Restaurants in Montmartre: La Boîte aux LettresLa Boîte aux Lettres108 rue Lepic75018 Paris01 42 51 76 84
The French movie “Amélie” definitely worked its magic on me when I saw it in 2001. It’s a glimpse into the whimsical world of modern-day Montmartre. Instead of exploring side streets and enjoying all Montmartre has to offer, most tourists just stick around Moulin Rouge or Place du Tertre.
Restaurants in Montmartre can be a complicated affair. Victims of Montmartre’s success, restaurants just don’t see the point of service with a smile, or great food for that matter, when their customers come by the BUS LOAD, year after year…
La Boîte aux Lettres (lah bwah toh leh-trh), meaning “mailbox” in French, is a wonderful local alternative.
The ambiance is lively and local, and the place is quite small with around 9-10 tables side by side, so YES you’ll be dining with your neighbors. Get used to it, you’re in Paris! I always want to taste everything, which is usually problematic, but not here. They’ve offer a special menu entitled Indécis (undecided) for those of us that can’t decide. The menu consists of: A Sampler starter + Main + Sampler dessert.
My Indécis (anh-dey-see) Starter was composed of Cream of Pot-au-Feu, Crabmeat Vegetable Macedonia, and Foie Gras with Apple-Mango Chutney.
Pot-au-Feu (poh-toh fuh) or beef stew, is a staple in traditional French cuisine. Here it’s reworked into a tasty and very well-seasoned velvety soup. The Macedonia was tangy and light with perfectly cooked veggies. The fresh crab meat was a nice touch. The foie gras was also delicious, I love it when it’s paired with chutney!
The next dish I had was called “Yes Chicken!” It was mind-blowing. The batter was perfectly light, thin and crisp with zero greasiness and the chicken meat succulent. The tossed greens side with mint and crushed nuts had an Asian style vinaigrette with a bit too much soy sauce. Luckily there were perfectly crisp, sweet snap peas and a delicious nutty crunch to make amends.
To finish, I had my Indécis Dessert which was a baguette French toast, oreo tiramisu, and a pineapple basil carpaccio. French Toast in this case is what the French call Pain Perdu (pahn peyr-du) meaning “lost bread,”. Its one of those warm and fuzzy kind of desserts that your grandma used to make. It was drizzled with caramel… and simply divine. The oreo tiramisu was yummy, because who doesn’t like oreos?? The fresh and sweet pineapple basil carpaccio was accompanied by a scrumptious financier (fee-nahn-see-ey), a small very airy almond cake that’s loved by all Frenchies.
La Boîte aux Lettres is a good choice if you want something more local in Montmartre. The service is friendly and attentive, the food is relatively simple but very well made and fresh, and the ambiance is fabulous, an ideal spot to people watch. I always leave the restaurant feeling totally satisfied and all smiles. La Boîte is also popular for Brunch on the weekends.
Price: Indécis Set Menu (S + M + D) 38€ / Starters 7€ – 12€ / Mains 16€ – 20€ / Desserts 8€ – 10€
About the Author: Fooled one too many times by tourist traps, Paris for Epicureans scours the city hunting out restaurants worth your time and money. Fabulous, so-so, flat out bad, she tells it like it is! Photos taken by Paris for Epicureans unless noted.