From your Parisian

Sharing my newest discoveries as I float through the streets of Paris. Restaurants, bars, events, all reviewed for you with love, from your Parisian.


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Paris Cocktail Bars: Sunset

I’ve said it many times, but I’ll say it again: I love my neighborhood! So when I hear about a new restaurant or bar opening nearby I have got to check it out. Sunset opened last November, but it wasn’t until last week that I finally got a chance to visit this trendy cocktail bar with a friend.sunset_paris_foodFrom the outside, the first thing you see is a long and inviting heated terrace. It was a cold night and by the time that we had arrived it was already invaded by trendy looking clients. We went immediately inside, where we were greeted with a smile from a barman standing behind the glowing bar, followed by one of the very pretty waitresses. When we said we wanted to have a drink and eat something,  she escorted us to the back room. While the front area around the bar is lively and modern, the back room has more of a lounge vibe with comfy armchairs, candlelight, a red carpet and walls painted blue with an unusual pattern (that looks like they went crazy with a chisel and gauged out tons of small holes) that contrast with a yellow geometric pattern on the ceiling. A little busy and not really my style but it definitely grabs your attention.sunset_paris_interiorWe started with a cocktail and I naturally tried the “Red Sunset” (8 Euros), which I found to be quite nice but a little too fruity. The waitress was very friendly and when she heard my non-French accent (I can’t seem to lose it…considering a voice coach!), she immediately started speaking to us in English.sunset_Paris_cocktailsunset_paris_menuWe took a glance at the menu and each dish (6-10 Euros) sounded better than the next. We finally chose the following: roasted pumpkin (with smoked ricotta cheese, sunflower seeds and Parmesan shavings…beyond delicious!), hanger steak (cooked in whisky and served with pureed carrots, béarnaise sauce, herring eggs and sautéed potato cubes…divine!), and a spiced chicken burger (kind of a pulled pork-like texture to the chicken, which was combined with homemade guacamole and a mini side salad…pretty tasty!). The photos I took are not the best due to the dim lighting, but I think they’re enough to get you drooling a little, no?sunset_paris_squash and ricottasunset_paris_beefsunset_paris_chicken burgerOverall, we found that the food was amazing and satisfying, even if the plates were a little small. Then again, at these kind of cocktail/tapas bars you don’t expect huge portions. Intrigued by the dessert menu (and still a little hungry), we ordered a dessert: cheesecake with citrus fruits from the Amalfi coast and a side of limoncello and yuzu flavored shaved ice (6 Euros). A light, creamy and tangy treat.sunset_paris_cheesecakeNext time I go I will try to sit in the front of the bar, as it seemed to have more of a fun and relaxed vibe. I have to admit that the back room felt a little stuffy and posh. Or perhaps it was just the crowd that night, which I found to be a little too pretentious and “bobo”. Overall though, Sunset is a classy addition to the neighborhood and a great place to take a date or business client you want to impress. I’ll definitely be back for the food!sunset_paris_exteriorContact Details:
100 rue Ordener
75018, Paris
+33(0)1 71 28 99 33

Rating: 

3.5 red sunsets out of 5

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Restaurant Review: Puce – Bar à Grignoter

