My experience with eating in Paris is that there are SO many restaurants and bars that although you may be lucky, it really helps to have a recommendation or review. I hang out on La Fourchette/The Fork, which is incredibly well-designed, as it can show you only the restaurants you can get into to on a particular night, and a ranking and reviews.
To hang out with my friends Chris and Todd, I wanted to find a charming French bistro, possibly traditional, possibly contemporary, not too fancy, and after not being able to book at Le Colimacon (well-rated, frustratingly offered to book me a table and then refused), I decided Jaja looked fun. It’s tucked away in the heart of the Marais, in a charming and cosy courtyard with a glass ceiling over the top. I like the business card that says ‘Nice wine and food’.
I’d agree. Chris and I both had the raw foie gras (cubed) with pumpkin, and a beautiful bouillon that was poured over the top. For my main, I had pigeon, which the charming waitress took the time to explain was not the pigeons in the park, but the more edible squab. Check out the claws on the thing though. Good decoration. It came with a really well-baked slice of pumpkin which was gorgeous.
We even had desserts: I had a brioche with whipped cream and quince (diced, again, the chef likes dicing) and I stole mouthfuls of the boys’ molten chocolate cake.
All of this washed down with a lovely bottle of white wine, a Sancerre I think it was.
The food was tasty and seemed like it bowed to a tradition of French food and then offered a contemporary twist. Thumbs up.
A great night, of which of course the best part was catching up with old friends, Chris and Todd, who are funny, sweet, smart and great company. Paris, even moreso than other cities, seems to tie together the pleasures of food and wine and friendship in a way that’s magical.
Jaja, 101, rue Vielle du Temple, 75003 Paris