Eating Well In Paris First Stop At Chez Georges

Eating Well In Paris First Stop At Chez Georges

When you stay in​ Paris for a​ short while, eating out at​ a​ decent, reasonably priced restaurant may become a​ silly game of​ trial and error. in​ this new series of​ articles, I will recommend several places no traveler will ever regret having tried out!

Facing the eating-out issue

When it​ comes eating out in​ Paris, travelers unfamiliar with the city may have a​ hard time finding the right place to​ eat out. Consider it​ this way: you are to​ live, breathe and eat for a​ short while in​ a​ city which counts over 1,500 restaurants, in​ a​ country internationally known for its exquisite food. Where do you start from? And what guarantee do you have to​ hit the right spots for lunch and dinner?

A large number of​ my American friends select to​ follow their favorite travel guide’s recommendations. Good thinking. But there’s a​ downside to​ it: travelers tend use the same travel guides. And too many tourists kill authenticity.

The so-called ‘French cuisine’

Being born and having lived in​ France for 30 some years before I found my true home in​ America, I have an​ in-bred tendency to​ be extremely picky when it​ comes to​ food. When I travel back to​ Paris, I especially dislike being served so-so cuisine at​ over-inflated prices.

By the same token I find it​ very hard to​ accept that any of​ my American friends touring Paris be served run-of-the-mill food posing as​ ‘French cuisine’. Hence this new series of​ articles.

In the course of​ several recent trips to​ the French capital, I was introduced by local friends to​ a​ few restaurants I found to​ be absolutely noteworthy. My first stop will be ‘Chez Georges’.

The set

‘Chez Georges’ stands out tall amongst my recent discoveries.

I had received an​ invitation for lunch from Philippe H., an​ attorney-at-law who specializes in​ brokering deals in​ record time. Philippe has been lunching at​ ‘Chez Georges’ for the last 20 years or​ so, he is​ a​ fixture of​ the place. He even has his own table there. a​ very practical state of​ affairs, mind you, as​ ‘Chez Georges’ always operates at​ full capacity, and one needs to​ book at​ least 48 hours in​ advance to​ get a​ table.

The decor is​ typical French 1920-30, with a​ mosaic floor, large mirrors on the walls, dark brown wood panels, and sandish paint. The restaurant is​ divided in​ two rooms, both very narrow. The first room features a​ bar and a​ row of​ small square tables. Being close to​ the door and window panes, it​ is​ well lit. The room in​ the back is​ larger, with two rows of​ tables. It’s also darker, without any windows. The (small) kitchen is​ situated at​ the back of​ this room, and the restrooms another step behind.

The place is​ obviously packed, and very busy. it​ smells good food, and though guests are allowed to​ smoke I didn’t find cigarette smoke to​ be an​ issue. The whole atmosphere is​ congenial, vibrant and lively. No elevator music to​ bother you, but your neighbors’ voices may cover yours. Very Parisian, no doubt, but I saw several American folks having lunch there.

The feat

Our party of​ six was soon tended by Zoe the waitress, a​ sight for sore eyes. This smiling brunette is​ married to​ the restaurant manager, a​ friendly fellow who tends the bar and the cash register. Zoe has a​ nice word for everyone, can explain the menu in​ details, recommends what’s right for you, and moves about diligently.

The menu at​ ‘Chez Georges’ is​ as​ varied as​ appetizing. Everything on it​ spells French tradition. We decided to​ order a​ large selection of​ appetizers to​ share, including rillettes (a sort of​ pate made with pork, duck or​ goose), pink radish, herrings, museau (beef head pate), potato salad, and other delicacies.

The goods came in​ generous portions, and a​ couple of​ bottles of​ white Sancerre helped us gulp all this down. (Sancerre is​ a​ light red or​ white wine. it​ is​ made from black pinot or​ white sauvignon, and is​ grown in​ the Touraine region.) We were served two different types of​ fresh bread, including a​ delicious Poilane bread

We then attacked the entrees: duck filet with potatoes for me, please, served pink. (In my book, duck cooked to​ ‘done’ is​ unpalatable.) Soon came the plates, full up. My duck filet was perfectly cooked, and thick and tender as​ it​ should be. a​ wonderful abundance of​ gorgeous food! We accompanied the main fares with a​ bottle of​ red Chinon, a​ wine grown in​ my hometown. Things to​ get damned for!

All is​ well that ends well

The dessert was as​ succulent as​ the rest of​ this hearty meal. I had a​ Tarte Tatin, an​ caramelized apple pie baked ‘upside-down’. Apple slices are first baked on sugar, then covered with dough, and put in​ the oven again for a​ short while. When baked, the pie is​ turned over so that the dough now supports the apples. The result is​ a​ very tender pie, with a​ sweet but not overpowering taste of​ caramel. it​ is​ served with vanilla ice.

We all finished the meal on a​ good espresso. The check was very reasonable: it​ came to​ about 60 USD per person, for an​ unforgettable meal that included a​ ton of​ appetizers, six main fares, seven servings of​ dessert, 3 bottles of​ wine, and espressos for everyone. Expect to​ pay USD 30 on a​ lighter fare and less wine.

Though very hearty, my meal was easy to​ digest. I didn’t feel bloated afterwards, just slightly tipsy thanks to​ multiple servings of​ light wine. The products used were of​ very good quality, the bread freshly baked. The service we received was diligent and friendly.

Definitely a​ place I recommend you, my traveling friends!

Chez Georges
1 rue du Mail
75002 Paris
Tel: 33 (0)1 42 60 07 11
Lunch and dinner
Closed on week-ends and holidays
Book a​ table at​ least 48h in​ advance

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