Review of trip this winter [Paris, France]

Hello Hungry Onioners,
I was a long-time lurker from early in the Chow Hound days. I apologize for it taking so long, but I am finally moved to become active and report our meals from a few months ago. A bit of background – I lived in Paris as a child, still have an apartment there, work in healthcare usually in the US but periodically work in a hospital in Paris. I do not have an expense account. I would especially like to thank Sfcarole and Parn for their ongoing comments and reports which help me dream about Paris restaurants when I am in the US, and help me choose restaurants when I am in Paris. I will give my simple impressions of our meals from out trip this winter. We do not eat every meal out and when we do, only eat one meal out per day. I do not take notes or photos so I am relying on my memory and can only provide general impressions of the food and the restaurants.

Cantine du Troquet Dupleix. Always our first night meal since it is our local cantine, no reservations necessary and the food is consistently hearty and tasty. We always receive a warm welcome, sense of humor included. My husband swears by the steak/frites there and I love the foie de veau when on the menu.

Granite. This was our second time at this restaurant. When we were there last summer, both my husband and son were under the weather so we thought we should give it another try under better circumstances. On our recent visit, the food was beautifully presented and clearly made with care, but it felt like a tasting menu in the sense that we got one or two tastes of each dish and didn’t really feel like we got a portion of anything. Each dish was good but, I never had the sensation that it was so delicious that I couldn’t wait for the next bite. The service was lovely although they did charge us for a bottle of water that we didn’t receive; they quickly deleted it when we pointed it out. The price for the meal was extremely high and to some extent, if felt like we were paying for the fussiness, the Michelin star and the current “tendance” of the restaurant. I’ve now been twice and feel that there are many other restaurants that provide a better all-around experience for my taste.

Day 3 – 5 were in Vannes and Rennes. Our experiences there informed and consolidated my impression of Granite. Overall, the food that we had in both places was excellent, creative and so much more affordable than Paris.

La Tete en L’air . This Michelin one star in Vannes was delightful. The food was delicious and several times I had the “mouthwatering, can’t wait for more” experience. In particular, a dish with oursin and topinambour was creative with each bite wanting me to get another. Each dish felt like we were getting a reasonable portion somewhere between a tasting and too much. The staff were professional but warm and engaging. The price was extremely reasonable for the high quality.

L’iode. We had lunch at this lovely little restaurant in Vannes. The cheffe is a woman who was very much present in the salle. The food was tasty including succulent veal for the plat. And homemade chocolate lollipops for the mignardise. We got the lunch prix fixe which is a bargain.

Racines - This one star in Rennes was a surprise winner on this trip. I had read about problems with service on Tripadvisor but we experienced lovely, attentive service which was without fault. Again, it is no choice with numerous courses all of which were delicious. Contrary to many people for whom dessert is not important, I LOVE dessert and have it at every meal. Racines served us 3 desserts sequentially. They were all distinct from each other. (a vegetable sorbet, a chocolate cake and the mignardise served in a wooden box with four drawers including a macaron, a citron tartelette, a chocolate covered marshmallow and one other which unfortunately I have forgotten. Any restaurant that values dessert that way has my vote. In my book, that restaurant was at least on par with Granite at a fraction of the price.

Les Pêcheurs – seafood restaurant near the train station in Rennes. Nothing to write home about. It was serviceable and we ate there just before our train.

Back in Paris - Day Au Coin des Gourmets. This is a small Viet Namese/Cambodian restaurant in the 5th that has been run by the same family for 40 years. It is not fancy, but the food is good as is the welcome.

L’Assiette. This is an old favorite which has been reported on more artfully by others. Suffice it to say that the food is consistently good. The cassoulet is hard to beat. The sommelier is full of good jokes and humor. Being open on Sunday is an added plus.

Le Clarence. This was the big splurge of the trip, and it was a real pleasure. They do a fantastic job making the customers feel special. The restaurant itself is gorgeous and attention is paid to every detail. The food was more classical but delicious. The warm brioche feullitee was to die for and I am still thinking about it. We had pitiviers, a winter special plat from my childhood. It was well-prepared and beautifully presented. We decided to walk home after the large meal. Almost home, I received a phone call from the restaurant indicating that my husband had dropped his Passe Navigo in the restaurant and that they would hold it for us until we could come get it. This was extremely thoughtful of them since the reservation was in my name, not my husband’s name so it took some work to figure out who it belonged to. I suspect that most patrons at Le Clarence do not take the metro there so especially kind of them to contact us. If you are looking for an elegant meal that feels special, I recommend Le Clarence and I hope to return.

L’apibo – this is a convivial, well-priced restaurant. We met friends there and it is a lively place with food that is good enough. We could only get a reservation much earlier than we typically eat and they were turning the tables over for a second seating but they never pressured us to hurry and leave. Nothing to write home about but good for a casual meal.

Sourire – we ate lunch there thanks to SFCarole for writing about it. The food was delicious, and we will return. It was a cold rainy day, and the welcome was warm. The chef obviously cares about the food, and it shows. It is enough of a trek that I don’t imagine that it will become a tourist favorite.

Jeanne-Aimee - this was our second time there. They have changed the format so that now you choose the number of plates, and you can order them from any part of the menu so for example, if you want 4 entrees and 1 dessert you can do that. The first time I was there the combinations within a dish didn’t always work. This time every dish worked well, and it was a pleasure. The wait staff were professional yet warm. I’m glad I returned because our second visit was head and shoulders above the first time.

Anyway, I hope these vague impressions are helpful. I’ll be going back soon and hope to report again.


Thank you so much for that extremely well written report on your last trip to Paris. Your life going back and forth to the US and Paris sounds fascinating and your descriptions of your restaurants are so interesting to read. We’re off to Paris in 2 weeks and I’ve got my restaurants picked out but some of your spots sound delicious. I may need to rethink one of my nights!

Thank you for the report, great insights and info!

Annegrace, thanks for your response. and I look forward to hearing about your trip. Chocho is on my list so I’m curious to hear about it,

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Thanks for this very well done report, and good to see information about restaurants beyond Paris!

Yes, I’ve got Chocho, Kubri, Parcelles and Bistrot des Tournelles all reserved and probably do one or two walk ins depending on my husband’s work schedule. Right now leaning towards Kunitoraya and Les Enfants du Marche.

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Wow - great report! Thanks for taking the time to write such clear summaries.

It’s interesting that you chose La Cantine du Trouquet Dupleix for your first meal, a restaurant that has been on our radar for a few years, but fell off when Covid interrupted. The menu (found in a photo on TA) includes many casual classic dishes that we love. Can’t wait to give it a try.

Glad you enjoyed Le Clarence (definitely a splurge!) and Sourire. I think Chef Justin Brohm (at the latter) is an incredible talent.

Honestly, I wouldn’t call Cantine du Troquet Dupleix a destination restaurant. We usually go there our first night because It isn’t far from our apartment, you don’t need a reservation and it has consistently good comfort food. Christian Etchebest is often there ad the atmosphere is relaxed.

Ah, well, any restaurant that is friendly and relaxing is always appealing, especially one with Christian Etchebest at the helm. In any case, with over a month in Paris, we pretty much hit all of the arrondissements, so it’s likely we’ll be nearby the C de T Dupleix at some point.

Thanks for this report! Much to discover in it, and you have made me think (again) about traveling a bit outside of Paris. Also, it has been a while since I’ve been to one of the Cantine restaurants, but I thought they were fun and with v. nice food when I was last at one of them, and it is good to be reminded. I particularly liked that they sat me, a solo traveler, at a large table with other groups of people (French people) who were very kind and welcoming to me, as well as good fun!