C&J introduced us to Chartier five years ago when we visited them in Paris. We had a great lunch at this Parisian institution at that time and so decided a return visit was in order. The restaurant has been around since 1896 - it's even classified as a historical monument. Frequented by locals (but now in all the guidebooks I'm told) it's said to have fed over 5o billion bellies since it's opening! Thinking back, I could recall the decor of the vast dining hall and the brusqueness of the waiters. But not what I ordered. I wasn't sure if that meant that the food was forgettable or that we'd all had too much wine to drink at the time.
It might have been the former. Our lunch experience this time around was great for atmosphere and charm - perhaps only added to by the fact that we were seated practically on the laps of the couple next to us - and 'okay' from the food point of view. It's billed as classic, 'home style' French fare and is a welcome change from the fussy morsel posturing on a plate that looks as if some chef has had his hands all over it for far too long. But perhaps these particular plates could have done with a little more attention. Regardless, the wine was great and the bustling ambience ensured it was worth the visit. Especially as it's inexpensive.
I'm just not as much of a fan as the man who has been eating there every lunch for the last 20 years!