Café des Musées, Paris
Tel: 33 1 42 72 96 17
Metro: St. Paul or Chemin Vert
Concierge.com's insider take:
Talented chef François Chenel's flavorful, classic bistro food follows the seasons and comes at bargain prices. The daily prix fixe (about $30) might include upside-down foie gras custard, roasted free-range chicken, and a fruit tart in a perfect, buttery crust. The à la carte menu always includes house-smoked Scottish salmon, cold cuts made from heirloom cochon noir de Bigorre, luscious chicken-liver and Calvados terrine, grilled rib eye with béarnaise sauce and thick-cut fries, a casserole of fresh market vegetables flavored with marjoram-perfumed oil, and a daily fish dish (perhaps whole lingcod). A selection of artisanal cheeses or homey desserts such as fruit crumble or chocolate terrine finish the meal. The half dozen wines (by the carafe or glass) include a fine white Viré-Clessé Domaine de la Bongran from Jean Thévenet. Decor isn't this corner café's strong suit (tile and plank floors, vinyl banquettes, bentwood chairs, chalkboards, and cheek-by-jowl seating), but it's hard to imagine friendlier service; a more pleasant, casual atmosphere; or a better location—halfway between Place des Vosges and the Picasso Museum. At lunch or dinner, you'll mix with local regulars and savvy travelers on the Marais beat.
Open daily noon to 3 pm and 7 to 11 pm.