Go Back
Print this page

1950s Archive

An Epicurean Pilgrimage to Paris

Part II - The Right Bank

Originally Published August 1951

The oversimple device of dividing gastronomic Paris by the River Seine provided a rather handy means of assessing the good restaurants of the Left Bank last month; but it certainly leaves me in a pretty kettle of consommé as far as the Lucullan Right Bank is concerned. There are such magnitude and variety to this awesome subject that one hesitates to treat it briefly in the space of a single article. But that's what we're here for. There should be some way to compress all this toothsome information into a few pages. It would be a lot simpler if we could talk this whole matter over in your library, or around your deck chair on the steamer, or at a marble-topped table at the Café des Deux Magots, That's an obvious and regrettable impossibility. But I do wish that there existed a clear composite of a GOURMET reader, so that these remarks could be directed explicitly at him.

Well, let's assume that there is a typical composite family which reads this provocative magazine. Let's assume that the reader who visits France this summer or next or in 1953 brings along an alert, attractive, food-conscious wife, a pretty, wide-eyed daughter of eighteen, and a slightly bored son of sixteen. May I assume, furthermore, that this is your first visit, at least in recent years? Please check off the components which do not apply and add those I have omitted. Now, if I haven't been loo impertinent or paternalistic, we are ready to go places, the fascinating eating places of Paris!

This American family of four will find every conceivable facet of the epicurean jewel on the Right Bank, from the most obscure but dependable bistro to the highest temple of gastronomy. Not all of them are noted primarily for their food. Some are irresistible for their setting—the restaurants in the Bois de Boulogne, for example. A dinner under the immense trees on a summer night in the Bois is an unforgeltable experience, one that will impress your daughter far more than Larue. You will have music, gaiety, cosmopolitan diners, and good cuisine and wines, and if you pay a slight premium at the PAVILLON D'ARMENONVILE, the PRÉ CATALAN, or the PAVILLON ROYAL, the romantic atmosphere is worth it. Your family should be purring with contentment.

They should be equally ecstatic in another sylvan spot, this one in the very heart of Paris. Luncheon or tea in the garden of the Ritz is an adventure which every civilized père de famille owes his family. On a cheerful day, the Ritz garden has infinite charm. The service, the food, and the wines are beyond reproach-not to speak of the clientele. The great Paris hotels (all of them but the Lutetia are on the Right Bank) are, needless to say, endowed with restaurants in keeping with their excellence. It is banal to point out thai the CRILLON, the GEORGE V, the MEURICE, the PLAZA-ATHENEE, and the RITZ, to be alphabetical about it, all provide matchless cuisines.

Then, there is a different type of dining under the trees, this time in the famous place du Tertre, high up in Montmart re adjoining Sacré-Coeur. Admittedly trumped up for the tourist, it is still very amusing. There arc enough Montmartre characters, real and phony, scattered about to assure a picturesque evening. That sixteen-year-old son will like it especially. You can hardly distinguish one establishment from another in this jovial square, but that doesn't make any difference. They can all be classified as so-so, but fairly adequate. The best one in the neighborhood is LA MÈRE CATHERINE, and it is expensive.

That ugly question of expense creeps in already! Am I to assume that my favorite family is rolling in dough? Are you one of the Deauville, steam-yacht, Van Cleef and Arpels set? Only in such a case would I become enthusiastic about the unquestioned splendor of LA CRÉMAILLÈRE, the AUBERGE D'ARMAILLE, or MAXIM'S. The addition in most good Paris restaurants, however, won't give you such a painful start. How expensive arc Paris restaurants, by the way? Here is a carefully considered statement. At the current rate of exchange, about 345 francs to the dollar, prices in fine Paris restaurants run a little less than the average in comparable places in New York, and considerably less if wine is included in your calculations. Is that encouraging? It is meant to be. But it doesn't say that Paris restaurants are inexpensive. Before we leave the sordid subject, it might be well to point out that Paris restaurateurs still have no unanimous altitude toward tipping. Some add a service charge, usually between 12 and 15 per cent. This should take care of all the personnel, but somehow the wine waiter appears to be left out in the cold. He will look most forlorn if you walk out just like that, so it is best to reserve an additional 15 per cent of your wine bill for his discreet palm. Other restaurants leave the tipping up to the discretion of the guest, which is much more in the spirit of the pourboire. Tactful Parisian hosts have the habit of excusing themselves and strolling quietly to (he cashier's desk when the check is due. This avoids that awkward moment when father unfolds the bill and the most buoyant conversation ceases.

