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Sunday, January 12, 2020

My 20 Favorite Paris Restaurants for Lunch in 2020

Fish dish at Rallonge

This is a lunch follow-up to my favorite dinner venues in Paris as we ease into the 2020s.  It's a twice as long list, mainly because I tend to go out to lunch more frequently than dinner.  I love partaking in the Paris lunch scene.  There are a lot of things that disappoint me about Paris - the music scene is a disaster, for example - but the lunch culture lives up to its billing (as it does in Italy and Spain).  Pick a decent, inexpensive spot to experience the animated conversations of a business or neighborhood crowd, have a glass or two of wine, and take advantage of great two or three plate daily specials, and you will see what I mean.

I repeat the caveat from my previous post - the list that follows does not represent my attempt at a 'best of' list, although you may find a few on the top critics' lists, but rather some of the establishments that I return to, time after time, on the basis of the following criteria :  inexpensive 'formules', decent to high quality food, good atmosphere, comfortable for dining alone (given that my spouse works for a living), welcoming and efficient staff.  I typically select an entree and plat for lunch, along with a glass or two of wine or beer, and typically this results in a bill of around 20 euros - a lot of times less, a few times more.  

If you plan on arriving at peak lunch hour, say around 1 - 1:30 pm, you might be smart to reserve.  I find that if I wander in about 45 mins. before closing - usually around 2:30 pm - I am led to a table without problem.  Sometimes that strategy doesn't work, which is why I always go out to lunch with a Plan B in mind.  And believe me, there is always a Plan B.  A lot of the entries on my list can be found around Chemin Vert, as well as the Jacques Bonsergeant and Chateau d'Eau neighborhoods - funky, ethnically diverse, and non-touristy - call me an East-side kind of guy.

20 Favorites for Lunch  (in alphabetical order)

1.  BAR A IODE (Charonne)

     18 rue Jean Mace - Paris 11    tel. 01 40 56 08 94
     (there is also a Bar A Iode Saint Germaine, which I haven't tried)

Very fresh seafood (oysters, eperlans, couteaux), but my favorite is the entire grilled fish a la plancha.


     22 rue d'Enghien - Paris 10    tel. 09 83 88 82 51

I really enjoy this modern place - sit at the bar and engage with the English-speaking staff who come from all corners of the globe.  Great price/quality relationship.


     22 bvd de Clichy - Paris 18    tel. 01 42 59 69 31

The popular, traditional 'bouillons' trend really picked up in 2019 - large venues, often ornately adorned, with traditional French dishes at ridiculously low prices.  You won't find these restaurants snagging Michelin stars, but the food is satisfying and fresh.  At the more modern-looking Pigalle, don't miss the half bottle of red wine for 6.60 euros.


     2, rue Roger Verlomme - Paris 3    tel. 01 42 72 28 41

I think this venue is sometimes unfairly maligned as a tourist trap.  I've never had a bad lunch here, and although it is true that you'll often find English speakers at nearby tables, I'm a sucker for the Pagnol inspired decor and can't say no to a bistrot that offers 80 varieties of pastis.


     16 Rue St Sabin - Paris 11    tel.  01 47 00 13 53

The food here is far from fantastic, but it does the job, and the atmosphere makes up for any shortcomings.  There's a really inexpensive lunch special that varies by day.


     20 rue D'Hauteville - Paris 10    tel.  01 71 37 97 04

Decent Corsican restaurant with some pretty good daily specials that, unfortunately, often run out well before closing time.


     7 rue du Cher - Paris 20    tel.  09 81 29 27 12

Relatively new Spanish restaurant near Pere Lachaise is rapidly becoming one of my favorite lunch spots.  Classic lunch formula and fantastic, original tapas offerings for dinner.


     12, rue du Chateau D'Eau - Paris 10    tel.  01 42 40 85 68

Another new option, this one American, with good lunch deals.  Unlike most of the other American restaurants in Paris - the ones that offer tasteless facsimiles of stereotypical American dishes -this one actually serves unique offerings with French accents.  Disappointed by their crab cakes, but I'm from Baltimore, so sue me.


