Bonne Nouvelle in Bellechasse

October 8, 2008

For fifteen years I lived in the 7th arrondissement, first in the rue Monsieur and then in the rue du Bac right next door to the Couvent de la Medaille Miraculeuse. During this improbable stint in one of Paris’s swankiest arrondissements, I very rarely dined locally, which is to say within a five minute walk of my front door.

To be sure, there were a few good places nearby, notably L’Epi Dupin when it first opened and before it became so hopelessly overcrowded and manic. But as the nice woman in the now vanished bakery which used to fill the courtyard with wonderful buttery vapors every morning explained to me, my neighbors were more “gratte sou and Picard.”

This is why is was so much fun to discover La Laiterie, a delightful new bistro in the rue de Bellechasse—it’s exactly what the quartier had always been missing, or a warm, friendly, reasonably priced place with a chalkboard menu of great comfort food and fairly priced wines. I met one of my favorite French food writers for lunch here on a beautiful Indian summer day, and we had a terrific lunch.

I loved my starter of oeufs mayonnaise with a slice of grilled bacon and a buttoniere of water cress, and la plume d’oree ate a good-looking salade Cesar with grilled chicken. Next, paleron de boeuf (slow-simmered and tender beef with a nice hint of cinnamon) on a bed of sautéed cabbage and a perfectly cooked onglet with new potatoes. The Bordeaux and the cotes du Rhone by the glass were good, and there was an interesting crowd in the sleek dining room furnished with retro-style Formica chairs reminiscent of what you’d have found in French school rooms during the seventies—ministers in dark suits from the surrounding ministries, beautiful young women from Sciences Po, a few pairs of happy boutique owners, and a clutch of very elegant older ladies.

Ultimately, this isn’t an address to rush across town for, but rather a swell spot for anyone on the Left Bank who wants a good, cheerful, relaxed meal.

La Laiterie , 64 rue de Bellechasse, 7th, 01-45-51-74-61. Mo Solferino.

  • Sam Carter

    Thanks, Alexander. We went to La Laiterie last night and it was just perfect for a simple, tasty, low-key meal, exactly as you’d described. We’re very much enjoying your restaurant blog–please keep it up!