It's Better to Travel than Arrive?

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive"

Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque, 1881.


"Robert Louis Stevenson speaks utter tosh and has

obviously never flown long haul economy class"

Kristy, first ever blog post, 2011.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Paris : Le Relais de Venise

The view of the line in front of me as I was patiently waiting ...


Well, well, well, what to say about this crazy and crazily good restaurant?

Okay, I'll give it to you straight.  You have to line up, they don't take reservations, it's cramped, there is no menu and they only cook ONE thing (well, two things if you count the fries).  Yes, really.  Want more info?  Here's our experience ...

Before we left for Paris, I was poking around on the amazing www.tripadvisor.com
for a restaurant that was close to our hotel for our first night, as we were all expecting to arrive after 7.30pmish.

I stumbled across Le Relais de Venise and all of the very highly rated reviews, and discovered it was literally behind our hotel - a definite must.

We lobbed up there on Friday night about 9pm, expecting that the line would have gone by then - WRONG!  We eyed up the 30 or so people waiting outside and decided we'd go somewhere else, which we did, and it was fine - but I still really wanted to go to Le Relais de Venise ...

So, on Saturday night, we decided we'd try again.  After a quick libation at the James Joyce, we headed back to see how bad the line was.  It was worse.  I still really wanted to go.  I suggested that the boys headed back to the James Joyce and I'd wait in the line, and ring them when we got close so they could come back - it didn't take terribly much convincing and they were off.

I'm guessing there were 40-50 people in front of me and the restaurant was obviously full.  I watched for a while and then pulled out my phone and started up my Boggle app.  The line started moving, and it kept moving - slowly, but steadily.  I only got through 3 games of Boggle (9 minutes) when I was nearly at the front.  I texted the boys and then I was at the front door.  And they weren't back yet.

The absolute Grand Dame who runs the restaurant wouldn't let me in, because my boys weren't with me - fair enough, I knew they were on their way.  She took others from the line behind me and told one group they had a table available upstairs.  On hearing this, the lady in the group said "But I don't want to sit upstairs" and Mme Grand Dame said "That's okay, you can go home".  Fabulous!  Strangely, the lady changed her mind very quickly and they were ushered upstairs.

The boys arrived and we were shown to a small table, pulled out so I could slide in next to the wall and then pushed back in after me (no nipping out to go to the loo here!).  Our lovely waitress then arrived and said "How do you like your meat cooked?".  Yes, that's as close as you get to a menu.  Then she scrawled some squiggles on the paper tablecloth and gave us the tiny, hand written, wine menu - we ordered the most expensive wine on the menu, all of €18.50!


Yummy green salad.


Then our green salad arrived - just leaves, a creamy dressing and walnuts.  As soon as we were done with that, and our wine had been poured, our entrecote steak arrived.  That's all they cook here, entrecote steak and french fries - it's plated for you at the table by your waitress.  They serve half of it first, keeping the rest warm in the kitchen whilst you have your first portion.  The entrecote?  It was delicious!  It's served with a green sauce and none of us could decide what was in it, but it was lovely.


Just looking at this makes me hungry!


We really enjoyed our two portions and our waitress was lovely and friendly.  Once she'd cleared away our mains, we were given small hand written dessert menus.  I chose the profiteroles (how could I not?), as did David, and hubby had the sorbet - it was all gorgeous.


Dessert menu.  Oh, FYI, everything is in French.


Now, this isn't a place where you sit and mull over your dinner for several hours - you get in, enjoy the food and experience, and then free your table up for the other people lining up outside.

They have now opened up in New York, and at two locations in London.

Go, line up, enjoy the experience and the food - it's worth it.

Oh, and our bill for three people having three courses, water and wine?  €123.00.  You can't really argue with that.


Gorgeous profiteroles - YUM!


Le Relais de Venise
271 Boulevard Pereire
Porte Maillot, Paris
Phone:- 01 45 74 27 97


2 comments:

  1. These food pics are such a delight :)

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