Another question, if I'm not getting too nosy. Arc you particularly fond of fish food? Paris offers a poor prospect in summer. PRUNIER'S. the best-known specialist, closes up for the season. So does LA BOURRIDE. A few stay open, but they arc not your best bet. To this peripatetic palate, Parisian piscatorial palaces pall. (I promise never to do that again!)

A last preliminary, by request, before we get down to the solid matter of specific restaurants. What to order in those sidewalk cafés while waiting for the late dinner hour to roll around? The average American cocktail, except in the cosmopolitan bars, is obviously out. You have only to watch the waiter's bewildered expression as you order a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned to realize that there must be a better answer to your predicament. There is. The apéritif abruptly becomes a part of your life in France, along with bolsters, bérets, and lottery tickets. The apéritif is an essay in itself and, to my way of thinking, not a very inspiring one. Everyone seems to develop a favorite after a time. Some apéritifs have a medicinal taste on first acquaintance-Suzc, Claquesin, Picon, and Fernet-Branca, for example-but they claim their stanch devotees. Others-Pernod, Berger, and Ricard arc the leaders-spring from a green-eyed ancestor named absinthe. They can hardly be called gastronomic, sending one to the table with a strong pretaste of anise and frequently in a very truculent mood. Much-advertised Dubonnet, Byrrh, and Saint-Raphaël arc sweeter, more aromatic, with a wine base, as are Cinzano and Martini, two vermouths which arc, of course, household words, Dubonnet Blanc is still a newcomer to most café customers. As an introduction to your French café fellowship, you might try one of the vermouth combinations and branch out from there. Noilly Cassis is a classic well known in America. Chambery-Fraise is equally good but much less known. Most of my friends like Picon-Citron when they try it. All three are served with ice and a splash of carbonated water. Two recent innovations should please your American palate-Martini Sec and Cinzano Sec. These arc very dry vermouths, and delicious when chilled. Or would you, sir, like something more substantial, a brandy and soda, for example? Ask the waiter in the long white apron for a fine à l'eau.

A good many names have been bandied about before we finally get down to the business of the day, which is to cite a significant group of Right Bank restaurants. Here the task becomes more complex. In this bountiful year of 1951 in France, there is an embarras de cboix. Worthy omissions will necessarily outnumber these few selections. But choose we must, and the emphasis this time will be placed, not on what Junior finds amusing or where your daughter hopes to catch a glimpse of Danielle Darricux, but on the highest epicurean standards. The brief list which follows is contrived, first and foremost, for the gourmet. Fortunately. I have benefited by some astute advice in preparing it. A tentative list was first shown to two old French friends who know their gastronomic Paris as well as any inveterate diner-outers. One of them wagged an index finger across his nose, and two names were promptly lopped off. The other cocked a critical eye at the remaining names. shrugged his shoulders ever so slightly, and rolled his open right hand back and forth to indicate another dubious choice, which promptly fell by the wayside. Both of them scolded me roundly for omitting L'Estargot-Montorgcuil, a grave oversight which has been remedied. Both of them had an insistent word of advice which I dutifully pass on: “Tell your readers to ask for the spéeialités de la maison, no matter what restaurant they select!”

Emphasizing once again that this list is not a complete one, here is a choice of restaurants where a fine cuisine is the first factor: The composite family won't be able to take them twice a day, in all probability, but here is a choice which should provide seraphic contentment to the food-conscious. Select to your tasle, won't you?

