Il Sorrentino

Named after a small Italian fishing village, this Italian restaurant with Italian staff offers an excellent variety of pizza, seafood, pasta and steak. Due to its close proximity to the Eiffel Tower, it is not uncommon to see tourists, usually in tennis shoes, come for dinner, but it remains a popular spot among locals who desire something other than French food and the choice is always reliable and good.

The restaurant itself is nicely decorated with pictures of the town of Sorrentino. It is neither flashy or high-end, nor a full-fledged dress-down pizzeria. This is a true ristorante, with a well-dressed waitstaff and the maître de restaurant always in suit and tie. The restaurant recently moved down the same street to a slightly larger location and upgraded the interior decor without upgrading the prices on the menu.

This is true Italian cuisine. A full selection of classic entrées and plats are available, as well as a lengthy selection of pizza (some of the best in the city). For children under 12, this is a terrific choice, as one pizza is usually big enough to share. Adults may also opt for a pizza as it is terrific and an excellent value for between 11-15 Euros.

And while the pizza is terrific, the pasta is even better. The list of pasta dishes available is long, but the specialty of the house includes a fettuccine pasta that is dusted with parmesan grated from a large wheel right at the table, and flambéed either with an Italian liquor and either foie gras or truffle sauce. It is rich, creamy, flavorful and like nothing you have ever tried before. It’s so irresistible it’s difficult to stray fray from one of the variations but there are so many other delicious dishes to choose from on the menu.

Other standout dishes include an entrecôte with mushrooms. This is not a dish I would normally choose at an Italian restaurant but the brown mushrooms, served in a cream sauce, are an excellent complement to a very tender piece of beef – indeed, it was one of the better steaks I have had while in Paris. The veal is also quite good, especially the escalope de veau (thin sautéed pieces of veal) in a lemon sauce. Both the veal and the steak dishes come with a side of pasta or vegetables, your choice. Daily specials are also offered and usually include a catch of the day or shellfish – and never disappoint.

The entrées, especially the antipasti and beef carpaccio, are an excellent way to begin the meal but if there is any criticism it is that the portions are so generous they could serve as a meal in itself. The desserts are always reliable, including a fondant au chocolat (which is a favorite of my older son), tiramisu, and a selection of sorbet and gelato.

A good selection of Italian wines, especially from Tuscany, are available at reasonable prices (25-40 Euros), and higher-end wines, including Super Tuscan Tignanello, are available for that special night out.

The wait staff are friendly, though sometimes a bit reserved (but not in a stiff way). They are very accommodating as well – one year we ordered a special lemon cake for my son’s birthday and they were happy to prepare that with only a day’s notice. Terrace seating is available, with a picture-perfect view of the Eiffel Tower, which offers one of the more spectacular views in the entire city. It is especially enchanting in the evenings when the Eiffel Tower’s lights sparkle like a Christmas tree on the hour (for five minutes, after dusk, until midnight).

At the end of the meal, your bill is presented in a wooden box, with a small selection of candies. As a result, my boys have dubbed this restaurant “The Treasure Chestâ€, as the wooden box resembles a small treasure chest with a hidden surprise of colorful jewels (and the bill) inside.

Open seven days a week, reservations are advisable though not required. The restaurant also does pizza orders to go.

Address: 4 Rue de Monttessuy 75007 Paris, France

Telephone: +33 01 45 55 12 50

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