For almost thirty years, Raquel Carena has been welcoming star chefs, neighborhood intellectuals and well-informed tourists into her gem of a bistro (a wood and copper bar, opus incertum tiling, an eclectic library) in the North of Paris, with no excess chitchat but with metronomic consistency. The day we went for lunch, there were six appetizers, three mains and as many desserts on the menu: a handsome brill and vegetable broth (beans, carrots, onions, tomatoes) to start, with a nice amount of oil and flat-leaf parsley (or fabulous raw marinated sardines with cilantro); tender and juicy leg of lamb with caramelized eggplant (or a beautiful slice of sautéed veal liver with jus de viande and real mashed potatoes); and a good ol’ bavarois with red berry coulis. The well chosen natural wine selection by Philippe Pinoteau (known around here as “Pinuche”) makes for excellent complements to the meal: Jura from Bornard (€6.50 a glass), Alsace rouge from Sylvie Spielmann (€42 a bottle) or a Corsican white Canarelli for the same price. Menu €19 (lunch), à la carte €38-57 (dinner). // M.A.-L.