Roger La Grenouille – Paris, France - Gastro Obscura

Gastro Obscura

Roger La Grenouille

This frog-themed restaurant was frequented by Picasso, Saint-Exupéry, and more. 

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“Frog” is a derogatory epithet for a French person, originating in the World War I era and based on the French penchant for eating frog legs. But those who started using the term likely had never eaten frog legs before. Perhaps if they’d tried the dish, they would’ve realized that frog legs are quite tasty.

Nestled in the artistic neighborhood of Rue des Grands-Augustins, Roger La Grenouille is a frog-focused restaurant that opened in 1930 and has been visited by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Mistinguett, Michel Galabru, François Truffaut, Pope John XIII, and the Queen Mother of England. Pablo Picasso lived at a nearby studio, where he worked on his most famous painting, Guernica, in 1937, and reportedly frequented this bistro, too.

As you may have guessed, Roger La Grenouille takes pride in its frog legs and other frog-based dishes, offering everything from froggy  fritôts to meunière to even a frog burger. Its menu includes other French dishes as well, such as caviar, sturgeon stew, and escargots with wine-based sauce.

Roger’s frog theme doesn’t end at its menu, however. The building is embellished all over with vintage frog-based bric-à-brac and memorabilia, including kitschy figurines, posters, and even a toilet paper holder. There are old musical instruments, pans, funnels, pots, and jugs hanging from the ceiling as well, creating a somewhat peculiar yet cozy space for casual Parisian dining.

The restaurant was named after its founder, Roger Spinhirny. Born in 1900, he and his brother were abandoned at a young age. As a result, he was said to have grown up with a kind heart, eventually providing free meals for orphans, poor schoolchildren, and the homeless in Paris as an adult. Eventually, he turned his love for food into a business, buying an old shoe repair shop and renovating into a restaurant. Nearly a century later, it’s still serving up stellar frog delicacies.

 

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