Add: 30 Rue Gay-Lussac 75005 Paris
Tel: 01 43 25 20 79
Hours: 12~2pm, 7:30~10:00pm (closed Sunday & Monday)
Price: [lunch] €24~26 [dinner] €33
Visited on: Oct 2012
The only thing I didn’t like about Les Papilles was that it’s equally far from any metro station, which makes getting there an ordeal especially on cold wintery days. But really, there’s not much to complain about this small, affordable, and reliable bistro. The prix fixe menu (€33 for a 4-course dinner) offers no choice – everyone gets the same soup, main course, cheese/salad, and dessert – but as long as you are a flexible eater, you will be full and very satisfied by the end of your evening here.
The space is small, so expect elbow-to-elbow seatings, and don’t be alarmed when other patrons look over your head to pick out a bottle of wine.
Fleurie 2009 (Beaujolais) from Domaine Jean Foillard, as recommended by the restaurant manager.
The makings of tonight’s cauliflower soup arrived in a bowl: chopped cauliflower, toasted croutons, bacon bits, chives, and sour cream, served alongside a tureen laden with cauliflower cream. The flavor was classic-done-right, and the portion more than generous – the three of us each helped ourselves to two full bowls, and there were still leftovers.
Baguettes, perfect for scooping up the cream.
The main course, served family style in a copper gratin pan, was an incredibly aromatic and hearty veal and vegetable stew. The meat has absorbed all the flavors of the vegetables, just as the vegetables have done of the meat, forming one utterly satisfying harmony. Again, the portion was big enough to feed more than four people, and we even got a to-go box for the leftovers. (We heated this up for lunch the next day – still delicious.)
After the main course came a plate of blue cheese with prunes. Excellent.
Dessert of the evening was a mandarine panna cotta. At the very bottom is mandarine sponge cake soaked in syrup, topped with creamy vanilla panna cotta, then a caramel foam for an extra layer of flavor. Loved.
It takes 15~20 minutes to walk here from the closest metro station (Odeon or Cluny-La Sorbornne), which will become more and more unbearable as the winter cold sets in, but for those in the neighborhood who are in for a thoroughly satisfying meal that doesn’t break the bank, Les Papilles is the ticket.