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Destinations · Europe · france · Paris · Where to eat ·

L'Ami Jean

Author: Anothertravelguide.com0 COMMENTS

L'Ami Jean

There are restaurants that, after just one meal, you remember for the rest of your life. L'Ami Jean - a Basque-French bistro on a small Left Bank cross-street not far from the Eiffel Tower - is one of these. Inside, it is the epitome of kitch - nothing has changed since the 1930s, except for some spontaneous additions of photographs, posters, drawings done by friends and other such ephemera. The place is small and the tables are crammed close, so don't even dream of coming here without having made reservations beforehand. Every evening, L'Ami Jean is packed - ever since 2002, that is, which is when Stéphane Jégo took over the reigns. According to the biography for this eccentric chef from "the new French generation" (as found on the restaurant's homepage): "Philomène and Georges Jégo gave birth to a monster named Stéphane Jégo on November the 22nd of 1971." And a monster he is, for whenever a waiter or sous chef doesn't do something quickly enough, or well enough, a lion's roar can be heard emanating from the window that opens from the dining room into the kitchen. This show, of sorts, goes on all evening, with the diners serving as the captive audience. It's simply a part of the experience of dining at L'Ami Jean: waiters juggle their plates as they run from table to table, and the string of energy is pulled as tight as possible throughout the dining room and kitchen, only to pop every so often with an explosion of hearty laughter. Its rock'n'roll atmosphere notwithstanding, L'Ami Jean is actually very serious about its food. The menu is rustically substantial, but also quite creative - and without an overabundance of self-serving experimentation. Everything is made from the best ingredients the markets have to offer, with Jégo's perfectionism displayed in the waiters' ability to inform diners of the lamb's birth and slaughter dates, as well as how long the meant has been aged. Both a classic menu and a sampling menu are on offer, the latter being a tempting opportunity to indulge in the chef's skills; just keep in mind that Jégo is a generous fellow, and the sample portions are each the size of a main course. Be sure to top it all of with L'Ami Jean's famous rice pudding - they say that all it takes is one bite to start a life-time addiction...
In any case, if you're not hungry, are on a diet, or don't eat meat, this place is not for you. But for those to whom none of the above apply, L'Ami Jean is an absolute must on every visit to Paris. And if you're still not convinced, in the renown gastronomic guide, "Where Chef's Eat" (2013), seven famous French chefs grudgingly admit that L'Ami Jean is a restaurant which they "wish they had opened themselves".

27 rue Malar
75005 Paris


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