Located just 500 meters from Le Relais des Halles, we highly recommend the restaurant Chez Denise à la tour Montlhery. The history of this place dates back to 1966, when Denise acquired the restaurant. Following the move of the Halles market from Paris to Rungis, Denise sold her business and moved to the new market. In 2019, Alain Grandière and Olivier Bertrand took over the reins of the restaurant, preserving the very essence of this establishment.
Tradition lives on at Chez Denise, with generous portions to satisfy every appetite, just as they did in the days when they were designed to satiate the butchers and chevillards of Les Halles, in the heart of the Ventre de Paris. You’ll also find wine sold by the string and dishes offered by the slate, as has always been the case.
This restaurant was a favorite gathering place for chefs after their shift, as well as journalists and art enthusiasts. A paper tablecloth, laid on red gingham, proudly displays the following phrase: „At Les Halles, the heart of Paris, Denise and Jack perpetuate A la Tour De Montlhéry, 5 Rue des Prouvaires, the French tradition, which since Alexandre Dumas, has mingled gourmets, gourmands, painters and writers, musicians and journalists, stars of the stage, politics and sport, all lovers of good food, in the cult of great bourgeois cuisine.“
You’ll appreciate the warm atmosphere of these traditional old homes, where people gather to share the pleasure of simple good things. Another special feature of the place: the waiters are real actors who put themselves on stage. Be careful if you tease them, they have a way with repartee. If you like your humor sharp, you’re in for a treat.
We were tempted by the delights of French cuisine, ordering 6 escargots de Bourgogne followed by a Haricot de Mouton. To sublimate this meal, we chose a Magnac Corbière with black fruit aromas and a slight licorice finish.
We then ordered a Haricot de Mouton, one of the House’s specialties. Dating back to the 14th century, this culinary preparation is a true marvel of taste. Originally, the meat was „harigotée“, i.e. finely sliced. Small pieces of mutton are seared in a pot, deglazed, then simmered with onions, bouquet garni and tomato paste. They are then combined with the beans, which have been cooked on their side. The pot simmers for about an hour, giving rise to a mutton of exquisite tenderness and flavor. The beans soak up the mutton fat, tomatoes and herbs, creating a symphony of flavors reminiscent of cassoulet and a more rustic version of Osso buco.
But be careful! The portion served is very generous, and this delicious dish comes at a reasonable price of €26, perfectly suited to sharing with two guests. If you can’t finish it, don’t hesitate to ask for a doggy bag. The staff will be delighted to provide you with this service, as sending such a dish back to the kitchen half-eaten would be tantamount to blasphemy.
Finally, to round off this little feast, why not succumb to the baba au rhum? Although it costs €13, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the almost gargantuan proportions of this sweet, served with a bottle of rum.
Invite your friends to join you at Denise’s, and share the joy of traditional French cuisine accompanied by fine wines. You’ll be sure to remember this culinary experience in a very French restaurant, where „la pièce“ is performed nightly.
La Tour Montlhéry – Chez Denise
5 Rue des Prouvaires, 75001 Paris
Open every day from 12.00 to 0.30 a.m
Reservations by telephone only: +33 1 42 36 21 582