After overloaded with pasta in Rome, tonight is the time to fancy some simple traditional french food. I found a two Starred Michelin Restaurant – Relais Louis XIII to be the restaurant for the night.
Le Relais Louis XIII is housed in the heart of 6th arrondissement of Paris, on the remains of the Couvent des Grands-Augustins, the very place where Louis XIII was proclaimed King of France in 1610. Formerly a café-charbon patronized by Picasso who lived just across the street, it became the Relais Louis XIII in 1961.
When I stepped into this cosy little restaurant (it’s not big with 2 floors, first floor could sit 7 tables with a private dining room), pace instantly slowed down and transported to a few hundred years ago old french era. It’s interior features old stones and noble wooden beams, engravings, portraits of Louis XIII and Marie de Medicis, stained glass windows and antique Louis XIII style chairs. In stark contrast with the current trends, this restaurant of French gastronomy invites you to a chic haven adorned with authentic historical accents.
Food was adorable. Nothing too fancy but real. I would say it’s the pure expression of terroir. € 130 / person without drinks for a tasting menu but it’s all worth it.
Manuel Martinez, the 2 michelin starred chef (everyone knows him in France for being the “the “craftsman of French Gastronomy”) whom we met during dinner, a tall broad shoulder man always carrying a big smile, knows his Escoffier – the Bible of French Haute Cuisine – from cover to cover. Some venture with audacity into wild creativity; Chef Martinez has the rare talent of classical perfection. While particularly attached to traditional cuisine, he rids it of any dusty old-fashionedness and instead brings an elegant modernity to his classic dishes.
The Chef is obsessed with finding the truth in flavors, which he does through a meticulous produce selection process. His signature dishes include a lobster ravioli with foie gras and creamy cep jus ( I tried, is only 1 ravioli with a huge bite of lobster meat, juice perfectly blended with the dish makes it so amazing), an émincé of scallops with flat parsley vinaigrette and truffled celery remoulade, a Madame Burgaud challandais duckling basted with vieux vinaigre orange juice and cuisse en salade, and the very famous millefeuille with Bourbon vanilla light cream. And of course, the canard au sang (bloody duck), which is prepared tableside in a spectacular fashion (upon advance request).
They have a very interesting wine list as well. Do ask for wine and food matching! I had a Gevrey-Chambertin and my friend with the fish having a Meusault from Burgundy.
Tips: DON’T skip it’s world’s best millefeuille!
Le Relais Louis XIII
8 Rue des Grands Augustins 75006 Paris, France+33 1 43 26 75 96