If you find yourself on Rue de Bretagne, looking for something a bit more tranquil, cross through Square du Temple and onto Rue Duepetit-Thouars where a string of restaurants crowd the pavement of an almost traffic-free street. Tempted by the small menu of inventive sounding homemade dishes, we chose Café Philippe as our lunch spot on a sunny July afternoon.
Ever since sampling the most delicious, melt-in-your-mouth, chargrilled octopus on a late-summer holiday in Tunisia, I have been on the lookout for something to match it. The grilled octopus in Café Philippe was marinated in lemon and olive oil, with a generous topping of paprika and parsley. It made for a fresh and delicious starter, but alas, the search goes on*.
To follow, we chose a herby lasagne, made sweet by roasted onions in place of the traditional béchamel sauce, and a pink tuna steak with aubergine cream. The lasagne was light and fragrant; the tuna, fresh and succulent. The combination made for an excellent, easy lunch in Le Haut Marais.
Café Phillipe is friendly, casual and every dish on the menu was something we would have happily ordered. Don’t come here looking for steak frites or salade nicoise, but do stop by for simple, fresh, French cooking in a relaxed atmosphere.
Paris Picks – Cafe Philippe, 14 Rue Dupetit-Thouars, 75003
*Fellow octopus lovers: the second best to date has been at Trattoria Popolare, an Italian restaurant close to where I live in Oslo. They also do excellent pasta dishes and have one of the best terraces in the city for al-fresco dining .