Caesar Salad is the go to/comfort dish when I'm hungry but don’t know what I want to eat. I am forever on a quest for the perfect one and unfortunately Paris has mostly disappointed me in the past 10 years. It seems they can’t get it just right, either they add odd ingredients such as tomatoes or green beans, or screw up the dressing or ignore the traditional dressing and get lazy and replace it with vinaigrette.
A happy coincidence happened last week when I found out my friend Stephanie Fray (also The Parisian of the Month for June) was friends with one of my tour clients. The tour clients asked me to meet them and Stephanie at Auberge Flora near the Richard Lenoir market. The place was awfully cute and cozy but I was curious about the food. Stephanie said it was one of her neighborhood canteens plus they had the best Caesar salad in Paris. Since Stephanie has many big chefs in Paris as clients, she obviously knows good food and I trust her judgment.
So the first moment my busy schedule allowed, I eased on down the road to Auberge Flora for lunch. The table of six rowdy teenage boys having lunch, probably celebrating the end of the school year enhanced the warm, genial atmosphere of the restaurant. I sat in the back dining room painted in a cheerful teal blue with white china plates trimmed in silver decorating the walls. I knew I wanted Caesar salad but perused the menu and was tempted by a much better lunch deal, two courses for 19€ instead of 18€ just for the Caesar salad. I stuck to my guns and chose what I had come for.
The salad was served in a most unusual dish: an oval salad bowl. I liked the fact it was chopped finely, so I could just dig in with my fork and not have to fuss with cutting large Romaine leaves using a knife. (I’m all for fork food). Stephanie was right on the money; it was the best Caesar salad in Paris. I’m a patient man and my quest was finally satisfied, having no longer to search every restaurant in every arrondissement for my beloved salad. It was creamy, crispy, satisfying, perfectly dressed, perfectly proportioned between the chicken, lettuce, and bacon. Served with crusty bread and creamy butter, I was a very happy person.
After my meal I met the owner Flora Mikula and she shared with me there's a 21-room hotel attached to the restaurant. I asked if I could see some of the rooms and she kindly asked the front desk person to show me some. Although small, the rooms were well appointed and looked comfortable. They were decorated in vibrant, feel good colors except the more dramatic mostly black suite.
I know most people visiting Paris wouldn’t care so much about having a mundane Caesar salad when surrounded by French cuisine but if you crave a great salad, Auberge Flora is the place to go.
(Lynn wasn't available for lunch this month).
Auberge Flora Restaurant and Hotel
44 Boulevard Richard Lenoir, 75011
Metro: Richard Lenoir
Restaurant is open seven days for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Come experience Eye Prefer Paris live with Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I personally lead. Eye Prefer Paris Tours include many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes, food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks and gardens and much more. In addition to my specialty Marais Tour, I also lead tours of Montmartre, St. Germain, Latin Quarter, in addition to Shopping Tours, Gay Tours, Girlfriend Tours, Food Tours, Flea Market Tours, Paris Highlights Tours, and Chocolate & Pastry tours.
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New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 195 euros per person (about $210)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
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