La Fontaine de Mars is a typical Parisian bistro serving up classic French and interesting traditional regional dishes. Poor value given the relatively high prices but average quality food. It is conveniently located between Eiffel Tower and the beautiful Rue Cler. Service is efficient.
What is the food like?
Classic French and traditional regional dishes. There are French classics like coq au vin, escargot, potato dauphinoise, cassoulet, confit de canard, steak & fries and there are lesser know traditional regional dishes. How about œufs en meurette, a dish from Burgundy of poach egg in red wine sauce? The sauce is similar to that in a beef bourguignon, the more famous dish from the same region. If you are feeling adventurous, try andouillettes, an intensely offal-flavoured sausage made from pork’s intestine, from Central France. The quality of the food was generally decent on our visit apart from an overcooked duck confit.
How is the drinks selection?
Focused French. La Fontaine de Mars offers 36 choices of red and 9 choices of white along with 4 rose from all across France. There is a menu dedicated to wine from the special region of Bordeaux with over 40 options from St. Emilion, Pomerol, Pauillac and the usual suspects. Prices range from €19.50 a bottle to over €1,000 for a Lafite Rothschild or Pétrus from early 2000.
What is the place like?
Typical Parisian bistro. Neatly arranged alfresco tables covered with the iconic red and white gingham table cloth lined one side of the restaurant under a similar coloured canopy, with another row of tables across the road next to the fountain. A shame that the outdoor seating area is shaded from the sun by the building across the road.
A convenient location to grab a bite after your visit to Eiffel Tower. The style continues inside with plenty of classic brown wooden furniture, reddish-brown leather seats as well as half-curtains on rails across the windows.
Who are the patrons?
Locals alongside tourists. A good number of French office workers sharing a laugh with colleagues as well as families on holiday tucking into the French classics.
How was the service?
Efficient. Service was prompt and efficient even when we visited after 2pm on a weekday.
Is it child friendly?
Yes, high-chair available on request. Though we did not see a baby changing facility in the washroom.
Is it dog friendly?
Yes. As with most restaurants in Paris, dogs are welcome outside as well as inside the restaurant.
No. While there are decently priced starters at over €10 on the menu, the classic French dishes are aggressively priced. €15 for 6 pieces of escargot, €29 for duck “foie gras” on toast, €29 for duck confit and €54 for a faux-fillet with bearnaise sauce. The restaurant do not charge a discretionary service charge.
See below for what my dining companions and I indulged in for this review (prices quoted include VAT):
Petit paté de cèpes tiède (Pate of porcini mushroom) (Recommend)
One of the dishes from the “Today’s Special” board. Smartly presented. Good wholesome earthy flavour. Would have been better if the texture was smoother. €18
Foie gras de canard maison mi-cuit & toasts (Homemade duck “foie gras” terrine & toasts) (Recommend)
Silky smooth texture and rich in umami flavour. Well made, but it just makes you yearn for the real deal. Especially if you are only visiting this amazing country. €29
Veritable cassoulet aux haricots (Real casserole with beans) (Strongly recommend)
Another dish from the “Today’s special” board. We really enjoyed this wholesome rustic dish. A generous portion of chunky meaty sausage, satisfyingly starchy beans served in a delicious rich onion, garlic, paprika sauce. €38
Faux-filet sauce béarnaise (Recommend)
It is not a fake steak, but the French name for a sirloin. A touch overcooked for our preference, but it was still succulent and tender. Had a beautiful smoky aroma and flavour from the grill. €54
Confit de canard maisonm grenailles confites & salade frisée (Duck confit with sauteed potatoes & curly lettuce) (Do not recommend)
The duck was overcooked. Meat was dry and the skin was too oily. Poorly presented and the sight of tips of the feathers was appetising. €29