     12 rue des Petites Ecuries - Paris 10    tel.  01 42 29 33 86

      (a 2nd around the corner at 55 Faubourg Saint Denis, haven't tried)

Always crowded and abuzz, terrific place for a Middle Eastern lunch.  I usually sit at one of those tiny round cafe tables facing the window, and sip on a couple glasses of red wine during the often extended wait for a satisfying, filling, inexpensive meal.


     16-18 rue du Chateau d'Eau - Paris 10    tel.  01 77 32 77 61


The food is here is more refined than many of the other options in this list - fresh and original dishes.  Just a few meters from Georgia, this spot is a bit more expensive than what I noted above, but worth it.


     17 rue Robert Blache - Paris 10    tel.  01 44 65 14 50


The small corner hotel up from the Quai de Valmy has a roomy restaurant, with some inexpensive lunch specials that hit the spot.


     24 rue Henry Monnier  - Paris 9    tel.  01 70 23 69 60


Although the carte of this Mexican spot in Pigalle is more limited at lunchtime, at least it's not packed to the gills as it often is at dinnertime, and the guacamole is really good.  


35 Rue de Montholon,  Paris 9    tel.  01 48 78 45 94
I don't get over to this traditional Colombian restaurant very often because the neighborhood doesn't do much for me, but for a change of pace, I've found the few, cheap meals I've had here to be hearty and good. They're not wasting their money on light bulbs inside, so if you are looking to hide, this is a good spot.

 14.  PAGE 35
4 rue du Parc Roya  Paris 3    tel.  01 44 54 35 35

I've never gotten around to asking why this Breton-based restaurant on the edge of Le Marais bears its name, but the inexpensive specials vary by day and are usually good.  I just wish they'd give that goddam clichéd French music that plays non-stop a rest.  The restaurant also serves as a quasi art gallery, so just plug your ears and enjoy the art on the walls while you are eating and everything will be fine.

4 rue du Parc Royal  Paris 3    tel.  01 44 54 35 35

Out of the many options listed here, Rallonge may be the cream of the crop in terms of high quality lunch cuisine.  Rallonge offers a traditional lunch formule, with dishes elevated to a level that far exceeds the bargain price.  Like Galerna, Rallonge transforms into an excellent tapas restaurant for dinner.  Not in the most exciting neighborhood, but worth the trip.

78 Rue des Tournelles  Paris 3    tel.  01 42 77 13 56

This elegantly designed Korean restaurant was a late 2019 discovery for me, and I'm not sure how I missed it.  It's in an area resplendent with eateries (Chez Janou, Page 35, Les Caves Saint Gilles) and one of my favorite photography galleries in Paris (Polka Galerie).  The offerings are far more expansive than the typical Korean BBQ fare (which is available as well), and though it may get a bit pricey for dinner, I had a terrific, reasonably priced lunch there a couple months ago and plan on going back.

17.  SHOUK
59 Rue de Lancry  Paris 3    tel.  09 87 57 87 68

The atypical Israeli restaurant Shouk is the third point of my Lancry triangle, along with Les Resistants and Georgia.  I've often gotten off at the Jacques Bonsergent metro stop and visited all three restaurants, comparing menus and checking out which has some available tables and a still available lunch deal.  As far as the latter, Shouk often strikes out, but the food is very good and the options, a bit pricier outside the lunch formule, are numerous, thankfully beyond the typical Israeli falafel and houmous fare.  Along the way to Shouk are other reasonable options, such as the Mexican El Guacamole and the very good Vietnamese spot, Le Mekong.  I've often also been tempted by the highly rated Sur Mer, but have yet to try it.  You won't go hungry on rue de Lancry.

3 Rue Eugène Varlin  Paris 10    tel.  01 42 05 22 51

Sometime last year, I returned to rue des Petites Ecuries  to lunch at one of my favorite Asian fast food joints, W for Wok, only to find that it was gone - boarded up and done.  In its place is the more inventive Asian restaurant Bruce, where I lunched once without great results (although the dinner menu seems to have more potential).  My go-to Asian fast food in W's wake is Street Bangkok, a few steps from the Quai de Valmy.  Here, I order my calamar salad, and the fiery curry du jour, washed down with a couple beers because there is no wine.  If all the seats at the picnic tables are taken, there is the casual Le Valmy on the corner, and the aforementioned Le Robinet d'Or up the street.

