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Wadja, Paris

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10 Rue de la Grande Chaumière
France 75006
Tel: 33 1 46 33 02 02
Metro: Vavin's insider take:

Although Montparnasse thrives on its reputation as the early-20th-century hangout of Picasso, Hemingway, and their arty contemporaries, few of the neighborhood's bistros are as authentic as Wadja. Little seems to have changed since the days of Modigliani and Gauguin, who supposedly were regulars when they lived and painted next door: The interior has classic banquettes, big mirrors, a tile floor, and a tin-topped bar. The prices remain affordable, too—a prix fixe dinner can be had for about $30. (Note, however, that ordering à la carte will cost about $60 per person.) What has changed is for the better, including the elegant table settings, professional service, and above all, the blend of market-based contemporary cuisine and classic bistro fare from chef Thierry Coué. As you'd expect from a veteran of Alain Senderens's Michelin-starred kitchens, Coué's parsnip fritters levitate, his poached eggs with ratatouille sing with sunny flavor, and his slow-simmered lamb and standing rib roast are cooked to delicious, hearty perfection. Expect to dine amid a mix of casually hip Parisians and local habitués.

Open Mondays through Saturdays noon to 2:30 pm and 7:30 to 11 pm.

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