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Christiana Konstantinou writing for I V Y paris

Pramil-300-2 Rue du Vertbois is one of those little-known parisian streets that hide their gastronomic secrets so well. Meat lovers have certainly visited at least once L' Ami Louis, cherished hideout of many American Presidents and home of the largest and possibly best "cote de boeuf" in town -consequently sized and priced.

Amateurs of the Southern Hemisphere's equivalent have pushed more than once Anahi's door -yes, the building is still standing, the rib eye equally good and the time it takes to travel from the kitchen to your table still reminds you that it came all the way from Argentina after all.

Fewer are those, though, who have noticed a discreet and elegant facade on the opposite side, half a block down the road.

Whitewashed beams, soft lights and blooming orchids introduce you to the universe of Alain Pramil, master of the establishment that simply carries his last name. A handful of tables up front, a second one -almost unnoticed- in the back, nothing really prepares you for the gastronomic experience that's about to follow.

How can one explain the harmonious melody that a succulent slice of foie gras can murmur to the finely chopped pig's ears that are sharing its plate? Or why no knife is needed to cut the 7 hour lamb - "agneau de 7 heures" melting under your tongue? Alain Pramil's previous occupation, physicist, coupled with his passion for fresh, seasonal products and his undeniable talent in cooking everything simply but to perfection must be the answer.

Eating with the eyes is not left behind either, as the dishes are as elegantly presented as the ambiance, the long stemmed glasses and the immaculate linen tablecloths ornating the tables. The service, efficient and friendly, has nothing to envy from one of a grand restaurant.

What turns a good meal into a unique experience is the choice of the right wine to accompany it; here is where the frog and rosbif meet once again. Pramil just happens to be across the street of one of the city's best known anglo "caviste" (wine seller, not cave man)- Chais Rick. This is not a coincidence and to prove the point, you will find Rick's wines on Pramil's menu. And if you don't, you only need to reserve early, so that you can buy before closing time from Chais Rick the bottle you want and drink it with your meal. The cork charge is only 5 euros, isn't life beautiful?

If you're pleased with your meal, don't hesitate to let Alain know when he emerges from his kitchen to greet you. A pair of smiling eyes will confirm that someone is as happy as you are for having tickled your taste buds.

The bill will make you want to come back again and again, I promise. It's almost impossible in this town to find a restaurant that can serve you a king's meal for the price of a snack in a posh, trendy joint. Beware though, it might take you a couple of days before you can reserve a table. Pramil is almost always full, even on weekdays. You might be luckier on a Sunday night - yes, he's open!


9 rue du Vertbois
75003 Paris
Tel: 01 42 72 03 60

Photo: Evous

Bonapart Paris apartments


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