Olio Pane Vino
44, rue Coquillière, in the 1st Arrondissement.
01 42 85 27 33. Lunch: Mon–Sat.
Dinner: Thurs and Fri only.
Perhaps you don’t go out to dinner in Paris to eat pasta, but Parisians certainly do, and so does the young couple behind Hidden Kitchen, another GG2P fave. Where do they go when the craving strikes? Olio Pane Vino.
Afternoons, the long wooden tables are filled with colleagues on lunch break, solo diners and friends of Francesco Bertuna, the amiable owner with whom you can speak Italian, French or English (and who knows what else). Definitely talk to him, though; he’s charming.
At night the place is filled with convivial groups of friends and families serving one another salads from platters, passing plates of crostini, reaching for a slice of prosciutto. The arrival of steaming bowls of pasta briefly quiets the conversations, but then those are passed around too, and expressions of contentment begin to spread around the room.
On the printed menu you’ll see only first courses: antipasti, salads, plates of meat or cheese—most available in small or large portions for 8.50 to 12 euros. I love the crostino Toscano, spread with savory chicken liver purée, and the mozzarella that starred alongside grilled vegetable salad was fantastic, even if the vegetables were not. A special crostino with fava beans and ricotta salata was a good seasonal offering.
The mains (13–16.50 euros) are on the board and change daily. Or hourly, if Francesco’s fish supplier delivers only three kilos of clams instead of the promised six, as was the case at a recent lunch. Yes, we were sad not to have linguine alle vongole, but the bright sauce of leeks and goat cheese issued in its place was a fine substitution. I loved my penne with potatoes cacio e pepe—a classic Roman preparation with crumbled cheese and loads of black pepper. The flavorful seafood risotto was a surprising success, neither the rice nor the shellfish overcooked (someday I will achieve this at home). A tomato, fennel and Treviso sauce coated rolled-up noodles perfectly, but my favorite dish was the simplest: linguine with garlic, olive oil and peperoncino—crushed red pepper.
Dessert is sometimes difficult after pasta, but a sgroppino (lemon sorbet drowned with limoncello) will leave you refreshed.
In a nutshell: Everyone likes pasta, including the French, and Olio Pane Vino delivers, in a cool room filled with happy people.
Price check: Sharable starters run from 8.50 to 12 euros, pastas are 13–16.50, and unpretentious Italian wines, most well under 30 euros a bottle, make the check easy to swallow.
If you like the sound of Olio Pane Vino but really want to feel like you’re eating in someone’s home, try to book the tiny table d’hôte at La Tête dans les Olives, an olive oil shop run by Cédric Casanova, who supplies Alain Ducasse.