Wine bar and tapas restaurant Le Dauphin is the latest venture from the team behind Paris' highly praised restaurant Le Chateaubriand, and was much anticipated by the gastronomic world when it opened last year - and has since been awarded Le Fooding's "Best Decor" accolade for 2010. Just a few doors down from the mothership, Le Dauphin exudes a similar easy-going charm to Le Chateaubriand, but with an altogether less classic decor. Here the interior features floor-to-ceiling polished grey marble walls, an abundance of mirrors and white flourescent lights - creating a maze of reflections in which Paris' beautiful people can check each other (and themselves) out - designed by none other than international starchitect, and Pritzker prize winner, Rem Koolhaas. But don't let that fool you in to thinking Le Dauphin is all style and no substance - like we said, chef Inake Aizpitarte is involved and the food is very much the same delicious standard as Le Chateaubriand. Here however, you don't have a fixed five-course menu; you order small-plates and share with your table (much in the same vein as Au Passage and Aux Deux Amis) and then re-order some more depending on just how gluttonous you are feeling. The fare ranges from simple one note dishes - burratta, (live) prawns - to more complex offerings (which change depending on the season and the inspiration of the chef) like squid-ink risotto or mushrooms and smoked mozzarella, and the excellent wine list features a judicious selection of top natural wines. Prices vary from around €5-€12 for each small plate - and you probably need about three-four plates per person if you have a normal sized appetite and can resist the temptation to keep on ordering more... One of our current Paris favourites.
131 avenue Parmentier, 75011 Paris
Tel: +33 1 55 28 78 88
Metro: Goncourt / Parmentier / Republique
Open: Tues-Sat, lunch and dinner (but closed Tuesday for lunch)
All photos copyright Kim Laidlaw