Anyone who knows me well, knows that the key to my heart is with Italian food. Every time I come back to the U.S. to visit my family, my mom is sure to have a lasagna ready and my dad makes his famous homemade garlic bread… even in the middle of the summer when it’s 90 degrees outside.
12 Avenue Niel, 75017 Paris
A 10 minute walk from the Arc de Triumph or a 6 minute walk from the Metro Ternes (line 2), the Casa Luca Niel is tucked away on a quiet corner behind the bustling “Marché Poncelet” and the large shops of “Avenue des Ternes.”
Chic & “chaleureux,” this restaurant is the perfect place for a romantic evening “entre amoureux.” It’s proximity to the Arc de Triumph also makes it a great spot to bring visiting friends or family for a scrumptious meal away from all the tourists crowding the Champs-Elysees.
Opening their doors for a special blogger event last week, Edouard & I were warmly welcomed and ushered over to the bar to start the festivities with an Italian “aperitif.” Edouard tried a Saint Germain Spritz; I opted for the Martini Spritz (Both had a tangy, refreshing flavor and were really good).
I had a great time speaking with the other bloggers there, and was particularly excited to meet the writer of the blog “Au fil des lieux,” who is half American and has been blogging about Paris for several years now.
After the apero, we were brought into the kitchen to meet the chefs and get a lesson on making pizza. The chefs, all from Italy except for one proud Sicilian, seemed like a great team, excited to share their culture and food.
The head chef, a graduate of an Italian pizza school (apparently that’s a thing?!), shared with us his preferred ingredients for making a tasty pizza crust. In his crust he uses wheat flour, water, olive oil, salt, and yeast. He explained to us that making a good pizza crust is all about chemistry. For example, he said that pizza dough needs to sit so the yeast will rise but never longer than 48 hours otherwise the dough will become too acidic. Good to know!
He also told us that Naples is the Italian city that claims the “best” pizza – they make it old fashioned style in fire-warmed ovens (Restaurants in Paris aren’t allowed to do this though). I was surprised to learn that Neapolitan pizza-makers don’t usually use olive oil because it’s too expensive. Makes sense. The chef of Casa Luca Niel likes olive oil though because it gives the pizza dough more “elasticity.”
Next, we got to taste the famous pizza that we’d learned so much about.
We tried the “Pizza à la burrata” – this was my first time trying burrata cheese and honestly, it was amazing! My new goal is to find a shop that sells this in Paris so that I can use it in my own cooking.
For dessert? Ice cream from Raimo Paris. I had never heard of this brand before – apparently they have a really popular shop in the 12th arrondissement of Paris that’s been around since 1947! People who live on that side of the River Seine usually know & love going to the shop but those whole live on the other side of the river (like me!) have hardly ever heard about it.
If you’re looking for ice cream in Paris, you DEFINITELY need to try Raimo. It is so creamy, that it melts in your mouth. I tried the raspberry sorbet dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with pistachios. I liked it so much that I went back for seconds and tried the chocolate ice cream dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with pecans. As the French would say, I was a bit “gourmande.”
Price: On the expensive side, but not unreasonable considering the quality of the food. Pizzas and pasta dishes range from 14€-29€. Average price though is about 20€. Deserts : 4€-10€.
En Bref: Delicious food, friendly staff, chic and relaxing ambiance… A place I will definitely go again!
The director told me that on Friday nights they have an illusionist there for entertainment – this is something I’d love to see.
I also noticed that they have a Brunch on Sundays that sounds quite yummy.