An Italian with more style than substance in the 8th.
In Paris, Italian restaurants seem to open up more than other cuisines. Why? From burrata to calzones, the French are quite fond of the sunny flavours from their latin neighbours. This, and an enticingly pretty interior had us up for visiting Marcella, in the 8th.
Sat on the cross section of Boulevard Courcelles and Avenue de Villiers, you forget you can see up to the Sacré-Coeur from this point - a nice surprise. Marcella's terrace is busy with afterworkers having spritzes (€9) and various aperitif bites. This menu is a little commercial (Bacardi sponsor) but thorough with Italian drinks including Fragolino (Martini, prosecco, wild strawberry liqueur) and a spin on a mojito, Marcellito; made with chinotto, a mediterranean orange liqueur.
The interior is modern, combining dark wood with metal and marble. It's pretty and a better job than some of its neighbouring bars. The crowds are mostly on the terrace but inside groups of girlfriends, young families gather to eat. It's the truffle burrata with rocket (€16) and compote of sicilian aubergines (€9) to start. The truffle doesn't overpower the burrata, which itself has a nice taste. Sadly, it's been too long in the fridge, and the cold means neither flavour is as good as it could be. The aubergines are a different story; a sensual ruddy colour, complemented with fat raisins and pine nuts, it's a juicy and well-cooked entrée.
The main menu is divided into pizzas, trattoria (salads, burgers, carpaccio), pastas and secondi (fillets and meat dishes). We opt for the linguine with prawns and basil bisque as the signature 'Marcella' dish (fresh mussels, prawns and saffron bisque) can only be ordered for at least two persons - a shame to limit this speciality. Along with it, the milanaise chicken. The itself pasta was nicely presented and perfectly cooked, but too much corriander and only three prawns meant it fell a bit flat. As for the chicken, the breadcumb exterior was more creamy than crunchy, and sadly unexceptional overall. The dessert, 'crème Marcella' blending chatilly cream and ricotta stepped it up. This recipe from the chef's grandmother finally gave some Italian heart.
Despite high hopes, Marcella gave more style than substance. We'd recommend doing as others - sticking to the aperitif on the sunny terrace.
1 Boulevard de Courcelles
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat, 7am-1am; Sun, 10am-4pm|
|Price:||Antipasti from €9, mains from €14.50, desserts from €6.50|