Archive for the 'Mediteranean' Category

Where is the best ratatouille in Paris?

Fabu omelet in Brugge
I had an amazing omelet with ratatouille in Brugge recently. It was in a small bar outside the tourist area. It was filled with the restaurant’s extended family members.

The omelet was fluffy and filled with the perfect batch of ratatouille. This got me to start wondering: where is the best ratatouille in Paris? It’s not the type of dish a restaurant builds their reputation on. It’s typically the lowly side dish that accompanies the meat and eggs. But good ratatouille is a meal in itself.
Kosher Pizza in Paris
I had a great “provencial pizza” at Kosher Pizza that was essentially a thin crust pizza covered with ratatouille.

Where is your favorite place? How about outside Paris?

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La Bélière combines Jazz and Good Food in Paris

I’ve written about my favorite chef in Paris, Jacques BROSSE, before. He’s prone to moving around, which means I’ve been able to enjoy his cooking in a variety of restaurants. His latest restaurant is La Bélière Welcome, a hopping joint with a long history of its own.
Jazz dinner in Paris
La Bélière sits on rue Daguerre in the Montparnasse area. It’s a comfortable restaurant with a steady diet of Jazz and friendly service. Unlike many restaurants that mix music with food, La Bélière truly delivers on the cuisine. Visitors for many years have noted the quality food and Jacques’ entrance makes this a certainty.

Jazz Music

This are two face to La Bélière. The first is for dinner, where food takes the attention and music provides the backdrop. However, the focus shifts in the late hours as the kitchen shuts down and it becomes a vibrant Jazz bar. The owner’s been known to keep the place open and hopping until the sun rises. So plan on taking your time and possibly staying much later than you expected.

The Menu

Unfortunately there are not a lot of options on the menu for vegetarians. However, don’t let that stop you. Ask for the plate des legumes. This is a selection of vegetables being served with the various dinner plates. Jacques is a master at blending traditional French cuisine with Asian and Mediterranean dishes. You’ll be surprised by the variety. This is usually a good option for vegans as well.

There’s also a tomato/mozzarella mille-feuille salad that is amazing. It comes with ham but simply ask for it “sans jambon”. This is a full meal in itself.

The menu at this restaurant hasn’t changed much over the years; so keep an eye out for the daily specials. This is where Jacques has more room to stretch his culinary muscles. You may also want to make reservations several days in advance and ask for vegetarian options. Jacques speaks English fluently, so you can say hello while you are dining. Actually, everyone that works there seems to speak excellent English.

Dinner should cost between 15-30 euros, depending on your desire for dessert and/or drinks. The meals are large so plan on sharing an appetizer and watch out for the mother of all profiteroles for dessert. She’s a whopper!

La Beliere
74 rue Daguerre (14°)
Metro: Denfert Rochereau
01 40 47 52 66
Wheelchair Friendly: seating and entrance is easy. Bathrooms are in the basement.
  • Overall: 4/5
  • Value: 4/5
  • Location: 4/5
  • Taste: 5/5
  • Ambiance: 5/5
  • Vegetarian Options: 2.5/5
  • Vegan Options: 2/5

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Beirut Down Town – Affordable Lebanese Food in Paris

Vegetarian plate at Beirut Down Town in ParisBehind the Institut du Monde Arabe sits Beirut Down Town, a small restaurant with rough stone walls and a set of simple tables. The front of the restaurant is dominated by a display case filled with hummus, tabouli, and assorted dishes ready for take out. It’s roomy interior is great for large groups.

Lebanese cuisine is filled with vegetarian options and Beirut Down Town’s Assiette Vegetarienne features 7 items for the reasonable price of 11.50 euros. It includes hummus, tabouli, labneh, 2 feuilletes (turnovers) of spinach and cheese, falafel, stuffed grape leaves, and pita bread. It’s a nice variety of dishes for dinner. They also offer a variety of vegetarian sandwiches and plates.

I was looking for something different and this seemed like the perfect place for dinner.

I have to say that I was underwhelmed by the food. It didn’t taste as fresh as I would have liked. I felt like some of the items were pre-packaged or made for the previous day’s lunch time rush (I visited it on a Saturday evening).


However, I have to give them benefit of doubt. The asbestos removal construction across the street had made the nearby restaurants seem like ghost towns. I was the only one in Beirut Down Town.

Student Dining

Beirut Down Town is next to the University of Paris and probably does great business during the week when students are hungry. The portions are large, there’s a nice variety of dishes, and the location is convenient.

I don’t know if I would go back again, but I would suggest it for people in the area looking for something other than another cheese sandwich.

