15, rue François Miron, in the 4th Arrondissement.
01 42 74 14 65. Lunch and dinner daily.
GG2P partner Pamela Popo may have a strange-sounding name, but to the French, it’s a way of paying homage to one of their favorite local singers, Serge Gainsbourg, who sang a song by the same name. This Paris restaurant has been open just a year now, and David Personnat, of Ledoyen fame, is heading up the kitchen here.
Parked outside the restaurant on the charming rue François Miron was a cool old car emblazoned with the Pamela Popo logo. Behind the car’s parking spot is a small terrace with room for several tables, and if it’s warm, the doors will be open and the terrace will double in size as it merges with the bar area behind. The downstairs room is a nice, comfortable lounge for drinks, but for more serious eating, you’ll want to move upstairs to the dining room.
The room is warm, with bright walls of blue, red and brown, and comfortable upholstered chairs to match. Bookshelves line the back wall and add edginess (rather than stuffiness) to the room. On this evening we listened to upbeat jazz, which mixed in with French voices from the neighboring tables.
We started with mushroom ravioli layered with asparagus tips in a creamy sauce with hints of lemon. It was rich and delicious. We also had an appetizer with fried shrimp on top of a cucumber-citrus salad, which was also enjoyable as long as you ate the shrimp while it was still crisp.
For the main, I had several pieces of buttery monkfish with braised endive in a pool of light, hollandaise-esque sauce. Low cal, no. High flavor, yes. Also tasty was the bar bleu, a meatier type of sea bass that sat on a bed of grilled and pureed eggplant. Marble-size capers adorned the plate, along with bright green and red strips of wilted greens. The flavors all worked well together—the capers brought a nice touch of sweetness to the heavier fish.
Dessert was a decadent duo of over-the-top chocolate dishes, each served with an edible Pamela Popo chocolate decorative piece. The first was a thin pastry feuillantine surrounded with praline, hazelnut and chocolate. The other was a ball of chocolate filled with cream and chocolate mousse. We left with a very satisfied sweet tooth.
In a nutshell: Pamela Popo makes for a fun night out in the 4th, offering a trendy bar and restaurant serving equally good food to match.
Price check: Lunch menu: 17 euros. Dinner: appetizers, 8–17 euros; entrées, 19–28 euros.
If you like the sound of Pamela Popo but want to go out in St.-Germain instead, try Le Schmuck. Read the review.
1, rue de Condé, in the 6th.
01 43 54 18 21. Noon–2 a.m. daily.