A final post on Le Marais (told you I love this area!) …
The sweet crepe is synonymous with French cuisine – wheat flour, super thin “pancakes” with a sweet filling – usually sugar/butter, nutella and/or caramelized bananas. But its larger cousin made out of buckwheat flour and filled with savory ingredients is called a galette (or Breton galette for its origin in the region of Brittany, France).
My favorite place for galettes is Breizh Cafe in Marais, owned by a Breton and his Japanese wife. This tiny place is always packed with locals and tourists (even at 3pm, a solo diner given an hour wait), so be sure to call for a reservation.
The cook hard at work in the open kitchen:
I highly recommend the specialty galettes for great combinations – don’t be scared! But they also have more simple galettes. Check out the daily specials board too. All are about 14 euros.
I got the provencale (below center) that had cheese, sunnyside up egg, ham, tomatoes, herbs de provence and anchovies! The anchovies added an awesome depth of flavor with the saltiness. We also got the Breton (right) with cheese, mushrooms, bacon and creme fraiche. The other (left) I forgot the name, but it had zucchini, cheese, an egg and my friend added chorizo; this was our favorite followed closely by the provencale. You can also order a side salad, which is sizeable to share with someone else.
Will you judge me because I also took a (secret) photo of our neighbors’ galettes??
A funny thing happened when I was here with Anah and LL. About halfway through my plate, I noticed blue writing on a corner of a slice of ham in my galette. A piece of the (hand-written) order ticket had fallen into my galette and the ink had come off on the ham! We showed the server/owner. She was horrified and brought me a whole new provencale in minutes. The galettes were so good that the three of us tried to eat them all (my one and a half plus the whole ones my sisters had). SO much food! Stomachs were rebelling.
Two other interesting things at Breizh – hard cider and oysters. A seemingly odd combination with the galettes, but just go with it – they’re worth it!
Breizh has a full list of Breton (hard) ciders. We don’t know how to pick ciders, so each time we’ve ordered a carafe of the cider of the month, which is enough for 3-4 people. This uncommon drink is refreshing, and actually pairs quite well with the oysters.
Not sure how oysters fit into the overall cuisine at Breizh. I’m thinking the owners just love oysters and decided to add these to the menu. Whatever the reason, I’m glad for them! Breizh always seems to offer really tasty, fresh and meaty molluscs. Add a few drops of the tangy mignonette sauce, a favorite, for some extra flavor. A half dozen oysters are 16 euros.
Whatever you select, you’re sure to leave Breizh stuffed and happy. I’ve always been too full to get dessert, but we saw every table order a sweet crepe to end their meal. So if you go and order dessert, let me know how it is!
Breizh Cafe – 109 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris; Tel: +33 01 42 72 13 77 (closed Monday and Tuesday); reservations highly recommended; locations also in Cancale (Brittany) and Tokyo