"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)!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Restaurant Review -- François Felix

9 rue Boissy d'Anglais
75008 Paris
Tele: 01 73 20 23 28
Métro: Concorde (lignes 1, 8 et 12)

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+)

 2.80 - Star......................................................€€(€)*......................................................... 2 - Bell

*Note: Hamburgers start at €20. A typical 3-course meal and wine, can easily reach over 50€ a person.

We had an appointment at the U.S. Embassy and needed a place close by for lunch. Our friends recommended this restaurant since it's literally around the corner from the U.S. Embassy and across the street from the famed "Buddha Bar."  We were four for lunch. Don't let it freak you out, but there are armed guards as you enter the tiny street on both ends, for obvious reasons.

The restaurant is located in the Rue Saint-Honoré 8eme section of Paris which is known for its high end designer shops, boutiques and some of the famed hotels.

There is a large outdoor eating area, but today was particularly cold, so we opted to sit indoors. Indoors was quite lovely with mirrors and what looked to be a full bar. The wait staff wore kilts, which I found interesting. I asked our wait-person if they were Scottish, and she said no it was just their "uniform."

Their menu was quite extensive, it was in French with a translation below. It was simple and uncomplicated. Food you can easily find in the U.S. such as hamburgers, fish and chips and even fish burgers, along with some French staples such as "magret de canard." They had a nice selections of salads as well. They did have a lunch special, but opted for the regular menu.

We decided to order just a main dish and forgo any entrées.

One person had the "fish and chips"; he liked his fish and chips and I have to say their fries are excellent, very crunchy and nicely salted. The whole dish was good, and it was accompanied with a nice tartar sauce as well as mashed peas. Overall good, but nothing out of the ordinary.

JJ had the "Thai style salad", which was composed of thin slices of raw marinated beef served with bamboo sprouts, soy sprouts, baby corn, carrots, sesame seeds, red onions and cilantro all tossed with a lime soy vinaigrette. Although the combinations sounded fabulous and for the most part the ingredients were excellent and fresh, it lacked any real kick of the typical Thai beef salad that is known as "Yam Neua." But then again we are in a French bistrot, so it had to be "frenchified" and toned down.  Fortunately, they had some tabasco, which JJ gladly used.

Another friend had the "Hot goat cheese salad." It was quite a substantial salad. It had quite a mix of wonderful ingredients. There were dried apricots, chicory and walnut kernels. The goat cheese sat atop a honey toasted glazed slice of baguette. It was tasty, but difficult to eat, since the honey made the toasted baguette chewy. Regardless it was overall a good delicious salad.

I had the "calamari salsa verde".  This dish was definitely misnamed.  I think of salsa as being fresh ingredients such as a red tomato salsa we typically eat with chips in the U.S.  Instead, the salsa actually was a pesto oil, almost reminiscent of what you have with your escargot. The overall concept of the dish was great, but lacked technical delivery. The calamari was woefully under-seasoned and was over-cooked, which made it very rubbery. However, the accompanying fries were delicious.

We passed on dessert but got a cappuccino. The cappuccino was delicious and quite substantial, since it was served in a tall glass. None of us were able to finish it, because of its richness.


I was expecting this bistrot to be filled with tourist, but in fact, for lunch it appeared that most of the patrons were French who worked around the area, or came to the area for business. There were some good dishes, nothing out of the ordinary, and there were a few technical errors such as the over-cooked calamari and the honey soaked toast that made it difficult to chew. The service was excellent. But overall, if I have an appointment at the U.S. Embassy and needed a quick good meal I would go back. But I would not go out of my way to have a meal there. With that said, be forewarned, for a bistrot it was quite expensive.  For 4-plats, 2-glasses of wine, 2-bottles of sparkling water, 1-tea, and 3-cappucinos are bill came to 150.50€ for 4-people, but then again you are in the posh area of Rue Saint Honoré (8eme).  Just imagine if we had our typical entrées and/or dessert and  a bottle of wine, our bill could've easily been over 250€.

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