No, I am not a bon vivant. Yes, I have been known to have eaten Spam for two or even three meals in on day. And my list of favorite foods includes cheeseburgers and spaghetti and meatballs. The list does not include snails or frog legs. No one has ever described me as an epicure, a gourmet or a connoisseur of fine foods. So I hope you won’t be surprised to discover that our favorite restaurant during our three-week stay in Paris turned out to be …
a ristorante! We visited Marco Polo twice during our stay in the St Germain area of the 6th arrondissement. And both meals were fantastic!
Marco Polo is on the corner of Rue de Condé and Rue Saint-Sulpice. It was by far the most convenient restaurant for us as we just had to cross the street from our apartment and walk up two doors to the corner. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner but closes in-between. We dropped by one day around 3:00pm for a late lunch and were told to come back in about four hours. We did just that and I ordered a veal saltimbocca and it was delicious! And so was the wine (chianti) and the dessert (tiramisu). And my wife enjoyed her eggplant dish. Even the waitress who served us — a young woman from Romania who spoke English fluently (I got the impression that some members of the staff only spoke French or Italian) — was our favorite waiter / waitress of all out dinner experiences in Paris.
We tried a host of other restaurants in our neighborhood, including one Japanese and two other Italian places. But when it came time to make a reservation for four when our friends George and Jacqueline came to visit from Belgium we did not hestitate to stop by Marco Polo and put our name down for 8 o’clock that night. That second meal was even better than our first! This time I ordered the veal scaloppine and George ordered a bottle of wine that would go well with all of our orders (his conversation with the waiter was in French so I didn’t follow how they reached the particuar choice, but I remember it was red and it was great!). My dessert this time was a dish of ice cream. I think we stayed at our table for two hours talking about what happened in our lives since we last met two years ago when we visited Belgium after our Rhine River Cruise. Our table was in a different part of the restaurant from our first date and we had a different waiter. But our favorite waitress spotted us and came over to say hello and see how we were doing.
The restaurant was very convenient for George and Jacqueline, too. They stayed at the Louis II Hotel right across the street from Marco Polo.
The prices at Marco Polo were just a tad higher than those at most of the restaurants nearby. As I recall, most pasta dishes were just under 20 euros and most meat dishes were slightly over but the steak was closer to 30 euros. Of the more than 12,000 restaurants rated by Trip Advisor Marco Polo ranks # 1012. Some Americans are put off by waiters who prefer not to speak in English but we did not have this problem on either of our visits.
So what did we eat at all of the bistros and brasseries and cafes we visited? Well, my wife prefers salads for lunch while I usually ordered the croque-monsieur (a grilled ham and cheese with a small salad) with either wine or beer. On our visit to the Sorbonne one day I had a delicious quiche Lorraine and a tasty chablis. I also ate several cheeseburgers here and there and a ristorante on Blvd Saint-Michel served delicious pizza with Belgian beer. Couldn’t find any Spam anywhere, though!