3 Rue Eugène Varlin  Paris 11    tel.  01 40 24 17 79

My long-time favorite Senegalese restaurant in Paris is one I haven't managed to get back to for dinner in over a year, but I've made up for it with a couple of reasonably priced, satisfying lunches.  


42 Rue Poissonnière  Paris 2    tel.  01 73 75 70 84

This casual, authentic (at least by Paris standards) Mexican restaurant probably wouldn't have made the list if one of my favorite Spanish restaurants, Pessic, hadn't closed last year.  Nonetheless, Zicatela Rex offers copious meals, including excellent enchiladas, at reasonable prices. 

 There are several venues I couldn't quite get to in 2019 that I will make it a point to visit this year.  At the top of the list are Saul's, Le Petit Bouillon Pharamond, Mokoloco, and the Oyster Club.  You just might be reading about them at this blog before you know it. 

Typical lunch fare at Le Daily Syrien

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

My 10 Favorite Paris Restaurants for Dinner in 2020

A L'Innocence entree

It must be nice to live in a small town that only has one great restaurant - you wait for a couple of special occasions during the year, save up your spare change, and enjoy the experience.  No racking your brain making a choice.  That is a luxury one does not have in Paris, where, according to one estimate, there are over 40,000 choices, many of which are good.  A lot really suck as well, which is why I suggest that you never, ever, walk into a restaurant in Paris cold because it looks good from the outside and has an interesting menu on the window.  If it isn't packed by 9 pm, forget about it.  And if it is, you won't get a table anyway.  This is why, unless you are slumming it and popping into a fast food or other casual venue, always make it a point to reserve in advance.  With a reservation in France, you are (a) guaranteed a table, and (b) never have to wait beyond your selected reservation time.  

Below, I provide a list of 10 spots that I confidently suggest you should reserve for dinner.  In my next post, ditto for lunch.  I'm not suggesting that these are the best restaurants in Paris - read the title of this post - because I haven't tried all 40,000 yet.  But I'm pretty sure you will not be disappointed by my recommendations, and even better, they won't break the bank.

10 Favorites for Dinner

In alphabetical order, each of these restaurants proposes a prixe fixe menu consisting of several dishes for under 200 euros total for two persons, including a reasonably-priced (under 55 euros) bottle of wine.

    45 rue Boulard, Paris 14   tel. 01 53 90 76 22

A great deal for either lunch or dinner.


    73 Rue Amelot, Paris 11    tel. 01 55 28 53 31

Ex-Iratze, also a good bet for lunch.


    129 Avenue Parmentier, Paris 11    tel. 01 43 57 45 95

Inventive dishes served up by the famous chef Iñaki Aizpitarte.


    34 Rue Sainte-Marthe, Paris 10    tel. 01 42 06 05 03

Unimposing on the outside, nice surprises inside.


    10 Rue du Grand Prieuré, Paris 11   tel. 01 71 24 58 44

My favorite restaurant of 2019.  Quasi-personalized multi-plate experience, and you lose count somewhere along the line.  https://www.eater.com/2019/3/12/18255036/paris-restaurant-le-rigmarole-menu-robert-compagnon-jessica-yang


    28 Rue de la Tour d'Auvergne, Paris 9    tel. 01 45 23 99 13

Comfortable little venue that, if you've followed my blog over the years, has been home to previous favorites (La Vitrine, Maloka), but L'Innocence is the best yet.

7.  LOUIS  (Stephane Pitré)

    23 Rue de la Victoire, Paris 9   tel. 01 55 07 86 52

This one won't surprise you if you've been to this blog before.  A very high level dining experience.


