Close enough to Montmartre to guarantee charming stroll options for before and after dinner, but just enough off the beaten track to avoid feeling like, or surrounded by, tourists, you'll find Le Grand 8.
I love a restaurant whose wine list leads with the winemakers, their names in bold print followed by the details such as appellation and année. So I swooned at Le Grand 8's wine menu which featured all star natural wine makers including Thierry Puzelat, Belluard, and a recent favorite, Noëlla Morantin.
I wasn't surprised at such a list, though. While visiting his vineyard in the Loire, Christophe Foucher, winemaker at La Lunotte, recommended that we check out this restaurant once we got back to Paris and I had a feeling we would be in for a wine treat once we went.
It took us awhile to follow up on Christophe's advice (the restaurant's sporadic operating hours didn't help), but we finally made it to Le Grand 8, looking for a hot meal on one of Paris' recent frigid evenings.
We tucked into a typically tiny Parisian table and had so much fun picking the wine that we forgot about the food. Settling on a bottle of Morantin's Gamay-based "Mon Cher", we switched our attention to the entrées (9€), plats (19€) and deserts (7€).
While the food had initially been overshadowed by the wine, further inspection revealed that it all sounded rather appetizing. We decided to take advantage of the entrée-plat menu (25 €).
My monsieur started his meal with a split pea and oignons confits soup accompanied with smoked bacon- a perfect remedy to a cold winter's day that inspired me to make my own split pea soup later that week.
My plat was scallops served with a mushroom risotto, simply prepared and reasonably fresh. Le Grand 8 is one of the few French restaurants I've seen with salt & pepper on the table. This small detail seems to reveal a certain ethos and lack of pretension at this restaurant, where the wine draws you in and the food warms you up.
Le Grand 8, 8 rue Lamarck 75018
Hours: Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat- open for dinner; Sunday open for lunch and dinner
(reservations are recommended, as is calling in advance to make sure they are open as operating hours seem to change)