Caves Saint Gilles

After a 5 year absence I’ve recently moved back to the “Marais” whose traditional core is Paris’ historic Jewish Quarter. It now extends to the Haut-Marais, rue de Bretagne and the area north of he rue des Francs-Bourgeois.

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August 2013

After a 5 year absence I’ve recently moved back to the “Marais” whose traditional core is Paris’ historic Jewish Quarter. It now extends to the Haut-Marais, rue de Bretagne and the area north of he rue des Francs-Bourgeois.

I’ve found myself habitually settling in for a pre-dinner glass of vino tinto and herbed olives at the Caves Saint-Gilles around the corner from my apartment so it was time to revisit the menu. I’m happy to report that nothing has changed.

It was another oppressively hot evening in a record-setting heat wave and at eight PM there was just enough air movement to make our sidewalk table bearable. M had just returned from Cuba and started with a mojito while I channeled my Mexican roots with a margarita.

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For starters M selected Empanadillas de Bonito y Pollo and I went for the pimientos rillenos drowning in a good olive oil. An uncomplicated sangre de toro was an acceptable quaff.

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M’s plat du jour of pulpe and sliced potatoes drenched in olive oil were quite light and refreshing although the baguette that sopped up the juices may have added a few grams the calorie count.

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My fritos de Pescado a la Malagueña brought the sea rushing to my brain:  shrimp, gambas, calamari, bonita and sardines grilled to a crisp crunch.

Le Cave draws lively crowd attracted by good food and the multi-cultural vibe you would expect from a resto owned by a French-born son of a Croatian father (who provided and installed the tiles that adorn the walls) and a Spanish mother.

Situated the rue des Tournelles I passed by the Caves daily when living in the hood but I hadn’t eaten there with the exception of a few before or after dinner glasses of wine with olives.

It was the night of a huge Obama victory celebration as we Americans were able to once again proudly patrol Paris’ streets and be embraced by our fellow Parisians. I had met the IMC (Intercultural Marketing Consultant) at the party and she was joining Dr. PP and me for dinner. Chez Janou, across the street was packed so we headed towards the Caves Saint Gilles and squeezed into the last available table.

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We skipped the tapas and ordered a bottle of cheap (16 euros) red vino de la casa to whet our appetites for grilled sardines, gambas bathed in olive oil and grilled with potatoes-the shells are succulent and crunchy-for madame et moi and paella for the good doctor. Halfway through the meal the IMC’s 19 year-old daughter joined us for paella and another ½ bottle of red.

By the end of the meal the two French couples at our right who had admonished us, for being too loud when we sat down, were boisterously joining us in bonhomie.

The second visit was a spontaneous celebration of the IMC’s landing of a new client. It was a cold, dank night and I’d been talking to the chef about sopa del pescador, a Spanish version of soup de pecheur redolent of garlic and the Mediterranean. We preceded it with a tortilla (not that staple of Tex-Mex cooking) but an omelet filled with onions and potatoes and grilled calamari. We drank the house red and were comped a delicious green apple digestif.

Caves Saint Gilles is good time that won’t dent your wallet.

Caves Saint Gilles
4 rue Saint Gilles,  75003
Metro: Chemin Vert

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