Au grain de folie

Paris, France


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Had two meals there last week......really interesting flavor combinations......worth the effort to hunt this place down. The owner is the cook and waitress, so service is slow but worth the wait. Its fresh and tastes wonderful......don't pass up on the crumble for afters! Menu is short with options on variations, the owner is open to suggestions so enter into dialogue.

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Not for folks in a hurry, but a great little find just a few blocks down the hill from Sacre Couer. Good choices, lots of tasty options, and good value. Very small and laid back, but if you are in the area, worth a visit. There are limited options in Paris in terms of veg restaurants (not surprising I suppose) so enjoy the ones you find.

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This is a nice little find after ambling around and climbing the hills of Montmartre. If you are in a hurry, continue on... But! if you have the time to soak up the ambience, check in with the proprietress and sit tight with your patience. We did have to wait outside the door until she was ready, but it was well worth it. If you are antsy the curvy streets nearby are filled with interesting boutiques to soak up your wait time.

The menu is a bit limited and everything might not be available, but what she prepared was pretty darn fresh. Everything is in season - take note by the farmers market fare all around her kitchen. The seating is tight! but cozy and intimate. The wine list was fantastic and she advises in detail her thoughts and suggestions (she does speak English, and does not make you feel badly if you need her to). She has a great selection of medicinal teas. The seitan and vegetable tart were super yummy. The apple crumble (a must for vegans) was my fave - straight out of the oven hot!

The experience was that of eating a home-cooked meal in your grandmother's kitchen. The decor is eclectic and the postings on the wall clue you in that this is a local spot. So, don't expect fancy, but do expect good clean fresh vegan cuisine in typically relaxed Parisian fashion. Also note there is a tiny bathroom in the back - tiny and "Parisian" in its own right. It did get busy and if you are able to plan-and call-ahead, that is probably best as the proprietress does the serving AND the cooking.

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If I could recommend only one veg restaurant in Paris, this would be it. When I lived in Villennes (half hour west of Paris), I went here nearly every weekend -- for my stomach and my soul. Marie-Cécile, the incredibly warm proprietress, is the only constant person there (though there is sometimes someone else helping out in addition to or instead of her). She speaks great English, but won't force you to if you'd rather speak French (immediately wins points from me, esp. in Paris). The whole experience is rather like eating in someone's kitchen, in the best possible way.

The place is a hole in the wall, bursting with character but with very limited seating, and will often change hours depending on the season or lack of food or lack of people. ALWAYS call before going if you are intent on eating there -- it's sometimes closed when it's scheduled to be open (often closed on Mondays and Sunday night), and sometimes open when it's scheduled to be closed (the hours on the door are generally not-quite-correct). Weekend nights (and sometimes weekday nights) can get crowded, but there is a marvelous ambiance and conviviality that's often at its best at these times. Call ahead and you'll rarely have a problem.

The menu is strangely laid out; do your best and/or ask questions. There are sometimes salads (never all the ones listed), often hummus, and always a vegan plate and a vegetarian plate. (This is the extent of the non-dessert food, although sometimes there is soup or homemade seitan or some other special; they are a small place and prefer to do fewer things better.) The two plates are largely the same, with a few differences. They consist of a bunch of little piles of different things -- some raw, some cooked, maybe a vegetable tart -- and something on bread (goat cheese or vegetable pâté), though the exact composition depends on the season and whims. It is some of the most satisfying and nourishing food I've ever had (I LOVE having lots of different things, for one), and she puts some kind of magic salt on it that is stellar.

I highly recommend the apple crumble, too, especially if it's fresh or warmed up -- it is vegan, it does not taste like punishment for eating/being vegan, and it's fantastic. Other desserts make appearances, but the crumble is the most constant.

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A cosy little restaurant in Montmartre. The cook and the waiter are nice young people. Simple but delicious food.

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