I stumbled across Le Dôme du Marais in the north Marais district one afternoon in December and was drawn in by the restaurant's font outside. This happens often. I'm a sucker for a well-designed venue and it looked like a considered font, which often means the interiors are carefully thought out and attention has been paid to design too, so fingers crossed, one assumes the menu as well. Working in this backwards way, food sometimes disappoints and restaurants can be style over substance, but Le Dôme doesn't - the cuisine tastes as good as the place looks; I went four times when I was in Paris.
The neo-classical building is a renovated 18th century former auction house opened in pre-revolution 1777, with a huge glass and gold leaf dome in the main octagonal dining room. It's all very elegant. The dark entrance with black walls and candlelight leads into a wonderful winter garden with fresh lilies, palm trees, antique furniture and flea market finds, filled with birdsong from finches in wire bird cages and flooded with natural light. This room, with its cosy, relaxed atmosphere, wide selection of teas and pastries and plenty of style magazines is great for brunches or afternoon tea or just to while away a couple of hours.
Chef Pierre Lecoutre's seasonal menu - modern French and European dishes using products from the market, fresh fish from the Atlantic and organic meat - has plenty to get excited about, but my favourites were the burrata mozzarella and fresh vegetable salad starter, the Iberian bellota ham and out of the 60+ steak tartares (genuinely, I'm le fiend de tartare, as our French friends might say) I had in the September-February I was there, this tartare de boeuf filled with spicesd was one of my favourites. I'll be back when I'm next there. Booking is pretty much essential - bon appetit.
53 Bis Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75004 Paris