There are lots of places to eat in SoPi (South Pigalle neighborhood of Paris), but not all of them have the charm that you will find at Puce – Bar à Grignoter. The word puce is often used as a pet name in French, which roughly translates as “sweetheart” or “honey” in English. It’s therefore a fairly appropriate name for this restaurant, which I can best describe as cute and classy. The benches are covered in pastel colored cushions with striped, floral and polka dot motifs, the food is served on vintage porcelain plates and the sleek bar is adorned with a mix of enchanting lampshades hanging from above.puce_paris_cute tablepuce_paris_interiorI went here with my friend K on a week night as we were looking for a place where we could get a drink and some share plates…neither of us was very hungry (I had eaten a huge chicken kebab for lunch)! We sat down in the cozy room, were greeted by the friendly owner and took a look at the menu. Drinks include a good variety of wines as well as non-alcoholic beverages and a random Japanese beer. As for the food, everything on the menu is incredibly tempting and prices range from 5.50-12 Euros. They are small portions, but they are meant to share, so depending on your appetite (and budget) you can choose as many or as few as you like to go along with a glass of wine, such as a Chardonnay « Patchwork » 2013, Tissot (my choice at 6,5 Euros). puce_food menu_parisWe settled on the chips and guacamole (served in a traditional molcajete), a cheese plate (that I admit was a little small), a lentil and feta salad and a creamy 4 cheese macaroni! The guacamole was amazing and full of fresh cilantro, just how I like it, and the macaroni was oozing with cheese and topped with a light sprinkling of breadcrumbs! While we only had 4 dishes between us, we ended up feeling full, as what we ate was rich and satisfying. At the table next to us I saw a plate of grilled pork ribs go by and later a slice of raspberry cheesecake, so I am convinced that everything they serve here must be really good!puce_paris-chips and guacamolepuce_paris_foodpuce_paris-macaroniNow that I have praised the food, I will mention a few drawbacks. Firstly, they played constant instrumental jazz music…which is not at all something I enjoy, but luckily it was only in the bathroom where I really heard it loudly. I guess it did go with the overall upscale feel of the place and there are many people that actually like this type of music…so I won’t judge. Close by, there was a table of bourgeois women enjoying their evening of discussing their partners and their new handbags, which got me thinking that Puce is mainly a really great place for a girl’s night out. Or a date night. I mean the decor is girly and the portions are small so it should appeal to people wanting to chat and drink while snacking on a light meal. I don’t, however, see a group of hungry guys (or hungry girls) ever choosing this restaurant…unless they’re loaded, in which case I’d be tempted to order the entire menu! Those slight criticisms aside, I have to admit that Puce is delightful, chic and a good choice for those of you who prefer quality over quantity. puce_paris_exterior

Restaurant Details:

1 Rue Chaptal
75009 Paris

3.5 pretty, floral plates out of 5

 


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Paris Wine Bars: Le Chat Ivre

It’s hard to think about France without thinking of wine, so it’s not surprising that there are tons of wine bars (or cave à vins) in the city. One of those wine bars, Le Chat Ivre (which translates as the drunken cat) is located in a quiet street not too far from Place de la Bastille in Paris. When my friend V suggested this place I was like “hell yeah”, as I cannot resist a bar with a funny name! So Friday night I reserved a table for myself and three of my favorite ex-colleagues to meet up for a long overdue get-together.

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The décor is classy but casual, with light wood tables and dangling light fixtures as well as floor to ceiling metal shelves (similar to those you’d see in a large wine cellar) stocked full of various bottles of red and white wines. An inviting bar welcomes you as you enter, with a selection of French cheese and charcuterie strategically displayed at the far end for all to see.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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With V and C, we sat down at our table and started pouring over the extensive list of wines and tapas. We all ordered a glass of Chardonnay (6 Euros) and immediately decided upon the game plan of selecting two tapas dishes each, which we would all share (…for the most part ;))! I LOVE places that offer little dishes to share, as I always have trouble deciding what to order and want to try everything! R was really late, so we started with some haddock accras (7 Euros) accompanied by sweet and sour dipping sauce, to help us survive until he arrived.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFunnily enough, R arrived shortly after the accras, and with all four of us present we were finally ready to order. We chose 8 dishes (which range from 6-12 Euros each) and a bottle of Chardonnay (2013 Domaine Girard Mâcon-Solutré; 27 Euros) and started catching up with everyone’s latest news. FYI, we shared an office together several years ago and I still consider them as my ultimate “dream team” of office mates, based on the amount of laughter we experienced on a daily basis.

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The food arrived all at once, and with each plate, our little table became more and more crowded with colorful dishes! My favorites were the fresh green pea risotto, the arugula and mozzarella ravioli (covered in Parmesan shavings and black pepper), the refreshing Thai beef salad, the juicy honey lemon chicken wings, and a zucchini, radish, spinach leaf and feta salad. Oh, and the deliciously seasoned beef kofta with yogurt dipping sauce…okay …basically everything was pretty enjoyable! I admit that I don’t know much about wine (apart from how to drink it in large quantities) but the Chardonnay was particularly nice, which leads me to believe that it must have passed a careful inspection by a wine connoisseur before appearing on the menu.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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We chatted for the next 2 hours over the loud hum of happy clients and instrumental background music. The two guys, as well as the waitress who served us, were attentive and very friendly, which made me appreciate this place even more. In the end we paid 30 Euros each, which I found to be very reasonable. With the amount of food we ate, none of us left as drunken cats, but we definitely left very happy.

