Wed 19 Sep 2012
27, Quai Branly, in the 7th Arrondissement.
01 47 53 68 00. Lunch and dinner daily.
A friend of mine was begrudgingly moving from Paris back to the US, and though I’m not pleased about her move, I was more than happy to accompany her for her last meal in Paris. My mind started racing through all the restaurants in Paris as I tried to imagine where I would want my last bite—but luckily I don’t need to figure that out right now! My friend decided she needed some good food in a memorable setting, so we met at Les Ombres.
Les Ombres is in the Musée du Quai Branly, but the Eiffel Tower is really the centerpiece of this 7th Arrondissement restaurant. The atrium-like dining room has a glass ceiling, with each table positioned for an optimal view. But the best seat in the house is on the open deck with nothing between you and the tower. I have yet to find a better spot than this to watch the tower’s top-of-the-hour sparkle.
The menu is constructed to reflect the diversity of the museum, and so is arranged by country with a meat, a fish and a starter listed for each. Even though it was my friend’s last night in Paris, we began in Asia with a pan-seared crustacean ravioli. Bonita flakes topped the soft seafood pillow, which profited from a few moments’ crisping in the pan.
My friend returned to France for her main course, a veal medallion served with an au jus that covered the meat and accompanying Noirmoutier potatoes and baby carrots. The veal had a good smoky flavor, but the cut was a little chewy, and for 38 euros I would have expected pure bliss.
I stayed in Asia with a red snapper that was cooked and served in a banana leaf. I always like this presentation, but here the steaming undermined the structure of the fish, though the flavor nicely balanced an Asian sweetness with notes of lemon and coconut. Luckily the snapper came with wonderfully cooked spring vegetables, sautéed in sesame oil and crisp to the bite.
We finished with a cheesecake of perfect consistency and just the right sweetness-to-creaminess ratio. With a shimmering Eiffel Tower in the background, it was a nice farewell for my parting Parisian friend.
In a nutshell: Les Ombres has spectacular Eiffel Tower views from its dining room and open terrace, but you will pay handsomely for it. Manage your food expectations and you’ll have a lovely evening in the City of Light.
Price check: Starters, 16–48 euros; mains, 26–46 euros; desserts, 12–15 euros.
If you like the sound of Les Ombres but want to get even closer to the tower, try one of the restaurants inside the Eiffel Tower.
Paris Restaurant Reviews by Kelley Page for Girls’ Guide to Paris.