Café de Paris 41, avenue de l'Opéra (2e) Opera 82-64

A hundred years ago the list of top Paris restaurants would have contained such names as the Café Riche, Rocher de Cancale, Véry, Les Frércs Provenccaux, Café Anglais, all since disappeared, and two which have lived through the century, a remarkable achievement in view of the traditional high mortality among restaurants. The Café de Paris is the outstanding survivor and today still stands in the foremost rank of the world's restaurants. It is, as you might expect, traditional, expensive, stately, and élégant, as the French use the word. You will see plenty of pretty young shoulders here, and fingers heavily laden with ice from the neighboring rue de la Paix. A quict, sedate orchestra plays soft music for dancing, right here in a high temple of gastronomy. Your French gourmet is supposed to excoriate such distracting influences as cigarettes, too-fragrant flowers on the table, perfumed belles, and orchestras, but he accepts them here! The superlative fare. supervised by chef Paul Billon, makes up for everything. If you contemplate a wonderful dinner and also have a trim little companion who would like to dance in her new Paris gown, order lobster thermidor and champagne at the Café de Paris and become a delighted part of its second century of history.

Le Grand Véfour 17, rue de Beaujolais (le) Ricbelieti 58-97

This is the other name which has survived for a century. Located in the far end of the Palais Royal (which hasn't sheltered a good restaurant since the “boeuf à la mode” closed up before the war), Le Grand Véfour looks its venerable part. The atmosphere and furnishings of the Directoire have been retained here so skillfully that even antiquarians will approve. But it hasn't always been thus. The restaurant once fell on sad days and drifted to the level of a mere corner pub. Revived in recent years by Monsicur Oliver, with the aid of such celebrities as Christian Bérard. Jean Gocteau, and the novelist Colette, who comes down occasionally from her neighboring apartment in the Palais Royal, the restaurant has regained its rank with a vengeance. Monsieur Oliver whose late father's hotel in Langon provides the best food in the Bordelais outside of Bordeaux itself, leans toward the specialties of that region. His wine cellar is remarkable, especially among the clarets. An expensive restaurant it is, but the quality of the featured dishes and the eighteenth-century charm are worth a lot.

Lucas-Carton 9, place tie la Madeleine (8e) Anjou 22-90

This estimable restaurant lakes you back just half as far, to the (urn of the century and the art nouvcau of the Paris Exposition of 1900. No place better retails that lush period and its luxurious gastronomy. Its décor is unchanged and is wonderfully reminiscent of horseless carriages. Monsieur Francias Carton is its presiding genius, and no one is more eminent in his field. The fare is absolutely superlative, the wine cellar rich in treasures, Impeccable, inviting, far from inexpensive, this noble establishment has a staff of veteran waiters which appears to outnumber the-guests two to one. Maybe this is as it should be, but one has the impression that it can't go on forever. In (he meanlime, the quality remains unflinchingly above reproach. It hasn't coasted downhill a particle, as have several places on the Grands Boulevards, and it merits the serious consideration of all gourmets.

Larue 3, place de la Madeleine (8e) Anjou 10-10

Here is another glimpse into the past, and perhaps a more disquieting one. Every time I walk past Larue and look through its late curtains at the faded pink velvet banquettes, all but empty, I begin to worry. Its staff of elderly waiters, rocking back and forth on their heels, troubles me. Maybe it's just sentiment. Maybe the management has cleaned up at the races or in the Loterie Nationale. Maybe it owns the Galeries Lafayette or Citroën. But 1 keep wondering if its day isn't coming, as it did to Paillard, Voisin. and Foyot. Larue has been the scene of gay dinners without number, and its private salons have witnessed many a deal between parliamentarians. I(s location on the rue Royale couldn't be better, but the dear old place seems to be languishing. The epicurean (rend is now in another direction, toward the Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées. But nothing wavers at Larue. Its impeccable reputation is unimpaired, its food superb, its cellar beyond reproach. To sentimentalists with a love for tradition and noble cookery, Larue is our warm and urgent recommendation.

