It would be an absolute injustice to visit Paris and not indulge in at least one nice dinner. At the same time, for our travels through Europe, we didn’t want to throw our budget to the wind. As it turns out, one of the better budget-minded (relatively speaking) foodie neighborhoods in Paris is the Latin Quarter, known for its traditionally Latin-speaking students. Even students want to eat well.
So, as I did with Pannekoekenhuis Upstairs in Amsterdam, I turned to the powers of the Internet for a recommendation. That’s how we found La Jacobine, tucked away in a hidden corridor down a narrow street. The seating was cozy, to say the least, and we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table, but I’d say it was worth it.
As appears to be the standard in Paris, you can order a la carte or the more preferable choice is to go with a two or three-course menu for a slight discount. Remember that in France, an entree is an appetizer. What we could call an entree is called a plat principale (or simply plat for short). Both Susanne and I opted for a two-course dinner, skipping dessert.
It is customary to have wine with just about every meal here. Since I am anything but a wine connoisseur, I asked our server for a recommendation and this is what he presented. In France, wines are listed by region (Burgundy, Bordeaux, etc.) rather than by grape (pinot noir, chardonnay, etc.), which made my selection process even more confusing. This was a good choice.
For Susanne’s starter, she went with the escargot. It came swimming in garlic butter, as expected. Unlike the de-shelled version we normally get in North America, escargot in France is typically served in the shell. And it was wonderfully rich and delicious. They don’t skimp on butter here.
Michael? Choosing salad? Say it ain’t so! To be fair, this starter salad comes topped with a healthy amount of goose gizzard. It was cooked to a medium-rare, offering a more “meat-like” texture and consistency than the crunchiness or crispiness that I usually get with duck gizzard. Soaking the complimentary bread in the excess balsamic was an added joy.
We’ve had tagine before in places like Chambar Restaurant in Vancouver, but I don’t think we’ve had duck tagine. The almonds didn’t add much in terms of flavor, but the texture was good. The figs were great too. That’s one big duck leg! Who said European portions are small?
I went with a French classic: Coq au vin. The chicken is braised in a red wine sauce that nearly had the consistency of a gravy. Again, we were treated to a lot of meat here and it was deliciously moist and flavorful. The herby potatoes were quite the treat as well.
All said, dinner for two with the wine came to 72 Euro (about $100 Canadian). That’s quite reasonable for the quality and area and, unlike most dinners in Paris, this one didn’t take three hours. Service was attentive (the waiter spoke perfect English, which helped), food came quickly, and we left thoroughly satisfied. If you happen to be in the 6th arrondissement in Paris, be sure to give La Jacobine a look.
La Jacobine is located at 59, rue Saint-Andre-des-Arts, 75006 Paris, France.