Le Louvre Ripaille: 1, rue Perrault, 1eme
Went with: Josephine on a Tuesday
Had: Veggie lasagna!
Impressions: A modestly hip café—I loved it. I haven’t found too many cafes in Paris that strike a happy balance of hip and traditional. They’re either too studied or too cool or school, or they’re just like the café next door. All the same. And if you love a classic French café, there’s nothing wrong with that, but sometimes you want something a little bit different. And this place is it. With a wall painted with logs and antlers in the bathroom, there’s a slight Nordic vibe. Ricky Lee Jones and Steely Dan were peppered in with good electro background music. And the few other diners were younger and stylish, but not tragically so. And though there was traditional fare on the menu—un oeuf mayo, par example, lentil salad with bacon—they also have less common plats, so I had to take advantage. I had a very indulgent veggie lasagna in a creamy parmasan sauce, and Jospehine had cod cooked in a cocotte with coconut milk, leeks and citrus. Both were meals were delicious and both diners, contente.
Robert et Louise: 64, rue Veille du Temple, 3eme
Went with: Peasley & da Butchie on a Wednesday
Had: An omelette, roasted potatoes and green salad
Impressions: If you like your meat, this is your place. I obviously don’t like meat, but da Butchie is a big fan. In fact, Chris and Butch had serendipitously found this beloved Parisian meat cave on their way through town and wanted to go back for seconds. I’ve always wanted to go for the experience, so, voila, there we found ourselves before platters of pink and grisly meat and blood sausages. I averted my eyes and put away my omelette, which was pretty good. As were the roasted potatoes and the salad. But it sort of left a bad taste in our mouth when our waiter let it slip that the dressing was store-bought. So much for French home-cooking.
Les Fines Gueles: 43, rue Croix des Petits Champs, 1eme
Went with: Michael on a Thursday
Had: A lovely steamed salmon, so tender and cooked perfectly, served atop spinach with clouds of high-falutin’ foam… perfect for dipping the thinly sliced country bread in. Miam.
Impressions: Michael texted at three in the afternoon about having dinner that night. After a few phone calls, Les Fines Gueles was the only place I could book a table. Thank goodness. I’ve always wanted to go here. I’d heard great things. And they’re all warranted. The space is this cozy corner spot with hidden rooms and crooked staircases (they could stand to dim the lights, but most restaurants in Paris are too bright for me). The staff was super harried but also super friendly. And it was such a relaxed but dynamic atmosphere—very neighborhood-y but chic—we extended the meal by ordering the cheese plate and more wine. The waiter recommended a white wine to go with the cheese, both of which were fantastic. Everything was relaxed, friendly, delicious, inventive and top-quality. A gem, for sure.