Sundays in Paris are perfect for indulging in a savory home-cooked meal. Though I often make these week-end dinners at home with fresh ingredients purchased at an open-air market that morning, I deviated from this routine on a recent Sunday and am thrilled I did.
After receiving a tip from Erica, the Owner of Haven in Paris, about this bistro tucked away on the East side of Sacré-Coeur, I was intrigued.
Practically, this option made a lot of sense: the restaurant was within walking distance of my apartment (I was living on the rue Lepic and for a month and a half), I had two girlfriends from New York coming into town the following week and had yet to make a dinner reservation for us, and Le Grand 8 opens for Sunday dinner. Perfect, I thought.
My friends and I winded up the hill to Sacré-Coeur, passed by the hoards that gathered post-sunset, and walked just a block up to an unassuming red overhang at 8 rue Lamarck. There were multiple open tables in the front of the house, something I often consider a not-so-good sign, but as we passed to the back of the space and settled into our simple table, we immediately felt welcome.
There were several groups already dining, conversing (mostly in English) with each other in between courses. I find the early birds are often tourists, though their early dining time did afford them the benefit of getting the coveted seats by the windows, which provide a gorgeous view out over Eastern Paris.
The ardoise was delivered and my friends and I chose dishes we were all happy to share, my favorite way to order. We started with a bottle of 2011 wine by Vini Viti Vinci and two appetizers: artisanal Bufala mozzarella with tomatoes and terrine de poisson. The menu was a simple one, and when the food arrived we realized it too was unpretentious. However, I have a dear spot in my heart for humble, quality food that is cooked and served with care. Le Grand 8 provides just this.
Once I was fully aware of the style of food, I couldn’t help but order Blanquette de Veau as my main course. It is one of my favorite homey meals, and I knew it would be fabulous here. And it was. There was a serving of risotto and two large tender pieces of poached veal, both swimming in a silky pool of white deliciousness.
This stew was an absolute hit and something my American visitors had never tried. They ordered pork belly with haricots verts and potatoes, and suckling leg of lamb with saffron and confit fennel and tomatoes. After several heavier main courses, we shared one strawberry millefeuille for dessert. It was the perfect end to a wonderful meal.
The food at Le Grand 8 is nothing new, but the classics being served are reminiscent of a meal cooked by your mother (if your mother was a phenomenal chef well-versed in classical French cuisine). Perhaps the one thing that truly stood out to me was the kindness and superior service we received. I was at a table with two Americans who don’t speak a lick of French, and the service was the best I’ve experienced in Paris. Several servers delivered different parts of the meal and each one was friendlier than the last.
As we put on our jackets and graciously thanked the house for a wonderful evening, we noticed a large party – adults, children, and even two newborns – had begun to congregate at a few tables in one corner of the restaurant. It was clear that the staff and the members of the group were close acquaintances, possibly even family members, and I left with an even lovelier impression of the night.
Le Grand 8
8 Rue Lamarck, 75018 Paris
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 55 04 55
Métro: Château Rouge
Open: Wed – Sun 07:30pm – 22:30pm
- Find more great restaurants in Paris that the HiP Paris Blog has previously written about here
- Don’t forget to read Kim’s great article for the HiP Paris Blog about other places you can’t miss around Montmartre while you’re in the neighborhood