    6 rue Gambey, Paris 11    tel. 09 67 31 96 80

With the addition of Signature, Pierre Sang virtually owns rue Gambey, and you are sure to see him flitting back and forth between his three restaurants, including the one on the corner of Oberkampf.  I've been to, and love, all three, but Gambey is my clear favorite.


    13 Rue Ternaux, Paris 11   tel. 01 43 57 89 76

I probably imprinted on Villaret, given it was one of the first restaurants I visited when I relocated to Paris that I didn't find through the cheap deals Routarde guide.  Still serves up satisfying meals.



    29 Rue de Cotte, Paris 12    tel. 09 80 68 08 08

Great atmosphere on the animated rue de Cotte, with elbow room (a rarity in Paris), and ex-home to some of my past favorites, like La Gazetta.  But Virtus may be the best incarnation yet.

A dish at Louis


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Lunch-eon Paris - Hits and Misses

You may not know this, and why would you, but I am a night person.  Not quite a vampire, but I'm
working on it.  Although I love the night, the dark, the quiet, I admit, there are some drawbacks to sleeping from 5 am to 1 pm.  One is that if you get a craving for, oh, I don't know, let's say cookies, at 3 am and your cupboard is bare, it is not like you can hotfoot it to the all-night supermarket.  No, we are not in Kansas anymore.  Another problem with waking up so late is that by the time I pull myself together, do my 250 'morning' pushups and try to become conscious again, most of the restaurants in Paris have stopped serving lunch.  On the other hand, pull yourself out of bed by, let's say, noon at the latest, and you are in business.  Because one of the things I love about France is its lunch culture.  You no doubt know what I'm talking about, but if you don't, just walk into a busy bistro or cafe in Paris during lunchtime and you will see and feel what I'm talking about.  Of course, this isn't particular to Paris, or to France in general, but is an aspect of most European countries.  Only in Spain, you can stay in bed a lot, lot later.

The upshot of this post is that I had managed to get out of the house in time for lunch a number of times in 2017, so I thought it might be a good idea to share some of my good (hits) and bad (misses) experiences, without getting too verbose.  That is what you will find below, starting with the hits.

45 rue Boulard, Paris 14
tel. 01 53 90 76 22

Towards the end of my review of a dinner at Aux Plumes last May, I mentioned that the restaurant appears to have one of the best lunch deals in Paris.  I can now confirm that, based on a couple of visits last Fall.  An 18€ lunch menu nets an entree of 3 small, original dishes followed by a high-quality main dish.  The only drawback is that if you are opting for wine by the glass, that will set you back another 7 euros or so; sans wine carte, the server will make a suggestion and let you taste a couple before deciding.  This is such a great deal, I hesitate to say any more in fear that it will become too popular and impossible to snag a table at lunchtime (not that I egomaniacally assume to have such an impact on Parisian dining habits).  Just to add, Co. and I returned for another dinner last October and it rivaled our first experience.  P.S.  that is chef Kazuhiro Fujieda at the top of this post.

3 dishes in a box to start off lunch

The main dish, la volaille (I believe that would be pintade)

4 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, Paris 11
tel. 09 81 41 97 30

If you regularly visit this site, you know I left my heart in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. where there are so many outstanding restaurants that it is ludicrous to say this is the one you should lunch at.  There also are many excellent Thai restaurants in Paris.  But if you want to make your choice easier, you have Ya Lamai for a terrific authentic Thai lunch deal.  A menu can be had for 14€50, which includes a choice from several dishes for entree and plat.  A variety of beverage options as well, and  the one I opted for was a 'Whiskey' Thai, a Mekong spirit that has the distinct taste of rum.  At 7€, it did the job, even if I am not a rum drinker.  One of Ya Lamai's walls in the two modest dining room areas displays some basic Asian food items that can purchased.  I picked up a bottle of the spicy sriracha sauce (4€50)- the same sauce that was brought to my table when I asked for something to help me sweat.  A more complete review of Ya Lamai, with photos, can be found at the So Many Paris website.

