This fun and funky corner café in the center of the Marais is a perennial favorite. I’d go just for platters of their delicate, silken house-smoked salmon, served up with a tangle of greens and tangy dressing for dipping. Chef-owner Pierre Lecoutre is a master at the stove, and diners can watch him perform in his tiny, open kitchen, shifting copper pots, stirring and searing, offering up gorgeous, giant entrecôte (beef rib steak), frying up deliciously crisp and golden French fries, roasting Basque pork topped with the famed smoked garlic from Arleux in the north of France. On my last visit we adored the Parmentier de pintade fermière, a winning hachis parmenter of minced farm-raised guinea hen topped with soothing mashed potatoes (photo). Café des Musées also offers briny Brittany oysters from Paimpol in season. The wine list and “medicaments du jour” (daily medicine) measure up to the cuisine, with a crisp and tart Champagne Drappier Zéro Dosage (meaning no sweet wine is added before bottling), and a spicy, mineral-rich Chardonnay, the Viré Clessé Quintaine from Domaine de la Bongran 2004. A good place to know anytime, but especially when visiting the Picasso and Carnavalet museums nearby.
CAFÉ DES MUSÉES, 49 rue de Turenne, Paris 3. Tel: +33 1 42 72 96 17. Métro: Chemin Vert or Saint-Paul. Open daily. Breakfast 8am-noon (weekends 10:30 am-noon); lunch noon-3pm; dinner 7 pm-11 pm.Email email@example.com.
Lunch: 13€ menu. A la carte, 40€.
Dinner: 22€ menu. A la carte 40€