le dauphin 131 avenue Parmentier, Paris (rue du Faubourg du Temple/Oberkampf, 11ème)
One of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had was on my first trip to Paris with my best girlfriends. The only non-locals (non-neighbourhood guests, it seemed) at La Famille in Montmatre, we ate complex yet playful food at a communal table and closed the place doing shots with the staff and a couple of other hangers-on. I believe that was just before Inaki Aizpiarte moved on from there to Le Chateaubriand, where James and I had another memorable night years later. As you can see from the picture above, we were one of the last to leave again–though not pictured is the large, lovely party of Parisienne ladies at the table to our right who out-lingered us.
Now Aizpiarte is also serving dishes at the newly opened Le Dauphin, next door to Le Chateaubriand. It’s more of a wine bar with small plates, and the room is covered in marble, including the floor, bar and ceiling. The menu is getting rave reviews, as expected, and it’s both his food and the vibe I’m expecting at this new restaurant that have me longing to go. I never need a new reason to visit Paris, but now I have a new excuse.