We had the opportunity to dine at a popular vegetarian/vegan restaurant in our district for Valentine’s Day dinner. Even the meat lovers of Parisians love coming here to Le Potager du Marais (The Garden of Marais). The best part about it is that the food is 100% organic.
After a full day of apartment hunting and being on foot, we were famished by the time dinner rolled around. Dinner here doesn’t start until eight. Most restaurants that are open for dinner stay open until midnight if not later. They eat dinner later than Americans, and it is courteous to make reservations for dinner – even at lunch. It does not matter what day it is, you should make a reservation.
Things to note:
- The French eat their biggest meal at lunch. This consists of multiple courses and wine. Most people take a two-hour lunch break.
- Dinner is lighter, but also consists of wine.
Because we were out all day, we didn’t get home until nine. We really wanted to try out Le Potager du Marais, and we weren’t sure if it was too late to make reservations, or if we could even get a table. We decided to give it a try, and premeditated what we were going to say. The plan was to say either two of the following: Good evening, do you have a table for two? Or, I would like to make a reservation for two.
Nick toughed it out and called, but when he heard the man on the other line say something other than “Bonsoir,” he blanked and said, “Parlez vous anglais?” Luckily the man responded, “Yes.” English was now spoken.
Nevertheless, we made a reservation for ten o’clock. It took us over twenty minutes to find the place after I confused my right and left. Nick saved us by pulling out the tourist map. We only pull this out when necessary. By no means do we want to look like tourists! Nick pulled the map out from his coat pocket and I stood guard, shielding him from the public.
We got to the restaurant about 10:10 pm. I pulled the restaurant door open, and a petite Asian waitress said, “Bonsoir.”
“Bonsoir!” I responded, and continued to speak in French, telling her I had a reservation for ten. Lucky for me, she understood and showed us to a table.
The restaurant was really small and cute. I liked the decorations and couldn’t resist taking a picture of the small bicycle. I have a soft spot for small things, because I find them so cute and adorable.
After being in Paris for three days, Nick and I are really trying to make an effort to speak French. We decided to order everything in French to the best that we could. Most Parisians here speak English, and if they know you’re English-speaking they will do you a favor and speak English, too. Our waitress was extremely kind, but we knew she didn’t know much English. I thought it was fine because it forced me to practice. Throughout the night, we fared well. It was a success because she understood us. Of course there may have been some pointing involved or fragmented sentences, but we survived and had an amazing meal. Nick and I were impressed with every dish we had from the vegan menu. We had an appetizer to share, which was a baked potato topped with olives tapenade. For our main course, Nick had a quinoa burger with potatoes au gratin on the side, and I had a different quinoa burger topped with a mushroom sauce with a side of Thai rice with minced almonds; both dishes came with a side of steamed vegetables and sliced pears topped with lingonberries. And then of course we had wine to accompany dinner. We ordered a small pitcher of Bordeaux. There was so much food that I did just fine with all of the wine. As stuffed as I was, we decided to order dessert as well. Nick really wanted the chocolate cake and I went for their carrot cake. I never had a chance to try the chocolate cake because Nick had devoured it. This is very unusual for Nick to order dessert on his own, and let alone finish it. It took me a while to finish mine because I was so full, but I did finish it. This was the most of I’ve eaten in a while, and I didn’t even finish my main dish.
We forgot to take a photo of the baked potato before we had taken bites out of it.
Nick’s quinoa burger dish, preceding mine.
We left the restaurant at about midnight, and I was glad we were going to walk it off. When we got home, we still had our six flights of Parisian staircase to climb. It’s always fun, especially when you’ve been drinking, are tipsy and have a full belly!
If you’re ever in the Marais and want something new to try, I would really recommend this restaurant. It’s delicious and of good quality — and not a bad price. For one appetizer, two entrees, a small pitcher of wine and two desserts, we made out with 80 Euros, or $107 US dollars. Pretty good in my opinion!