Despite strikes and trash, I am happy to be visiting Paris for the third time this upcoming May. Our plan is two days in Paris, four days in Normandy, final two days in Paris.
With my health on the decline, I want to end this trip with a terrific restaurant experience or two. I may never get a chance to return.
My husband and I are in our early to mid 60s and don’t eat seafood. We love trad (Chez Monsieur, Auberge Bressane, Chez Georges, Cinq Mars) but don’t want to overdose on it. We also enjoy upscale rotisserie (L’Atelier Maitre Albert) and we respect modern (L’Oiseau Blanc). Beef, poultry, lamb, all good.
We don’t enjoy the austerity and formalness of fine dining, and tasting menus are wasted on us. I’ve done a number of those over the years on someone else’s nickel, and I’d rather eat somewhere a little more casual with good food and happy, chatty people.
On our first visit in 2019, we had a special lunch at L’Oiseau Blanc (much cheaper before it got its Michelin stars) because of its sweeping views of Paris and the Eiffel Tower. Last year, we had lunch at Le Jules Verne on the tower. I wasn’t expecting much but the upscale steak frites was terrific, and it was a clear day with stunning views.
So looking for a couple other possibilities for this trip. I see that Chez Julien has Norwegian Omelette (Baked Alaska) on the menu for dessert. That alone would get me there. Last year, when I was checking the online menu for Auberge Bressane, this dish was listed, but they didn’t have it on the menu when we went. Don’t ask me why I am obsessed about this dish. It just seems like French pastry chefs would do amazing work with it and I would truly appreciate it. So what do you think about Chez Julien overall?
Do you have any other recommendations for restaurants with food and decor/view that will make me smile?
I love that you seek out specific dishes like this. I’m exactly the same way. I can’t travel right now, so I hope you post photos when you order your Norwegian Omelette!
I would go back to l’Ambassade d’Auvergne just for the warm lentil salad.
I have this recipe, but it is very difficult to replicate at home because of getting just the right ingredients.
Omelette norvégienne is a pretty rare dessert in Paris. If Chez Julien has it on the menu, go for it even if the rest of meal is not very good (haven’t been for years but the local tom-toms are rather disparaging).
I have also noticed it on the menu of Aux Crus de Bourgogne on rue Bachaumont in the Montorgueil quartier/ 2nd. Same owners as Auberge Bressane, delightful olde-worlde décor, but a more sparkling vibe and a more varied clientele than most trad restos.
A food critic for Le Figaro also raved about the omelette norvégienne at Dessance on rue Archives in the 3rd but, oops, maybe not your style because of tasting menu for dinner. And probably not a standard item because the menu is ever changing. Check to see if it is also available for the à la carte lunch when you get to Paris in May.
As you have learned, never rely on online menus. Ask your front desk to ring and verify that omelette norvégienne will, in fact, be on the menu on the day you go.
And please don’t use English terms for French dishes. When you get to Paris, nobody will understand what you are talking about.
Taking beaten eggs as a theme, have you been to Le Récamier on rue Récamier off rue Sèvres in the 7th for their very good soufflés ? If the weather cooperates in May, the terrace can be exceptionally enjoyable.
Aux Crus de Bourgogne looks like a good substitute for Paul Bert. Going to check it out in May. Assuming I need to call to make a reservation? Love that more places are doing online now. I agree about tasting menus, absolutely no interest.
There are dozens of good substitutes for Bistrot Paul Bert. In addition to Aux Crus de Bourgogne, La Grande Brasserie in the 4th, Bistrot des Tournelles in the 4th, Au Petit Riche in the 9th, Chez Monsieur in the 8th, Bistrot Paul Chêne in the 16th, Chez Fred in the 17th, etc etc. It’s just that most don’t get the guidebook hype that Bistrot Paul Bert has enjoyed.
And you can have your hotel front desk make reservations for you.
First of all, sad to hear you may not be going to Paris after your next trip! Have always read your threads here with delight.
As parn has mentioned, the terrace at Le Reclamier is such a place with happy, chatty people. Green plants around you, and a bit secluded from the street. It really feels like a scene out of a French movie. Despite their reputation for all things souffle, they also have a regular menu with daily seasonal specials as well. And they have a most excellent wine list.
I’m not sure how long it’s been since you’ve been to Récamier, damiano, but someone took me there last year and I found the wine list not very good – more like something I would have expected to find there thirty years ago, which isn’t very competitive in Paris these days.
