Not long ago when people would ask me what kind of vegetarian or vegan options there were in Paris, it was a short list. For vegetarians I suggested living on falafel on the rue des Rosiers, ordering goat cheese salads and cheese boards at cafes and for vegans I would come up empty handed and wish them luck. The few existing vegetarians restaurants weren’t worth mentioning, as they were hippie throwbacks to the 70s with bland, unappealing choices.
Much has changed in the last few years on the food landscape, as even Parisians are becoming more health and diet conscious. A spate of vegetarian, organic only and gluten free restaurants have opened to much success as Parisians are embracing healthier and lighter food menus.
Gentle Gourmet started as the first vegan B&B in Paris in 2009 by Deborah Pivain. The B&B was so popular, Pivain spun off a restaurant in 2012 to meet the new demand for her clients.
I am not vegan by any stretch but as of late I’ve been eating a diet heavy on vegetables accompanying chicken or fish. When Vincent cooks at home most dishes are vegetarian based.
Located near the Bastille, Gentle Gourmet in appearance looks like many other modern restaurants in Paris with white walls, black fabric chairs, black Formica tables, and hardwood floors.
I went with a friend and she ordered the fresh juice of the day, a refreshing mélange of watermelon and melon with a hint of lemon to give it tang.
We noticed how large the portions were on the other tables around us and decided to skip an entrée and go for a plat.
My friend ordered The Sphere, arancini style rice balls made with summer vegetables, rice and truffle oil. Three small mounds with artful garnishes appeared on an oversized white plate. I opted for The Famous, a Portobello mushroom burger with heirloom tomatoes and polenta fries. The burger was so tall I couldn’t fit into my big mouth. I had to eat it French style with knife and fork and still had trouble maneuvering my way around it. Thick and meat like, the burger was quite satisfying and the homemade bun was excellent. I felt as though I was eating a vegetarian Burger King Whopper, without the guilt or shame or feeling like crap afterward.
Dessert was quite an extravagant affair. The Raw was a platter of dark chocolate mousse and crumble with two scoops of what appeared to be sorbet and a Jackson Pollack splattering of red berry coulis. Unfortunately as beautiful as the presentation was, the taste came up short. The so-called chocolate tasted other and the scoops that resembled sorbet or perhaps mousse were not light enough to be either. However the morello cherry tart filled the bill, a lovely summertime fruit treat without the meringue being too sugary.
We were offered a vegan cheese plate but in the land of the best cheeses in the world, I wasn’t willing to possibly be disappointed.
I’m curious to try some of the other dishes and will return.
Gentle Gourmet also offers a 21€ two- course lunch and can make most dishes gluten free for a slightly additional charge.
Open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner
24 Blvd. de Bastille, 75012
Metro: Bastille, Quai de la Rapee
+33 (0) 1 43 43 48 49
Eye Prefer Paris Postcards
I am thrilled to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Postcards, a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription service where the subscriber receives three physical postcards of my iconic Paris photos every month. Each month will have a specific theme, from architectural street scenes to romantic outdoor cafes to beautiful gardens to unique shots of iconic monuments. Each mailing will include two postcards in color and one in black & white or sepia, beautifully packaged in a special French Blue postcard holder with a custom designed seal.
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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.
Tours start at 225 euros for up to 3 people, and 75 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
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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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