As I mentioned before, I recently spent a week in Paris for work. The things I have to put up with. Seriously. Le sigh. I love Paris.
But who doesn’t? Honestly, I’m not even very good at loving Paris - I speak no French and even when I try a few words here and there the Spanish comes tumbling out. I swear, my Spanish never sounds so good as when I’m in another country where I speak even LESS of the local language. Then I can think of how to say EVERYTHING I want to say in Spanish. In any case, all I have are a few iphone snaps since I was in meetings most of the time and not traipsingaround town taking photos.
Even though I was in meetings during the day, it turned out to be a lovely week. The weather was good, not too hot, and there was plenty of cafe sitting and walking in between meetings. Fortunately, I was there with a co-worker who is a good eater and drinker, so we made the most of our free time. See below for my two favorite meals from this trip. Nothing particularly new or ground-breaking, but both restaurants accept walk-ins, which is great if you are last-minute business traveler who isn’t on the ball with reservations [like me].
With no tables and no reservations, this is a good option for fine dining at the last minute. The bar-style seating also makes it a good option if you are traveling on your own [something I do often so I am always on the lookout for places that are comfortable for parties of one]. The pristine open kitchen provides entertainment throughout the meal. The small portions of typical dishes were superb and allowed for many meals in one. Of course, you are paying for many meals in one as well. The bar-style seating and extensive wine list does encourage meeting friends. We happened to be seated next to an attractive young couple of newlyweds from Mexico City, of all places. I was proud of myself for recognizing their Chilango accents and they were shocked to run into an American in Paris who lives in Mexico City. The highlight of the night, though, was our celeb sighting of Joshua Jackson and Diane Kruger having dinner relatively unnoticed. I got points with my boss that night both for my Spanish accent recognition skills and my knowledge of celebrity couples.
5-7 Rue de Montalembert, Paris, 75007, France
+33 (0)1 4225 656
This unassuming place was by far my favorite meal of the week. We lucked out, as there happened to be a last minute cancellation that we swooped in on. If you aren’t so lucky, not to worry, the New York Times 36 Hours in Paris has serviceable advice for how to guarantee a table as a walk-in. From what I observed they are pretty spot on. Le Chateaubriand serves five courses set daily, prix fixe, everything was surprising and fantastic. I loved it even though I got squid ink on my white jeans. It was fine dining at its most democratic - servers were friendly, the atmosphere could not be more casual and comfortable, and it was relatively affordable for Paris [and certainly affordable for the quality of food]. The wine bottle-toting crowd outside the restaurant waiting to be seated also added a little something to the fun atmosphere. I will definitely be back here again.
129 Avenue Parmentier, Paris 75011, France
+33 (0)1 43 57 45 95
Until next time, Paris.