A small banner above the door announces 404 and once you walk through the doors you are transported to another place. The room is dimly lit and well decorated. Pastries tempt you in a large round dish near the door and open kitchen area. The bar is stylish. There are long tables so you effectively sit with other people but the dim lighting still gives you some intimacy with your own dinner party. There is also a small loft area that overlooks the main dining area with a small staircase leading up to it.
Dinner in Paris doesn’t get started until rather late. 404 does not open until 7:30 pm – no early bird specials here. But waiting for it makes it feel like an event. My cousin and I had a reservation and were seated upon arrival.
404 serves North African cuisine. They use fresh ingredients from the market every day. Dishes that are vegetarian friendly are marked by a symbol on the menu, which is nice to let you focus only on those. Most of the starters are in fact vegetarian (five looked to be vegan) and there are four options for a main course.
The 404 cocktail is a mojito and is very good. We shared the Zaalouk Salad to start which is roasted eggplant, tomatoes and garlic. It was delicious. However, it didn’t look very pretty so I didn’t take a picture of it. I do recommend ordering it!
For a main course, the options were Mixed Grilled Vegetables, Berber Couscous (dry couscous), Seven Vegetable Couscous and the Seven Vegetable Tangine. Couscous is steamed cracked wheat. A tangine is a terracotta clay cooking pot in which the ingredients are simmered. I had the Seven Vegetable Tangine with a side of couscous that was easily large enough for two people. Adding the couscous to the Tangine was great, it soaked up all the juices and gave the couscous great flavor. The tangine by itself without the couscous may have tasted a little watery. The large pot of vegetables included potatoes, artichokes, tomatoes, olives (I skipped those), green beans and peas. I’m not sure what the seventh vegetable was. Altogether it was a very good meal and I couldn’t finish the large portion.
I know that service in Europe in general is not that same as that in the U.S. and waiters tend to leave you alone so as not to rush you. Our food and drinks came out quickly. However, once our waitress acknowledged we requested the check she then forgot about us. We could not get her attention for another 20 minutes.
We had a lovely dinner at 404. It has a great atmosphere and is good for a lively group meal. You need a reservation. Given the proximity to other diners it’s not the best choice for a romantic dinner unless you can be seated at the end of the table. The flavors and spices were well done and there are options for those wishing to follow a healthy plant-based diet.
Ratings from a plant-based eating perspective (1-5 scale, 1=Terrible 5=Excellent)
Ambiance: 5 Service: 2 Choices: 4 Taste: 5 Overall: 4