Monjul

In Paris it can be difficult to find a really good place to eat for a reasonable price. For big budgets the city offers a wealth of Michelin-starred establishments and those able to get an elusive reservation can enjoy excellent, modestly priced food at places like Frenchie. But what for the rest of us that haven’t booked 3 months in advance and can’t afford Alain Ducasse?

Having lived in Paris for the best part of a year I accumulated a good few recommendations for visiting friends and relatives, but if I ever suggest just one place it’s always Monjul. In the heart of the touristy Marais district in central Paris I find it hard to understand why the restaurant hasn’t generated the sort of hype one would expect and that it certainly deserves. Perhaps its small, understated shop front doesn’t capitalise on its footfall in the same way as the bustling french cafés do, spilling out onto the neighbouring pavements. Or maybe they just don’t have the marketing manpower needed to get itself noticed (the website, though nice, could do with updates in a few places). Regardless, whenever I have passed on this recommendation I am always greeted with enthusiastic reports of how delicious it was and what good value.

Although the prices have crept up a euro or two since I first went, they remain at a very reasonable 20€50 for a set three-course lunch (16€50 for two courses) or 33€50 for the three-course dinner menu. It is about the same price range as you can expect from much of the local competition but delivers far more in the way of taste, quality, and innovation.

It can sometimes be difficult to make exact sense of the menu but there is always a helpful English-speaking waiter on hand to answer any queries. Here’s a sample of what they have to offer:

Gazpacho served with carpaccio of veal and celery and tuna rémoulade

Scallops baked with caper butter, razor clam stuffed with parsley, garlic and lime, served with a citrus gratin and lebanese octopus tabouleh

Genoa bread pudding with chocolate and white chocolate mousse with jasmine, lychee sorbet

The set lunch menu changes daily, reflecting the freshness of the ingredients and the lack of choice means the chef can focus on producing each dish perfectly. It’s the type of place where even if you wouldn’t usually choose something, it will be cooked so well that preference is less important.

The restaurant itself is a warm and contemporary space with exposed stone walls, wooden floors and an open kitchen at the back. As well as the main dining room on ground level there’s seating downstairs.

Monjul

28, rue (clos) des blancs manteaux, 75004 Paris

+33 1 42 74 40 15

Open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday to Saturday (closed Sundays and Mondays)

Although getting a reservation usually isn’t a problem, it’s always best to book in advance.

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