Septime in Paris, France 2021

Getting a reservation to Septime is near impossible. The online reservation is an exercise in false hope. The dates on the calendar seem like they’re open, but really they click through to a waitlist. And the waitlist never seems to move. So I guess the silver lining about the pandemic is that only a portion of the world’s population can actually come to Septime, which means tables are easier to come by. I was planning a trip to Paris in September, so I started looking for bookings in the summer. I had no trouble getting a table. It felt really good being able to click on a date and get an actual reservation. What a difference two years makes. Last time I went to Septime, all I ended up with was a tote bag from their wine bar. This time I left with memories of the most amazing dinner.

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Paris City Guide

Eating well in Paris isn’t hard to do, but there are many ways to do it. You could go big and do something fancy at Alain Ducasse or nosh your way through croissants, cheese and tasty snacks. This guide to Paris is for those who like something more casual, the people who are fans of going to a bar with some atmosphere that also happens to make very good food, where you don’t have to dress up, and you can be in and out in less than 2 hours. Paris has perfected this style of eating, and so, with one exception, here’s a list of some places that do this very well.

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Verjus Restaurant in Paris

When in Paris, the last thing you want to do is eat in a restaurant full of Americans. But when you’re eating in a dining room as exquisitely beautiful and romantic as the one at Verjus, you’re more than willing to make the exception. Located in the backstreets of Palais Royal, Verjus is hidden from view and gated away in the back, like a secret passageway to another time. Sure, the conversations taking place are thoroughly modern, but use your imagination and replace that businessman from Chicago with a gentleman from the Island of La Grand Jatte.Read More

Le Coucou Late Night

 

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There are few restaurants that I would stay up so late for. A 9 pm seating is my limit, and after that, I’ll move on and revisit once the hype has died down. But like the desperate girl who can’t play it cool when she’s finally invited to a party, I caved to the pressure and made an exception for a 10:30 reservation atĀ Le Coucou. There was a little thought behind this, though. First of all, Ruoxi’s birthday was at midnight, so we would need to do some sort of big, late night blowout celebration anyway. Also, my friend Eugenia from Hong Kong was in town, and she was already going to be jet lagged, so why not shake it off by staying up as late as possible? All good reasons for me to bite the bullet on a super late dinner reservation.Read More

Roseval, a Bistronomy in Paris

Roseval is one of the new breed of restaurants in Paris that eschews the traditional for something different. Run by non-Parisiens in a small, cozy space located in the low-key and slightly out-of-the-way neighborhood of Belleville, it doesn’t fit the bill of a typical French restaurant, and it doesn’t really want to. In that way, it has a lot in common with the Brooklyn restaurant scene, where people with beards and man buns are free to make whatever food they want in whatever setting pleases them. Unfortunately, they’ve also adopted that similar indifferent hipster attitude. I always felt a bit of a tension between us and the server, who scoffed at our wine choices at times and was there just going through the motions.

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at roseval

The 5-course pre fixe menu of 55 euros is good value, and it sort of follows a New World theme that incorporates a lot of ingredients and inspirations from everywhere. The bonito fish, which is common in Japanese cuisine, made a surprise appearance here swimming into the waters of France, in the form of a smoky, fatty filet subdued by smoked ricotta and cherry. The scallop is a classic staple in many countries, but Roseval gives it a refresh with some tart pomegranate seeds for flavor. Duck is of course very French, but here it gets paired with a cured eggplant that gives it almost an ashy flavor, severing ties with its confit/l’orange past andĀ forging a new identity. The best course was the langoustine, which arrived in an impeccable potato soup, creamy and classic in the best sort of way, while the weakest was the turbot, a poor man’s version of the farm-to-table fish creations that have been done much better elsewhere. Sometimes the experiments work, sometimes they don’t, but it’s clear that Roseval feels a sense of joy in being given the freedom to do what it wants. Now if they only brought that same sense of joy to their customer service…but some habits in a country die hard.

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bonito with smoked ricotta cherry

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scallop with pomegranate seeds

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smoked potato soup with langoustine

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turbot with zucchini and spinach

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duck with swiss chard and cured eggplant

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fresh cheese with celery root

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dessert. my memory escapes me, but i think it was pineapple based.


Roseval
1 Rue d’Eupatoria, 75020 Paris, France
+33 9 53 56 24 14