Drouant 18, rue Gaillon (2e) Opera 53-72

Once a year the eyes of the literary world are focused on this famed restaurant facing the quid place Gaillon, hardly a stone's throw from the Opéra. Reporters and cameramen mill about the entrance, wailing to learn the voting following the annual luncheon of the rarefied members of the Acadernie Goncourt. The top literary prize of the year is at stake, and some novelist is made famous overnight. It makes good headline material, and it is pleasant to record that most papers print the menu of the luncheon as well as the winner of the Prix Goncourt. The Restaurant Drouant, founded in 1882, is a gourmet's restaurant, civilized and unostentatious, even thorgh there seems to be twice as many maîtres d'hôtel as waiters. It is a neat wilderness of plate glass and beige-colored walls decorated with pressed flowers. The food is superb, and the prices are clown to the point where one can talk about (hem without whispering. A favorite with journalists and bankers, it is also the choice of many a theatrical luminary. The quenelles de brocket arc extraordinary. So are the bouillabaisse and the perdrix aux cboux, in autumn. The care is celebrated for its clarets. The old tradition really prospers here, and Drouant demonstrates the fact by having (wo flourishing branches, one near the Gare de I'Est and the other in the Bois de Boulogne.

Au Caneton 3, me de la Bourse (2e) Ricbelieu 59-95

Here is an absolutely top-notch restaurant dedicated to those most exacting of French gastronomes, the stockbrokers. At midday it is an excellent spot to observe that unique institution, the big-businessman's luncheon, where the deal is consummated over an oval of brandy at a quarter after three and (he happy, well-upholstered participants do not go back to the office. Shades of the Will Street sandwich-and-glass-of-inilk! The cooking here is not exclusively French. There arc several Russian specialties, daling back to the time when the establishment was a favorite with Russian exiles—côtelettes de volailles Porjarsky and cbicbe kebab àl'orientale, not to mention flawless caviar. There is also chicken curry to send you into raptures—and also into a dilemma about an appropriate wine. Au Cancton is rather expensive, but not if you put through a big deal in (he process.

Les Capucines 4, boulevard des Capucines (9e) Opera 47-45

If you find yourself near the Opéra, perhaps with a stack of mail just picked up at the American Express, here is a good place to sit down, read your mail, enjoy an apéritif and a luncheon up-stairs. The Grands Boulevards once boasted many noble restaurants. Paillard and Margucry among them, but most of them have faded. Les Capucines resembles many others along the wide, sheltered boulevards. It is modern, gay, sophisticated, but with this difference: Its food is definitely Superior, probably the best near this central crossroads of Paris. Us wines are good, prices fair.

But maybe you find yourself near the Opéra and you don't want a copious luncheon, Perhaps it is blasphemous to mention it in the same paragraph, but there is a big, animated Brazilian coffee shop near by, on the corner of the rue du 4 Scptembre and the avenue de I'Opéra, where the snacks and sandwiches are good, the coffee wonderful, and the prices derisively low.

L' Escargot-Montorgeuil 38, rue Montorgeuil (le) Central 83-51

On this narrow, busy street near the Paris market thrived one of the greatest of French restaurants. This was the Roeher de Cancale, and from the stories they tell about its cooking and its habitues, it must have been a corker, It has a notable successor today in the old-fashioned establishment named for the snail and dedicated to such specialties as onion soup, frogs' legs, and entrecôte marchand de vin. Needless to say, the snails are incomparable. L'Escargot-Montnrgeuil (it has had to add the hyphenated Monlorgeuil to distinguish it from a snailish competitor), has a great chef, a notable wine cellar, and the long-established facilities for buying the best at Les Halles next door. Paris gourmets, who like its outmoded rococo atmosphere, take it very seriously. Closed Monday and during August.

