Set in one of my all-time favourite parts of town, Margherita straddles buzzing Odeon and the quaint and classy streets of St Germain des Pres. Set in the beautiful Parisian cobbled passageway of La Cour du Commerce-Saint-André, you can’t really ask for a more idyllic setting for a spot of lunch.
I’ve found that there’s not an abundance of excellent pizza joints in Paris, so when my boyfriend mentioned that this was his favourite, I was keen to see how it measured up.
There are actually two entrances to the building, the primary one facing the main road Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie, the other around the back at La Cour du Commerce-Saint-André. You can enter at either side, but we decided to sit out the back on the terraces by the cobbled passageways. It’s simply the best way to enjoy this place when you’re lucky with the weather. Pizza, sunshine and people-watching; what could be better?
That said, the indoors are also very pleasant, with modern industrial interior design contrasted with typical Parisian touches. It struck me as a great place for a get-together, be it a birthday party or business party meal, you can easily set up large tables – plus the semi-casual dining setup makes the environment very chilled and enjoyable, yet special enough to feel like a treat. The interior is quite dark even during the daytime, however the result of this is actually quite romantic and atmospheric – but perhaps not the best places to come for a working lunch.
The menu is modern with plenty of choice. Choose from 8 à la carte pizza options, 7 pasta dishes or an assortment of other dishes. If you’re after something light, there are 3 salad options, however you might have to scour through the menu for any vegan options.
I opted for the pizza ‘piccante’, as after all, who comes to a pizza place and doesn’t order a pizza?! The toppings were clearly very fresh, with flavoursome buffalo mozzarella, a thin layer of Italian-style tomato sauce and thinly-sliced ‘salami piccante’ (which is more similar to a chorizo than a pepperoni). I didn’t find the meat to be particularly spicy, which was disappointing given the name of the pizza (piccante means spicy in Italian), but it had a good flavour and texture nonetheless. I would have appreciated some chilli oil to accompany the pizza and amp up the spice factor, but for health reasons I’m trying to reduce the amount of oil I’m consuming so I skipped asking for it on this occasion.
The crust didn’t have that super-fresh authentic taste to it. Even so, it was thin and crispy with a doughy crust. I couldn’t help but compare it to my recent visit to hyped pizzeria in Paris Tripletta (review coming soon!), which was, in my opinion, far superior – particularly in terms of their stoke-baked, sourdough, fresh pizza bases.
However, since Margherita is based in this amazing central location and Instagram-worthy passageway, and and boasts a great overall experience as a destination restaurant (and bearing in mind some of the straight-up bad pizzas I’ve had in this town), I still consider it a great place to come for pizza in Paris.
The food is very, very good and the service is attentive, however it falls just short of being great; It’s not somewhere that I would shout from the rooftops about or recommend to all my friends. It’s more a place to visit if you’re staying nearby, or visiting St Germain des Pres on your Parisian travels. That said, with so many other incredible restaurants in this quarter of Paris, I’m not sure I would suggest it as ‘the’ place to go when a stone’s throw from Odeon. Especially when you can expect to pay the best part of 20 Euro for a good-not-great pizza.
Even so, it’s still somewhere I would consider going back to, especially on a beautiful sunny day like we had. It’s just that, with so many other places to explore in this part of town, and the high price point, I don’t think it will be any time soon.
Margherita website: N/A