Sundays in Paris post a challenge as a lot of restaurants close but when you take that %, and then reduce it materially for the August effect, you are left with very few possibilities. We went to the The Marais and joined most of the tourists who head to that neighborhood on Sundays, as it is the only area where stores are open. We didn’t go there for the shops, (at least that is what I told Stewart), and went to check the recently remodelled Picasso Museum.
The museum was a disappointment as two of the floors were closed as they prepare to move things around for an anniversary exhibit opening in October. After some culture, we attempted to go to Breizh for crepes, but they were obviously closed. The next option was Miznon, which was recommended to us by my sister’s food obsessed friend. He cautioned us of how crazy the place is with a lot of yelling from the kitchen but we were in an adventurous mood. Plus, Palomar, one of my favourite spots in London, also involves crazy Israelis yelling in the kitchen, so we were game for it. When we first walked in, there was utter chaos and a line at the back. We walked out and wondered aimlessly around the area trying to find another options. We tried my favourite bistro, Le Colimaçon, but it was closed for holidays.
I started getting frustrated and to the point I was probably just heading for an ice cream instead of fighting lines, but then we decided to head back to Miznon and try to understand how it all worked. The line happened to be for their back room where they have more tables. The front of the restaurant has the counter around the open kitchen and a cute window table that we happened to snap up as we walked back at the perfect time just as another couple was vacating it.
All orders are taken by the counter based on the dishes written in colourful chalk on a blackboard. You then sit and wait for your name to be called while eating pita with tahini, a tomato dip, or a spicy oil with chilies you can help yourself to – free for customers to nibble on. The only issue with the system is that if you want more food or want to order additional beverages (Stewart’s red wine glass evaporated in 30 seconds), you must get back in line which is a huge hassle.
We had a delicious meal and found the Best Restaurant in the Marais: Miznon Paris! To be fair, others are good too and we couldn’t try Breizh as it was closed. Interesting how this simple meal made us significantly happier than our dinner at Le Chateaubriand where we had a very disappointing meal the prior evening.
What we ate:
Stuffed pita with lamb: mouth-watering lamb kebab in a warm and tasty pita with herbs. Juicy minced lamb turned into little kofta mixed with some more tahini.
Stuffed pitta with “steak a la minute”: thinly sliced beef with chopped tomatoes and more herbs.
Dreamy cauliflower: we wanted to order their grilled broccoli but they had run out so we settled on the cauliflower. It was the best grilled cauliflower ever, and when I asked Stewart why the one we make at home never tastes as good, he pointed to the glistening paper it was served in, from all the olive oil coating the florets. It was juicy, flavourful and delicious.
Stuffed pita with chocolate and banana: I didn’t know what to expect when I ordered their chocolate and banana tarte tatin and should have suspected that instead of filo pastry we would get bananas and chocolate in a pita. It was too sweet for me. I just had a bite and Stewart finished it off for me. It was a nice day out and we wondered down to Île Saint-Louis for some Berthillon ice cream (which is totally overrated).
In sum: breathe in and don’t get scared by the chaos, it is worth it for the food! Miznon is the Paris branch of a restaurant in Tel Aviv. My friend David Cohen who lives in NY said the pita with Beef Bourguignon is amazing and I must try that next time! And regarding the score, we went on a Sunday and it was very buzy which made it chaotic. But it is a cute space and I imagine better to visit in off-peak times.
Ps: I also love Le Colimaçon in the Marais for a proper sit-down lunch without the chaos. I had a great meal there last September with classic and very well executed dishes. My favourite was their “eat the entire thing” escargot which meant that they replicated the shell with pastry so you could pop the entire thing in your mouth. It was delicious. We tried to go to Le Colimaçon this trip but sadly, it was closed for August.