The best snails I’ve ever had were eaten here, and I love me some snails.
This went slightly against our rule of ‘picking somewhere and walking around to get to know the place better’ but you will understand why we picked this place in three hops of a kangaroo.
Everyone needs to eat at Quai 21, whether you are visiting Paris for the first time, or live just round the corner. It’s just perfect if you want to eat somewhere central but calm, don’t feel like spending loads of money but you still want very good wine and honest to goodness quality French food.
One of my favourite humans in the entire world, whom I met day one of university, not only came to visit, but she brought her partner in crime with her too. They both were visiting Paris for the first time since they were wee bairns, and as this would be their first meal after arriving in Paree after a very long coach ride from the UK, I honestly couldn’t think of anywhere more perfect than this place.
Quai 21 refers to itself as a ‘Tapas Restaurant’, which is true if you remove any association the word ‘tapas’ has with Spanish food, and think of it purely as ‘small (pretty healthy) portions of yumminess’. It’s just left along the seine from Fontaine de Saint Michel, which is so super easy to get to, and makes for a really nice walk after dinner.
They do a very tasty and original selection of tartines which have names associated with their primary ingredient par exemple: ‘Le Nordique’, which Dani chose which consisted of fresh smoked salmon, dill and a cheese which I quiiiiite can’t remember, I think it was emmental either way she loved it and Loums had ‘L’Auvergne’ which was bleu d’Auvergne with poitmarron pumpkin purée and walnuts. Steve had the magret de canard with pommes de terre dauphinoise, and I did the same thing as the first time we went which was take two starters because dayum they’re filling, the first of which was the oeufs coquettes with teeny fillets of magret de canard and champignons, and we all had snails.
The thing about snails is that they don’t really taste of anything, what makes them mind-blowingly amazing is the sauce in which they’re cooked, which you’re unlikely to find anywhere but with snails. Usually, the sauce is butter, parsley and garlic, whisked into a frenzy before being poured into the cooked snails. These were different, these had parsley, a smidge of basil and smoked paprika as well as the garlic and butter and jeeez they were amazing. Dani and Steve who were trying them for the first time did not need any persuasion to finish the lot.
The wine there really is great (get any red!) and very reasonably priced (hooray for living in the country where this delicious stuff is made). We didn’t take a desert as we were all fllup, but we carried on talking, examined the 60s psychedelic cross-sections of submarines and bikes hanging from the ceiling said ‘au revoir’ to the staff. We slowly walked along the seine to Invalides, talking and hugging lots until they caught a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower sparkling away for the first time and then headed home.