Café des Musées
Café des Musées
49, rue de Turenne, in the 3rd Arrondissement.
01 42 72 96 17.
Open every day, lunch and dinner.
Could it be? An honest bistro in the heart of the Marais? One that’s . . . open on Sundays?
If all of this seems to good to be true, rest assured that is actually exists at Café des Musées. The corner location, with its wood paneling and windows opening onto the sidewalk, is quintessentially Parisian. A favorite of locals and visitors alike, it’s perfect for those who are not looking for something revolutionary, just good food at good prices. Though in this part of town that might be revolutionary in itself.
We started with a terrine de volaille, rich with liver and studded with fat, accompanied by the largest pot of cornichons I have ever seen. The terrine was good and rustic; I only wish the toast had been up to the task. We loved our other starter, mushrooms à l’escargot: sizzling caps filled with snails, roasted and drowned in garlic butter, the mushroom a delicious substitute for the shell.
You’ll see French bistro favorites, including a decent steak frites with an addictive béarnaise. I had a pork chop, remarkably tender and juicy, though the accompanying gratin dauphinois was juicy, too; the sauce surrounding the potatoes was runny, not creamy. A fillet of bar felt Mediterranean with its side salads, diced tomato and black olives. It was light and fresh, perfectly good, though its owner clearly wished he had gone the heartier route.
The wine list is short and sweet, with a few whites, a few reds and Drappier Champagne by the coupe, requiring little of your decision-making capabilities. The desserts posed a bigger problem: they all sounded good. At the waiter’s urging I ordered a pistachio and raspberry dacquoise, a crisp meringue disk topped with pistachio cream and plump raspberries. My friends had said that they didn’t want anything, and when I tasted it I held them to their word and hoarded it.
In a nutshell: With a great location, solid food and a charming room, Café des Musées is an easy choice for a no-fuss Parisian meal.
Price check: Starters at 6–10 euros, mains at 15–21 euros. Desserts, 6–8 euros.
If you are on a tighter budget but in the mood for classic Paris:
6, rue la Vrillière, in the 1st.
01 42 61 43 78.