Beirut Down Town
30 rue des Fosses St. Bernard (5°)
Metro: Cardinal Lemoine, Jussieu
01 43 29 98 86
Wheelchair Friendly: The entrance is tight, but the rest of the restaurant is roomy
  • Overall: 3/5
  • Taste: 3/5
  • Vegetarian Options: 4/5
  • Vegan Options: 4/5
  • Value: 4/5
  • Location: 3.5/5

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Enjoy a stress-free dinner at the No Stress Cafe

No Stress Cafe in ParisThe No Stress Cafe received international attention for combining fortune telling, massages, and food in a simple Paris cafe. It sits down the hill from the sin-soaked Pigalle area facing a pleasant terrasse fronted by restaurants.

The cafe has matured over the years. The massage chairs have been replaced with more dining tables and an increased attention towards dining instead of dozing. However you can still get your fortune told and enjoy a no stress dinner.

Chef Dean to the Rescue

No Stress Cafe in Paris
I’ve mentioned my favorite chef in Paris, Jacques. What I may not have mentioned enough was his partner and sous chef Dean. The two of them created a menu that kept the No Stress Cafe from becoming a one line joke, “hey did you hear about the cafe with back rubs near Pigalle…”. Jacques has moved on to other restaurants and Dean is now the chef of the No Stress Cafe.

I can tell you from experience that Dean is a masterful chef. He has an international approach from his Asian heritage and years of cooking in Paris. His menu at No Stress is a fusion of Mediterranean, French, and Asian recipes.

Vegetarian Options

The standard menu features several vegetarian and vegan options.
Vegetarian Tapas at No Stress Cafe in Paris

However, you can also request the Tapas menu to be vegetarian. This is what I had the other night and it was excellent! Dean gave me a bit extra but you can expect an assortment of tempura, pickled vegetables, lasagna, and other seasonal vegetables.

Dean also makes a killer bowl of vegetarian french onion soup. He uses white wine instead of stock and it blows away the french onion soup at Potager du Marais. It’s not on the menu, but he’ll make it the soup of the day if you make your reservation a few days in advance. Tell them Ted sent you.

Eating at No Stress cafe reminded me of sharing a dinner at chez Jacques and Dean. Ample portions of food from around the globe served family style with great affection.

No Stress Cafe
24 rue Clauzel (9°)
01 48 78 00 27
Metro: Pigalle, St. Georges
Cafe
  • Overall: 4.5/5
  • Location: 3/5
  • Taste: 5/5
  • Service: 5/5
  • Vegetarian Friendly: 5/5
  • Vegan Friendly: 4/5
  • M.E.F. Friendly: 5/5

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Restaurant Antalya – Turkish fast food

We all have our comfort foods. At the core, we crave the meals our parents cooked for us as children. Well, that’s a bit of a stretch for me, my mother tended to massacre meals more than serve them. But I digress. As adults, we also tend to settle on those familiar joints where we know we can get a good meal at a good price and it’s comforting to be a regular.

Restaurant Antalya is that place for me. I work long days and travel across the city to get to work and back. I often don’t feel like cooking when I arrive at Chez Ted. I also don’t want to get a big sit down meal and the thought of another cheese sandwich or panini can make a grown man cry.
Restaurant Antalya
Luckily, I discovered Antalya and their vegetarian plate. For only 6.50 Euros, you get tomato couscous, roasted eggplant with veggies, fries, and a salad. It’s a lot of food, it tastes good, it’s fast, and the people are really friendly and welcoming. I also get to watch the latest Turkish soap operas while waiting for the food.

Vegan options?

I wouldn’t suggest this to vegans, the eggplant dish has cheese. I also can’t guarantee that everything there is truly vegetarian. I’ve been afraid to ask if the fries are made in vegetable oil and what goes into the couscous. I can say that after 23 years of being a veggie, I can usually taste the animal fat. I have not found any reason to avoid coming to this favorite little joint on the way home from a long day at work.

Antalya is located in the 12th arrindissement. It’s not the most convenient place for tourists. However it’s not too far from Park de Bercy or Bois de Vincennes. It’s a local restaurant that draws a friendly local crowd.

For a fancier Turkish meal, turn around and go a block in the other direction for Angora. Their version of this meal is about double the price and has a lovely starter plate.

Restaurant Antalya
284, rue Charenton (12°)
01 43 44 40 32
Metro: dugommier
Turkish Fast Food
  • Overall: 5/5
  • Location: 3/5
  • Value: 5/5
  • Taste: 4.5/5
  • Service: 5/5
  • Vegetarian Friendly: 3/5
  • Vegan Friendly: 1/5
  • M.E.F. Friendly: 5/5

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