L’Initial (Paris)

Imagine French cuisine and Japanese art de vivre had a baby. What you would get is a restaurant like l’Initial in the 5th arrondissement in Paris. A classic yet modern, delicate and inspired, complex yet simple cuisine. The cuisine flows so organically that you cannot think of a better way of doing things. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera, so you’ll have to believe me on this without any proofs…

Tucked away in a tiny street in the 5th arrondissement in Paris, I would never have stepped into the restaurant just by its outside looks. Even the interior is very modest looking to say the least. The few tables are beautiful with nice tablecloths and gorgeous tableware but the rest of the restaurant almost seems a little worn out. But at no point in time you will feel unease: the service is super polite (Japanese style) yet warm and welcoming.

The menu is very short (always a good sign!). You can basically choose between a four (starter, fish, meat, dessert) or seven (amuse-bouche, 2 starters, fish, meat, 2 desserts) course menu for 36€ or 48€. That’s a phenomenal value for quality. For the main meat you have the choice between 3 different meats. In our case that choice entailed ris de veau, duck or pigeon. Since the pigeon was all gone, I got beef instead.

All dishes were very, very good all throughout. The uniformity of quality actually really positively surprised me, as I find it quite rare that restaurants perform at a same level between sweet and savoury for example.

Although the reviews online are all pretty enthusiastic, I have the feeling this restaurant is still kind of a hidden gem. So shh and enjoy!

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