"The evolving Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Le Bouclier de Bacchus -- Restaurant Review

Address: 18 Rue Saint-Lazare

Nearest transport: Notre-Dame-de-Lorette (ligne 12)

Tues: 10:00 am 8:30 pm
Wed: Friday: 10:00 am - 12:00 am
Saturday: 3:00 pm - 12:00 am
Reservations: recommended
Telephone: 01 48 74 94 99

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)

1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

  2.5 - Star.................................................. (Pre-fix menu)...............................................1 - Bell

Our friends made reservations at one of their neighborhood restaurants, “Le Bouclier de Bacchus.”  It’s an interesting restaurant, as soon as you walk in you can see all the wine bottles displayed, quite impressive.  We were 11-people, so we sat upstairs. I found it really interesting, they had several “living-room” areas for dining. It’s hard for me to sit on couches and basically eat from a coffee table, so fortunately we were able to get a long table.  The prices were extremely reasonable, for 2-courses at 17.50€ and for 3-courses at 24€.  

They brought out a “jambon persil” ham for the table to share. It was basically ham seasoned with parsley. It was OK, I guess, but reminded me of ham you get in U.S. and serve during Easter. For some reason I was expecting a Basque, Bayonne or even a Spanish (Iberia) style ham, would have been preferable! 

It was very hard to read the menu, since deciphering French handwriting is not my forté.  So, I’ll use the English equivalents.

 The Entrées:

I had the “smooth cheese”.  There were some at the table that really loved it and others who didn’t. I was on the camp that didn’t like it. It tasted like someone scooped out a butter cupcake, put a round of cheese on top and then heated it. It tasted like a bad cheese pudding surrounded by greens. Very "cake" doughy and not pleasant at all.

Salmon salad. It was executed well, and although it wasn’t outstanding, for those who had it, it was good.

Quail salad. I had a taste of it, again, it wasn’t anything special, nor did it stand out as a gastronomical feat, it was just OK. My 10-year old niece could’ve made it.

And, the remaining group had the green salad, which they all said they enjoyed.

The Plats:

I had the pheasant with a foie gras sauce. The pheasant was cooked well and tasted fine. Here’s the problem I had with the dish, the foie gras sauce. Two of us commented that it was extremely rich, and for the life of me, we couldn’t figure out why they called it a foie gras sauce, it was heavy cream and butter, with emphasis on the cream! and a hint of foie gras. As a starch, they had rice. It was a very unbalanced, unattractive dish.

Several people had the veal, and according to them, it was a very, very, good dish.

The desserts:

The gingerbread, called spiced bread in France was a bit too sweet and the sauce was a bit too gooey. Nothing wrong with that, but this is France for God sake, you sort of expect something a little more refined. I found it just OK.

The Soufflé Grand Marnier I loved. This was probably the highlight of my meal. It’s actually an ice cream but light and refreshing, with a nice fine crusty topping. What can I say, I was a fan of this dessert. And, you can definitely taste the Grand Marnier.

The wines, we had several bottles of Ajaccio at 12.50€ each, not a bad price.


For the price you can’t beat it. For 11-people, it averaged 32€ per person, which included several glasses of wine, tea and coffee. Excellent price!


If you’re looking for haute cuisine, or more refined cuisine this is not the place for you. This restaurant is known for their low priced wines, ambiance, and home cooking, what maman would make, if maman was an average cook.  Everything was just OK. However, the service was EXCELLENT. Think of the food as secondary, and you're there to socialize with friends!


  1. Hi Randy!!!
    I just came from the "Le Bouclier de Bacchus", and I had a wonderful lunch. The food and the wine was excellent and fairly priced given the quality.
    Your review of the restaurant shows how little you know about cooking in general and the French food particulary.
    I highly recommand this place.

    1. At the expense of sounding defensive, I was classically French trained, but have never, ever claimed to be an expert. I do know a little about food having taught cooking for many years. But then again, taste is subjective, n'est-ce pas? I value your opinion. Thank you for your feedback..., Amicalement!

    2. I'm not sure what the gripe is about. The overall rating was above average? And, to make a comment about Randy... "knowing little about cooking and French food" is an attack, without doing your homework! I've been to Randy's cooking classes, in U.S., and I can attest he's quite a skilled Chef and knowledgeable!

  2. Hi Randy,

    Thank you for your paris missives. It's interesting to see, as I'm French, how foreign people see our capital.
    However, I just went to "le bouclier de Bacchus" and can't let you say this is just an average cook restaurant : in fact, food is exccellent and you have to agree that they renew the menu every day (which is not seen everywhere). Furthermore, it's a Wine restaurant so I would have loved reading your impressions on wine instead of just 1 line at the end of your post ...
    Anyway, you definitely have to give it a second chance and to enjoy it as it has to be ...



    PS : if you don't try it, could you at least publish my message so people can have another point of view

    1. François, thank you for your input, I value everyone's opinion. In fact, the people at our table had differing opinions of the food when we were there. "VIVA LA DIFFERENCE!" but am respectful to those opinions!

      I never discriminate comments forwarded to me, unless I deem them inappropriate (attacks, racial etc.). And, I value every one's opinion, "Viva la Difference!"

      One thing I want to point out, writing reviews has to be sincere, objective and heartfelt, otherwise, it's senseless!


    2. François, I would like to add that the reason I did not say much about the wines, it's because I am not a wine connoisseur; hence, feel it is inappropriate for me to discuss or review topics/subjects that I have no knowledge of or am not familiar with!

      At your urging, I look forward to returning! À bientôt!