12 rue des Petites Ecuries, Paris 10
tel. 01 42 46 57 74

51 Rue de Paradis, Paris 10
tel. 06 26 03 05 43
W for Wok is one of a few places I passed along rue des Petites Ecuries with Co. as we went along our way to the hot new spot in town, Eels. As we did, I  ungrammatically proclaimed, 'I definitely got to try these places for lunch.'  By the way, Eels was for dinner, so I'm afraid I can't dig deep into that one here, except to say that it was very good, but from my perspective, a bit overrated.  Maybe it was a bad idea to pick a table next to a party of 10 celebrating someone's 80th birthday.  As usual, I digress.  One of the other places I passed on the way to Eels was Jah Jah by Le Tricycle, another vegan venture by the brainchild (or is it brainchildren?) behind Le Tricycle Store, the Rastafarian top spot in Paris to purchase vegan hotdogs.  Well, while I'm here, you can add Le Tricycle Store to your growing list of interesting and inexpensive lunch venues because I had a cheap, pretty satisfying and enjoyable meal there a few months ago and apparently forgot to tell you.

Tricycle's vegan hotdog and accompaniments

Upstairs from the carryout/kitchen of Tricycle

Long story shorter, I was all set to check out Jah Jah one Tuesday last month only to find out that the venue was closed on Tuesdays.  Hey, this is Paris - you want to close on Tuesday, you close on Tuesday.  So I crossed the street and popped into W for Wok. For want of a better description, W for Wok can best be described as an Asian street food cantine, pardon the oxymoron.  W offers up some intriguing options, including their famous Ramen burger, wok dishes (hence the name), nems, wings, and brochettes.  But for my money, the best deal is to choose one of 90 possible 'Mega' combination meals, composed of three steps:  (1) choice of a rice or noodle base, (2) choice of accompaniment (tofu, chicken, shrimp, calamari, etc.), and (3) choice of sauce (satay, curry coco, satay, oyster, etc.).  Served in one of those nondescript plain Chinese carryout boxes, the food arrives steaming hot and tasty.  For my visit, I chose red rice, shrimp, and hot spicy sauce, a filling meal that set me back a mere 13€ and which I washed down with a Singha beer (1€50).  With 89 combinations left to go, I think I'll be making W for Wok a regular haunt for future lunches.

One of 90 W for Wok combination meals

A happy W for Wok diner at the next table

It's street food, so carryout is clearly an option at W for Wok

Marché Saint-Quentin
85 bis Bouldevard Magenta, Paris 10
tel. 06 58 63 75 27

 Serendipity strikes again.  One Tuesday in December, I wanted to find a casual lunch spot close to the Gare du Nord and came upon some good reviews for Chez Silvana, the Portuguese addition to the covered Marché Saint-Quentin.  Co. and I usually explore this market at year's end when we make our annual visit for oysters at Pleine Mer, and just a few doors up from the market is Mamagoto, another promising lunch destination, despite my tepid response to a dinner there last year.  At any rate, psyched for a nice Portuguese lunch, when I arrived, I found Chez Silvana all boarded up and was informed that it was closed on Tuesdays because, hey, this is France and if you want to close your restaurant on Tuesday, you close your restaurant.  Fortunately, this is a large enough market to offer a few alternatives.  A tiny Brazilian spot was empty and uninviting, so I turned my attention to the snug little afro-antillaise venue, Oh Africa! sitting not far from one of the market's entrances.  When I entered, a three-person film crew was busily interviewing a couple as they ate, the only other customers in the joint at a relatively late lunch hour (re: tough to get out bed, etc.).

Spatially challenged and not the most comfortable seating possibilities, Oh Africa! nonetheless earns its exclamation point by offering a incredible lunch deal:  for 10€, a choice of one of three daily platters, with a homemade juice of your choice running to another 2€.  (I lost my receipt and vaguely remember the juice offered free of charge.)  I opted for the coconut chicken platter, which arrived with a heaping mound of rice, plantains, a bowl of curry, and a substantial piece of chicken.  I splurged and also ordered a spicy ginger potable.  While I waited for my meal to arrive, I agreed to be interviewed by the team, students at a journalism school who were interested in why I chose the restaurant, how I feel about African food, etc.  It was an enjoyable interaction, and the server behind the counter joined in the camaraderie. When asked whether eating African food is a way of 'visting Africa' I had to say, 'no, it is not,' but that it is a way of tasting exotic cuisine that I don't regularly eat.  If you want to know what it is like to visit Africa, you have to go to Africa.

