I have a few photo’s and review of 2 restaurants we went to in Paris. So if you are ever in Paris here are 2 good recommendations.
The first is called Le Relais de Venise. The address is – 271 Boulevard Pereire, Porte-Maillot..
The restaurant is located across from the Porte-Maillot Center and Metro. Just off the Av. de la Grande Armee (which is the same road as the Champs Elysees – changes names at the Arc De Triomphe)
It had been five years since I had eaten here so I was really looking forward to our meal, and I was not disappointed. It is among my favorite restaurants in the world. In fact, on my many trips to Russia years ago I would purposely have an overnight layover at CDG and take the train in just to have dinner here.
The first thing to know is they open at 7pm (they are now open for lunch as well). If you do not want to wait a long time to be seated it is best to get there before they open. I used to get there at 6:45 and there would be a small line. But my wife and I arrived at 6:35 and the line was already to the street. I was hoping to be one of the 1st in as the one thing I liked about this restaurant before was they had a small non smoking section upstairs (but now all restaurants are non smoking). So that was not an issue and to my surprise they actually started seating people at 6:50 in their outside tables (which they did not have before). It was a warm day and beautiful evening so this worked out great. (as a side note as I went in the restaurant to use the toilet it was nice not to have all the smoke in the restaurant as there was before). There is no menu as they only serve one item – L’entrecote. Which is steak with a special green sauce. The sauce is a well guarded secret. And many restaurants in Paris serve this dish, but nothing like Le Relais de Venise. So if you are a vegetarian or do not like beef this is not the place for you. I warned my wife of this, but she was still taken back when the waitress arrived and only asked “how do you want your meat cooked?” The meal consists of a basket of bread (I have asked for butter in the past and it was never a problem – but at the NYC and London location they made a stink of this so I didn’t ask this time. Some of the waitresses can be quick and can make you feel intimidated. Others are very friendly. Do not ask for ketchup!!!!!! as a friend of mine once did) and salad. My wife loved the salad!! (you just can not tell by this photo – she is going to kill me)
Then the L’entrecote and fries. As good as the steak and sauce are the fries may be better. I ate most of my wife’s meat, but I couldn’t get any of her fries. They serve you in 2 helpings. They come by after 10 minutes and give you the second half of you meat and another helping of french fries.
Unfortunately we ate here the 1st day of our trip and in general you never feel like eating much that day (and I guess after 4 servings of L’entrecote :)) so we didn’t have dessert. But they do have a wide selection of desserts and they are equally as good.
In recent years they have expanded (they used to only have the Paris local and one in Barcelona). Now they have 4 locations in England (3 in London & one in Manchester) and one in New York City. I have eaten at the New York and London (as well as Barcelona) Restaurants and they almost as good as the Paris location. But this location is by far the best. There are lots of tourists there, but also many Parisians. Any place where there is always a line is good. The woman who owns the restaurant is always there giving orders. Just a great place to have dinner in Paris. Great atmosphere and great food!!!
The 2nd restaurant is called Cafe Constant. Address: 139 Rue Saint-Dominique. It is around the corner from the Eiffel Tower. In between a few Metro stops. Located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. This restaurant also opens at 7pm and there is also a line (although just congregating in the bar area). There are 3 restaurants on this block with the Constant name (after chef Christian Constant – which I assume he owns all 3) So not to be confused. Cafe Constant does have English menus (you just have to ask) and service is good and very fast. Your food arrives within minutes of ordering (but they will not take your order until you close your menu) and is very fresh (I am not sure how they do this). I had beef stew which was very good (but not as good as stew was in Belgium – which I will review later). My wife loved her duck soup. My father had Veal Cutlet (I think) that came with a pasta in a cream sauce. The pasta was as good as anything you would get in Italy (I ate most of his 🙂 ) and his wife had a fish (I don’t remember which kind). I think they change the menu frequently as the one on their site is different then the one a week and a half ago. I am sorry I did not take a picture before we started eating but here is one after. And as you can see all plates are empty.
For the dessert we shared the profiteroles with hot chocolate sauce. I guess share is stretching it. They were very very good and I had more than my fare share 🙂
The prices at both restaurants are moderate. Not cheap, but not expensive. Around 25 Euros for the entree. What is expensive is the drinks. At Le Relais de Venise it is 5 Euros for a coke and 4 for a water (on the up side it was 5 Euros 7 years ago as well – and on a very hot day in 2003 I did ask for tap water and they gave with no problem) and Cafe Constant the same. Wine was the same price as a soft drink and beer a little more. I used to think it was the French’s way of trying to discourage you from having a soft drink with your meal. But drinks are expensive everywhere.
The other thing to keep in mind is at both restaurants they cram as many tables into a small place as they can. So seating is very intimate!