Regulars grumble about the uneven cooking at Le Balzar, but they continue to come back because they can't resist the waiters' wry humor and the dining room's amazing people-watching possibilities (you can also drop in for a drink on the terrace). The restaurant attracts politicians, writers, tourists, and local eccentrics—and remains one of the city's classic brasseries: the perfect stop before or after a film in a local art-house cinema. Don't expect miracles from the kitchen, but stick to evergreens like snails in garlic butter, onion soup, panfried veal liver with sautéed potatoes, and baba au rhum for dessert. Night owls congregate for the €25.50 menu, after 10 pm.
Feb 19, 2013
I recently returned to this classic brasserie twice, after many years. The onion soup gratinee was excellent; the veal sweetbreads good, if not fabulous. The prices are moderate for central Paris and the service level is usually fine. Families are there in the earlier dinner hours. They serve continuously all day so early/late lunches or early/late dinners are always possible. At peak hours, the place is crazy-Parisian, in a theatrical kind of way.
Not a stellar dining experience, but I'd never say no.