This restaurant’s terrace is one of the most magical places to dine in Paris, especially late on a warm summer evening after the rest of this public garden has been shut off to the hoi polloi. The Palais-Royal is a perfect example of the French ‘rationaliste’ approach to gardens, full of the crunch of gravel and trees in lines. But even in the red and quietly trendy dining room there is something very special about dining under these splendid arcades alongside the elegant commissars of arts and letters who work at the Ministry of Culture a few doors down.
We shared one of three hard-to-choose-between risottos as a starter. Ours, called Black, Black and Lobster, sounded like the sort of thing the men in flowery ties at the next table should be buying for the Pompidou Centre. It was tremendous. The rice was still firm in a wash of squid’s ink where we found lumps of garlic and parmesan. On top, tender but fleshy pink lobster, sun-dried tomato, a slice of courgette, a couple of beans and a pea. Exquisite. Our mains were, inevitably, more restrained but good nevertheless – a roasted sea bass with ‘melted’ leeks, and a hare stew that managed to be both heartily countrified and refined. We’d ordered two 50cl jugs of wine: a light and pleasant Bourgogne aligoté and a Chilean cabernet sauvignon. The waiter practically forced us into having baba au rhum for pudding, which turned out to be fabulous. We especially liked the little bottle he brought with it, just in case we thought the baba hadn’t been sufficiently doused in booze.
|Venue name:||Restaurant du Palais-Royal||Contact:|
110 galerie Valois
|Opening hours:||noon-2pm, 7-10pm Mon-Sun|
|Transport:||Metro: Pyramides or Palais Royal - Musée du Louvre|
|Price:||Main courses €23-€40.|