For the first week in Paris, you find yourself getting inexplicably famished at 3 pm. Most restaurants finish up their lunch service between 2 and 3:30 pm and dinner won’t be available in traditional French restaurants before 7 to 7:30 pm. For that matter, most Parisians rarely dine before 8 or 9 pm.
So, for all our good intentions of finding local bistros with traditional French cuisine, the first pangs of jet-lag hunger send us running for the closest ‘Ouvert’ sign. (Ouvert=Open).
This week we’ve had very good luck with stumbling into eateries that offer warm respite to the jet-lagged English-speaking visitor
During our first walk in the St. Sulpice/St. Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, we slipped into Joya at 15, Rue d’Assas (www.joyafoodconcept.com) T. 01 45 44 41 44.
Joya is a ‘fast fresh food’ established, whose proprietor happens to be American. The concept is ‘counter service’ for business clients in the St. Germain-des-Pres neighborhood, short on time, and long on discernment for quality food.
By the time we arrived around 4 pm, the house soup of the day – soupe aux cepes (mushroom soup) was practically gone, but enough remained for one healthy serving at 7 Euros. “We don’t really cater to students. They might stop in for a sandwich,” says Joya’s owner, James. But for light appetites, a bowl of soup and fresh ‘pain à l’ancien’ accompanied with an excellent chianti can be just the right thing to fortify oneself for a walk. For heartier plates, you can choose from a varieties of pasta prepared by an Italian chef. Free Wifi here to send an e-mail to friends that you’ve arrived safely in Paris.
Not quite ready to practice speaking French? The staff here speaks English -fluently in some cases. Our server works as a flight attendant for transatlantic flights when she’s not ladling soup at Joya’s.
James tells us that the restaurant opened in September of 2007. The name of the restaurant Joya is a melding of ‘joy’ in Italian and the first initial of the owner’s name ‘J’. Joya’s entrance is discreet and tasteful. The interior is sleek with comfortable bar stools. (I like the fact that you can choose bar stools facing one another so you’re not staring at a wall – as is the case in so many fast food spots). Joya has a few outdoor tables and a banquette for those who haven’t yet kicked their cigarette habit. This is the perfect place to stop in on a break if you’re catching the tail end of the February sales in Paris. Rue d’Assas intersects Rue de Rennes where you’ll find several excellent kitchenware stores within a stone’s throw from Joya.
15 Rue d’Assas 6th arrond.
Metro: St. Sulpice/Rennes