Oh Africa! was a nice little find, but I'm still eagerly awaiting my next trip to Chez Silvana.

Inside the market

Inside Oh Africa! (two photos courtesy of Les Petites Tables)

The lunch deal

Where better to interview people about Afro cuisine than in an African restaurant?


24 rue Henry Monnier, Paris 9
tel. 01 70 23 69 60

See my previous post for details.  Just to remind you: best guacamole in Paris.

39 Rue Mazarine, Paris 6
tel. 01 46 34 54 71

Sense.eat, a vegetarian Italian restaurant, may have a lousy name, but it offers another great lunch deal: 19€ for two courses (entree/plat or plat/dessert).  Recommended if vegetarian Italian is your cup of risotta.

Sense.eat's betterave/radis entree

An excellent risotta

Marché Des Enfants Rouges
39 rue de Bretagne, Paris 3
tel. 01 42 72 28 12

Although there is indoor seating, the great appeal of L'Estaminet is to have a satisfying and inexpensive lunch inside the Marché Des Enfants Rouges's courtyard on a nice sunny day.  It is hard to think about this at the present time, given we haven't seen the sun in over a month in Paris, but it is a good one to bookmark.
4 Rue Saint-Gilles,Paris 3
tel. 01 48 87 22 62

 I remember an enjoyable, copious lunch at this Spanish tapas venue.

Not all was fun and roses on the lunch front for me in 2017.  A few ventures left me wondering why I ever got out of bed so early.

L'INEDIT CAFE (4 rue Taine, Paris 12) - it had a nice ambience and a friendly staff; the food was inexpensive, but not very good.

PANAME BREWING COMPANY (41 bis Quai de la Loire, Paris 19) - a rarity in Paris, an actual brew pub.  I imagine if you are schmoozing with your friends for a quick burger and beer, a table on the terrace would fill the bill, but I couldn't find a spot on the terrace and ended up eating inside, where a waitress was busy chasing a pigeon and not doing much else, ultimately grabbing the pigeon and tossing it out the window.  I had to order my meal from the bar, although it was brought to my table - an uninspiring pulled chicken sandwich with fries.  The beer was good, but the experience was a bust.

LES BANCS PUBLICS (2 Rue de Nantes, Paris 19) - what this place has going for it is its proximity to the canal Saint Martin and La Villette.  It offers a nice view, which you will have plenty of opportunity to enjoy as you endlessly wait for your meal to arrive.  A popular venue, the food is decent enough, but the chaos inside will create a strong desire to flee. 

PO BOY CAFE (72, quai de Jemmapes, Paris 10) - I know you may find it shocking that I add a hot spot of the moment, Po Boy, to this list, although to be fair, 'disappointing' would be more accurate than 'miss.'  My pulled chicken plate wasn't bad, but it certainly didn't live up to the 'authentic New Orleans' hype.  Po Boy is the ground floor of Two Stories, with the more expensive and formal Nola upstairs.  Co. and I tried Nola for a dinner last year and found that, too, somewhat disappointing.  I may give Po Boy another shot, opting for the jambalaya next time, but it's not high on my list.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Luz Verde - Seduce and Destroy


Now that I have your attention . . . where the hell have I been?  You may wonder, or not.  I could say I have been in restaurant reviewing purgatory after that little episode last June in Le Servan when I knocked a half litre bottle of water to the floor, whereupon it shattered into a thousand pieces, leaving a piercing sound in my ears to this day.  Don't blame me.  I can't help it if the Moose dragged me to the Vodka Lab around the corner on rue St. Maur where we found ourselves at the mercy of a benevolent entrepreneur who for some reason deemed us test subjects for tasting trials of every unknown variety of Russian vodka on the planet.  Or it may have been that faux pas I repeatedly commit when I wander into Paris cafes during my photo treks demanding a glass of red wine without first asking what they have to offer by the glass.  I could go on.  But I won't.

