Dining on History: La Taverne du Sergeant Recruteur, Paris

Rick Steves panned this mecca on the rue St. Louis-en-l’Ile and a neighboring restaurant. He said they’re “famous for their rowdy, medieval cellar atmosphere. They serve all-you-can-eat buffets with straw baskets of raw veggies (cut whatever you like with your dagger), massive plates of pâté, [plenty of soup,] a meat course, and all the wine you can stomach for €36-38.”

Au contraire, Rick. My wife, daughter and I loved La Taverne du Sergeant Recruteur. Of course, we were there in December when it was all locals and no tourists. The Chocolate Mousse was especially yummy, but every aspect of the meal was tasty and our 11-year-old daughter was thoroughly entertained by dining in a 200-year-old brick and wood building with a spiral staircase to the loos upstairs.

The “Sergeant Recruiter? used to get young Parisians drunk here, then sign them into the Napoleonic army, just like Shanghai Kelly in my native San Francisco. They speak English and cater to tourists. Open daily from 19:00, #41, tel. 01 43 54 75 42. Reservations recommended, especially in the summer months.

Posted by Gil Zeimer on June 24, 2005 in Travel

Comments (19)

  1. TRACY RIBEIRO
    TRACY RIBEIRO says:

    La Taverne du Sergeant Recruiter, WAS FANTASTIC, WE HAD A ROMANTIC FUN MEAL THAT TASTED WONDERFUL. IT IS A MUST.

  2. Gil Zeimer
    Gil Zeimer says:

    Tracy:
    I couldnt’ agree more. Though we feasted at “Sergeants” over a year ago, just last night we told someone it was one of the most memorable meals we’ve ever had… in Europe, Asia or the USA.
    Some think the restaurant is a bit touristy (especially Rick Steves), but we loved all three hours of it!
    Please comment on other articles and tell your friends about Vagablond.
    Thanks again,
    Gil

  3. Jan Modzelewski
    Jan Modzelewski says:

    We’ve eaten at La Taverne du Sergeant Recruiter twice in the past and thoroughly enjoyed it each time. Yes, there’s a gimmick, but so what? Personally I think it’s a good gimmick. We’re leaving tomorrow for Paris once again and this time my niece and nephew will be coming along with us. I can’t think of a better “old-world” french restaurant to take them to. Instead of recruiting enlistees for the army, this place continues to recruit folks to the charm of Paris in a very unpretentious way.

  4. Maureen Littlejohn
    Maureen Littlejohn says:

    Jan:
    Thanks very much for your comment. My daughter was 11 at the time and hates “dining” (a meal that lasts longer than one hour), but the food was so plentiful, the service was so attentive, and the whole production was so enchanting, that we spent three hours there and she didn’t complain once!
    I hope that your niece and nephew enjoy it as much as we did. Please post another comment AFTER you eat there!
    Merci,
    Gil

  5. gmk
    gmk says:

    Thanks for the review. I’m planning a trip to Paris with my 11 year old son and was hoping to find something on the Recruiting Sargeant. My father took each of his daughters there in the 70′s and 80′s whenever we were lucky enough to be in Paris. We have some great memories of those dinners and I’m happy to hear that the charm and fun is still there, as well as simply good food. Looking forward to an evening there again soon!

  6. Douglas Leamon
    Douglas Leamon says:

    One of my favourite haunts when visiting Paris.

  7. Kate Hodson
    Kate Hodson says:

    I was taken to La Taverne du Sergeant Recruteur as a teenager on holiday with my parents and now over 25 years later I am still talking about it! My company are going to Paris for our Christmas do and considering going there for our evening meal – I’m amazed and very pleased it’s still going and still serving excellent food. Can’t wait to go again.

  8. Jack Russell
    Jack Russell says:

    I have eaten in the Sergeant Recruteur many times and each time was better than the last. I recommend it to friends going to Paris as my favorite restaurant in Paris, they always have a great time. It is a local as well as tourist place. We met a great couple, both doctors from outside Paris somewhere, they took us around in their car for 3 or 4 hours after dinner. We got an insiders look at Paris that we could never have gotten otherwise. This is the kind of restaurant were it is easy to start up a conversation with your dining neighbor. It is not only welcomed but expected. Go there if you get a chance, go even if you don’t have a chance.

