La Cantine des Tontons

La Cantine des Tontons

Anyone who likes good food for very fair prices should be grateful that amiable Burgundian Jean-Guillaume Dufour decided to throw over a career as a lawyer at GE Capital and become a restaurateur. “I love old-fashioned French food, wine, being at the table with friends—I’m a real Burgundian,” says Dufour, a native of Dijon, by way of explaining La Cantine des Tontons, a charming little restaurant in a far-flung corner of the 15th arrondissement. After his first two Tontons in the 14th and 15th, both cozy bistrots specializing in different types of tartare—usually raw, chopped meat or fish—Dufour’s latest is La Cantine des Tontons (a child’s word for uncle), with bare wood floors, soft lighting, a terrific array of flea market finds, and two sideboard buffets where patrons—who sit at the bistrot’s long, communal table d’hôtes—serve themselves: tasty, good-quality, made-on-the-premises dishes that include soup, an excellent terrine de campagne and a lot of cold salads to start; a choice between two main courses (rabbit in mustard cream sauce or veal shanks braised with shallots on my recent visit); and then a selection of cheeses and/or desserts. If the €21 prix-fixe menu is a terrific buy, the real measure of Dufour’s hospitality might be the very good selection of wines offered at very modest prices—prices begin at €14, and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a Morgon for €22.

36 rue de Dantzig, 15th,, Métro: Convention. Fixed-price three-course menu €21 per person without wine

Originally published in the April 2010 issue of France Today

Alexander Lobrano’s book Hungry for Paris is published by Random House. Find Hungry for Paris and more in our bookstore.

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