Since no-one stays in Paris in the summer, it was tempting to try the very busy restaurants that all my friends tell me about, which are constantly fully booked. I started with “Girafe” in the Trocadero, which has a splendid view over the Eiffel Tower and then had lunch at “Mon Square“, a new very pretty place in front of Sainte Clotilde church. Both are ridiculously expensive and very pretty. What a dilemma!
Girafe was opened a year ago by Laurent de Gourcuff, the magician of Paris restaurants who also owns “Monsieur Bleu” in the Palais de Tokyo. The seafood is delicious and presented like a painting. It does not even seem expensive on the menu, but when you get a bill for 155€ for three starters, two desserts and mineral water … you get angry. Anyway I did. Plus because it was summer, the public was a mix of middle class bank managers and provincials who (like me) wanted to see the famous place… This, added to the fact that our waiter asked us every two minutes if we were enjoying our meal, was very frustrating… I recommend that you find a sugar daddy and I suggest the management give menus without prices…
One thing, I have to admit, was a huge plus for the place: I had booked for Wednesday and had not noticed that the web site had offered a Wednesday two weeks later. So the charming hostesses could not find my booking of course. But they graciously found us a seat anyway and could not have been nicer. It is better to book by phone…than on their web site.
The food is absolutely delicious but the portions are minuscule… I had baked clams and tartare of fish. My niece had calamari and a Pavlova which was excellent… including the café gourmand with tiny desserts.
“Mon Square” took the place of a charming typical Paris café at corner of rue Saint Dominique and rue de Martignac. It faces a lovely “square”, a public garden, where children come and play in the afternoon. And it is just across the place from Sainte Clotilde, the church of the left bank establishment, the former Faubourg Saint Germain. It has been decorated in the most fresh and garden like way and I love the furniture. It seats 140 people and opened last July.
The service is sweet but we were almost the only customers so there was no rush… The food is edible and very pretty on the plate. But again the prices are ridiculous. 40€ for a rack of lamb or a daurade, 20€ for oeufs mimosas! or 24€ for a melon… I thought I was misreading the short menu all along. The manager, Quentin de Fleuriau, boasted about having worked for many years for the Costes brothers. It seems he only picked the wrong sides of this chain of restaurants and hotels, including a lack of simple politeness… and he mentioned that the owner was his partner.
After eating a Thaï beef salad and a Caesar salad, we came out of the place feeling very hungry and having paid 84€ for two, including a tiny cheesecake for dessert! which for a quick lunch in Paris is outrageous.
So resist the impulse of going to either restaurant this summer, even though they have nice terraces and beautiful looks. They might revise their prices in the autumn if the place is empty every night?
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