La Marine

Customer-Friendly Neighborhood Bistro

July 19, 2017By Heidi EllisonRestaurants

It’s a great pleasure to discover new restaurants with creative chefs, but sometimes you just want the comfort of a simple, reliably good meal in a friendly place. When that’s what I’m looking for close to home, I go to La Marine on the Canal Saint Martin, where I can almost always get a table without a reservation even though it is always bustling with customers. 

Another advantage is its pretty bistro decor with a semicircular zinc bar, mirrors and period molding (when the restaurant closed for renovation recently, I feared that it would lose its old-fashioned charm, but thankfully they just spiffed the place up and added a rather cool ring of globe light fixtures).

So, when I had a last-minute proposal for dinner with my friend Chloe the tour guide (shameless plug: she’s great at it and works for Paris Walks) and her visiting father John on a Sunday evening, I suggested La Marine (another plus: it’s open seven days a week). 

Normally I go straight for the main course here because the servings are so generous, but we decided to share a starter, an octopus salad with arugula. It was fresh and tasty, although I would have preferred that the octopus be a tiny bit less cooked. 

Then I went for my standard dish here, the rump steak with gratin dauphinois. It comes with pepper, blue cheese or béarnaise sauce, but I like it best plain. I didn’t find this basic meat-and-potatoes dish quite up to the usual standard – the gratin seemed a bit tired – but it was still very good. I attributed the difference to the fact that it was Sunday and probably the regular chef’s night off. 

Chloe had the flash-cooked tuna with shiitake mushrooms and vegetables substituted for the house mashed potatoes (which, by the way, I recommend), while John partook of the daily special, andouillette. I heard no complaints from either of them, and all three plates were soon wiped clean.

The desserts were generous, fresh and tasty: a sinful tarte tropezienne (brioche with a creamy filling), tiramisu and especially fine blueberry and lemon sorbet.

A few more good things about La Marine: the youthful (and unusually numerous for a Paris restaurant) staff is always cheerful and efficient, and the restaurant is open all day every day, has reasonable prices and offers free Wi-Fi. This is a truly customer-friendly place.  

2 Comments

  • Bravo, Heidi…et David aussi…always entertaining, always informative, and so handsomely presented. I’m loving it.

  • Thanks, Heidi, for that down-to-earth restaurant recommendation. I visit every year for a month but am not interested in the trendy stuff; so this description is one I’ll keep, and I’ll make a visit. Chez Janou is in the neighborhood where I stay, and I think it is similar in faves, service, and ambiance – simply good-tasting food, lots of regulars, and it’s friendly. Cheers from northern California!

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