Our summer holiday was a great one…the big train trip through France and Catalonia, we called it! We took the Eurostar to Paris for one night, took a TGV to Toulouse where we stayed 3 nights and finally we underwent an epic three-train journey from Toulouse over the Pyrenees into Spain and ended our trip with a relaxing week in Blai’s village. Needless to say, we chose to fly back to London from Barcelona!
This time in Paris, we stayed in Montparnasse, in close proximity to the train station from where we’d depart for Toulouse the next day. We spent a long afternoon at the Musée d’Orsay and then searched the Montparnasse area for a good place for dinner. There were a lot of good places! Somehow we weren’t in the mood to make decisions (this being the first day of our holiday!) and when we came across Le Relais de l’Entrecôte, that decision was made for us. Steak frites it would be and here we would have it.
Sure it’s a chain but this chain restaurant was packed full of locals, as well as tourists, and had a reputation for being very good. There’s a similar restaurant chain (Le Relais de Venise l’Entrecôte) that also has branches in London but they’re not from the same group; I’ve not visited the London restaurants so this was my first time at one of these steak only restaurants.
When you’re seated, elbow to elbow with your neighbours, you’re only presented with a wine list. Decide on your drinks and how you’d like your steak cooked. Soon after, a basket of bread and plates of a well-dressed salade aux nois are place in front of you. The greens are very welcome, especially when you realise that what’s to follow isn’t particularly healthy.
Your empty plates are whisked away only to be replaced by larger plates filled with slices of entrecôte cooked to your liking and a small mountain of frites.
Their steak frites hit the spot that night. Their famous sauce (lots of butter and herbs and anchovies from what I could tell) was fine though not outstanding – I preferred a dab of Dijon mustard from the pot. I’d heard, of course, of that ‘second helping’ of steak and frites that they bring over though it didn’t turn out to be much of a surprise as I saw where the second portions were set aside. Still, more steak and frites!
I did mention all the locals around us. There were a lot of young couples clearly on dates and an older couple beside us placed their tiny dog right next to Blai’s chair. I did have to stifle a giggle when the young woman next to me turn down her second portion of frites and her partner was then asked, “Would you like the rest of mademoiselle’s frites?“.
And of course there was space for dessert! Profiteroles au chocolat were definitely one step up from the offerings we’ve had in London. There was proper dark chocolate and lots of ice cream stuffed into the little choux puffs.
With a bottle of water, our bill came to about €70 – so not a cheap dinner by any means but luckily, a good one. I find it’s quite easy to eat badly in Paris without prior planning (as in any other large tourist-filled city) so I’m glad we found this place!
Le Relais de l’Entrecôte
101, boulevard du Montparnasse
(there are other branches too)