Willi’s Wine Bar Paris – an enduring success
In our six visits to Paris, we’ve been to Willi’s Wine Bar three times – testament to its enduring quality.
Exceptional food, great ambience and wonderful value for money. Willi’s Wine Bar ticks a lot of boxes.
Both previous visits were at night and the dining area (and timber bar at the front) are kept dark and moody. This time, it was lunch and we were delighted to find the dining room has expanded into a bigger and brighter space next door.
And so we settled in, ordering from the small menu, which was only provided in French. This is a change; the restaurant used to offer English versions. Our friendly waitress was able to give us the gist of the dishes and we happily ordered a starter to share and a main course.
A slightly late lunch, only a few tables were occupied but across from us a very well-behaved puppy was curled up under his master’s chair. Dogs are a big motif at Willi’s Wine Bar – from the range of t-shirts and other merchandise.
The other big thing here is promotional posters commissioned from artists, many of which are framed and adorn the walls. It’s all very French – except that it’s owned by Brits and has been in operation since 1980.
As you’d expect, there’s a stellar range of wines available, including one of Greedy Girl’s all-time go-to French reds – Chateauneuf-du-pape. It was a 2015 Domaine Charvin.
Sigh. Red nectar in a glass. A determination not to drink at lunchtime went straight out the front door.
Gluttonous husband took a 2017 Chiroubles ‘Vielles Vignes’ from Domaine des Marrans, a gamay noir – and thoroughly enjoyed it.
First up we selected a great brunch dish – poached eggs with a rich mushroom and onion sauce and croutons.
Scrum. Every last spot of the sauce was mopped up with the bread provided separately.
For his main course, gluttonous husband had a special – duck with a pepper sauce.
We’d seen signs for dishes featuring these two key elements in several areas but the idea of having this meat with such a strong sauce seemed a little odd.
Well … one taste of this extraordinary dish banished that notion. This was a combination of breast and leg meat with cous cous, cabbage, sweet onion and the pepper sauce. Divine.
The duck was very, very pink (as the chef preferred) but amazingly soft and tender.
Greedy Girl decided to have a meat-free experience, having overdone it on the protein of late. This was linguine with pesto, pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes.
The dish could have used more tomato but it was a nice plate of food and a good change of pace.
And so to dessert. Usually Greedy Girl has the Willi’s Wine Bar signature – a chocolate fondant sitting in a pool of creme anglaise. This time she tried something different – the tarte aux citrons et framboises pictured at the top of this post.
OMG. This was magnificently unadorned by cream, ice cream or a dusting of powdered sugar. The lemon curd, freshly spooned into the pastry case was tart and delicious and the sprinkling of fresh raspberries on top an absolute delight. Yum.
Gluttonous husband took his customary cheese – this was a particularly stinky camembert, a goat’s cheese and a chalky ewes’ milk variety. He relished the lot.
Quite close to the Louvre in Paris’ first arrondissement, this is a great option for quality food and wine and a relaxed meal that’s a bit out of the mundane.
Willi’s Wine Bar
13 Rue des Petits Champs