Semilla Paris is a warm and cozy brasserie that serves modern and refreshingly light French food. Vegetables are a highlight, though everything is good at this popular spot in the lovely Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood.
The Michelin Guide has awarded Semilla a Michelin Plate, "fresh ingredients, capably prepared: simply a good meal." Alice Waters speaks fondly of it; and Mark Bittman of the New York Times selected it as one of four "winners", places he found where he "was eating best".
The restaurant is insanely popular and reservations are highly recommended. In fact, when we told the hotel concierge that we wanted to dine here, his eyes lit up and he said, "you will love it. I think they make the best veal sweetbreads in all of France."
Starters / Appetizers
Semilla is meticulous about how it sources its ingredients, and it's known for its brilliance in its preparation of vegetables. One of my favorites was the spectacular royal sweet onion soup with miso, oyster mushrooms and mushroom foam. The dish was a rich, intense explosion of sweet onion and umami from the miso and the different mushrooms.
We also enjoyed a lovely light and refreshing tiger's tears ceviche served with a broccoli and cilantro puree.
The beef cheeks were served with a colorful assortment of beets (all different colors!) together with cranberry, lingonberry, and rooibos. The flavors were creative and the dish was good. The beef cheek was very soft and tender, but the texture still did not compare to the one we had at Le Comptoir, which was still our favorite beef cheek.
The turbot filet came with heliantis salsify chips, citrus and nuts. It was enjoyable, though I couldn't help but compare it with the unforgettable turbot we had enjoyed in San Sebastian, and this wasn't quite the same.
I also absolutely loved their choice of cheeses. In fact, this was my favorite cheese plate from my entire week dining in Paris. Pictured above: Chèvre d’Or moulé à la louche au lait cru; Livarot fermier du Calvados; Mont d'Or fermier à la cuillère, fromagerie des Rousses.
General Thoughts - Semilla Paris
Semilla has a warm and inviting ambiance, great service, and very good food. I loved the focus on vegetables, especially their efforts to incorporate lesser known vegetables into the dishes. It is definitely their strength. The meats are fine and I absolutely loved the cheese.
I think if you like sweetbreads, you won't be disappointed with their version. I am not a big sweetbreads fan so we ended up not ordering it, but I did see tables around me ordering them. It's a huge, generous portion, and they looked well prepared.
All in all, you can't go wrong if you choose to have one of your dinners here while you are visiting Paris.
54 rue de Seine
Open every day
12:30 to 14:30 and 19:00 to 23:00
Except Sunday (close at 22:00)
Reservations only by telephone 01 43 54 34 50
Le Chateaubriand Paris
Le Comptoir - Best Beef Cheeks in the World