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“Les Elles is a good value, and a fun place”
Review of Les Elles - CLOSED

Les Elles
Price range: $24 - $49
Cuisines: Fusion
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Neighborhood: Opera / Bourse
Reviewed December 3, 2012

I have read all the reviews for this restaurant with great interest. They range from "wonderful" to "terrible", and that is to be expected. One can often tell from the things said that the reviewer has a skewed sense of experience.

First of all, I own an apartment in the same block just a 100 meters from Les Elles. It is not totally my apartment, but I own it along with 11 other families, so I get to go to Paris once month every year and have been going to this neighborhood yearly since 2007.

The first time I went to Les Elles, I met the owner, Christine. She is a French citizen of Vietnamese ancestry. She is an interesting character, very extroverted, and a bit quirky. One reviewer said there was never anybody in the place. It was obvious that the reviewer didn't understand that nobody in Paris eats dinner early and this place opens at 7 PM which is early for Paris. They usually don't have a crowd until around 8 PM and then they are very busy. One reviewer said it was small and crowded with the diners elbow to elbow. Duh, welcome to the precious little finds in the little neighborhoods of Paris. And another reviewer said there were no menus, and that the fare was featured on a chalk board that the waiter displayed for the diners. That is totally typical for France where the chef may not decide what will be offered until the chef goes to the farmers' market that morning. Although, Les Elles doesn't really change their menu daily. One reviewer said the prices were very high. Au contraire. The prices at this little place are very reasonable, even on the low side for what you get. And as for the quality of the food, this place is NOT Maxim's, but nobody, I mean nobody, can judge a restaurant on one dining experience, but the totality of all the reviews can be revealing. I have never had a bad meal at Les Elles. I don't think I've ever ordered a beer, as one reviewer complained there were none, but the wine selection is OK.

Christine, as I said, is a character. The second time I went there, a full year after my first visit, Christine, greeted me as I walked in. She was on her hands and knees on the floor writing out the evening's menu on the chalk board. It was too early, and she wasn't open for another half hour, but she looked up, saw me, and said "John, how are you?" This was a full year after I had met her for the first time, and she remembered my name. Amazing.

So in the end, I would say that the atmosphere is "charming" and "cozy". The food is very good, even using the Paris standard as a measuring stick. Remember, there are Michelin rated restaurants, and hole in the wall places. By any standard, this place is a good value. The prices are very modest for the quality. I've gotten spaghetti for twice the price at the Italian place down the street, and carry out that is higher at others.

So, remember, nothing will suit everybody, but this place, in my opinion is a good value and fun. I go every year for a month and eat there at least a couple of times every trip. And I don't get a kickback. Some other great values in the neighborhood are Pizza Momo (near Church of St Paul), Vin et Tartines on rue de Rivoli, Le Bucheron, Robert et Louise, So many more.

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1  Thank Openmind45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (54)
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4 - 8 of 54 reviews

Reviewed November 17, 2012

Special kudos to the deserts, cooked by the very friendly lady owner of the place. Menu is quite creative , mixing asian and western influences, good maincourses. Only downside is the very small space, you have a good chance to eat at a table almost touching your neighbour if you are only 2, even if the restaurant is half empty: indded the waiter didn't allow us to seat at a table of 4 ias we were 2, despite we arrived for dinner at 10.30pm and 3 tables of 4 were available and not booked ! Otherwise the waiter is a charming guy.

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Thank Christophe B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2012

like buffyramm's review we found this place very disappointing. Stay just a few doors away for 2 weeks we thought we'd give it a try, earlier reviews seen suggested it was vietnamese/french seafood style - found it nothing like this - blackboard menu, over priced for what you get - VERY disappointed. Don't waste your money

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Thank Mark M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2012

We had a delightful stroll down a multicultural culinary path with just a minor bump on our way to gastronomic nirvana. We had seen this little place when strolling past on several occasions, and with some good online reviews, we decided to give Les Elles our business on our last night of a week of dedicated eating in Paris. We were rewarded with a comforting, but moderately novel meal reflecting the chef's unique take on Asian and French cuisine.

