Brina had wanted to take us to an Indian restaurant while we were in Paris, but it was at the top of our map and we just didn't have the energy to make the trek, even on the Metro. We elected to eat at the restaurant on my list that was closest to our hotel.
Le Grenier Notre Dame is the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Paris. I got online at the hotel and collected the phone number (which I had saved to a Google Doc); then carried it downstairs to ask our very kind front desk lady to make reservations for us. When she called, she said that the number didn't answer, but that the answering machine gave the phone number for a second Le Grenier with the same menu, but in a different location. Apparently, they were wanting to send some business to another building. She showed us the location on the map and said it was closer to the hotel than the address I had resesarched, but my map-studying said this was erroneous information. However, an earlier table time intrigued us all.
By then, there were 13 groupies participating in the dinner, and the restaurant was most agreeable to find space for us. One of only two complaints I have about traveling with a group is that a group tends to move slower than one individual or a couple does. For example, there are always those who walk a bit slower than the crowd, and if they don't know their way, but get stopped by red lights at a crosswalk while those on the other side of the street have to wait. In addition, when we crossed the bridge onto the smaller Seine island, the Il St. Louis, we had a most spectacular view of the Eiffel and Notre Dame lit on a backdrop of a rich blue sky. We ended up being 15 minutes late for the reservation time of 7:00, but the restaurant was empty and the waiters were gracious about the delay.
The menus were in French and English, and if those were too hard to follow, there were also pictures of much of the items. There was a variety for every taste--from Asian to Mexican to Seasons 52 style of a platter. I had a guacamole with plain yogurt, fresh mint, and tomatoes. It was such an amazing and different flavor for guacamole that I was most pleased. The French are big on bread. Instead of serving the guacamole with tortillas, it was served plain, but there was wheat bread on the table, which I found to be the perfect complement to the changes in traditionally expected flavor.
I also had a miso soup, which is generally rare where we come from because most of what I find in Orlando is not vegetarian. It was served with seaweed and small chunks of tofu. Aside from adding a little extra salt (which I could do easily at the table), I wouldn't have changed anything about my meal.
Paul ordered a platter of three veggie-meat alternatives and a variety of vegetables. One tasted amazingly like "Ocean Platter", a fish-flavored textured vegetable protein that was around when I was a kid. I enjoyed that patty very much. The brown rice was cooked well. The potatoes were amazing and unusual, and the salad dressing on the greens was exceptional. There was also an orange mush displayed on a lettuce leaf (perhaps rhubarb?). We were never able to figure out what it was, but Paul devoured it.
There were a few non-alcoholic drinks on the menu. I ordered one, but the waiter came back and said that they could not make it because the lunch crowd had used up all their kiwis. Fresh fruits and vegetables would not be delivered again for a day or two. I thanked him for his honesty and decided against the other drink options. Just before the meal arrived, he returned with a glass of frothy white and said they had found a kiwi and were able to fill my banana-kiwi drink order after all. I was sure glad they did. It was quite yummy, but probably a bit much with the rest of the meal. I likely wouldn't order it again. For the record, I rarely ordered a drink in France. Tap water is much cheaper. Being winter time, the tap water in most restaurants was very cold and did not need ice.
As with most restaurants in Paris that we wanted to eat at, signs are not easily visible. If you go, I highly recommend keeping the exact address of the location on your person and marking the restaurant locations on your map. My restaurants and hotel were marked in green while all other points of interest were marked in blue.
Le Grenier de Notre-Dame
17 Rue Des Deux Ponts
Ile Saint-Louis 75004
Tel: 01 46 34 60 41
18 Rue De La Bucherie
Tel: 01 43 29 98 29
Remember, prices are in euros with $1.26 exchange rate.
- 6,60 Miso Soup
- 7,00 Guacamole
- 17,65 Speciale Proteine
- 15,85 Vegetarian Lasagne (Mom's scrumptious choice)
- 14,90 Salad Dad's Dish
- 6,80 Drink
- 11,27 Tax 11,27
- 68,80 Total
This was my first experience with a detailed French receipt. Apparently, there is a !9+% tax on foods that is added to the price on the menu. But restaurants want you to know the price; so, they detail the tax on the receipt. For a while, it's very confusing. Eventually, it will all make sense.
Want to see what we did the rest of the day? click here.