  9. John Reitmeier
    John Reitmeier says:

    This joint was my FIRST DINNER ever in Paris/France or EUROPE! We were on a FAM trip with the Mayor of Las Vegas and several city councilmen. And many new media of which I was one! I am a severe foodie! It was a wonderful meal, fun service, good jug wine, overall perhaps the greatest FIRST NIGHT one could ask for! I’ve been back a couple of times since and not been dissapointed. IS IT HIGH DINING..no, but who cares. It’s sure better than many touristy spots I’ve been taken to by cities trying to promote their locations. ALL IN ALL it’s on my recommend list and unless I experience different, it will stay there! John Reitmeier

  10. Tay
    Tay says:

    I was fortunate to spend Thanksgiving in Paris in 2005. My dinner at the Tavern was one of the highlights of my entire trip! The food was wonderful and the endless supply of wine wasn’t too shabby either. I didn’t miss my “traditional” American Thanksgiving at all and can’t wait until I have the chance to dine there again. I would recommend going early and staying late to soak up the awesome vibe of the neighborhood. The shops are too cute and when you cross the bridge the night time view of Notre Dame is breath taking. It was probably one of my favorite days ever!

  11. Cecilia Pinho-Brazil
    Cecilia Pinho-Brazil says:

    Umforgetable place which I recomend to everbody that travel to Paris. Warm, beautiful, different and is still in my mind since 1991. I hope I can come back there one day.

  12. Joe R
    Joe R says:

    Fantasic place although sad to say haven’t been there since 1986, was recommended by wife’s aunt who was a cartograpgher in Paris during WWII and went then often.
    We got the chance to go during our honymoon and I must say I can’t wait to go again…. planning our 25th. Strange how some things just seem to stick with you.

  13. Ron T
    Ron T says:

    I took my wife to Paris for a quick vacation and visited La Taverne du Sergeant Recruteur which was recommended by a friend I use to work with. We both had worked in Algeria and traveled to Paris often for visas. No regets, food was excellent as was the service. It was a bit crowded and noisy but the food more than made up for that. I will go back there on my next trip.

  14. Michael Walsh
    Michael Walsh says:

    La Taverne du Sergeant Recruiter is a MUST for us when we visit Paris. In fact, we’re going to be there for two nights later this year, and my wife suggested we go there for dinner there BOTH nights!

  15. Alice Crosby
    Alice Crosby says:

    My husband and I talk from time to time about where we each would eat our last meal if we got to chose. My choice, Sargeant Recruiter, is an easy one for me. Some of the happiest times of my life have been in Sargeant Recruiter, and certainly in Paris. It may not be the most “gourmet” food I’ve eaten in my life, but certainly the happiest! That’s probably more important, come to think of it! Any time we hear someone is going to Paris we tell them not to miss it.

  16. Goldie Lazar
    Goldie Lazar says:

    I disagree. The food was just so-so. I have eaten much better pate and cassoulet in New York. The cheese plate was good but ordinary. The waiter there charged me for 2 glasses of wine – one poured from my friend’s already opened bottle and the other the rest of the wine in a friend’s glass. They must be pretty desperate to make a buck if they are willing to stoop that low. I wouldn’t give them my business again and will warn my friends about their thievery.

  17. sandy greensfelder
    sandy greensfelder says:

    Our first time in Paris, my husband and I stumbled on le tavern Sargeant Recruiters. Yes, it’s rustic but, the atmosphere was great. We went in the fall so hardly no tourist. Our waitor was great and made the evening fun for us. The meal from beginning to end was very good. it’s not 5 star or elegant by any means but compensates in so many ways. We’ve been back several times since our initial visit. It’s not the same maybe because its become touristy and less personal. Also, summer is not the time to go there. I’ll never forget our first visit. It was one of the highlights of our trip.

  18. Gary Young
    Gary Young says:

    La Taverne du Sergeant Recruteur has closed. I was there last week and the place has been sold and will not reopen in its old form. The painted over windows and locked door were very sad to see. “Nos Ancetres Les Gaulois” next door is a good replacement . . . but just not quite the same. Dommage!

  19. Sherpa Reviews
    Sherpa Reviews says:

    Sorry to hear that La Taverne du Sergeant Recruteur has closed its doors for good! We’ll keep their neighbor in mind next time we visit Paris. In the meantime, we’ll keep visiting our favorite local French eatery, The Addison. (We recommend the lamb crepinettes!)

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