Chez Tante Louise 41, rue Boissy-d' Anglas (8e) Anjou 28-19

If you happen to he assailed with hunger while visiting the American Embassy, a happy and fairly priced solution awaits you in this cheerful, modern restaurant not far away. The patron is cordial and cooperative. So are the capable lasses who serve you. The chef is adept at preparing some of the ample dishes of the Franrhc-Comté, a welcome change from traditional Paris fare. Thus you will find poulet de Bresse and quenelles de brocket, prepared à la franc-comtoise, and a particularly seductive co q an vin jnrassienne. The restaurant may be crowded at noon, but there is room for everyone at dinnertime.

Weber 23, rue Royale (8e) Anjou 27-90

This is a boulevard favorite of long standing, of course, famed particularly for its sidewalk café, which is one of the most agreeable in Paris. If you love to watch your fellow creatures Stroll by, this is as good a vantage point as any. Furthermore, here is a restaurant which has broken with the hard and fast tradition. You can order one or two dishes cbez Weber without plowing through a whole meal—with prices accordingly reduced. Here is a happy solution for those who yearn for a light lunch. For decades Weber has been famous as an after theater rendezvous for a fondue, a Welsh rabbit, or a simple oeuf sur le plat and a glass of beer. Prices are quite reasonable.

Now we move away from the heart of Paris, toward the Are de Triomphe, in easy steps.

Le Cabaret 4, avenue Franklin-Roosevelt (8e) Elysée 20-98

The fashionable heart of epicurean Paris is shifting, and very definitely, to (he area surrounding the Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées. You sense a very different atmosphere in the animated, fastidious restaurants which have enjoyed such a startling success in this neighborhood. They are a bit more reminiscent of New York, and 1 hazard the guess that our composite GOURMET family will enjoy them more. Le Cabaret, for example, is a most intriguing place, patronized by good-looking women and well-pointed-up gentlemen. It is very Parisian, opulent, and attractive. The saucy portrait of a pert Paris wench named Chou. painted by Jean Gabriel Domergue, greets you as you come in the door and reappears, in reduced scale, on the cover of the carte du jour. She's a tempting dish, all right, but people come for something more substantial, namely the celebrated specialties of Monsieur Georges Rabu. Here is a name to remember. The brothers Rabu, Georges and Henri, are two of the most respected restaurateurs in Paris. Their wine cellar is imposing, their waiters have style, and their chef, Monsieur Dierstein, is one of the very best. In addition to a most engaging sidewalk terrace, there are a few charming Louis XVI and Kegence dining salons, in case you care to throw a small dinner party. The prices are entirely fair. The name Cabaret is misleading. You won't find the remotest trace of an orchestra or a torch singer in the place.

Berkeley 7, avenue Matignon (8e) Balzat 47-79

Four enticing restaurauts rub elbows with each other along this aristocratic street as it branches off from the Rond-Point. All of them are good, but you will do well to pick the Berkeley, last of the four. It has earned the reputation 'of being one of the very top places in Paris. Every French fin bee I know has nodded enthusiastically when its name was mentioned. Berkeley has a great deal of style. What might be called its winter garden is absolutely charming, and its wide glass-enclosed terrace represents just about the ultimate in what can be done to a sidewalk. The clientele is a good cross section of Parisian élégance, and if pretty women stimulate your appetite for food, you should be ravenous. Here is a distinguished dining place, and without outrageous prices to overshadow the pleasure.

Lasserre 17, avenue Franklin-Rooscvclt (8e) Elysée 53-43

It is encouraging to see an entirely new restaurant take its place among the best in Paris. This debonair establishment, which faces the Grand Palais, was set up after the war by a young and most imaginative ' estaurateur. For a time it languished under its bower of trees, but soon word of Monsieur Perrot's cooking got around, and it is now one of the most recherché places in the capital. A friendly spot, modern, well-lighted, and handsomely appointed, it has the personal touch of its brilliant young owner, who comes from a long established family of hôteliers in the Pyrenees. Its atmosphere and cooking arc sure to please fastidious Americans. Closed on Sunday and for the first two weeks in August.

