Reviewed by Ruman
It’s not often we find a fully halal, alcohol-free, fine dining restaurant which we really like. During our recent foodie adventure in Paris, we found just that.
Le Crystal is a small fine dining restaurant a walk away from the Arc de Triomphe. We arrived just as it opened for dinner service on a Saturday evening. The restaurant was quiet when we arrived but filled up a little later. The decor wasn’t anything particularly remarkable – black leather seating and tables with dried plants scattered around the restaurant.
The menu was typical of what we had seen in other similar halal restaurants in Paris. The mains options included one duck option, one chicken, one beef and one veal dish. I chose the chicken dish while Zohra went for the beef. In the period between ordering and receiving food we felt like there was some bizarre behaviour from the waitress. Here are a couple of examples:
– She moved our table as we were sat at the table without any warning.
– We were sat near a radiator so I placed my camera and phone on the opposite side of the table to avoid overheating. When she came to our table to give us our cutlery, she moved my camera next to the radiator as well as rearranging other items on the table. Again, without warning or permission.
Strange behaviour aside, a little while later our food arrived. On first impression, the food was remarkable. You could tell the chef had put effort into styling the dish – the colours were vibrant and really stood out. The taste matched the presentation of the dish. The chicken, which had been described on the menu as a journey across the Mediterranean, combined flavours from the Orient (East) with meat from the Occident (West). The chicken had been stuffed with onions, olives and lemon. The citrus tones from the lemon gave the chicken a great taste with the sweet potato mash adding another dimension to the dish. The dish was served with some rice and a date sauce. The flavours and textures in this dish were nothing short of amazing. Having watched the waiter bring out more dishes it became clear that the restaurants food styling was fantastic.
Zohra ordered the Côte de Boeuf which was a 500g beef steak served on a wooden board. At this point the waitress came over and just like earlier, without warning, took Zohra’s steak knife and fork and started to slice the steak. This wouldn’t have been too much of a problem had she explained what she was going to do before she had done it. It almost felt like a mother cutting up food for her child. A very weird experience. We brushed this to the side and assumed that perhaps this is what they normally do. You can imagine our intrigue when the guy at the table near us also ordered the Côte de Boeuf. We watched with suspense to see if she would cut his steak too – she didn’t.
The behaviour of the waitress did put a damper on the service at the restaurant. I’m sure she meant well and actually thought she was being helpful but it felt a little weird. Luckily, the food made up for the service. The steak was cooked perfectly – a stark contrast to our meal at Le 1818 (more on that here). It was served with a casserole of potatoes served in a millefeuille style (I’m not sure if this was any different to a French dish called Gratin dauphinoise). The potatoes were soft, creamy and full of goodness – the perfect accompaniment to the steak. There was also a pepper sauce on the side.
Overall, the food at Le Crystal was brilliant. Though the restaurant decor doesn’t scream fine-dining, the food, both in terms of presentation and taste, does. Attention to detail is obvious in the creation of these dishes and it is great to see a chef take pride in their food in this way. Le Crystal would make a great date-night spot if you’re looking for a fancy halal meal in Paris. The overall rating is relatively low mostly because of the actions of the waitress. On the bright side, the staff are attentive and polite so you wouldn’t have a bad experience per se.
Value for money: 8/10 (€50.00/£44.09 total bill // €25.00pp/£22.05pp)
Halal Status: All meat served is halal. Alcohol is not available.
Address: 10 Rue des Acacias, 75017 Paris, France
Nearest stations: Argentine
You can view our guide to the best halal restaurants in Paris here.
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Ruman eats a brownie a day, but only with coffee. She struggles to eat more than 2/3 of an adult size portion of food, but always has room for dessert. When not exploring restaurants, galleries or cities around the world, Ruman is a Marketing Ninja at Halal Gems, where she also holds the title of Chief Chocolate Officer.
Forever consumed by a mixture of wanderlust and FOMO, her interests include all things social media, travel, charity, photography and food.
You can follow Ruman on Instagram and Twitter.
Reviewed by Ruman