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Monday, November 21, 2011

The Best Sunday Night Dinner in Paris

Aligot, one of the restaurant's signature dishes.

I frequently am asked recommendations on where to eat in Paris.  The first question I ask is “What’s your budget?”  The second is “What night?”  If you’re dining in Paris on Sunday evening (when the vast majority are closed) and don’t want to drop a bazillion Euros----but still want to eat well---there’s one place that stands an Eiffel tower above the rest:  Ambassade de Auvergne.

The little jewel specializes in cuisine from France’s mountainous central area, the Auvergne region.  Its prixe fixe menu (28 Euro or <$35, including tip and tax) represents one of the best deals in Paris for quality cooking.  Don’t leave Paris without trying the “Ambassador’s” aligot, a mouthwatering potato dish infused with the region’s famous Cantal cheese---it’s totally sinful, but a sin you’ll never forget (and it is served with the prixe-fixe dinner). 

The other piece de resistance is their chocolate mousse which I learned about by accident.  One of my friends ordered it and insisted that I take a bite---I declined but my dear friend was unrelenting…and the rest is history.  After too-many-to-count pedestrian chocolate mousses in my life, I can say that this version is in a league of its own---absolutely superb!  The good news is that it, too, is served on the bargain prixe fixe dinner.

Ambaassade de Auvergne is located near Georges Pompidou Center on a small street away from the maddening crowds.  If you’re coming by Metro, it’s almost across the street from the Rambuteau stop.  If dining on Sunday, don’t even think about showing up without a reservation.  I prefer the rustic downstairs dining room decorated with a wooden-beamed ceiling and copper pots, however, the upstairs is attractive as well.  I suggest not choosing a wine from the Auvergne area…I’ve tried several and none were noteworthy.  But, not to worry as there is a good selection of moderate cost wines from several other areas in France.

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