The Yellow Pages list 6 922 restaurants in Paris. No need to say that you won’t go starving…To spot the right place, the greedy (and gourmet!) guy that I am, have made up a personal list that meets all our needs:
- good value for money. Places where you can dine for 20 to 30 EUR per head (main course + dessert + a glass of wine) with good home-made dishes. You won’t leave these places with an empty stomach.
- a nice atmosphere. For a couple of years, pseudo-design restaurants without personality have been mushrooming everywhere. There you can find sushi alongside coq au vin. This is why I am only suggesting full of charm and authentic places.
- a caring and welcoming service. The French waiters’ bad reputation is not a myth: coolness, indifference, way too long wait to order (or to pay!) and yet the staff always asks you whether you enjoyed your meal, without waiting for the answer…On very rare occasions, you can count on a warm smile and a little chat with the boss.
One last detail: you need to book your table…
So ready, steady, eat!
Le Cochon à l'Oreille
Imagine a roadstead as big as a handkerchief, picture a superb 1900 listed mosaic decor, imagine a few shining Orient Express- type of tables, imagine a traditional bistrot cuisine (onion soup, beef tartar, black pudding with apples, etc) and a good wine list, picture a young boss who freshly graduated from HEC, and you get this lovely café located in the Halles district!
15, rue Montmartre, 75001 Paris, 01 42 36 07 56, métro "Les Halles".
Open from midday to 10.30pm. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Photo album on www.flickr.com/photos/hotels-paris-rive-gauche/sets/72157608074191890/
I love Art Nouveau. I love big Parisian cafes. I love Chez Julien. If you eat à la carte, it is about 40 to 50 euros per head. However, the menu is pretty reasonable (30 to 35 euros). To give you a better idea, have a look at their website www.julienparis.com and especially at their "coup d'oeil panoramique". It should get you going...
16, rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010 Paris, 01 47 70 12 06, métro "Strasbourg Saint-Denis".
Open every day from 12 to 3pm, and from 7pm to 1.
People often ask me if I know a non-touristic authentic place, where real Parisans go, situated in a popular and cosmopolitan area. Without hesitating I always answer: ”go Chez Jeannette". A fifties decor with old wallpaper, Formica tables and neon lamps from another age. The traditional « carte » has been modernized by the young team. It is simple and friendly. I like it there.
47, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis, 75010 Paris, 01 47 70 30 89, métro "Château d'Eau"
Open every day from 8 in the morning until 11.30pm.
Back from the Eiffel Tower, what about stopping to eat at the Palais de Tokyo’s restaurant? Situated within the contemporary museum, you will find that everything is very concept-style there from the menu to the DJ who is mixing live, bare concrete walls, flashy neon lights as well as flying-saucers types of lights. There is room for impatient children to stretch their legs and to make friends with fashionable kids.
13, av. du Président Wilson, 75016 Paris, 01 47 20 00 20, métro "Iéna"
Open every day but Mondays, from 12 to 1 am.
Have a look at the menu on www.palaisdetokyo.com
One small exception to the rule: I have not tried this restaurant yet. But I know for sure that it’s worth it... First, you need to take a ticket for the museum: Orsay collections are just fantastic. Then the restaurant is located in the listed Terminus Hotel’s old dining and reading room. A dream decoration, with gilt, frescos and 1900 mirrors. I look forward to your letting me know about the rest…
62, rue de Lille, 75007 Paris, 01 45 49 47 03, métro "Assemblée Nationale"
Lunch every day from 11.45 to 2.45, Tea lounge from 3.30pm to 5.30pm
Le 404 (Morocco)
Wood, exposed stone walls, soft lights, semi-open kitchen, an authentic Moroccan style. “Le 404" is worth a visit. Delicious couscous and tagines, perfect barbecued lamb, so light that it is as if you are eating steamed carrots. A good idea if you are a table of at least 5, ask for the round table above the cloakroom (overlooking the restaurant). The only thing is it gets rather crowded and the sound level is high. Not the type of place for a wedding proposal. In the evening there are two services: 8 and 10.30. And don’t get offended if you get the bill with the dessert...
69, rue des Gravilliers, 75003 Paris, 01 42 74 57 81, métro "Réaumur Sébastopol"
Open every day for lunch and dinner, Berber brunches on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 4pm.
"Hi, I would like to book a table for tomorrow evening, please". "Sorry, we are fully booked." And for the day after tomorrow? "Sorry, but we are booked too". Well, as you have realized, you will need to book in advance to enjoy the fantastic Argentinian meat in Unico. Located in an old butcher’s shop, you will adore Unico and its magic barbecue. The manager is particularly nice. He took the time out of a busy service to explain the origin and delivery of the South American meat.
15, rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris, 01 43 67 68 08, métro "Charonne" or "Faidherbe - Chaligny".
Open from 12.15 to 2pm and 8 until 10.30pm (11pm on Fridays and Saturdays). Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Pink Flamingo (Italy)
Did you know gourmet pizzeria existed? I didn’t mean expensive pizza places. I meant a pizzeria managed by a young team who has decided to place quality above all: thin, crusty pastry made everyday only using organic flour and salt from Guérande, fresh toppings and vegetables cooked every day. Even the cheese is freshly grated every day... My favourite one is the "Basquiat": gorgonzola and figs with raw ham from Auvergne. For the people who want to eat in, the atmosphere is cartoon-like. For the ones who want to eat on a bench along the canal Saint-Martin, you will be given a party balloon for the waiter to find you…the kids love it!
67, rue Bichat, 75010 Paris, 01 42 02 31 70, métro "Gare de l'Est" or "Jacques Bonsergent"
Open every day except Mondays from 12 to 3pm and from 7pm to 11pm
La Villa Toscane (Italy)
Lost in a small street of the 15th district, the Villa Toscane is the perfect place for romance. A few candlelit tables, a cosy and romantic atmosphere, Venitian mirrors and baroque paintings, this place feels like home. Classic Italian cuisine, where you won’t find any pizza. Well done.
36, rue des Volontaires, 75015 Paris, 01 43 06 82 92, métro "Volontaires"
Open at lunchtime and dinnertime except Saturday lunch and Sundays
Krung Thep (Thailand)
Ask people who have been to Thailand : they miss the cooking-pots smoking at every corner of Bangkok’s streets, spellbinding spices, mangos’ delicate smells... There is only one way to make these nostalgists happy: invite them to the Krung Thep. The menu is long, the decoration is tacky and the dishes are amazing. Two small flaws: first, be on time as they won’t keep your table for more than five minutes (I have been there!). Secondly, besides throwing the dishes on the table, the manageress has a very unpleasant smile. Price to pay to be successful?
20, rue Julien Lacroix, 75020 Paris, 01 43 66 83 74, métro "Belleville"
Open every day from 12 to 3pm and from 7.30pm to 11.30pm
On Sunday, you can get your brunch in the magnificent dining room of the Jacquemart-André museum. Louis XV console tables, 18th century tapestries, huge frescos on the ceiling, you get the feeling that you are eating in a cool castle... located a stone’s throw away from the Champs-Elysées and the department stores. It’s very good value for money for all the gourmets who wait in the entrance hall… as it is impossible to book!
158, bd Haussmann, 75008 Paris, 01 45 62 11 59, métro "Miromesnil"
Lunch every day from 11.45 to 3pm, afternoon snacks from 3pm to 5.30pm. Brunch every Sunday from 11 to 3pm.