On Rue Bourgogne, directly behind Assemblée Nationale, sits Tante Margeurite. Barely noticeable from the outside, this smart restaurant with its modern and sleek interior offers excellent traditional French cuisine and is one of the more surprising great finds we have come across in Paris. A hop, skip and a jump away from Julia Child’s apartment on 81 Rue de L’Universite (“rue de loo”), this is in the heart of her stomping grounds where her life in French cuisine began.
We found Tante Marguerite by accident. We were moving apartments, and had been told the move would take two days: one day of packing and the another actual moving. Except when our movers came, they told us everything would be removed from our old apartment in the 7th on day one, and would be delivered to our new apartment in the 16th (just across the Seine) the following day. So we scrambled to find a hotel, and luck bestowed upon us a reasonably priced hotel on Rue Bourgogne, right next to Tante Marguerite. As we needed to go for dinner and did not have reservations, we initially hopped in the car to go to the very popular Le Comptoir de Relais which is owned by Yves Cambelorde, who spawned a revolution of nouvelle bistros that have become popular in Paris. Le Comptoir does not take reservations, perfect when you have failed to plan ahead, except it is so popular there is usually a line of anxious diners out front (mostly Americans). Tonight was one of those nights and the wait was so long we decided to head back to the hotel. We had noticed Tante Marguerite earlier and scanned the menu – all the dishes looked good but because it was elegant and lacked a kids menu (we have learned to adapt as so few worthy restaurants in Paris offer anything special for children), we were a bit reluctant to take our 7 and 11 year old boys but at this point we had no choice – it was already past 9:00 p.m.
Thankfully, the restaurant had space and graciously seated us at a comfortable table in a booth. The tables are smartly dressed in an ivory linen, with pairs of wine glasses for wine and water, and lustrous silver and china. Dark amber wood adorns the walls, with artwork and large mirrors. Although when we arrived the restaurant had been mostly empty, diners slowly came in and by 10:00 p.m. it was completely packed. This was a well dressed crowd, mostly in their 40s or older, who spoke in hushed tones but every so often burst into fits of laughter.
The restaurant, though quiet, is comfortable, even for children. Our two boys just pulled out their Gameboys, and had no problem sitting for a two plus hour meal, which went by rather quickly. The staff never rushed us nor did they work at a glacial pace. And while our two boys were the only kids in the restaurant, the staff welcomed them, and us, with warm smiles and continual cheerful service. Additionally, they accommodated the boys by serving them their plats while we had our entrées, so they weren’t ravenous by the time my wife and I were served the main course.
We noticed that the owner of one of my favorite boucheries on Rue Saint Dominique had come in with his wife, the cashier (somehow I had never made the connection they were an item after all the years I had gone to buy his excellent entrecôte, faux filet and poulet rôti). Looking at the menu, I saw exactly why chose this place for dinner: this was a place for serious meat and game lovers. A number of choices on the menu included entrecôte (rib-eye), ris de veau (sweatbreads), côte de veau (veal chop), carré d’agneau (rack of lamb) and pavé de boeuf (a filet mignon). Entrée items were equally enticing and included escargots, prawns and seasonal dishes. The wine list offered an excellent selection of Bordeaux and Burgundy wines, from moderate to more expensive wines, but good values in the 30-40 range.
The desserts were high points too. Classic items include tarte citron and a baba rhum.
Nothing disappoints at Tante Marguerite: the service is excellent – what you might expect at a two or three Michelin star restaurant. The food, in presentation, style and flavor is sophisticated and first rate. If you wanted to impress your mother-in-law, an elegant date, or the boss, you could go to Tante Margueurite with fully confident you will impress and show you have a flair for elegance.
If anything, it is surprising this restaurant does not have a Michelin start to its name, as its elegance in service and flair for food is worthy of more, but I am happy to keep this little secret for those nights out when I want a surprise for the good things in life all for myself.
Open Monday through Friday.
The restaurant is closed on Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday.
5 Rue du Bourgogne
Contact Information :
Tel : +33 (0)1 45 51 79 42