A good, affordable restaurant is always a good find, and in a major tourist district it may be an impossible find. But if you’re in the neighborhood of the Grands Boulevards (the name of both the district’s world-famous wide streets and its subway station), you can find one at Croq2Dent, 159 Rue Montmartre.
(The name means, roughly, Crunch 2 Tooth, but even with a degree in French I can’t figure out if it’s supposed to be wordplay or what.)
Like many of the lower priced restaurants I’ve written about, it’s a sandwich shop, one that makes an art of its sandwich making. There’s also a salad bar, a different soup every day (hot in winter, cold in summer), continental breakfasts, and a largish selection of desserts, even a couple of low-calorie ones.
Of course, the sandwiches are the heart of the menu. They’re all toasted, without butter, and spread with a vegetable purée in place of mayonnaise. Each sandwich is named after a famous site in or around Paris (St. Germain, Louvre, Chatelet). Prices range from 4.80 euros (for the Pigalle — tuna, cheese, and pickles on round bread) to 5.90 euros (for the Cluny — smoked duck on bread made from pretzel dough). There are several options for adding side dishes; for example, getting a smoothie (that’s what they call it, really!) with your sandwich brings it up to 7.50 euros, while a salad and drink, or dessert and drink, will make the total 9.50.
The side dishes can be ordered on their own. You can build a small salad (250 ml, aka one cup) for 3.60 euros or a large one, twice that size, 6.90. And yes, the salad bar does include stuff like eggs and cheese. Soup comes in one size, 400 ml (just under two cups) and costs 4.60. All the soups are 100% vegetarian. Soup and a small salad together cost 7.80 euros.
The dessert menu will look familiar to English speakers — maybe a little too much so. If you feel you haven’t come to France to eat muffins and cookies, let alone cheesecake, try the mousse au chocolat a l’ancienne — old style chocolate mousse — for something more traditionally French.
The menu is handily labeled with different colored squares to show at a glance whether an item is high, mid-, or low calorie.
Croq2Dent is open from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, so you can go there for anything from breakfast to a very early dinner.
Editor’s Note: You also may be interested in getting to and around Paris on a budget. Read more by clicking on this article before planning your trip for some great tips.