Rue des Grands Augustins
If I am in Paris dinner will probably be somewhere in Rue des Grands Augustins. Surprisingly quiet even if located very close to the busiest touristic part of Saint Gemain, it is one of my favourite places in the whole city. And probably has more Michelin starts than the whole London.
It is here at number 7 where Picasso lived for around 20 years before leaving to Provence and where he painted Guernica. It is also a setting of Balzac’s short story ‘The Unknown Materpice’. And it is here where two of my favourite restaurants are located so I think there must be something special about this place if it attracts the most talented chefs of this wonderful city.
By the way, if you have a chance definitely visit the museum of Balzac. It is located quite far, in the 16th arrondissement (at 47, rue Raynouardopen) but definitely worth the trip if you are a fan of the author of ‘La Comedie humaine’.
For me a trip to Paris without at least one dinner at Ze Kitchen (4 Rue des Grands Augustins) is not real. My absolutely favourite restaurant on any lists possible.
William Ledeuile, the chef and owner, fell in love with south eat Asia and successfully combined its flavours with traditional French cooking changing some of the recipes to create new culinary experiences. You can observe the efforts of his team to meet his high standards while you eat as the kitchen is separated from the dinning room with a glass window.
Don’t leave the place without trying their desserts. Let the chefs surprise you with their creations, cappuccino soups, chocolates which taste better than anything you have ever eaten in your life, ice creams even I (allergic to milk!) can’t help and eat till the very last piece. I bet you will dream of them till your next trip to Paris.
Kitchen Galerie Bis (25 Rue des Grands Augustins) is William Ledeuil’s latest opening, only few numbers away from the main restaurant (KGB is used as a short name of the place but for someone from Poland this isn’t very appealing to be honest!). The place is open for lunch as well and seems cheaper and more affordable but these could be deceptive appearances only!
For sure another little gem in this amazing street.
Jacques Cagna (14, Rue des Grands Augustins) has a more traditional approach to French cooking and running a restaurant. There is something extremely charming in his small, a bit old fashion restaurant located in a XVII century building, where if you are woman you are supposed to believe your meal is for free (a menu with prices on it is shown only to a man who accompanies you at your dinner).
According to their web side the place has an atmosphere of seduction – if only I knew this before!
The staff will make you feel comfortable no matter what you look like (I came there dressed like a proper tourists in shorts and t-shirts and they were very good at pretending they haven’t noticed my scandalous attire), the food will melt in your mouth and the bill… well, quality never comes cheap!
La Rôtisserie d’en Face – located just around the corner, at 2 rue Christine, is Jacques Cagna food without Jacques Cagna prices. The speciality of the maison is spit-roasted free-range chicken, claimed to be the best in Paris. Indeed, only Guy Savoy’s L’Atelier de Maitre Albert can compare if you want my opinion.
Talking about Guy Savoy he also located one of his restaurants, Les Bouquinistes, (53 Quai des grands Augustins) close to rue des Grads Augustins, just next to Ze Kitchen.
Reserve early and request a table overlooking the Seine to enjoy the view while eating the best seafood in Paris. I am not sure which is better to look at though – Paris behind your window or the pieces of art on your plate.
You will be pleased to know that full lunch menu is only 29 euros, including a glass of wine which makes this restaurant quite an affordable place.
I wish I could afford eating at the namesake restaurant of Guy Savoy but I don’t think my credit card can manage even the latest offer – full starter, half a main course and full dessert for 100 euros (not including the wine). But if anyone would like to invite me I am free any time you are free!
One other place I would be tempted to check in the area one day is Relais Louis XIII (8 Rue Grands Augustins) – taking into account all those Aston Martins parked outside it every time I walk by this is not going to be a gentle experience for my credit card either. I may sacrify one day for you though!
After dinner you may fancy a walk along the Seine (of course it’s romantic but it helps to burn all those calories as well!) or maybe an extra glass of wine at Le 24, opened till midnight and just a stroll away, in rue Saint André des Arts…
I am going to Paris next week!!! All meals planned already and you can expect a list of completely new places very soon. I guess I should try and go on diet already.
21/07/2012 – Unfortunately, Jacques Cagna decided to close his main restaurant at 14, Rue des Grands Augustins. The good news is that his La Rôtisserie d’en Face – located just around the corner, at 2 rue Christine, is still open and makes one of the best roasted chicken in town! Also has been Le 24 closed for good… There is a new place opening there and I promise to check it for you soon!