Probably around 2-3 years ago, and perhaps I exaggerated a bit saying ‘most excellent’. I remember the wine list being short, and with nothing under 50 euro, but having ordered this 50 euro (white, can’t recall the region/grape) wine I was impressed with it.
The food there can be hit or miss (my chicken at the time was a miss) so the thing I remembered most about that evening was the wine, and the ambience outside.
Thanks Parn for the recommendations! I’m crossing Chez Julien off the list. Since Aux Crus de Bourgogne is the sister of Auberge Bressane with a similar menu, I will check before I make a reservation to see if either is serving Omelette Norvégienne at that time.
I had the pleasure to enjoy a wonderful chocolate souffle at Le Recamier on my first trip to Paris. It was the only night of our trip where it rained so the garden area was not in the cards. It definitely had a sense of fun as servers marched through continuously delivering savory and sweet souffles to delighted recipients.
Thanks for your kind thoughts Damiano.
Now just looking for that little punch of decor wow factor for that final meal…
Have a look at Le Grand Véfour for your last tango in Paris. It’s a restaurant that has awed me every since I was a kid. The décor, setting in Palais Royal, the history, and memories of family landmark celebrations there make it a very special place for me. But I am not you. https://www.grand-vefour.com/
I thought you mentioned this place before. I need walkable and I need steak frites au poivre. And a good salad helps. Don’t care about desert. We had a couple really good meals at Bistrot PB so that leaves an impression, but I will move on. Celebrating tonight over finally getting that indictment
You might consider Les Arlots.
I’m not sure why you are limiting the possibilities by insisting on “walkable”. I can understand that taking the métro could tarnish the experience (it does for me) but there are also taxis, ubers and buses for getting around Paris quite efficiently and pleasantly. If you want a post-prandial (I love this word) walk, explore the area around the restaurant and then hail a taxi when you have had enough.
And sorry, steak au poivre is a bistro standard but not something I would typically order and therefore have no recommendations. I imagine that there must be hundreds of restos that have it on the menu.
This would require an update and a recent visit, but I’m not sure Chez Fred is still up to the steak au poivre culture. I heard it ‘graduated’ a year ago or so from hearty, extremely well-done Lyonnais cuisine (including steak au poivre as a pan-French traditional standard) to fussily-plated contemporary cheffy food. Our loss.
I know a place that has had omelette norvégienne (which is neither an omelette nor Norwegian, hence the name) on its menu since at least Neolithic times (no, seriously, 1895), and it’s Brasserie Mollard, facing the gare Saint-Lazare. The setting is drop-dead gorgeous but the food was never anything to write home about. However, the omelette norvégienne (known a ‘omelette surprise’) is quite decent and reliable. Maybe one could play safe ordering previous courses and go just for the omelette if one really loves desserts. There’s also a tea-time service which might have it, too.
If you want omelette norvégienne, it is indeed rare in Paris but you can still find it in Mom-and-Pop, unconspicuous, family-style provincial restaurants, including ‘restaurants ouvriers’. I know one of the latter a few miles North of Nantes where you can have it on order for the entire table and it really is a thing of beauty. Here’s the article I wrote about it in 2017. I hope the place is still going on, the chef was rather passionate about his job.
There’s a pic of the omelette norvégienne as you scroll down. It was prepared for a table of eight (four grandpas and four grandmas from nearby farms).
I have had excellent versions of steak au povire in the US, so it’s hard for me to imagine seeking it out in France.
I think some people enjoy comparing and contrasting specific dishes when they travel. I know I do.
I’d be interested to see how steak au poivre, or steak frites, compare in Paris compared to what I can find in Toronto (where I’m based ), Montréal or NYC.
But was it… authentic?
Sorry, just couldn’t help myself, apparently.
I understand that, certainly.
My preference in travel is to see and experience things I can’t at home. That’s what I want to learn. Since I know I can get steak au poivre at home that is the same as in France, I have no interest.
In the world of food, what we have in the US is mostly the cartoon version of a French bistro. Of the many dishes which reflect the concept that “the oldest pots make the best dishes,” the same handful are repeated constantly per the limited taste and interest of most Americans. So that “French onion soup” must seem like the national dish of France. It is not as nearly prevalent in France as in the US. The French don’t care about it as much as we do.
There is little doubt in my mind that I can get steak au poivre as good here, plus I want to learn what the real cuisine is like outside of the usual lineup. I would encourage anyone else to do the same.