Philou Cafe – Lunchtime in Paris


After our brisk walk to Paris’ 10th arrondissement from the Marais, we headed to Philou for lunch. The restaurant got a good write up from Mark Bittman in the New York Times, and we were curious to give it a go.

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The restaurant is by a chef who ran a larger, busier establishment and wanted to take things down a bit, so he started Philou. When we arrived at noon for our reservation, we were the only folks in the place. A pair came in to be seated but were turned away, despite it just being two American ladies and a lot of place settings. We were intrigued.

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The cafe is bright and cheerful and modern, and the waiter was polite and patient. While we studied the menu, the owner wrestled with an electric heater outside on the front sidewalk seating area.

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After studying the menu, we decided to go with the two plats option.

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I was curious about the lentil salad, so I got that. I overlooked the other part, about the caillie rotie, which turns out to be darling little roasted quail. The lentil salad was amazing. Seriously seriously good. The mustard-based cream sauce on the accompanying little endives was equally amazing. This chef is good.

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This dish is braised beef with vegetables au jus. Each little carrot and radish and parsnip was sliced and grilled to perfection. The waiter told us the beef had stewed for ten hours – it fell apart on the dish, resting quietly in its red wine reduction. Also, it was now 12:45 and office workers were filtering into the restaurant.

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I ordered the fricasee chicken with mushrooms in a cream sauce. It came in its own little cooking pot.

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It was heavenly. The local mushrooms were divine. I’m not a big eater of cream sauces normally, so by the time I ate halfway thru this dish, I was ready to lie down on the banquette for a little nap. I had a neighbor at this point, so I was also open to resting my head on her shoulder. (The meal was seriously heavy. I’m not sure how people went back to work after this. Also, all around us, people were drinking wines and liquors without qualms. So great!)

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I didn’t get a shot of the bread, but the crust was a good 1/4″ thick on the rustic, brown loaf. And it had a nice tight crumb. Better than anything I’ve had in the states.
After the walk, I was prepared to nap anywhere – even the street corner. Instead, we walked about eight miles to burn off all that glory. It wasn’t until much later in the day that I found the gumption to enjoy a crepe later in the evening.

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Seattle Foodshed

Gardening, foraging, exploring and cooking. Time for a delicious adventure.

9 thoughts on “Philou Cafe – Lunchtime in Paris”

  1. Scrumptious! This may be apocryphal but a Parisian friend tells me that lunches are subsidized by the government to encourage people to eat out…

  2. Looks like you are making the most of your parisian trip. I love Paris! Just thought I would recommend if it’s not to late, my favorite time there is lunch at chez Louisette in the heart of the Clingincourt flea market. Great old school party with a accordion band playing and if your lucky (or stick around long enough) Edith Piaf impersonated affectionately for a pass of the hat! Personally it is a not miss for me, been three times.

    1. Nice to meet you and welcome to the foodshed, Doye! We love Edith Piaf and that restaurant sounds really interesting. We have one night in Paris after we leave Beaune, so we are putting it on the list. We’ll see if we have time to check it out. Thank you for the tip!

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