Every time I’ve strolled past Le Café Zephyr, it’s jam-packed inside and out. A seat on its busy sidewalk terrace or covered patio offer a glimpse into everyday Parisian life. Folks scurry past carrying baskets from the market or bags from the trendy shops nearby. Families, couples, singles, everyone seems to end up here for a drink or a meal. Enter through one of the doorways, and you’ll be quickly greeted with a ‘bonjour’ and ushered to a table. Le Café Zephyr is a typical French brasserie with good food and service.
Location: 12 Blvd. Montmartre, Paris, France. There are two entrances—one streetside, the second is a few steps inside the historic Passage Jouffroy.
Menu: Of course you’ll find omelets (it wouldn’t be France without them), an ample selection of homemade soups and the mandatory Croque Monsieur and Madame. Plates of pasta and gnocchi are mouthwatering and will make you believe you’re in Italy.
For the sophisticated palette, try beef tartare. All specialties are from the Auvergne region.
Thoughts: The decor is old school colonial with a French twist. Inside you’ll be seated on comfy rattan chairs, outside the traditional bistro chair. Vintage prints line the walls, the antique billiard table employed by a young couple commanded the attention of a mixed crowd, young and ‘mature’ patrons. The place has a friendly vibe. There’s even a resident cat, Swiffer, made famous by the book, Parisian Cats by Olivia Snaije. We didn’t see him, but Clement, the manager, shared, “He is one of the most beautiful cats in all of the restaurants in Paris.”
They host a lively ‘happy hour,’ and we initially stopped in for a drink and nibbles but, the wafting aromas got the best of us. We stayed for a delightful dinner.
I selected one of the specialties—Salers sirloin steak with Truffade and Bearnaise sauce. To say it was delectable is an understatement. Salers is a French breed of cattle found in the Auvergne. Seasoned perfectly, and cooked to medium (which in France is medium rare) it was perfection on a plate. The Bearnaise sauce was deliciously creamy, the herbs not overpowering. The sauce was an ideal accompaniment for the steak.
Truffade, a house specialty is made from cut, baked potatoes; when almost done, the chef adds garlic and Cantal Tomme cheese. It was worth every calorie. I’ve eaten it on previous visits but forgot how delicious it is.
My husband ordered Tagliatelle Carbonara; it was rich, creamy and al dente. Stuffed by the end of our meal, there was no room for dessert. We’ll leave that for another visit.
Our total with drinks and TVA came to €58.
Price Range: Omelets average €7, soups €6. The classic Croque Monsieur is €8 and Madame €9. Beef tartare and gnocchi with mesclun salad, a reasonable €14. Salers steak with Truffade is €19, and the Tagliatelle Carbonara will set you back €12. The average glass of wine is €5, a pint of beer €8. Cocktails including Mojitos, Tequila Sunrise, and Margaritas are €10.
As empty nesters, she and her husband plan to divide time between Mexico and France.
Barb's articles have appeared in a variety of print and online publications including The Good Life France Magazine, International Living, Great Escape Publishing, and more. She's a member of ITWA. Visit her blog at chasingthenextchapter.com
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