Joseph 56, rue Pierre-Cbarron (8e) Elysée 63-25

If your wife has just gone overboard and bought a creation by Christian Dior, Jacques Fath, or Pierre Balmain (just around the corner), you might just as well celebrate the occasion by a good dinner in the neighborhood of la haute couture and hang the expense. The place to go is Joseph, an old and famous temple of gastronomy which has undergone a recent change in ownership without any change in its impeccable standards. It is a most relaxing place, discreetly lighted and unhurried. It is the only major Paris restaurant which has trained a majestic grapevine across its entire facade. The grapes are abundant at the time of venditnge, too. A wine cellar rich in the finest Burgundies and Bordeaux would naturally go with such a setting, and Joseph has it. This is one place which includes service and tax on your bill. Don't forget that wistful sommelicr!

Fouquet's 99, avenue des Champs-Elysées (8e) Balzat 59-54

The Champs-Elysées a few decades back was a discreel, stalely avenue with hardly a suspicion of commercialism. Now it glitters almost as much as Pig Alley. Studded with enormous sidewalk cafes and overlighted restaurants, the avenue may prove a puzzle to the inquiring gourmet. He will do well to choose Fouquct's in preference to other beckoning spots, and hang the slight extra expense. It is the earliest of the Champs-Elysées cafés, the most epicurean and expensive, and its bar, where the cocktails are very good, is truly fabulous. All sorts of extraordinary people congregate here: luminaries from the race track, the movie industry, 'he competitive world of fashion, and the merely filthy rich. Fouquct's is large, gay, gregarious, but careful attention is paid to the food. You can be assured of an excellent dinner here, and as late as two in the morning.

Chez Taillevent 15, the Lamennais (8e) Elysée 39-94

The first French cookbook was supposedly written in the fourteenth century by Taillevent, the chef of Charles V, and he has obligingly lent his name to the praiseworthy restaurant whose destinies are guided by a gracious lady, Madame Tournier. The establishment made its reputation on the rue Saint-Georges and recently moved to this more accessible setting on a little side street near the Etoile. My French friends were insistent upon the lofty quality of this cuisine, and I think you'll agree with them.

Chatard 22, rue Duret (16e) Passy 24-61

I have a well-rounded New York friend who threatened to throttle me if I disclosed the name of his favorite restaurant, run by the plump and genial maître-cuisinitr Monsieur Chatard. But this small place is listed in every guidebook by now, and I hope he will forgive me if I divulge the name of this “Petile MaisonGrande Cuisine.” The rue Durct is a narrow one, running off the patrician avenue Foch. Most of its buildings are conventional gray apartments, but somehow a few picturesque survivors of the eighteenth century remain, They are quaint two-storied affairs with shuttered windows, and the Restaurant Chatard has been established in one of them for nearly a quarter of a century. Due to the gifted touch of the patron, his one-time bistro has developed gradually into a discreet corner for well-informed gastronomes. They like the personal touch of a patron-cbef presiding in the kitchen and then joining his guests for a petit verte after dinner. There is no pretence about Chatard, but the specialties belong to la grande cuisine all right, especially the tournedos maison and the gratin de queues de langoustines.

Androuet 41, rue d'Amsterdam (8e) Trinité 26-90

From this point on, we begin to jump around the Right Bank in a rather spotty fashion. Androuët is the famous cheese merchant installed behind the Gare Saint-Lowe whose career filled F.D.R. with a desire to do likewise in his days of retirement. Not only does Androuët have the finest Camembert in the world, but be stocks the best of all the others, including rare ones from the French provinces and from all European countries this side of the Iron Curtain. It is an amusing experience to dine here, and well worth the price, which is, shall we say. medium. They specialize in cheese dishes, naturally enough—onion soup flavored with a spot of cognac and finished off with a crust of Gruyète, fondues, and soufflés. Its wine cellar is absolutely grand, as it should be, for of course there are no better companions than cheese and wine. However, if you don't want a full meal. you can still buy a delicious hot cheese tart at Androuët's front window for the equivalent of a dime—something that other Paris restaurants don't offer by any means!

