3, rue Richer, in the 9th Arrondissement. 01 47 70 67 31.
Open for lunch Thurs–Fri, and for dinner Tues–Sat.
Closed Sun and Mon.
The area around Grands Boulevards has suddenly (and surprisingly) become cool. This major thoroughfare, not far from two landmark department stores, used to be nothing but chains. In recent years, however, a handful of hype restaurants has put this neighborhood back on the foodie map. Among these, Racines and Passage 53, tucked inside the Passage des Panoramas, are the most well known. But another relative newcomer—named after a place that I try to avoid—has begun to establish a following. I revisited l’Office this week and was reminded of why I loved it the first time around.
To begin, the waiters are adorable. Young and hip—wearing smiles and just enough facial scruff—my friend and I were putty in their hands. Did we want a sparkling Vouvray to begin? Absolutely! Sipping our bubbles, we admired the decor and made plans to transform our own apartments with strategically placed antlers. The taxidermy, when combined with retro lighting, moleskin banquettes and funky wallpaper, created an enviable retro-funky atmosphere.
The menu made for an easy decision—with only two options for each course, we ordered one of everything. Not every plate was perfect, but each one featured some sort of interesting surprise. Unraveling the flavors in every dish became a game. Were those scallops smoked? Did I taste brussels sprouts in the bright green pesto? Was that bay leaf in the ice cream? These dishes were bold (if sometimes a bit unbalanced) and definitely fun to eat.
We reserved for a late dinner and were delighted to look up, sometime after 11 p.m., and notice that the place had become a wine bar. After the tables had emptied out, a group of 10 friends was gathered around an equal number of bottles at the bar. This place is fun.
Price check: entrées are about 8 to 10 euros, with mains from 16 to 19 euros. For three courses at dinner, plan to spend around 35 euros. For wine, you can splash out with a glass of Lassaigne champagne for 10 euros, or play it cheap with a carafe of house wine from 18 to 22 euros. The thick wine list has plenty of other options to suit every budget, including a number of good vins naturels.
In a nutshell: Despite the buttoned-up name, l’Office exudes casual charm. It’s an addition to the restaurant scene around Grands Boulevards, with stylish decor and playful food for a fun-loving thirtysomething crowd.
If you like the sound of L’Office, you might also like:
5, rue du Nil, in the 2nd.
01 40 39 96 19.