Les Philosophes, Paris – our Restaurant Review

Our favourite quartier of Paris probably has to be Le Marais (more here). We try to spend at least a few hours there every time we visit town. Usually we start out on Place des Vosges, built around 1600. We get two cups of take-away coffee from one of the cafes on the square, then sit on a park bench or on the lawn, depending on the season and weather, just watching people and enjoying the tranquillity and sheer beauty of the surroundings. We had been to a few good restaurants in the Marais over the years and thought we had done our research, but our latest ‘find’, Les Philosophes, must rank among the best places we’ve been to and certainly the best place to have Steak Tartare at in that part of town. Incredibly juicy and fresh and tasty. Spicy with capers and onions, but at the same time […]

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La Vache et Le Cuisinier, Montmartre, Paris

We arrived on Easter Friday at 6:30pm without a reservation at this small restaurant a short walk from Sacre-Coeur, close to the bottom of the hill, and were among the first guests, but the place filled up very quickly and soon every seat was taken. We shared a very smooth Absinthe “Un Emile” 68* verte, distillerie Les Fils d’E. Pernot, as aperitif and the razor clams as starter, which were very tasty and just the right texture. As mains we chose duck breast with baby potatoes, vegetables and cranberry sauce, and stuffed saddle of rabbit with Bourgogne truffle, dark sauce, mashed potatoes, and vegetables. The duck breast was very nice, even though maybe a tiny bit chewy. However, the rabbit was delicious, at the same time a hearty taste but with an air of sophisticated cuisine. The Bordeaux that was recommended to us by the waiter was pleasant and a […]

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Allard – Disappointment of the Decade

My wife and I had discovered Bistro Allard in the Saint Germain area of Paris, close to the Latin Quarter and Saint Michel, on one of our first trips together to Paris as a couple. To this day we both believe that the meal we had back then was the best meal we’ve ever had in Paris, or anywhere in the world for that matter. I remember that we had to-die-for escargots, prepared to perfection. As mains my wife went for grilled seabass, one of her favourites, while I had medium-rare grilled veal roast. The piece of meat was gigantic in size and tasted like it was from another world, so juicy and tasty, pure culinary bliss. My wife was very pleased with her fish dish, too. The cheese platter we shared to finish the meal contained some of the best cheese I’ve had in France (and I like my […]

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The Two Best Tapas Places in Barcelona

Our two favourite tapas places during our recent first March Bank Holiday weekend trip there two weeks ago were Bar Celta Pulperia in the Gothic Quarter’s Carrer de la Mercè, where octopus is the meal of the day every day. We were surprised that, being a Pulperia, they only had three variations of octopus that day, one being the usual Pulpo a la Gallega, octopus Galician style, cut into thin slices with lots of paprika and oil on top, another being baby octopus in broth with lots of garlic and parsley, both dishes we ordered, and both dishes we loved. The price of €14 for the Pulpo a la Gallega was unexpectedly high, but the quality of the ingredients, the expertise of the cook who prepared it, and the sheer size of the meal completely justified the expense. We also liked the fact that the bar attracts a large number […]

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#1 Day Trip from Barcelona: Montserrat & Penedes

During our recent visit to Barcelona we did a day trip to Montserrat, 50km west of Barcelona, and the Penedes wine region, approximately 80km to the south west, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Our small group of ten travellers and one tour guide left Barcelona at eight thirty in the morning and arrived at Montserrat, the medieval monastery and eponymous mountain, pretty much straight inland from Barcelona, less than an hour later, even though our van was travelling only slowly. The “saw mountain” (that’s what Montserrat means in Catalan) looks beautiful with hundreds of little peaks, as if it was made from plasticine by some crazy giant who had forgotten to take his medicine. The mountain is 1,230m high. Santa Maria de Montserrat, a medieval Benedictine abbey, (the very vast majority of which was destroyed on various occasions over the centuries) sits in the rock wall about half way up […]

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