Dec 29, 2012

A Continentalist in Paris: PastaPapa Restaurant (Champs-Elysees branch)

A cute mid-range Italian restaurant just off the Champs-Elysees' Rond-Point - ideal for a lunchtime carb-fest in central Paris.

To celebrate sister 4's birthday, my mother had booked off the day to take her five daughters ice skating at the Grand Palais. This did not go according to plan.

Though we got there for 11:30 (quite a feat given that it's school holidays and none of us are morning people), the line to get into the rink with pre-booked tickets was incredibly long and didn't move at all for the 15 minutes we waited. Then the light drizzle turned into rain and we put the ice-skating

Sister 4 decided she wanted to go to Abercrombie & Fitch on the Champs-Elysees instead. But this line turned out to be equally long. And the rain got worse. So my mother called my father to join us for lunch, and we went to the nearest branch of the PastaPapa restaurant chain.

I didn't get any good photos of the restaurant's interior, but it's incredibly cozy - all burnished oranges and large mirrors seasonally outfitted with dark red Christmas ornaments and greenery. The food is solid stereotypical Italian cuisine: pizzas and (as the name suggests) pasta. For the latter dishes, you can choose from various types of dry and fresh pasta and combine these with one of 20+ sauces on the menu. Like many French restaurants, they offer meal deals - I went for a €15.00 pasta-based meal / drink / dessert or coffee combo.

Word of caution: the pasta portion sizes are huge. I went for Italian-style macaroni with a zucchini and shrimp cream sauce, but though I do love pasta - and the dish was good - it utterly defeated me. Not only did I have to leave half my portion on the serving plate, but I had to forfeit dessert. Especially since the desserts are huge too, as sister 4's banana split demonstrates.

One of my teenaged sisters got away with ordering a children's menu, where the pasta portion was much more manageable - and the pizzas are more reasonably sized. So for smallish adults, I recommend splitting an entree.

And another piece of advice: it's busy. We were lucky to get a table for seven since we arrived a bit before lunchtime, but from about 1 pm onwards the line started getting incredibly long.

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