Le Grenier de Notre-Dame, Rue de la Bucherie

Scores out of 5: Veggie friendly : 5/5; Vegan-options available: Yes; Value for money: 1/5, Quality of cooking : 1/5; Ambience : 2/5; Service: 2/5 ;Atmosphere: 1/5

Le Grenier de Notre-Dame is a vegetarian restaurant located a stone's throw away from the Notre Dame in Paris. It's tucked away in a little side street but isn't particularly hard to find, given that it's so centrally located.

When we arrived, we were led to our tiny table fairly promptly, but then the waiter and waitress totally ignored us for a little while. When they finally took our order, which consisted of one 3-course set meal and a couple of drinks, we were firmly told we had to order a 2nd starter or pudding if there were 2 guests. So we ordered another starter. Another twenty minutes later, the starter from the set meal arrived. It was a mixed vegetable soup of the day and was really insipid, gloopy and dull. It was served in a fair-sized portion without any of the customary 'pain' or bread. When we requested some bread, we received a little basket with a couple of tasteless slices and when we requested vinegar / olive oil were firmly told that the kitchen didn't have either.

What felt like a good ten minutes after the first starter was cleared, we got the second starter - a plate of what was supposed to be falafel with salad. Though it wasn't dire, it wasn't falafel either (I expected fried chick-pea balls in pitta / other bread); they did get somewhat close though, we had received what tasted like cakes of grilled humous (chick pea pate) - interesting, but certainly not falafel.

Finally the main course arrived - an "asiette zen" consisting of over-boiled brown rice sludged with some unidentifiable red sauce (that surprisingly didn't even taste of tomatoes). Alongside were what looked like baked beans (but these again tasted over-boiled and under-flavoured), a slurry of mutated vegetables which had their flavours boiled out of them and some thankfully un-tampered-with salad leaves. Oh and let me not forget what I have made an effort to blank out of my memory - some dreary, rubberised wedges of tasteless, un-cooked tofu. What unmitigated joy!! This restaurant is probably the reason why French meat-eaters trying veggie food are so put off.

Our pudding was an apple tart whose pastry case had dissolved and fused into the apple-insides without doing much for either, and a scoop of strawberry sorbet. The sorbet was delicious and as I was trying to think of something nice to say about the meal (other than pointing out that it was entirely vegetarian), I asked if they made the ice-cream on the premises. Alas no !! So the one item that tasted of anything, was good because it hadn't been touched by the chefs at La Grenier.

The whole meal had the texture, flavour and consistency of poor-quality baby food and it was delivered by waiting staff who seemed to have no idea of table service other than to smile at appropriate intervals but otherwise mutely slide away with untouched dishes.

My overall verdict on Le Grenier de Notre-Dame - HORRIBLE . And yes, I needed to say that in capital letters given the 30-odd euro price tag for that mess!!

What else can I say; other than - DONT VISIT unless you are desperate or perhaps have a tummy upset and are craving boiled, tasteless mush to calm your insides!

Le Grenier du Notre-Dame
18, Rue de la Bucherie


  1. what a horror story! As vegetarians in France trying to run a vegetarian bed and breakfast and convince the French that veggie food is delicious, it is no wonder that they often look at us in horror when we say the food is veggie. These places do us no favours at all, what a shame....

  2. I had a really bad experience there a few years ago as well! And more recently, at their sister resto on Ile St Louis.... both gaive vegetarian restaurants a really bad name!

  3. I am so glad I'm not alon in thinking this is the type of vegetarian restaurant that gives vegetariamism a bad name. I completely agree with the review above as i had a similar experience a couple of weeks ago (25 Sept 2010). The food was tasteless, visually off-putting and reminded me of gruel in its colour (brown or grey) and consistency (sludge). I had a plate of tofu and vegetables on the same plate as a salad swimming in a watery brown tasteless 'gravy'. I was not offered bread and I was not impressed by the arrogance of the staff. I cannot believe that this restaurant has managed to last since 1978 but, having said that, it is certainly a throw back to the gloop we used to get served up as veggie in those days. I can't believe the lack of colour and taste and sheer lack of imagination in these dishes. It was gruesome.
    Wendy Jackson


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