Paris-Est Cart de l'Est (10e) Nord 81-63

The lowly buffet de la gare is rarely an epicure's corner. Since the war, however, the station restaurant has taken a sudden new lease on life. Under the paternal prodding of French government ownership, many a buffet ha s beome the epicurean highlight in its community. Now you can obtain perfectly wonderful meals in some of them, if you don't mind the occasional shrill tooting of French locomotives. According to a recent official appraisal, the five best station restaurants in the provinces are in Dijon, Limoges, Caen, Toulon, and Agen, in that order. But the best one of all, by common consent, is installed in a large upstairs dining salon in the Gare de Yost. Here they offer a prix fixe luncheon or dinner, with both fish and meat courses, for seven hundred francs or two dollars, and it is absolutely delectable. Wine and service are extra, but it still remains a phenomenal value at today's Paris prices. One of the explanations is the gifted young chef. Monsieur Rene Viaux. who won the contest for the best chef in France in 1949 and who has just received another crown in England. Train passengers traveling eastward arc urged to dine at the Gare de I'Est as a vital part of their trip.

SAN FRANCISCO I, rue Mirabeau (16e) MIRabeau 75-44

This is recognized as the best Italian restaurant in Paris. French gourmets who pontificate at length about the existence of only two cuisines—French and Chinese—take undisguised pleasure in the noble Italian dishes supervised by Signor Berdondini. They are truly remarkable, as is the cellar tilled with peninsular vintages. Those who long for a familiar pizza, reminiscent spaghetti. ravioli, or lasagne will rejoice in the subtlety of this cooking. It is a bit expensive; closed Wednesday and, alas. all of August.

Taverne Nicolas-Fiame 51, rue Montmorency (3e) Archives 07-11

This one is for those who search for a bit of medieval atmosphere combined with a toothsome cuisine. It is a genuinely ancient auberge, dating back to the fifteenth century, some say as early as 1407. Located in a populous, quite untouristy part of Paris, it is worth a visit for Monsieur Salvi's rich, savor)' specialties alone, but the atmosphere makes them twice as tempting. They say that this is the favorite Paris restaurant of Charles Boyer, so tell your daughter to be on the lookout. Closed Sunday and from August fifteenth to September fifteenth.

Cochon D'or 192, avenue fean-faurès (19e) Nord 23-13

Finally, here is an item for beefeaters. Regardless of the talents of other Paris rôtisseurs. the exacting epicures contend that the finest steaks, the noblest cbateaubriands, entrecôtes, and tor/medos, are only found in the specialized restaurants near the cattle market (a nicer word than abattoir) at the edge of the city. A dozen or more steak strongholds are clustered together on the avenue Jean-Jaurés, the most notable ones being the Boeuf Couronné, Dacorno, and the Cochon d'Or. They are all good, but the Golden Pig obtains the critic's vote. Numberless Parisian voluptuaries travel out there for an extra-thick chateaubriand with the classic sauce bearnaise and souffléed potatoes. The owners of these favored places know their beef and how to condition it. 'I heir cooks are downright geniuses at the grill. The portions arc lusty, the atmosphere is friendly. The wine which almost every body orders is a good Rabelaisian Beaujolais. in sizable flagons. It's a man's place, all right, but there arc daintier dishes for the ladies, in case they quaver before two other specialties of the house—frogs' legs provençale and grilled pig's feet.

This winds up. reluctantly, an admittedly incomplete list. There are so many others I would like to include: Chez Francis, Brasserie Lorraine, Auberge du Coucou, Kuntz, Berlioz … but there is a limit to space, and to the assimilative talent of even a GOURMET reader.