The last few times I’ve had an off-the-cuff meal in the Latin Quarter, I’ve invariably ended up somewhere ethnic, so it was a pleasure to discover a very good modern French bistrot just off the Place Monge—I’d actually started to wonder if there was any good French cooking left in this part of town. After my excellent dinner at Lilane, in a handsome contemporary dining room with low lighting and well-spaced tables, I’m glad to report that Gallic gastronomy survives in one of the city’s prettiest and most historic neighborhoods. I liked the place right off the bat, because of the warm welcome, but the service also conveyed a very encouraging seriousness. Chef Stéphane Guilçou, who worked at the Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower before opening here, really delivered, too. Langoustine-stuffed ravioli were nearly perfect, and so was the homemade foie gras, wrapped in grilled bacon and served with a coulis of dried fruit. A beautifully cooked mignon de veau (veal filet mignon) was well matched with steamed broccoli florets and a tasty olive-oil-spiked broccoli purée, and a terrific dish of boned confit de canard came with an earthy sauce and mashed potatoes. The warm chocolate tart with pistachio ice cream was a perfect finish, and the house wines are just fine too.
8 rue Gracieuse, 5th, 01.45.87.90.68, Métro: Place Monge. Lunch menus €16 and €20; dinner menu €32, à la carte €35. Prices are per person without wine.
Originally published in the June 2010 issue of France Today
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