A VIEW, A TERRACE, FINE LEBANESE FARE
As beautiful as Paris can be, it is not rich in restaurants with grand views or open terraces. Le Zyriab, perched high in the sky on the 9th floor of the architecturally modern Institut du Monde Arabe on the Left Bank, fills that bill. Even if you don’t intend to dine there (and you should) you can take the elevator up to the terrace floor just to admire the spectacular view: Notre Dame is almost in your face. The towers of Montmartre and the Bastille are there for your eyes to explore. The cuisine here is authentically Lebanese, and comes from the omnipresent house of Noura, which has several restaurants, cafes, catering shops and patisseries around the city. (See www.noura.com for details.) The dining room, which seats 90 guests indoors, is bright, spacious and comfortable, and each table offers diners a stunning view. Service is efficient and warm, and the food clean, clear, well-seasoned and memorable. All the favorites are there, from the refreshing parsley-rich tabbouli to a particularly spicy version of the chickpea puree, hommos Beyrouti. The thick, white drained laban cheese comes well-adorned with crisp cucumbers, and the falafel (deep fried balls of seasoned chick peas) arrives crisp, crusty, moist, and satisfying.
Good Food Finds at the Paris Flea Market
Designer Philippe Starck has finally given we flea market lovers a smart, trendy, easy place to lunch before or after wandering the stalls. I’ve been a regular visitor to the Clignacourt market since 1980, and have furnished many a room with treasures gleaned from long and leisurely Sunday strolls. His La Cocotte, right at the parking entrance of the Paul Bert market is conveniently located, and since its opening in October, 2012 has been a surefire hit, especially at lunch on weekends, when no reservations are taken. So go early, and walk off the lunch as you stroll the aisles. The food here is nothing more than “correct” but if you go with that in mind, you’re not likely to be disappointed. The huge open kitchen sports a giant rotisserie, with roasted chicken and beef often on the menu. Simple salads of beets, lamb’s lettuce, and soft-cooked egg arrive fresh and perky, while the first course of smoked salmon is divine. The bread is outrageously delicious, and the wine list – which includes some well-priced Burgundies from Olivier LeFlaive – make the experience all that much more digestible. The restaurant is comfortable and not an “in your face” Starck experience. There is plenty of space for outdoor dining, the all-white bathrooms are a must visit, and service was as the French would say, without a fault.