37 Affordable European Restaurants
Parisian foodies are mad for the $47 blackboard menu at Itinéraires. After the smashing success of their original restaurant in the 11th, Sylvain and Sarah Sendra recently upgraded to these grown-up premises in the Latin Quarter. In a softly lit room brightened with palm trees and flowers, chic couples of all ages fall in love all over again—with each other and with their deconstructed lemon tarts. I can taste echoes of Spanish nueva cocina in the audacious pairing of sardine rillettes and cornichon granita in a cocktail glass. The dish works, but not as brilliantly as the beef cheeks, elevated from the mundane by electric-pink splashes of beet jus and a double-textured potato purée. A thin ring of carrot reduction around vanilla-tinged celery-root emulsion lends mystique to the boned rabbit. The whole tab comes to less than one dish chez Monsieur Ducasse.
Eating two French three-course meals a day takes a toll on our arteries, if not our budget. So the next day we stroll around the Marais and just snag a big fat falafel with a myriad of trimmings at the legendary L’As du Fallafel, then share a divine buckwheat crêpe at Breizh Café, a new Breton crêperie nearby (whose original branch is in Tokyo). Another discovery is Le Comptoir de Tunisie, on Rue de Richelieu, a perfect pit stop for Louvre-goers. The homey Franco-Tunisian lunches served up at this elegant North African food-and-crafts shop will leave you with enough cash for a pair of colorful handblown glass votives.