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A question frequently asked me is where visitors can find a genuine nice neighborhood restaurant that serves good food at reasonable prices and has a truly local feel to it but where you wouldn’t necessarily cross town for. (I would send people to places like Père Lapin, Escabille, Alain Blot or almost any place in Levallois-Perret.)
Such a place would serve some terrines, tartares, foie gras, beef, fish, duck breast and the expected neighborhood fare without unnecessary surprises. I think of places like those I frequented as a young adult that served pretty much the same thing on each corner.
Well, I’ve eaten at three such in the past few weeks that I think meet this standard.
The first was Lui L’Insolent in the 18th. Here, there’s a big chalkboard with maybe 10 entrees, 12 plats and 8 desserts—with “traditional” offerings—magret, tartare, foie gras, kidneys, lamb souris, scallops, cod, salmon, sole, côtes de boeuf, etc., and a big wine list chalkboard with wines running from 22 E a bottle or 5 E a glass on up. Perfect and crowded with locals—but worh a trip across town? I think not.
The second was Playtime in the 10th, another place with choices and favorites like a rabbit rollatine, ribs and fish with nice desserts—again with lots of locals but I suspect few from far away.
And the final one was Le Passage in the 11th, which like Lui had big chalkboards featuring interesting soups, quite a few beef dishes, superb fish, many desserts and very reasonably priced wines. The place was jam-packed and they turned tables but again I’d guess that, except for my threesome, everyone worked in the area.
So here they are, none touted as cross-town treats, but all fine neighborhood finds:
LUI … LINSOLENT aka Lui… L’insolent
15, rue Caulaincourt in the 18th (Metro: Place de Clichy)
Closed Sundays and Mondays
Lunch menu 23, à la carte 20-30 E.
5, rue des Petits Hotels in the 10th (Metro: Gare de l’Est)
Closed weekends and Monday night
Lunch menu 21 and dinner menu 35 E.
18, Passage de la Bonne Graine in the 11th (Metro: Ledru-Rollin)
3-course lunch menu 15, à la carte 30-40 E.
©by John Talbott 2010
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