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Café de Mars (Bistro) – Review and Interview with the owner

Welcome to Café de Mars ! 

Café de Mars is a lovely neighborhood bistro around the Eiffel Tower (7th district) that serves international cuisine in an elegant setting. Their menu changes every week according to the seasons and their desires. They cook with Anglo-Saxon, Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Scandinavian & Central American influences. They also serve vegetarian & vegetal dishes. English is spoken by the staff, chef and owner. Also, you can enjoy some Live Jazz during Saturday Lunch!

The FUSAC team was lucky to be welcomed by the owner Pierre Marfaing for a delicious meal on a week night. As we arrived around 7pm, we were greeted by Pierre and a member of staff. Pierre is as comfortable in French as in English and can easily switch from one language to another. Of course, with a restaurant in the 7th, it is important to speak English to welcome a clientele of expats or tourists. The Bistro has a lovely and modern setting with great lights. Very quickly the first customers of the night arrive. Even though it is a cold week night, we are amazed to see that more and more people arrive and the place is almost full by 8 PM. Some people are here for a romantic meal, some are here to eat before going to the theatre. We also see a big group of friends. Very ecletic! We are impressed by the nice selection of wines and appealing cocktails on the menu too.

We started our meal with a selection of starters. What caught our attention especially was the lovely butternut soup ! Absolutely delicious and perfect for the season.

As a main, we decided to go for one classic dish, always on the menu, and one of the week’s specials – the tandoori chicken. The classic plate called the ‘drunken dragon’ onglet certainly had the most interesting mix of flavours. It is marinated in soy sauce and beer with shii-take mushrooms and mash. A perfect example of international cuisine they cook. You must try it if you go to Café de Mars ! The meat was excellent. The bread from Poujauran – one of the best bakeries in Paris – goes wonderfully with the food.

It is impossible to leave without trying the chocolat cake called « Gâteau au chocolat du Pasteur » (even if you are full like we were!) as Pierre explained to us that it was a family recipe – a classic on the menu. We were not disappointed ! We only wish we were more hungry to have one each !

We strongly recommend venturing to Café de Mars for an excellent meal in a beautiful location.

 

 

After the meal we had a chance to interview Pierre Marfaing, the owner of Café de Mars, more in depth. Here is what he said.

Hi Pierre, when, where and how did you find out about FUSAC?
At the American Library of Paris where we often go to pick culinary books. They have a great food section.

Where do you come from?
I am French, from Paris.

Can you tell us a few words about Café de Mars?
Café de Mars is my restaurant since 2010. It is, in my opinion, a lovely corner restaurant with a beautiful light and good vibes. We are offering fresh, seasonal and international cuisine with a short menu that changes weekly. Our chef is American; she has been working in many different parts of the world. That gives us the opportunity to cook recipes with international influences with a “bistrot” atmosphere. There are vegetarian options, an english speaking staff, a good drinks’ selection with nice wines, craft beers, speciality coffees & cocktails. We also have recently put together a well appreciated jazz lunch every Saturday where you can enjoy your meal while listening to soft live music.

How did you become a restaurant owner?
I have been working in the restaurant business since I was 16 years old in parallèle of my studies. After over 10 years of experience, I decided it was time to have my own place. The rationale behind my passion is also coming from cooking at home and hosting many diners and parties that taught me a lot on people taste and way of eating.

Can you tell me more about your American chef?
The chef at Café de Mars is remarquable. She and her crew are doing everything: Butchering, Sauces, Pastries, Sorbets & Ice creams. We do not bake our own bread though. Her main characteristic is a diverse and international experience and the ability to fusion (even if i dont like the term) those influences together with intelligence and it’s gooooooood! it is only about flavors & good pairing.

What is the most satisfying thing about managing a restaurant?
When you have the magic of a warm atmosphere amongst all the elements within the restaurant. From the clientele to the staff and decor and produces and the light. When it’s a good vibe. It’s very energetic and rewarding!

Do you have work experience abroad?
I do. I worked in New York for about 3 years in many different type of restaurants but for 2 years in one lovely fine dining place in Tribeca.

What is the oddest request a client or tourist has made?
I don’t know. There are some odd requests sometimes but it is also due to some cultural differences. You have to be empathetic with every request.

What proves you are French?
My snobbish character!

Your favorite occupation other than work?
Exhibitions, concerts, singing, dancing, taking care of my kids.

Your motto?
Un esprit sain dans un corps sain – even if i dont succeed every day 😉

The French expression that makes you smile?
There are several: amuser la galerie, Poser un lapin, copain comme cochon, prendre les jambes à son cou

Favorite place to eat in Paris outside Café de Mars?
I have a few (Ma bourgogne, Frenchie, Le Denoyer, Clamato, Le dindon en laisse) but if I have to pick one … Home

Favorite neighborhood to walk in Paris?
Paris has no frontiers for me. Since I was born, I have lived in so many different neighborhoods that they all have something to say to me

A good reason to like American people?
They are enthusiastic & respectful with always a positive attitude.

A good reason to like French people?
Sarcastic sense of humour. A way of life.

What are you most proud of?
The consistancy of my place – 7 Years.

Who would you invite to the ideal dinner party?
My family

Who is your hero?
Le Comte de Monte Cristo

Who incarnates the United States?
Marilyn Monroe

Who incarnates France?
Zinedine Zidane

How do you use the social networks Twitter, Facebook?
Personally never. For Cafe de Mars, Instagram and Facebook are 2 great ways to communicate on our weekly changing menus, events & news!

What is your next project?
The opening of Cafe de la Terre on planet Mars! Coming soon!

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