Paris Prix Fixe: Tannat, A Hot Spot In The 11th For Lunch
I am somewhat obsessed with lunch at restaurants for a number of reasons. First of all the kids are at school or day care, so it’s the perfect opportunity for an afternoon date with your love, catch-up time with a friend, or a work meeting. No babysitting fees.
Secondly, lunch is a wonderful and interesting way to sample some of Paris’s best restaurants on the cheap. Same food same chef. Not only cheaper, easier to get a reservation, and you even get to walk some of it off on the way back to pick up the kids from school or on the way back to work…so can we say healthier? Maybe not. But you get where I am going? In this ongoing series, Paris Prix Fixe, we will share the best lunch spots around the city that have attractive (cheap) prices, beautiful spaces, and damn good midday fare.
First up in this series is Tannat, the baby of Ariane Stern and Simon Auscher, former catering school classmates turned business partners. After catering school Stern worked in marketing at the Shangri-La and Auscher as a manager at the Shangri-La in Hong Kong. In their respective corners of the world working at gastro restaurants they both started to grow frustrated with the formalities of fine dining although they appreciated the food and love of ingredients. Stern contacted Auscher and they decided to make good on a catering school promise to open a joint together. They wanted to created a beautiful space where they could ditch the stuffy and expensive environment and be themselves. They wanted to create something more affordable and approachable yet still maintain the level of food and service often associated with fine dining. In the Spring of 2015, they opened Tannat in the 11th.
Tannat gets its name from a red wine grape in the South of France, and yes the word is a palindrome. It inspires the restaurant in perfect yet simple ways. The restaurant is a rather small intimate space with mirrors lining the walls and parts of the ceiling giving the illusion of space and reflection, a pretty palindromic effect. There is a also a geometric vibe with circular stools lining the circular bar in the center and squared chairs and benches lining the restaurant walls. The wine list is extensive, reflecting their interest in wine, but unpretentious. When you order a house glass they brings over three or four different bottles and explain them to you and let you choose. (If you are a regular, they usually remember your preference.)
Lunch prix fixe is €15 for entree, plat, or €20 for entree, plat, and dessert. The prix fixe menu changes daily and if you aren’t a super picky eater you will be very pleased with what they offer. (And if you aren’t, there are many wonderful choices à la carte.) Recently I enjoyed a beautiful endive salad with chorizo, goat cheese, and dates, and a confit de canard with polenta, buckwheat, brussel sprouts, and purple broccoli. When it came time for dessert we took the prix fixe option which was a caramelized banana with coconut shortbread, chantilly and banana sauce, and two others from the full menu: a deconstructed kiwi pavlova, with lime avocado and coriander whipped cream, and a flaky brioche puff with apple tatin, vanilla ice cream and sour cream with thyme blossoms.
Whether you live in Paris or visiting, Tannat has everything you could ask for in a restaurant: wonderful flavorful food beautifully plated, good portions, good wine, good vibes, a friendly staff who obviously love their job (yes, this is important to add in a city that doesn’t get high marks for customer service), well lit, beautifully decorated, great price points, and sooo Instagramable. Ha! (Good luck annoying your lunch mates while you photograph everything that lands on the table, the flowers, and a million mirror selfies.)
So while it’s my first and so far number-one pick for lunch, I find myself often returning for dinner. Et vous? What are your favorite lunch prix fixe spots? Share your own #mannafromparis below in the comments?
119 Avenue Parmentier
09 53 86 38 61
Tannat on Instagram: @tannatrestaurant
Open: Monday – Friday 12:15 -2:30 PM; 7:30 – 10:30 PM
Lunch Prix Fixe: 15€ entree-plat; 20€ entree-plat-dessert