An unofficial historic monument, Polidor is not so much a restaurant as a snapshot of a bygone era. The decor has not changed substantially for at least 100 years, when Verlaine and Rimbaud, the bad boys of poetry, would come here for a cheap meal. In the 1950s, it was dubbed “the College of Pataphysics” by a rowdy group of young upstarts that included Max Ernst, Boris Vian, and Eugene Ionesco; André Gide and Ernest Hemingway were reputed regulars. The menu features hefty bistro standbys like boeuf bourguignon and blanquette de veau (veal stew), but you’ll also find lighter fare like salmon with basil or chicken breast with morel sauce. These days, the artsy set has moved elsewhere; you’ll probably be sharing the long wooden tables with other tourists, along with a dose of locals. Though the food is not particularly memorable, the ambience is unique.
- Margie Rynn