Restaurant Review: La Rôtisserie d’Argent

Restaurant Review: La Rôtisserie d’Argent

Across the street from the mothership – La Tour d’Argent – in the Latin Quarter, this Seine-side brasserie has always been a cheerful and pleasant place for a meal. Acquired in 1989 by the late Claude Terrail, the legendary playboy charmer and owner of La Tour d’Argent, it fast became a local institution and has been a hit with tourists ever since.

Usefully, it’s also open seven days a week and on holidays, too. I hadn’t been there for a while, but when friends started cooing about the new chef, Jean-Philippe Tuccillo, I booked for dinner with another anglophone in Paris, a lovely food-loving woman from the American Deep South, who’s lived in Paris even longer than I have.

She always appreciatively describes this place as being old-school, by which I think she means profoundly French, with brisk, precise service and warm hospitality. The décor of red-checked table cloths and red moleskin upholstered banquettes with brass rails also speaks of the sort eternal vision of Paris favoured by filmmakers such as Woody Allen and teeth-gnashing television series like Emily in Paris.

Quenelle de brochet © Rôtisserie de la Tour d’Argent

Once seated, one of the first things I noticed on the menu is that they still serve pots, thick-bottomed 50cl glass flagons, of two reds, a white and a rosé wine, for a very reasonable price – €20 for the very pleasant Côtes de Blaye I’ve been drinking here for years. These friendly wine prices ensure that this rôtisserie remains a local favourite, preventing it from becoming a tourist table with a wilted ambience.

Given its location and the quality of the produce used by the kitchen, it is actually good value for money across the board, since half a rôtisserie chicken with potato purée runs to a reasonable €28.

“How lovely to have some good old-fashioned French food without a chef who’s trying to prove he’s Albert Einstein,” my friend said when she looked up from the menu. Well, Chef Tuccillo may not be Einstein but he’s an excellent cook, as I discovered when my oeuf en meurette came to the table.

For anyone who’s not as obsessed by this Burgundian classic as I am, it’s a coddled egg in a reduced sauce of red wine, mushrooms, onions and bacon. This latter potion serves as an umami thunder bolt in relation to the innocence of the egg in such a way that I always think this preparation might be subtitled ‘the sacred and the profane’. In any event, Tuccillo’s version was unctuously and viniferously excellent, as were the pillowy quenelles de brochet (pike perch dumpling) in a sauce rich with cream, mushrooms and chestnuts that my friend had.

Leaving the chicken to my companion – since she lives alone and doesn’t cook, roast chicken is a treat she seeks out in restaurants – I had the navarin (stew) of Limousin lamb with carrots and tiny, meaty, mauve-coloured Taggiasche olives. Ruddier than the printanière (vegetable-rich springtime version) I often cook at home around Easter, it was a richly-flavoured concoction with a jaunty Mediterranean personality that met our Côtes de Blaye perfectly. “This bird is always so juicy,” said my friend, “and the purée is heavenly.”

Since portions here are generous, we dithered over which dessert we’d split and settled eventually on the beautifully made crème caramel (the chocolate mousse is also excellent), a perfectly Gallic conclusion to a wonderfully old-school French meal.

19 Quai de la Tournelle, 5th arrondissement, Paris.

Tel. (33) 01 43 54 17 47,

Average à la carte €55.

From France Today Magazine

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Lead photo credit : The dining room at La Rôtisserie d'Argent © La Rôtisserie d'Argent

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Alexander Lobrano grew up in Connecticut, and lived in Boston, New York and London before moving to Paris, his home today, in 1986. He was European Correspondent for Gourmet magazine from 1999 until its closing, and has written about food and travel for Saveur, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, Travel & Leisure, Departures, Conde Nast Traveler, and many other publications in the United States and the United Kingdom. He is the author of HUNGRY FOR PARIS, 2nd Edition (Random House, 4/2014), HUNGRY FOR FRANCE (Rizzoli, 4/2014), and MY PLACE AT THE TABLE, newly published in June 2021.

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  •  Pedro Ramirez
    2023-08-30 04:43:38
    Pedro Ramirez
    Great articles, I have eaten at la tour d’argent, next time I’ll visit Paris I’ll visit the rotisserie d’argent


  • Ingeborg Lazar
    2023-07-19 11:19:39
    Ingeborg Lazar
    Love your articles, merci!!!