Thursday 1 November 2012

Three Places for Lunch in Paris – Restaurant Reviews

Lunch in Paris, if you don’t know the city quite well, can be a bit of a minefield.  You can end up somewhere seriously cheap and not very good, or somewhere quite expensive and not very good, both of which can quite spoil your day, and if you’re there just for the day that can be infuriating.

Here are three places for lunch, one a bit out of the way but well worth the visit if you like healthy food, one in the most expensive fashion district, but where you can spend as much or as little as you like (and not French, I might add, but Lebanese) and the third a famous Parisien grocery store, with, in the Place Madaleine, a cafe attached where you can have a delicious lunch.

Bioboa is at 93 Rue Montmartre, 75002.  Nearest Metro is Santier from where it is a short walk and afterwards you can walk to the Louvre in just a few moments.  This is a chic and popular organic cafe furnished in contemporary style and populated mainly by Parisiens.
The selection includes everything from a salad of wild quinoa and vegetables (8 Euros) to their Aubrac beef cheeseburger (16 Euros) to utterly delicious looking (and no I didn’t) deserts including Tiramisu, raspberry cheesecake with red fruit coulis and chocolate mousse. Deserts are around 9 Euros each). Service is speedy but friendly.  This is a real find and well worth a visit.

Al Ajami

On to something completely different, the Lebanese restaurant Al Ajami, 58 Rue Francois 1er, 75008. In an area full of 5* hotels and superbrand designer stores you can spend as little or as much as you like here.  If you love Lebanese food but you’re looking for a light lunch do what we did, which was pick from the Mezze menu.  Consider trying the excellent hummous, tabbouleh salad and aubergine or chick pea salad.  One of their specialities is different types of beef tartare, which I didn’t try, but everything here looks delicious.  The place is full of Lebanese diners and locals.  Always a good sign.
Al Ajami Baklava
Order dishes to share.  Resist if you can the super-sweet Baklavas waiting to ambush you on the way out.

Hediard Food Gifts

Hediard is a famous Paris based grocery and food gift store which if you walk around the Place Madeleine you’re unlikely to be able to avoid.  In typical French style everything is gorgeously displayed.  This is not a cheap place for food of course, the packaging immediately shouts out ‘buy me’ and ‘but I’m expensive’, but for a food gift or treat their beautifully presented chocolates, fruit jellies, teas and coffees, pates, jams and wine gifts (and much more) are a delight.  Hediard have quite a few locations and they’ll also deliver throughout Europe from their online store.


But on to the cafe attached to the main Paris store at 21 Place Madeleine Paris 75008.  Book a table if you want to be certain, (or if you’re going in the evening) if you go during the day you may have to wait. 
Hediard Desert
Everything is beautifully fresh and as delicious as you would expect.  You may well, if you don’t order carefully, come away with a slightly aching bank account.  But it’ll have been well worth it, and I dare you to try and leave the food store without buying something to take back with you.