Located on Rue de Rivoli near the Louvre Museum and the Tuileries Gardens, Angelina is a 114-year old tearoom. Recommended by several traveller friends and bloggers, I was sure it was a gem and made the trek to the iconic French tearoom.
Since we were staying by the Gare De Lyon, we took a Maxi Cab to the restaurant, which Diva had booked a table beforehand, as I often hear the queues can be long, especially during the long, warm summer days. I was a little worried that we were late and even made Diva notify them. It turns out, I didn’t really need to worry. I had simply forgotten that the French are like Kenyans, where it’s okay if you’re a little late to your reservation.
Upon entering the beautiful tea room, I noticed the Belle Époque architecture, from the golden age of French history to 1871 to 1914. Designed by French architect Édouard-Jean Niermans, Angelina’s décor combines elegance and charm to create a sense of romanticism and poetry.
By the entrance was a separate walkway leading to the display showcase, where people can walk in and pick up some pastries to go. We were led to a table at the back of the room, which had some mirrors creating the illusion of more space. As we browsed through the menu, I could not help staring at the intricate ceiling and walls, noting that even the furniture is over 100 years old. The details were mesmerizing!Founded in 1903 by the Austrian confectioner, Antoine Rumpelmayer and originally named “Rumpelmayer”, Angelina was then named after his daughter-in-law by his son Rene, when he took over it. And today, it has become a high-end institution, frequented by elite Parisians including the iconic Coco Chanel. The restaurant was owned by the Rumpelmayer family until 1963. In 2005, Angelina was taken over by Groupe Bertrand, a fast food chain, who have expanded the Angelina chain in the Middle East and the Far East.
There is something about this tranquil, exquisite space…Angelina is somewhere between serenity and indulgence.
As we decided what to order, I knew we all had to order their world-famous Hot Chocolate “L’Africain” composed of three carefully selected kinds of African cocoa from Niger, Ghana and Ivory Coast. I had been sipping on hot chocolate throughout the entire European trip especially by the Swiss Alps when it was often cold. I know, it’s ironic drinking a hot chocolate in 33°C but it’s the yummiest I’ve ever had!The combination of these different types of chocolate from different lands lends Angelina’s hot chocolate its exceptional taste and distinctive character. Specially put together for Angelina, the recipe for this chocolate mix is a secret. When it arrived on the table with whipped cream on the side, it was so satisfying watching the pudding-like hot chocolate flow thickly into the cup. And I loved adding the whipped cream as it added a light freshness to the otherwise rich cup of chocolaty goodness.To eat, Diva decided to try the Toasts, Beurre, Confiture, Miel et Crème de Marrons Angelina, two brioche toasts that were accompanied with butter, Angelina honey, jam and chestnut cream. The toast itself was decadent and paired with the homemade jam and the rich chestnut cream was not the average toast and jam I expected.Mom got the Petit-Déjuener Parisien, a Parisian breakfast combo, where she had a choice between Tea, Coffee or Angelina Hot Chocolate and a choice of Jus de Fruits Frais (fresh fruit juices) between orange, grapefruit or lemon juice accompanying her food. So she got the Angelina hot chocolate and orange juice. She was served a selection of mini viennoiseries (mini pastries) and petit pain (a bread roll) on a two-tiered stand. The mini pastries included a delicious croissant, pain au chocolate (a chocolate-filled pastry) and pain aux raisins (a flaky raisin pastry). Her bread roll was accompanied with some butter, jam, Angelina honey and chestnut cream. I tried the Croissant and the Pain au Chocolat and they were divine. Hey! They weren’t exaggerating about the French pastries. They truly are perfection.Dad decided to play the safe route and got the Omelette Nature, a plain two-egg omelette served with a leafy, green mesclun salad. Cooked to precision, the omelette was pleasant.I ordered a pastry from the classics – the Mont Blanc. Angelina’s famous trademark pastry since 1903 due to its unique, unrivalled recipe, was my must-try for me. I know dessert for breakfast shouldn’t be a thing, but hey, I was just doing it for my blog!I assumed it would be a flaky pastry, so I was genuinely surprised when the meringue topped with whipped cream and chestnut cream vermicelli was placed in front of me. Having never had chestnut cream before, I was intrigued by its sweet, nutty taste. Because I paired the Mont Blanc with my thick hot chocolate, the sugar overload was inevitable, but I could see it is so popular.
As we dined, the service seemed to fluctuate as diners came and went. I had to wait for quite a while for my Mont Blanc, too. But the restaurant seemed to be busy throughout as patrons enjoyed their meals.
I was more than satisfied with Angelina, and dream too often about their hot chocolate if I’m being honest. So I think this warrants another trip to the city of love.
At the risk of falling into a sugary food coma, we strolled out and went straight to the Pierre Hermé store to pick up macarons for a taste test before exploring the nearby attractions, including the famous Louvre.
Angelina is located at:
226 Rue de Rivoli
Photos by Hitesh & Diva Shah