Tuna Tartar by Solli Kanani
Le Petit Marché
9 rue Béarn in the 3rd arr.
01/42.72.06.07. Open daily
One evening we were walking in the area around the place des Vosges in the Marais. The place des Vosges is (in my opinion) the most beautiful square in Paris, in France, and probably in all of Europe. It’s the oldest square in the city built between 1605 and 1612 commissioned by Henry IV King of France. When the square was inaugurated in 1612 with a marriage between Louix XIII and Anne of Austria and became the template for many European squares to come. Its a quiet park surrounded by stone and red-brick houses including Victor Hugo’s. Upscale boutiques are found in the attractive arcades and well as a number of charming Paris cafés. The square is also known as la place Royale, as it was designed for royal festivities (like the wedding). Don’t miss it!
From there, we stumbled upon Le Petit Marché. This corner café/restaurant is located on rue Béarn, a small street just north and directly off of the place des Vosges. Our friends who were visiting Paris from Wales joined us. We were looking for an informal place. Le Petit Marché is not for those who want a quiet, romantic dinner. It’s busy, noisy, jam-packed café perfect for a quick lunch and people watching, but don’t come here if you don’t like to be seated in cramped quarters.
The staff is helpful and friendly and most speak English. Start with the Chinese salad (salade chinois) or the ceviche. You’ll find French cuisine with Asian influences such as fresh tuna tartar (thon cru) with toasted sesame seeds served with a Thai sauce. Main courses are served with small bowls of mashed potatoes and green beans (haricot verts). Other recommended dishes include the cod (cabillaud), lamb (agneau), steak tartare with Asian spices, and the succulent duck breast (magret de canard) in a honey sauce. There is an excellent raspberry (framboise) for dessert.
While we were leaving the café, the waiters at the small bar offered us a complimentary digestif (see photo above). And no, they did not know we were writing a book on dining in Paris.
After shopping in the Marais or visiting the museums nearby the Petit Marché is well worth a visit!Andy Herbach and Karl Raaum are the authors of Wining & Dining in Paris: 139 of the Very Best Restaurants, Wine Bars, Wine Shops, Food Shops & More published by Open Road Publishing/Simon& Schuster. Andy is also the author of a number of travel guides, including Eating & Drinking in Paris, Open Road’s Best of Paris, Open Road’s Best of Provence and the French Riviera, and Eating & Drinking in Italy. These guides can be found at www.eatndrink.com