A la Marguerite

February 8, 2010By Heidi EllisonArchive

Yes to Oyster Soup,
No to Foie Gras and Eggs

Paris Update A la Marguerite

A la Marguerite is comfortable, attractive and centrally located.

Why this restaurant is called A la Marguerite (daisy) is a mystery. There is nothing flowery about it. It has a clean, sleek minimalist decor that shows the hand of an architect – none of that imagination-free lounge-style modernity seen in some Parisian cafés. Behind the bar on the ground floor is a fumoir (smoking room) with its own small bar. The dining room is upstairs.

Madeleine and I took a seat by the window with a view over the Les Halles construction site. Only one other table was occupied at lunchtime that day, by three men who collected bottle after bottle of wine on their table until it was completely covered with them. They seemed to be businessmen doing serious tasting rather than drunkards, however. The emptiness of the place was surprising, especially since Madeleine had recently been there at lunchtime when it was packed.

Not being very hungry, I ordered two starters, which at one time would have raised the eyebrows of a French waiter. The charming waitress didn’t even blink. Before the first one

Paris Update A la Marguerite appetizer

arrived, we were served a hot appetizer: a tasty fricassee of clams with green onions, Espelette pepper and sprouts.

My first starter was nothing short of brilliant: whole raw oysters in a creamy (but not too

Paris Update A la Marguerite oyster soup

creamy) soup with croutons. On the side were strips of bacon, a sprig of ice plant and little celery-stuffed cannelloni (these were rather tasteless) atop a celeriac purée.

The second starter, fried eggs with foie gras and foamy sauce poulette, sounded interesting but wasn’t really: the ingredients were fresh and good, but there was very little foie gras,

Paris Update A la Marguerite eggs foie gras

and the dish didn’t add up to anything more than the sum of its parts. A few potato chips stuck on top didn’t help.

Madeleine did very well by ordering the set lunch menu. It started with a healthy and tasty small dish of cooked-just-right dorade (sea bream) served with bok choy and a purée of

Paris Update A la Marguerite fish

golden turnips. Her main course was a thick, flavorful Bigorre pork chop with the fat cooked

Paris Update A la Marguerite pork

almost like crackling. It came with a potato gratin so tasty that I couldn’t stop dipping my fork into it, and a purée of lentils.

Dessert for me was an accomplished mi-cuit chocolate cake, made with high-quality chocolate and not too sweet – just the way I like it – with caramel ice cream and a

Paris Update A la Marguerite chocolate cake

nougatine wafer. Madeleine’s fixed-price menu came with coffee and mignardises, sweet tidbits including succulent cannelés (rum-flavored pastries with a caramelized crust), financiers (little almond-flavored

Paris Update A la Marguerite mignardises

cakes) and chocolate truffles. The perfect lunchtime dessert, which gives the reassuring impression that you are not overindulging.

Apart from the unsuccessful pairing of eggs and foie gras, the only demerit I can give this handsome and agreeable restaurant concerns the over-elevated prices. Starters average €15 and main courses €25. The set lunch menu, at €29, is not really a bargain. Could this explain why A la Marguerite was empty at lunchtime the other day?

In the evening, these prices would be more in line with Parisian norms, but just compare them with the subject of our review last week, Jin Xin Lou, where the three-course meal was of comparable quality but cost less than €20. To be fair, however, you are paying for a classier, more centrally located setting at A la Marguerite.

Heidi Ellison

A la Marguerite: 49, rue Berger, 75001 Paris. Métro: Louvre or Les Halles. Tel.: 01 40 28 00 00. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Fixed-price lunch menu: €29. A la carte: around €55. alamarguerite.com

Reader Reaction: Click here to respond to this article (your response may be published on this page and is subject to editing).

Please help support Paris Update by ordering restaurant guides from Paris Updates Amazon store at no extra cost. Click on your preferred Amazon location: U.K., France, U.S.

Buy other books from the Paris Update store: U.K., France, U.S.

More reviews of Paris restaurants.

© 2013 Paris Update


What do you think? Send a comment:

Your comment is subject to editing. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe for free!

The Paris Update newsletter will arrive in your inbox every Wednesday, full of the latest Paris news, reviews and insider tips.