillotte, Pianovins, L’Apibo, Aux Crus de Bourgogne, Geosmine, Origines

It was great returning to Paris for a longer stay than in March with so many places to try and some return visits. In March, my daughter and I had a wonderful lunch at kgb and I was eager to return to the now named, Oktobre. A high bar had been set and it was definitely met and surpassed on this visit. Once again, the 39€ 3 course lunch is an absolute steal (32€ for 2 courses) and it offers choices. Started with their hor d’oeuvres tray consisting of 3 different bowls of deliciousness. First one was celery root with briefly cooked scallops, diced citrus and a miso sauce. In the middle, a light onion soup/broth with a large chunk of foie gras and sprinkled on top with smoked eel. Final bowl was lightly cooked egg yolk over mushrooms which is hardly sounding as good as it was! My main dish was again quail which they cook perfectly—-this time with wild mushrooms, Jerusalem artichoke and fermented chili to add some bite. Dessert was poached pear cubes, large meringue kisses and a lemon custard. All were delicious. It’s a great ambience, warm staff and we were the only non-French in the house. It seemed that people were enjoying looking at what others had ordered and were also savoring their selections. As much as I liked kgb in March, I liked Oktobre in December even more and am salivating as I write this!

I already wrote some about Baillotte in a different post. Did not know much about it except from Sortir a Paris, strong reviews from Gault-Millau, had a Japanese chef, a convenient location in the 6th, as well as a very reasonable lunch menu. Started with smoked mackerel visually stunning and delicious, followed by chicken breast with chestnut/mushroom stuffing and salsify confit. Dessert was “espuma litchi, sorbet cod/yaort, tapioca and meringue au basilic.” Really can’t describe all the dishes but @busk posted some wonderful pictures that illustrate the beauty, execution and variety of the chef’s (Satoshi Amitsu) presentations. Each course had 3 choices, one vegetarian (44€ for 3 courses and 38€ for 2, including lunch on Saturday) Half the clientele that day were Asians and it was a young crowd (except for us!). It’s a terrific place, loved it and returned the following week.

Have to confess I shortchanged Pianovins, a favorite of @sfcarole. The friend I was with wasn’t feeling well so rather than exploring the longer menu, we only went with the 3 course lunch, sadly missing out on the scallops and bar. Started with a blue cheese shot glass soup amuse bouche, surprisingly followed by a puréed lentil soup with thin sausage slices. Next was a perfectly cooked chicken breast with salsify (very prevalent on December menus!) and spinach, a bit overly salty. Dessert was red wine poached prunes with sorbet. Eric was delightful and poured me a glass of wonderful Pinot Beurrot I wish I could get back home. Pianovins is a tiny, sweet place with a small solo chef helmed kitchen. When we were there for a Friday lunch, it was very quiet with one other table occupied. I’d like to try dinner another time.

Thanks to @Kathrynanne and her review, went to L’Apibo for dinner. It was convenient to apartment, had a nice menu and was well priced. In addition, her description sounded like a place I’d enjoy. Indeed it was. First course was a delicious scallop carpaccio, beautifully presented. Plat was perfectly cooked sea bass filet with black rice and smoked paprika sauce. When we arrived at 7:15, place was empty. By 7:30 it was full with only one other table speaking English. We we ended up conversing with the Swiss couple next to us and it seemed the closely spaced tables encouraged dining interactions. FOH was a real fun guy who helped set the tone, a pleasing levity. If I lived in the neighborhood, I’d definitely be a regular there.

Aux Crus de Bourgogne
After arriving, earlier in the week, we had a late lunch/early dinner at Le Chardonnay, a casual, servi continui sister restauarant to Aux Crus de Bourgogne. Because of the time of day, we were the only non-staff people there but a duck confit and beef bourguignon worked fine for us as a first meal. It was very different experience from our Saturday lunch at Aux Crus de Bourgogne where it was packed with families, holiday shoppers, young, old, French, tourists, very casually dressed enjoying a number of more traditional French dishes. Loved my frisée salad with huge chunky lardons, croutons and poached egg. Followed that with the quenelles and Nantua sauce, something I may have tried years ago and forgotten that I hadn’t liked and really didn’t this time either although a side of frites helped remedy my mistake in ordering. Enjoyed the vibrant decor, the energy of the place, the staff and was glad we went there.

Sunday lunch here was a real contrast from the crowds on Saturday—-only one other table occupied but it didn’t feel empty due to the excellent, friendly waitstaff who made it fun. It was easy to imagine it full with vibrancy. Having read reviews, I was very excited about dining there and it more than lived up to my expectations. Loved the earthy, very contemporary decor, the interesting flatware and even the toilet as noted by @onzieme . Amuse bouche was black garlic aioli with excellent flakey breadsticks and 2 rillette tartlettes presnted on intriguing rock formations. Everything we ate was delicious and interesting, even the bread. We ordered 4 a la carte dishes: chanterelles and black trumpet mushrooms with wine bone marrow sauce, blue squash gnocchi with spicy mussel cream sauce, foie gras with vermouth, and the star dish, scallops with kohlrabi, sheepfoot mushrooms and baby kale. That was truly an off the charts amazing dish and the most memorable dish during 2 weeks of Paris dining experiences. Didn’t get dessert as we were on a search for the perfect coffee eclair later that day.

Maybe if we had been seated in the larger section of the room and not next to a group of 4 clearly having a serious business lunch, I might have had a different reaction to Origines. The staff, especially female FOH was very warm, chef was charming and made a point of visiting every table near the end of service, and the decor was lovely. But it may also be that after having (survived) many formal business lunches in attractive settings, I am more comfortable and enjoy myself more in less formal settings (although Alliance doesn’t feel that way to me, mainly because of Shawn). Also, while I looked at the menu and saw fish as a plat choice which I would have preferred, turned out it was game pate pigeon pie with pieces of foie gras inside a flaky puff pastry crust served with a marrow red wine sauce. Sides were salsify and Jerusalem artichokes, Castelfranco radicchio and comics pear. Starter was smoked trout beautifully presented but not particularly flavorful. Standout for me was a very crusty, maybe some rye in it, bread made by a baker who apparently specializes only in that bread and makes it for a small number of Paris restaurants. Dessert was a rolled biscuit cake topped with hazelnut praline mousse line along with Corsican clementine sorbet. At 54€, lunch was very reasonable for a one star Michelin in a lovely setting.

Hope to get second week out soon.


Wow @Kjtravels, sounds like you have had some wonderful meals and experiences all around! Once again, I am following in your footsteps and will head to Paris tomorrow! Thanks for posting all of this!

Hi @ninkat —have a great time in Paris. I’ll try and post the rest of the trip soon and we’ll see where we overlap this time! I sadly had to cancel lunch at Alliance and think you are going there, lucky you. Enjoy.


Thanks so much for the post.

Geosmine sounds wonderful, but it seems like they no longer have a fixed price lunch as when @onzieme was there. Do you remember what the prices at lunch were?

Hi Andy—they did have lunch tasting when we were there but we’d been doing a lot of those so chose a la carte. I just tried to upload menu but not working so, 16€ for the gnocchi, scallops were €33e, foie gras 25€ order of the chanterelles and black mushrooms was either 21€ or 49€ (we got that). There was amuse bouche and mignardises that @onzieme illustrated. By the way, your review of El Quim’s foie gras is why I got it there and think it was my favorite dish in Barcelona. One last thing, if you like quail, Oktobre cooks it perfectly and had it there twice while in Paris.

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