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Le Monde
Le Monde
21 Dec 2023


Inflation, labor shortages: The restaurant industry is facing an uphill struggle at the moment. In Paris, as elsewhere, prices have soared, and many establishments have gone out of business. Yet the capital's streets are still abuzz with energy. Original dining concepts are sprouting up (Pois Chic, a chickpea-based restaurant; Club Cochon, a pork-based one), classic institutions are reinventing themselves (La Coupole and its €19.50 "Boulevard" menu), gastronomic solidarity restaurants are popping up (Chez Ernest)... Here are 10 hand-picked addresses that are mostly sustainable (French, seasonal produce), affordable (menus around €25 and often less) and that will put a smile on your plate.

Images Le Monde.fr

High in protein and fiber, chickpeas are a staple of the vegetarian diet praised for their nutritional qualities but rarely celebrated for their taste. They finally seem to have found their master chef champion in an alleyway in the 14th arrondissement: Nimrod Amzalak, a Tel-Aviv native and former doctoral student in political science who gave up teaching for the kitchen. Trained at Ferrandi and having worked in Assaf Granit's kitchens at Balagan, he set out on his own at the age of 55, opening a micro-restaurant with chick-yellow walls and a focus on vegetables.

One might think that the menu would be repetitive, but this is not the case, thanks to a blend of French and Middle Eastern traditions that opens up new horizons on the plate, with a tightly-priced menu (starter+main course: €19). Warm and soft panisse (a Provençal specialty made from chickpea flour) is placed on a bed of labné (a kind of thick yogurt) and topped with eggplant confit. For the main courses, a thick mattress of hummus accommodates golden falafels studded with chunks of unblended chickpeas; chicken gizzards and thighs with caramelized onions; or (our favorite version), fried calamari topped with a devilish coriander and green chile pesto.

The dessert is not quite as convincing: A cardamom-scented Bavarian cream that feels somewhat bland after the festivities that preceded it. But the owner has time to fine-tune its offer: The restaurant only opened this summer. Also worth mentioning are the warm, melt-in-the-mouth homemade pitas, which will make you want to clean every corner of your plate!

Pois chic, 68 Rue de l'Ouest, 14th arrondissement. Tel: 01-80-06-59-87.

Images Le Monde.fr

Do charitable ideas make for good meals? At Chez Ernest, they do. With its large room lit by a veranda, second-hand furniture, temporary exhibitions and a small theater stage, this Swiss Army knife of a restaurant feels like a cheerful town hall. But the heart of the establishment is the open kitchen, where, since October, small gastronomic dishes have been prepared with a focus on organic, seasonal and local produce at moderate prices (starter-main course or main course-dessert for €16, total for €19). At just 27, it's Margaux Fary (formerly of the Parisian restaurant Le Coucou) who achieved this small miracle, one that shakes up the taste buds.

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