Baillotte Restaurant

A Plateful of Joy

March 26, 2024By Heidi EllisonRestaurants
The extra-good restaurant Baillotte in Saint Germain des Prés.
The extra-good restaurant Baillotte in Saint Germain des Prés.

Don’t be surprised when you arrive at Baillotte and discover that the interior is not as bright and colorful as it appears on the restaurant’s website. It’s been redecorated since it opened a year ago. The olive-green velvet banquettes have been extended, the formerly white walls painted beige and the lighting lowered. The three handsome contemporary paintings (two of them featuring a monumental naked woman) are still there. The overall effect is calming.

It’s a good backdrop – not too crowded – for a wonderful meal created by chef Satoshi Amitsu (formerly of the revered three-star restaurant George Blanc) and his brigade, who can be seen beavering away behind a wall of windows in the back of the restaurant.

The menu is mostly meaty (even the creamy Jerusalem artichoke soup contains braised beef cheek –along with hazelnut foam), but there are also a couple of original vegetarian dishes (two of which include fish).

Pâté en croûte with pickled vegetables.
Pâté en croûte with pickled vegetables.

Two of us were unable to resist the starter of pâté en croûte with foie gras, prune, pistachio, mustard seed and radicchio. The generous serving of deeply flavored pâté, encircled by fine pastry, was studded with the aforementioned ingredients and surrounded by delightful bits of colorful, perfectly pickled vegetables and dabs of grain mustard, all of which made a lovely counterpoint to the rich pâté. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Pollack with watercress risotto.
Pollock with watercress risotto.

The one light eater among us skipped the starter and went straight for the fish course: lieu jaune (pollock) with watercress risotto, white wine emulsion, Romanesco broccoli and candied kumquat. She was delighted with it, especially the green risotto, hidden under the large helping of fish.

Guinea fowl.
Guinea fowl.

We meat eaters were once again thrilled with our amazingly tender and juicy pintade (guinea fowl) with caramelized golden turnips, spectacular sautéed spinach, parsnip purée and sauce made with vin jaune.

Chocolate soufflé with Armagnac ice cream.
Chocolate soufflé with Armagnac ice cream.

Dessert for two of us was an incredibly intense and delicious (and large) chocolate soufflé, topped with a crunchy, deeply chocolatey tuile (paper-thin cookie). It was beautifully accompanied by an insanely good Armagnac ice cream. Calories don’t count when a dessert is of this level of quality.

Kiwis marinated in gin.
Kiwis marinated in gin.

We also tried a lighter dessert: fresh kiwis marinated in gin with a crunchy dacquoise, yogurt sorbet, coconut mousse and juniper foam. It was fine, but how could it stand up to that soufflé?

I can give Baillotte demerits on only two small points: no coatrack and rather elevated (but not outrageously so) noise levels. When we asked the server to turn down the music, he said that it wasn’t supposed to be on and immediately switched it off.

Apart from that, only happy memories. This is top-of-the-line cooking made with top-of-the-line ingredients and served in unusually generous portions. The mostly familiar French dishes are beautifully prepared and have small original touches that only enhance them.

Chef Amitsu deserves extra kudos for the brilliant sourcing of ingredients from some of Paris’s best purveyors and for the way he puts them together, with a copious (for Paris) amount of vegetables. The restaurant is rather pricey, but you truly get what you pay for.

“Baillote” apparently means “plate” in the Poitevin dialect. Rest assured that you will enjoy what you find in your baillotte here.

See our Favorite Restaurants by Arrondissement page to find a good restaurant in the neighborhood where you want to eat.

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