Chartier: Always an Experience in a Historic Restaurant

Near Opera is a restaurant that has become a place for a routine visit any time my parents are in town. And while the food is not over the top, it's the simple classic dishes and the atmosphere that keeps me coming back for more. Bouillon Chartier, or simply Chartier, is a restaurant that is packed every night of the week with a nice blend of locals and tourists. 

The place offers a selection of simple but popular French dishes. The menu is not not big, but it's not lacking options neither. While sometimes the dishes are not as satisfying as expected, I have never been disappointed by the steck au poivre and their heavenly fries. The menu offers snails and tripe for the adventurous foodies and pasta for those who can't read the entirely French menu.

Steck au Poivre
But that's just the food. Let's talk about the atmosphere. The inside is beautiful. With it's lights, mirrors, and fans, you can get a feel of just how old the restaurant is. Then add the waiters rushing about balancing plates on their arms. This is the look that we Americans imagine when we think of French waiters. They scribble your order on the placemat in handwriting even less legible than that of a doctor's. Oh and if you wanted privacy, you're not getting that here. You're seated at tables with other people. Sometimes you can engage in conversation with them, sometimes not. But for people watchers this place is heaven.

How can they read that?

Chartier is called Bouillon Chartier because back in the day a bouillon was a cheap place to eat. They specialized in serving good quick meals and having a quick turnover of tables. By sharing with others a space is never wasted. This restaurant has been around for 100 and has only had 4 owners. It is now almost a landmark and a tourist destination, so make sure you get there early!

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