What do these places have in common? Besides being located around Champs Elysee I mean and sounding like something one finds in a lifestyle publication. Let me explain.
Before we had the car, eating out with a child meant only one thing- the venue has to be within walking distance. Because the public transport here is ill-equipped to handle her stroller. We don't own one of those gigantic 'travel systems' like Stoke or Bugaboo, but the wheels of her Quinny Zapp are too wide apart to make it through the metro turnstiles as well as some escalators; and as any parent will tell you, escalators in themselves are a rarity in metro stations, most of the time we have to carry her in her stroller like imperial slaves. Just the thought of all that carrying and worrying is enough to make us think twice about taking her out.
Unfortunately our neighbourhood is not exactly a gastronomic haven, not to us anyway. Someone told us we live in The Golden Triangle, where all the 'best restaurants' in Paris is located. By that they mean most of the high-end starred establishment, which is beyond our eating-out budget. But we are slowly finding our way, and have come across a few gems, like the casual Japanese eatery Umami-an.
Cafe Ziti along rue Pierre Charron is another, on the outside it looks like any trendy Italian restaurant, but we like their warm service (read, high tolerance for tomato-sauced howling infant), pastas and what we think is the best fried calamari in town, all light yet toothsome and tasting of the deep sea; they also did not blink when we ask them to doggy-back the uneaten half of our pizza.
The drugstore that never seem to sleep, i.e. Publicis Drugstore, is a combined restaurant, deli, retail and cinema concept mall at the corner of Ave Marceau and Ave Champs Elysee was another unlikely discovery for a family-friendly brunch. They serve very good fresh butter, yummy breads, pastries and a small selection of cooked dishes like pancakes, bacon and scrambled eggs, not too decadent that it will knock one out for the afternoon but pleasant enough to while a sunny Sunday afternoon away.
Further afield, at 20 rue de Ponthieu off Ave Champs Elysee, we were happy with the hamburgers at PDG. It was a star recommendation in the Time Out guide (page 124, The Americas) and the description was in line with our experience, i.e. excellent burger albeit at much higher price than a fast food joint. The burgers were outstandingly good- thick, beefy, succulent, expertly cooked- and served with fluffy toasted buns that actually chews like bread and not cotton wool. Their coleslaw taste a bit weird though.
But what we really liked was their fries. Irregularly and thickly cut like English 'chips' instead of shoestrings which translates to lower surface area and therefore less fat absorbed and lower crisp factor but conversely more potatoey taste which is a good compromise I think. Served with a bottle of Heinz ketchup, an exotic condiment in these parts and which is after all, rather grand with fries. After we finished our burgers, we looked at the dessert menu but their selection did not appeal, so we opted to have another round of fries for dessert.
Guaranteed to make the most restless child happy, if only for a couple of hours or so.