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04 ARR: Le Temps des Cerises

31 rue de la Cerisaie , Phone: 01 42 72 08 63

Reviewed by: Doru from Canada, review #3964

When: 2012

Le Temps de la Cerisaie is a wonderful small restaurant with an equally wonderful value menu and that unique neighbourly atmosphere that makes one feel at home.

During a three weeks stay in Paris, we had four lunches and one dinner at Le Temps des Cerises. Why?

The first answer is obvious: convenience, because Le Temps des Cerises is located only two apartment buildings away from the one in which we rented our apartment.

The second reason is also obvious, and logical to boot: one does not eat five times in three weeks at a place that disappointed with the first visit.

Le Temps des Cerises is what I would call a neighbourhood restaurant. Its clientele draws heavily from the lower Marais residential area where it is located and from staff at three schools at the two ends of the neighbouring rue du Petit Musc.

The restaurant is small, with approximately 10-12 tables for two and for four people. At lunch, by 12:30, it is packed on weekdays, less so on weekends. Dinner is also very busy, including the weekends. A reservation is recommended.

The menu of the restaurant is the same for lunch and for dinner, and so are prices, although it seems that only for lunch a formula (menu fixe) is available. The price for the lunch formula was €12-13 (appetiser and main, or main and dessert) and €18-19 (three courses). The most costly one item on the menu is €22. The menu is also displayed on a chalkboard outside.

When we went to Le Temps des Cerises for the first time, it was late (1:30 p.m.) and the restaurant was packed, table to table, elbow to elbow. It is a small place and we were ready to wait, but a couple got up just as we settled by the bar and two minuscule tables were cleaned (we were three) and set. We see at work a most amazing waitress: for as long as we were there she never stopped taking and memorising orders, serving water, wine or other drinks, explaining the menu, serving the food, cleaning tables. A graceful, quiet tornado of activity.

The menu is quite varied, but on that first date we were too late for the risotto, so we settled on the “formule” (menu à prix fixe): appetiser and main, or main and dessert, at €12.50. Prices for the à la carte mains vary from €10-€22. The formule mains on that day were veal roast with a prune sauce and fillet of dorade with steamed vegetables. Excellent, or we were very hungry. Or both. All these, plus 1/2 litre of Vaqueyras (€22) and coffee, set us back only a well worth €63 for three. We decided that we will be back. But if I want risotto, I will have to remember to be here earlier.

The following three visits I was sure to have the risotto aux coquilles Saint-Jacques lardées. I confess: I have a weakness for risotto. Wherever I see it on a menu, I cannot resist. I think that the risotto is one of the two things most difficult to prepare, the other one being the soufflé. Both the risotto and the soufflé share the need to know when to stop. A few moments too early and the rice is still raw, the soufflé does not rise. A few moments too late and the risotto is paste, the soufflé collapses. To know when to stop, this is the question!

On all three occasions the risotto aux coquilles Saint-Jacques lardées offered at Le Temps des Cerises was excellent, slightly creamy, the rice still defined, the scallops -wrapped in their crackly bacon envelope- crisp on the outside. Wonderful. For my wife a lactose-free choice was easily negotiated and it was prepared just for her. The second visit it was escalope de saumon aux haricots verts vapeur, which she liked a lot. A glass of Viognier, a clafoutis aux poires, two coffees. (€43.60 for two).

Another day we have there an excellent dinner: espadon (swordfish), a vegetarian plate, brochettes d’agneau, panna cotta, mille-feuille, a bottle of chilled Viognier.

Another lunch (we were four) is dominated by three orders of risotto Saint-Jacques lardées, la pièce de résistance on the menu of the restaurant.

Based on these experiences I would take the time to have a meal at Le Temps des Cerises regardless of the Paris location where I stay, however I believe it is a must for those staying in the Marais; on or near the two islands; Bastille, Faubourg Saint-Antoine; etc.

I highly recommend this "trouvaille" (discovery).

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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