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Restaurant Details:

22 Rue des Taillandiers, 75011 Paris
+33(0) 1 43 55 77 08

Rating:

4 tipsy felines out of 5!


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Restaurant Review: Come a Casa

Yesterday was a beautiful and sunny day in Paris, but after the sun had set I had the chance (or the desire) to stay in and write about Come a Casa, a cute little Italian restaurant in Paris that whisks you away to the warmth of Tuscany…if only for a few hours! My friend C raved about this place last summer, so since then I have been dying to give it a try!

come a casa_paris_tableLocated in a quiet street in the 11th arrondissement near Voltaire métro station, you are immediately drawn to this restaurant by the words Come a Casa (which, if I’m not mistaken translates to “like at home”) written in cursive on a bright green facade.

come a casa_paris_exteriorInside, you will find a very small and quaint room (reservations are recommended as seating is limited to about 20 people or so) that reminds you of a rustic farmhouse with an exposed stone wall, a pale green barn-style door concealing the bathroom, a large and well-stocked wine rack made from wooden crates and a tiny kitchen, clearly visible behind a counter cluttered with colorful vintage earthenware plates. Your Italian hosts for the evening are Flavia and Gianluca and together they have really created a cozy environment where you can sit back and enjoy some homemade Italian cuisine.

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come a casa_paris_kitchenWe were shown to our seats at a small table against the wall and immediately started browsing through the short but sweet menu. In regards to food, the choices are simple with only 3 main courses offered each day: an eggplant gratin, lasagna of the day, and a daily special. There is, of course, a more than adequate selection of appetizers, desserts and drinks (lots of great Italian wine!) to accompany your main course.

come a casa_paris_menuWe ordered a bottle of Italian red wine (I can’t remember what it was, as I have a terrible memory…especially after drinking, but it was around 30 Euros) recommended by Gianluca and to start, a plate of Chianti marinated beef carpaccio on a bed of arugula and grilled vegetables (zucchini, mushrooms and extremely juicy cherry tomatoes!) topped with shavings of Parmesan (16 Euros). The fine slithers of beef were divine and mixed perfectly with the vegetables that glistened with olive oil.

come a casa_paris_saladThen came our main dishes: porcini mushroom and provolone cheese lasagna (15 Euros) and the special of the day, which was ricotta, radish and asparagus ravioli combined with chopped asparagus and bresaola and mixed with a radish infused olive oil (16 Euros). My lasagna was delicious and not at all heavy like traditional meat lasagnas as it was filled instead with mushrooms, carrots and zucchini and topped with fresh basil. I tried a bite of ravioli which had a definite kick from the radishes, something that I had never tasted in a pasta dish before and found to be very refreshing. Both meals were extremely satisfying due to the expertly combined ingredients and the perfect portion sizes. We sat there chatting after our meal, trying not to be distracted by our neighbors, who we were almost brushing shoulders with (as I mentioned before, there’s not much space, but you soon adjust to this familial feel), as jazz music played lightly over the hushed conversations.

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come a casa_paris_ravioliGianluca returned to ask us if we wanted dessert and of course the answer was YES, as my friend C had said the tiramisu (8 Euros) was beyond awesome! I now have a confession to make: I’ve actually been here twice: the first time with my friend V and the second with the bf, which is why I didn’t specify at the beginning of this post. I know…I’m sneaky like that! Anyways, the first time I came with V we ordered a tiramisu and we were kind of disappointed as the mascarpone cream was too light and frothy and reminded me of egg whites. This time, however, it was how it should be: velvety, rich mascarpone cream mixed with coffee and alcohol soaked lady fingers and covered with a blanket of cocoa powder. I was happy to be able to report to V the next day that it was terrific the second time around, and we agreed that everyone has the right to an off-night!

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Upon leaving I was already thinking about what I’d like to order next time, which is a positive sign, IMHO. So next time you’re in the mood for some creative and delectable Italian food, drop by Come a Casa, where there’s always something good cooking in this humble but homey kitchen!

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Restaurant Details:

7 Rue Pache, 75011 Paris

+33 (0)1 77 15 08 19

http://comeacasa7.tumblr.com/

My Rating:

4 glasses of Chianti out of 5