The French word « chez » in a restaurant is very symbolic. It literally means “at (someone’s place)” and gives the idea of a family business, where you call the owner by his first name and always feel welcome, at any time, like you would be at your grandmother’s house. But it also gives this idea of a name you should know, giving the restaurant a high standard quality, like an institution, where the chef has built such a strong reputation that the restaurant doesn’t even need another name, or to mention the type of cuisine it serves.
I am spending the summer in Paris (not on holidays – I grew up and live there, and I can’t go anywhere this summer because I have too much work), and I am trying to entertain myself the best I can. Last week, I went out for dinner in two different restaurants: Chez Marcel and Chez Justine, which I will review for you.
Chez Marcel is located exactly on the Canal Saint Martin, near the water. It has one outdoor terrace and two rooms inside, plus the bar. It looks like any trendy Parisian restaurant, but it actually serves Indian food. Quite peculiar, as “Chez Marcel” sounds very “old fashion French”. It has on the menu some traditional Indian meals like the butter chicken, but with a twist of originality that make your plate special. My boyfriend’s favourite, the chicken burger: a chicken fillet cooked in Indian spices between two pieces of cheese naan to replace the traditional bun and some sweet potatoes chips. I took the shrimps with coconut milk, almonds and spices with saffron rice, and we shared a bottle of Indian beer: Cobra. We were three people that night, so as an appetizer we shared a plate with different kind of samosas and dips. Unfortunately, we sat at a table just in front of the toilets’ door…That’s a shame considering how fancy the rest of the restaurant is. Fortunately, the staff was very nice.
In conclusion, I can honestly say that the food was very good and the quality was there, but quite expensive considering the amount of authentic Indian, Pakistani and Tibetan restaurant you can find in other boroughs of Paris, like La Chapelle for example, and for no more than ten euros… At Chez Marcel, the price of the meal include the sight of the Seine in front of you, the beautiful décor and the company of all the “Parisiens branchés”! Apparently, this is a perfect address for a first date, a lot of couples occupied the place!
Price for two people:
Assortment of samosas: 14 euros
Chicken Burger: 15 euros
Shrimps with coconut milk: 16 euros
Saffron rice: 4, 5 euros
Cobra beer: 5 euros
Total: 54, 5 euros, around 27, 25 euros per person.
90 quai de Jemmapes
75010 Paris, France
Chez Justine can be found on the rue d’Oberkampf, in the 11th borough, a street famous for the high number of bars and restaurants therein. Chez Justine looks like the traditional Parisian bistro, but is way trendier. There is a terrace outside for smokers, a first room with a bar and another room on the first floor, calmer, maybe better for families, as the ground floor is more for friends and young merrymakers. The dj, who is mixing by the bar, has very good musical tastes and set a very nice atmosphere. This restaurant is a good place for any occasion: actually, I went there for a bachelorette party! A very good move, the bride was delightful! Chez Justine’s speciality is meat, which you can find under any forms, from the gigantic piece of beef and the traditional tartare (minced raw beef, served with onions, capers and seasonings), to the modern burger. But you can choose many other plates or salads, I myself took the escalope Milanese with pasta gratin, served with lemon and pickled onions, delicious. The bride-to-be chose the cheese burger with extra bacon, and the two other bridesmaids took the steak tartare. Some people say that this is the best tartare they have ever tasted, and although it was indeed very good, I shall disagree on that statement…
Good point for the restaurant is that not only the food is great, but the portions are big and you can’t feel frustrated at the end of the meal! The bar also serve very good cocktails for 5 euros during the happy hours, from 5:30 pm to 9.00 pm. We were just 15minutes late, but they still made us the happy hours price, and the Bloody Mary was just the way I like it: very spicy. And just a last thing to conclude: all the staff is composed of handsome young men. I don’t know how it happened, but it’s a fact!
Price for one person:
Escalope Milanese with pasta gratin: 16 euros
Bloody Mary: 5 euros
Molten Chocolate cake: 8euros (shared, so let’s say 4 euros)
Total: 25 euros
96 Rue Oberkampf