It’s always a pleasure to return to a restaurant you loved decades ago and find it virtually unchanged. And maybe even better than you remember. That’s Chez Georges, the dream bistro just off the Place des Victoires. I am not sure, but it may be the first true bistro I dined in back in the 1970s. What I do know is that the menu remains unchanged, the quality is there, and especially the hustle bustle of the dining room. Well-coiffed waitresses seem to skate through the aisles of this long, narrow dining room with its mirrored walls and Gothic columns, effortlessly delivering giant bowls of herring; searingly hot, garlic-scented snails; bowls overflowing with curly frisé greens, rich chunks of bacon, and each adorned with a perfect poached egg. Everywhere there’s a feeling of abundance and generosity and the sound of good times. The crowd is young, French, chic, and the ochre-toned dining room easily takes you back in time. I loved the moist, parsley-rich jambon persillé; the generous portion of tiny wild girolle mushrooms; the perfectly grilled sole; and the moist and meaty steack de canard, paired with a mix of wild mushrooms. Desserts of profiteroles, tarte Tatin and millefeuille were just right. My only regret is that they were out of their tarte au citron by the time I placed my order. For a bistro, the wine list is extensive. There are plenty of bargain wines at 29€ a bottle (the fruity red Côte Roannaise is an ideal bistro wine), and this is one restaurant that still offers wine “by the meter” charging. You only pay for what you have consumed from the bottle. Some good-value wines here include Alain Graillot’s Crozes Hermitage; Olivier Leflaive’s white Montagny; and Dagueneau Pouilly-Fumé.
CHEZ GEORGE | 1 rue de Mail | Paris 2 | Tel: +33 1 42 60 07 11 | Métro: Bourse/Sentier | Open Monday – Friday, closed Saturday and Sunday | À la carte 40-70€ beverages | Reservations recommended