Much of Paris’ most inventive contemporary cuisine springs from the 11th arrondissement. So, it was the perfect location to plant the city’s newest and possibly most locavore restaurant. Opened in May 2019, Le Relais is firmly committed to its motto, “the closer, the better.” Using the best quality ingredients from the nearest producers, the restaurant also uses produce straight from its own rooftop kitchen garden.
The farm-to-table restaurant is the brainchild of Sébastien Villgrain, the director of the hip coworking/media center l’Antenne, and the team of Merci Raymond, a startup promoting urban gardening and agriculture. Merci Raymond was tasked with creating the rooftop garden of the Antenne building, now home to an amazing variety of plants and herbs. This project ever so naturally sowed the seeds of the eco-friendly restaurant located on the building’s ground floor.
Since not all ingredients can be grown on the venue’s roof, the team tracked down the best, closest suppliers who also share the same ecological and zero-waste philosophies. You’ll find the names of the farms and producers displayed on posters on the restaurant’s walls and their ingredients are listed on the menu in three different “milestones” categories; Paris and the close suburbs, the Île-de-France region, and greater France. The producers’ exact distances from Paris are also indicated in kilometers.
This green spirit is felt immediately upon entering the airy and vast dining room, surrounded by plants and furnished with classic Parisian marble tables topped with potted herbs, which diners are welcome to snip to add to their dishes.
For lunch, they have a daily changing chalkboard menu of two starters, three mains, and two desserts, all created based on what they received that day from their suppliers and available at 19€ for two courses and 22€ for three. Options could include organic poached eggs with an egglplant gratin and Paris-made sheep’s milk tomme cheese, or “well raised in the Mayenne” pork chops with fresh vegetables from Île-de-France drizzled in a jus made with sage from the rooftop garden.
Dinner is where you’ll be able to indulge guilt-free on their seasonal small plates such as a trio of apéro spreads (with a to-die-for beetroot one), salad of quinoa grown in Île-de-France and fresh herbs from the rooftop, Scotch quail eggs with pickled seasonal vegetables, or veal with shiitake mushrooms from the Parisian cellars of La Caverne.
These fresh culinary delights are served with a selection of natural, biodynamic, or organic French wines, craft beer, artisanal sodas and in-house juices. On the way out, make sure you grab one of the restaurant’s business cards—not so you’ll remember where this great restaurant is, which you’re unlikely forget—but instead to be planted in a little pot back at your place. They contain seeds to help you get personally involved in the Parisian green revolution.
Le Relais – 10 rue de la Vacquerie, 75011. Tel: +33 01 70 38 64 14.
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Written by Lily Heise for HiP Paris. All images courtesy of Le Relais. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.