The small dining room seats only 24 in banquettes and chairs on either side, and the tiny kitchen is partly open at the back. Decor is whimsical and inviting, and lighting is just right. Some nice jazz murmurs discreetly from the CD player at the back.

For starters, we had what is billed as "vapeurs" (13 Euros) which the waitress struggled to explain, but what we would describe as steamed dumplings and pot stickers: six or seven varied formats of flavorful succulent morsels, looking like the usual Chinese items, but filled with unusual flavors and ingredients (perhaps salt cod, or rabbit, or whatnot). All were good. Our other dish was a deeply flavored plate of ravioli (11 Euros) filled with an intensely concentrated mushroom filling, with more mushroom flavor in the jot of buttery sauce, and with a nugget of foie gras in the middle of the plate. Extremely good.

We both had the quail with tandoori spices (16 Euros). This was a well conceived and executed marriage of cultures. A whole quail (in halves) was roasted to perfection; crispy skin, but still rosy near the bone, meat very moist and juicy. This was certainly not a traditional tandoori, but rather a deft utilization of that flavor palate in a French preparation. A nice warm barley salad, with some bites of various vegetables and a scattering of fresh cilantro completed the plate. We both were sucking the bones by the end of the course.

Dessert was a let-down. We are not entirely sure we got what we thought we had ordered (see below), but we finished with a thin round of a pound cake with sliced strawberries, with that horrid red viscid glaze most commonly seen in grocery store items. The other dish was more akin to a simple chocolate pudding interspersed with chunks of meringue. Neither showed any of the inventiveness of the first two courses, or frankly much of anything. Desserts were 8 and 9 Euros.

Two complementary shot glasses followed, with instructions to guess what was before us. One was a lychee liquor, the other mango, both pleasant.

The wine list is modest, perhaps 15 or 18 bottles, priced from 15 to 30 Euros. We had a serviceable if unmemorable shippers Morgon at 25 Euros, and two coffees.

The chef/owner and the staff are Asian, and French and English are second languages, and while one of us is fluent in French, there may have been some nuances in explaining the menu that went missing. Also, there are no menus; the offerings are presented at tableside on hand written (and erased) chalkboard, so you have to choose quickly. You may want to study the other chalkboard in the front window before entering to get a sense of the evening's offerings.

Service was warm and charming. It was the chef's birthday and she came out to greet and hug the customers. All very mellow.

The bill was 103 Euros, and if one could be more successful in picking desserts, it would would be an outstanding experience.

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1  Thank Greenway1951
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2011

My husband and I walked by this restaurant several times during our recent stay in Paris. We thought it looked warm and inviting, but no one was ever in it. We had already had several lovely dining experiences, one being at Les Philosophies. It was our last night so we thought we would give Les Elles a chance.
First thing we ordered our drinks. They had no beer to offer. This seems a little odd for a restaurant of any merit. Then I started noticing the shabby, and not so chick, decor; a broken lamp with dust and dead flies flanked our table, the table was trimmed with duct tape holding it together, and there were no menus to order from. Instead the waitress brought over a menu board which she held up while we made a selection.
The food was terrible. It was slathered in sauce likely made from a packet. Mine was a curry that was salty and slimy. It was topped with over cooked frozen veg. Not a fresh morsel in site. My husbands was covered in Maggie sauces masquerading as gravy.
I stopped eating because I was starting to feel ill from the thought that we were spending our last precious night in Paris eating dog food in this hole. Suddenly the woman, whom I assume is the owner/ chef, the woman who had been in and out several times to smoke a cigarette while still wearing the plastic gloves she was preparing our food with, was standing over me demanding to know why I was not eating. She offered to take my food away and do something to it to make it more edible for me,but I declined this tempting offer fearing I might have to eat what ever slop she brought back while she stood over me and watched.
We opted out of desert and were walking out the door when the woman leapt out at us insisting on giving us a kiss good bye. This kissing thing is just a ploy on her part to distract folks from the horrible food!
I am deeply confused by these glowing reviews listed here. Are there two Les Elles on the same street?

6  Thank BuffyRamm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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