Last Thursday, some friends and I got together to celebrate a birthday. The only problem was finding a place to eat. Paris’ culinary reputation had my expectations run high. But I have to say I’ve been a little disappointed with the average restaurant. Given the high cost of eating out, I would expect that ordering at any restaurant would at least give me something comparable to North American restaurant chains. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Many of my friends are finding that it’s either a really good meal or a really bad one in Paris. And to have a really good meal, it usually involves planning a week or more ahead. This time, we didn’t plan ahead and ended up scrambling to get a table for 7 for the same day. Luckily, there was a cancellation at La Régalade for 9:30 pm. We all arrived on time only to find that the reservation was for an hour later. Of course, we didn’t actually get seated until close to 11 pm. But the wait was worth it and it has overtaken the title of my best meal in Paris to date! We each ordered a set 3-course meal for €32, excluding wine.
By the time we got around to dessert, it was quarter past midnight. The problem was, the metro closes at 12:45 am at the nearest station. That means my friend and I need to be out of the restaurant by 12:30 am to make catch the last train. Unfortunately, dessert was not served till 12:20 am. Being pastry students, we ordered one of each, which was perfect because there were 7 choices for the 7 of us! Once all the desserts came, my friend and I stuffed ourselves with a bit of everyone’s dessert and sprinted.
It was very uncomfortable running after a huge meal while laughing the entire way, but we caught the last train on line 4. Unfortunately, the last train at our transfer station came earlier than scheduled, so we didn’t actually make it all the way home on the metro. We walked around for more than an hour looking for the right bus back to my place. We knew which bus we were looking for, but we could not find it going in the right direction. So we gave up and took a cab back. We finally made it home at 3 am and since we still felt stuffed, we stayed up watching some modern family. What a memorable night!
Like I said, I’m coming back for another meal here. Next time, I’ll book a table for 6 pm and enjoy my meal at a slow, steady pace.