At any rate, I am back to seduce and destroy.  Actually, that sounds good, but my mission here is not so much to destroy the typical template for Paris restaurant reviews which, however accurate, are BORING, but to guide, admire, discover, and recommend in as casual a manner as whatever my relative state of sobriety allows.  I digress.

I've been doing a lot of eating in the months since my Clown Bar review.  (Was that really in 2017?).  I hope you were sitting down when you read that.  To precise (as we French are fond of saying), eating in restaurants.  But lately I've been getting into the lunch circuit and have much to relate.  I begin by Luz Verde, a small taqueria on quiet rue Henry Monnier, a couple blocks walk from the not-so-quiet center of Pigalle.  At Luz Verde you will find the BEST GUACAMOLE IN PARIS.  Would I joke about something as momentous as that?  I know what you're thinking.  Best guacamole in Paris - ben, that ain't saying much.  That is true.  The bar for good guacamole in Paris is low.  Very low.  Typically, what you will find in French Mexican restaurants is a cup of tasteless, creamy avocado accompanied by a small basket of stale nacho chips.  Let me tell you something about nacho chips in Paris restaurants.  They are ALWAYS stale.  I can't for the life of me explain why that is the case, but trust me on that.  Which is one reason the guacamole at Luz Verde is worth the visit.  On the two occasions I tried the dish, a full basket was brought to the table bearing nacho chips that were relatively fresh.  Not only that, the guacamole was somewhat chunky, very tasty, and arrived in a large bowl accompanied by refried red beans, large coriander leaves (the closest thing to cilantro you will find in a Paris restaurant), tomato, red pepper, onion, and lime.  Certainly in the same ballpark as the many dishes of genuine guacamole I sampled during my various visits to Monterrey, Mexico.  Have a look.

Luz Verde's guacamole: a meal in itself, and the dish is yours for €9

Luz Verde also has received strong positive reviews for its tacos and I can't disagree there.  During my first visit I opted for the tacos de poulet duo (€7) pictured below.  The second visit, I gave the tacos de gambas a shot (€9).  Fresh and tasty, with one big gripe.  You cannot pick these babies up.  Believe me, I tried.  The first time, I got the message and quickly shoved them into my half eaten bowl of guacamole.  This was a mess - the 'destroy' part of the title (see photo), and probably a good thing that there were few in the restaurant at that point in the afternoon to observe my uncouth eating behavior.  Things were worse with the gambas - don't get me wrong, the gambas were large and seductive, so much so that I quickly tried to bring the taco to my mouth and half of its contents quickly fell onto the table.  I quickly scooped everything up and shoved what I could salvage into the guacamole bowl.  I'm telling you, once I obtained a small cup of hot sauce from the waiter and threw that in with the rest of the slop, the meal was excellent.  Etiquette begone.

Chicken tacos before I tried to eat them.

One of the aforementioned chicken tacos several minutes after I tried to pick it up to eat.

One drawback to Luz Verde at lunch is the limited carte, lacking some of the more intriguing items available at night, such as guindillas, poulpe, and couteaux al ajilla.  Maybe I just got there too late in the afternoon, but one advantage to that is this (see below).

And this:

Because if you go at night - no reservations taken - you can expect this:

Because Luz Verde is a popular night spot for the denizens of Pigalle, with a nice list of cocktails to slake one's thirst:

I slummed it with glasses of serviceable Tramonte at €5 a pop during my two lunch visits.

Voila.  Finally a decent Mexican restaurant in Paris.

I'll tell you more about some good Paris lunches and lament some bad ones in a subsequent post.  Unless I suffer a return trip to restaurant reviewing purgatory.  But I will be back.

Luz Verde kitchen - seduce & destroy
24 rue Henry Monnier
75009 Paris
tel: 01 70 23 69 60
website:  www.luzzverde.fr

Cost of lunches described above: €21 (one glass of wine, chicken tacos) and €28 (two wines, gambas tacos).

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