Sadly, my trip to France is over, but I am still thinking of those long, hot summer days and even longer summer dinners. I want to write about every place we went in so much detail, but I think there’s just too much stuff. Instead, I’m going to share with you a list of some of my favorite places to eat in Paris (there are many!). Not all of this is going to be traditional French fare, mind you!
Les Marcheurs de Planète (73 Rue de la Roquette, 75011) . One of my favorite places to go for simple, cheap, copious meals. They excel in cheese and charcuterie boards, thanks to their own cave, accessible through the floor of this tiny, tiny resto. It’s totally not a tourist place, and be prepared to get cozy with your neighbors.
Restaurant Le Patio Provençal (116 Rue des Dames, 75017). A bit of Provence in Paris. When I was working in the city, this was a regular date night choice for M. Cheesemonger and me.
La Mosquée de Paris (39 rue Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, 75005). It’s a mosque! It’s a restaurant! It’s a tea salon! It’s a hammam! It is all of the above!! This gorgeous setting transports you to another continent. The cuisine is mostly successful, although a friend of mine had an unfortunately dry kefta the last time I was there. My lamb tagine with olives and preserved lemons, on the other hand, was excellent. Their pastries are delectable, so leave room for dessert (I would pass on the average ice cream, though.)
Flora Danica (142 Champs-Élysées 75008). A former colleague of mine invited M. Cheesemonger and me to lunch at this Danish restaurant because she knew I had a côté epicurien. My platter of preserved herring and salmon accompanied by a hearty, seed-filled bread might just have been the finest meal of this Paris visit. A little on the pricy side. This is, after all, the Champs-Elysées.
Pain d’Epices (12 Rue Jean du Bellay, 75004). On the L’île St. Louis, this is where I go for my obligatory Berthillon ice cream fixes. It’s a little less expensive, and far less crowded, than the “official” Berthillon café, but the ice cream’s just as good! I went there at least 3 times during our last visit. The specialty was ice cream made of yaourt au yuzu, which tasted like a combination of Meyer lemon, grapefruit, and Christmas tree. It was so delicious and airy, I had it twice. Some of my other favorites include their fraises des bois (wild strawberry), marrons glacés (candied chestnuts, available in winter), framboise à la rose (raspberry rose), and cacao amer (bitter cocoa). There’s also plenty of cassis, chocolate, vanilla, and much, much more.
Le Grand Bistro Maillot St. Ferdinand (275 Blvd. Pereire, 75017). The wonderful thing about this place is its prix fixe menu. The whole menu is prix fixe, so for a great price, you can get an apératif, entrée, plat, dessert, and bottle of wine for two. Of the dishes my group ordered, the foie gras was wonderful, and so was the smoked salmon. The rognons de veau (veal kidneys) were perfectly executed, as were my scallops and sautéed vegetables. The desserts were all delicious as well. All in all, a very agreeable place to go for a more elaborate meal. The only distraction was the strangely froufrou attitude of some of the waitstaff.
Il Bocconcino (19 Rue Sextius Michel, 75015). We had ourselves some great pasta here, as well as desserts. There’s nothing fancy here, just a no-frills Italian joint. A pretty good one at that.
Mères et Filles (8 rue Saint Paul, 75004). Next to the Marais, one of my favorite neighborhoods to stroll and shop. This little restaurant offers French cuisine with a bit of Asian flair. It’s not expensive, and its lunch deal is really a great bargain. It’s a perfect place to stop for lunch during your shopping excursion. Then, you can hop across the street to see the artisanal and antique shops at the Village St. Paul.
Comptoir de Sablonville Epices Riz (23 Rue Sablonville, 92200 Neuilly-sur-Seine). My cousin took me here for lunch one day, during the Paris vacation season. The comfy countertop was unusually empty, but that didn’t stop us from feasting on some of the best pastas, salad, and antipasti I have enjoyed since my last visit to Italy! If you’re in the area, it’s worth a visit.
Le Refuge du Passé (32 Rue du Fer à Moulin, 75005). This outstanding restaurant offers traditional French cooking at its heartiest. Huge pork/ham stews, cassoulets, duck in all of its fatty glory . . . . Did I say how copious the dishes are? You might not want to eat the day before and/or after this gluttonous French feast.
Pierre Hermé (various locations in Paris). My favorite French pastry. The only macarons I really enjoy eating. I will never share anything Pierre Hermé. The. End.
Thé Mariage Frères (30 Rue du Bourg Tibourg, 75004). This venerable tea company offers a light tea-focused menu (breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea) and teas for you to bring back home.
Vietnamese cuisine. When I’m in France, I STILL crave Vietnamese food very often. Luckily, the 13th arrondissement in Paris hosts a lively Vietnamese community. I can find all my favorite Vietnamese dishes in the restaurants along Rue de Tolbiac, Ave. d’Ivry, and Ave. de Choisy. (Metro Porte D’Ivry, Tolbiac, Porte de Choisy). For all of my Asian grocery needs, there is Tang Frères (8 Avenue d’Ivry, 75013).
Fromage Alléosse. One of the fine fromageries of the city. This one came to me highly recommended by a friend. If you’re tired of visiting only guidebook food destinations, take a peek here, and ask about their cave!
Despite the overwhelming number of food options, I always remind people to visit their local farmers markets and traiteurs! As impressive as the fancy service and dishes are, simple, fresh produce and foodstuffs prepared at home (and accompanied with some fresh baguette!) can bring such great pleasures.