What: Basque and traditional French food
Where: 30 rue des Cinq Diamants, 13eme (and 5 other locations around Paris)
When: Mon to Sun, 12-3pm, 7-11:45pm
How much: Between 20-40€ per person for a modest meal, including wine, with the potential to be more extravagant if the wallet allows.
One of the things pretty much all visitors to the City of Lights want to experience is a real, genuine Parisian dining experience, with great food and an authentic atmosphere somewhat removed from the hustle and bustle of tourist-packed hotspots. This can be found at Chez Gladines.
Located on one of the most vibrant and hip streets in the 13eme, Chez Gladines is a word-of-mouth kind of place that locals and visitors in the know alike flock to every evening. Crowding together inside along little tables, or waiting patiently outside for their name to be called as a table clears, the vibe at Chez Gladines has a natural buzz and is very welcoming. You could quite easily be seated shoulder to shoulder with a local, a business person or an in-the-know tourist, and pleasant small-talk amongst nearby diners is an added bonus here. The restaurant is quite sizable, and despite the often large crowd of people waiting outside for their table, the turnover is relatively fast. The service is excellent and relatively quick considering the food is freshly cooked and the restaurant often heaving; the staff are highly attentive and friendly, and incredibly accommodating.
The menu at Chez Gladines is fairly extensive, and is surprisingly very reasonably priced, with both lower and upper cost dishes on the menu. It features a good selection of charcuterie plates, including pate, ham and chorizo (6.5€ each, pictured above in header), and three flavours of escargots (9.5€ for 12); I love them served with Roquefort cheese, which are delicious and a delightful change from the oft-served garlic and herbs variety. They also have more expensive choices such as foies gras (34€), which will up your bill substantially but come highly recommended. Each table is served with a large bowl of fresh bread and water, both of which are refreshed within moments if they happen to run out, throughout the meal.
The main dishes are outstanding; the salads are amongst the best the city has to offer and are very hearty and filling. After attempting most of the range, my personal fave is without a doubt the Salade Saint Germain (pictured above), and these come in at around 9-11€. Chez Gladines features a range of Basque specialities, such as Poulet Basquaise (pictured below – so delicious we tucked in before remembering to take a picture) and Pipérade, all between about 11-14€, and their other specials range. Of this I can assure you that the Confit de Canard and the Escalope Montagnarde are to die for!! These dishes come in at around 16€ each, and are very large, tasty and filling, especially the latter, which is served with these little crispy potatoes and a thick sauce that begs for bread to be dipped into it.
The desserts are cracking at 5€ pop, with little dishes like Crème Caramel, Gâteau Basque and Mousse au Chocolate (pictured below – melts in the mouth and is really light and tasty), and a selection of cheeses for a similar price, or 11.5€ for a complete plate. There is an astoundingly good range of wines, beers and other beverages to complement every course, and again these are very reasonably priced; you can get a great 25CL pichet for around 6-7€, or a decent bottle for under 20€. The waiting staff will happily make recommendations for food and drinks if you are struggling to decide. After your meal, be sure to wander around the local neighbourhood to soak up the atmosphere and check out the hip local street art, courtesy of Misstic. You’ll feel like a native in no time, that’s a guarantee!