Destinations Magazine

L'Atelier Vivanda in the 16th: A Meat and Potatoes Winner by Akrame Benallal.

By Johntalbott

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6.8 L'Atelier Vivanda, 18 rue Lauriston in the 16th,, closed weekends, has been open about a month and for some strange reason the Big Boys (except Philippe Toinard) seem to have missed the boat because it's a great meat and potatoes place especially for 35 E with wines starting at 20 E.

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The kitchen is bright shiny clean metal, half-open, half-semi-closed, the waitfolk have leather butchers' aprons and they bring over some Iberic ham right off the bat so you know they mean serious meat business and we had sticker shock at the nice prices of the wines - ours was a terrific Elian Da Rosa Cotes du Marmadais.

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The menu has three starters, six mains, five different kinds of potato and three desserts.

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The ladies all had the green bean salad which I thought was very nice and the guys had strips of marinated mackerel with confited tomato bits which we thought were great.

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Then there was an expected introduction of very fine green salads for all of us.

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The ladies then repeated their similar ordering with cotes of pork, M. had l'amburger their style and I had the heart of entrecote under-cooked to my perfection.  We each had potatoes a different way (ala Vivanda - halved with high heat and duck fat, Dauphinois, sauteed, Dauphine and Darphin) bent on testing them head to head, but wouldn't you know they were all good.

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We had for dessert the tarte tatin and creme brulee, which again it was hard to discern which was better.

Our bill for five, with two bottles of wine, one of their own sparkling water and three coffees was 224 E, thus 89.60 E a couple.

Go?  M. Benallal dropped by our table at some point and explained that all he was trying  to do was serve simple, good food.  Boy has he succeeded but it's hardly simple, but plenty good.  Only 20 seats so reserve.

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