I was so disappointed when my company was relocated to the 2nd district of Paris in April 2010. We all were. We found out that we’d have to leave the quiet and cozy streets of the 5th district and the proximity to the Jardins de Luxembourg for the hustle and bustle of the heart of the city. Rue du Sentier? I was not impressed. Little did I know that I was about to be thrust into one of the liveliest and restaurant-packed areas of Paris, home to many of the city’s mythic passageways and some of the best food that it has to offer.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the Passage du Grand Cerf. This time, I strolled through the Passage des Panoramas, a huge, winding, never-ending labyrinth of restaurants, boutiques, stamp shops and jewellers, spanning from the rue Montmartre to the Grand Boulevards near the Grevin museum and spouting out onto obscure little corners of the neighborhood.
The restaurant choices are endless. From traditional to ethnic to down-home French, you’ll find something for everyone in a unique atmosphere. I highly recommend l’Arbre à Cannelle, a chocolate factory-turned restaurant with plenty of seating, serving traditional French comfort food like raclette cheese with baked potatoes and cured beef, duck confit and pistachio sausages from Lyon. Their café gourmand is also to die for, boasting a mini tarte tatin, a macaron, a mini crème brulée and a chestnut lava cake. You can also do plenty of window-shopping and more, as you’ll find vintage stamps, jewellry and random objects galore throughout the galleries.
I unfortunately didn’t take any photos of the meal I had in the passageway, but did manage to snap a few of the meal I had the day before at the sleek and modern Beau Manger on the rue Quatre Septembre. I pass by this cantine-style restaurant every morning on the bus and have been wanting to try it for weeks now. Once inside, the choices are endless, from the dish of the day (lasagne or slow-roasted beef with pureed celery root) to sandwiches and salads made of orzo, boulgour or quinoa. They also had a wide-range of tasty beverages, including the elderflower soda that I tried.
I didn’t go for the fixed-price menu, so it ended up a little pricy, but I didn’t regret it. I ordered an orzo salad with goat cheese, pine nuts and brocolli, the soda and a rasperry-rose tiramisu. The salad was very tasty and filling, but the dessert was the star of the meal. Delicate ladyfingers soaked in rose-flavored something or other, with raspberry coulis, thick whipped marscapone and crushed pistachio nuts. The atmosphere was laid back and I enjoyed some much needed time to unwind with a book once my meal was finished. A great place to stop off for a quick lunch!
Passage des Panoramas (spanning between the rue Montmartre, the boulevard Montmartre, the rue Vivienne and the rue St. Marc)
Beau Manger, 22 rue du Quatre Septembre