“ Address: 1 Rue des Grands Degrés / 75005 / Paris „
Recently I visited Paris for a few days with my Mum and Sister, it really lived up to our expectations and we had a lovely time. The only things that concerned us is that my Mum has specific dietary requirements and Paris is notorious for it's high prices.
Turns out we needn't have worried, the service wherever we went was fantastic and everyone we met was really helpful and friendly. This restaurant stands out because of the wonderful customer service and delightful setting, plus the prices were amazing!
Les Gourmands de Notre-Dame is situated just across the Seine river from Notre-Dame Cathedral. Our river cruise boat (Batobus) stopped at the bottom of some old stone steps that lead to a picturesque leafy street adjoining a bridge to Île de la Cité (the island Notre Dame is on). Many smaller side streets branch off here and more or less opposite is Rue des Grands Degrés upon which the restaurant is located.
It's quite a peaceful area in the day although I imagine it might get a little more lively (in a good way) at night as there are several sophisticated looking wine bars nearby and all the eateries opened well into the evening.
The building itself is lovely, clearly very old with walls all at a slight angle and built from large white stones. The typical long Parisian windows can be seen all around with beautiful wooden shutters thrown open.
Inside was a real treat too, no modern rendering here just white painted stone, real wooden furniture and large gilt framed mirrors on the walls or casually leaning against them. It's quite small but the floor to ceiling doors at the front open up all the way so that the outdoor seating area feels very much part of the main restaurant. Through these doors you have a lovely view of a tree lined street and the magnificent Notre-Dame across the river.
There's quite a relaxed feel to this restaurant but in the evening with the lights on and candles burning I can see it being very romantic too. I would say it's ideal for couples of all ages, groups of friends and families with older children.
I can't recall the full menu and it's particulars but I hope I can give a clear outline of what is available, all of the items have an English translation underneath.
There was a lovely selection of traditional French cooking with a good choice of meats including chicken, pork, beef and lamb and all manner of vegetables prepared in delicious ways. Many pasta dishes and some international cuisine too along with vegetarian options and fresh salads. Various fish dishes are also available and a good selection of desserts including crepes.
On top of the regular menu there are also set meal options and specials boards brimming with mouth-watering dishes. Also don't miss the wide selection of cocktails on offer and good quality wines.
I can heartily recommend the dishes we had:
Penne pasta with fresh pesto and cherry tomatoes.
Grilled salmon with mashed potatoes and green salad (this was a dish made up especially for my Mum).
Roast pork with seasoned mashed potatoes, asparagus and a mildly spiced, chunky tomato reduction.
Whilst the puddings looked lovely we didn't have enough room left!
The prices vary of course depending on what you're having but I thought I'd include a sample set menu from their Facebook page to give you an idea:
Afternoon .. Starter, Main and Dessert = Euro14.50
Evening .. Main Course and Dessert = Euro19.50
Smoked Salmon and Ricotta
La Bruschetta d'Ossau Irati (Sorry, can't translate)
Side of pork and mashed potatoes
Side of lamb with vegetables
Cod and red cabbage
Starter of the Day = trilogy of fish terrine
Dish of the Day = confit of lamb and new potatoes
Dessert of the Day = Apple Pie
Wine is around Euro4.50 a glass
The service here was truly fantastic! As I mentioned above my Mum has some dietary issues and the waiter was very helpful in telling us what each dish contained and assuring us that each one could be customised to our liking. He spoke excellent English once our limited French failed us and even suggested what the nicest substitutions would be where my Mum couldn't eat certain sides.
The drinks we ordered arrived within moments and the dishes followed less than 15 minutes later. All of them were hot, fresh and delicious. The servings were just right, on the generous side without being too much and the presentation was attractive but not fussy.
The friendly waiting staff came to our table twice during the meal to ask if everything was satisfactory and ask if we would like more drinks. The plates were cleared away very quickly too and we were offered a selection of deserts both from the menu and the specials board.
I can't rate this kind of friendly and attentive service highly enough, it made a lovely meal extra special.
If you're in the vicinity then go! Restaurants only a little nearer were charging more than twice the price and didn't have the relaxing, calm atmosphere. Plus, I honestly think the view of the Cathedral across the river was much nicer than being right next to it and only being able to see a smaller portion.