The highlight of my long weekend in Paris was most definitely having dinner at Bofinger. Unlike Le Comptoir, a small and cozy place we passed by, Bofinger transports you back to the beginning of the 1900s.

A French brasserie, all you see and hear is waiters screaming, rushing, carrying huge trays of seafood, people smoking, laughing, joy and drama, all in one. I felt as if I stepped into a forgotten time, where the Paris underworld mixes with politicians and artists, and we are part of it. Everything about the restaurant is surreal and so Paris.

Entering the restaurant you are greeted by waiters rushing in and out of the kitchen, and depending on your luck you have to wait for a table between 45min (the group in front of us) or 20min (us). We sipped wine at the bar, looking up at the dome ceiling illuminating the main dining room, a masterpiece by Néret and Royer. We enjoyed watching Paris in front of us: people stepping out of Dumas novels came in, youth wearing jeans and snickers, posh ladies with pearl earrings, tattooed men and families. It was a joy only to sit at the bar.

At the table we didn’t know where to look first and get a glimpse of the other diners. Giant plates of seafood were carried around, food that took our breath away. All masterpieces of Chef Georges Belondrade.

And then it all got better. We finally decided that sharing a plate of seafood would do as entrée. We had oysters (again, according to the R rule), we had mussels, snails, and a crab. Accompanied by a bottle of white Sancerre. And we loved every bit of it.

I continued with venison, with a black and red berry sauce and mashed potatoes – and I could have died happy there and then! A fantastic main course. The meat was perfectly cooked, the berry sauce brought the right zing and bitterness to the food, yet slightly sweet, just amazing. For once I almost ignored the wine.

The grand finale was a mille feuille (a thousand layers!) which I think everyone including me thought how or if I will ever finish it. Brave though in front of culinary challenges, the mille feuille was finished one layer at a time – all thousand of them.

Bofinger is Paris. And Paris is part of Bofinger.

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