Le Marché d’Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée
Alain Ducasse, who is is often described as the “most Michelin starred chef in the world,” lost some twinkle when his eponymous restaurant at the Plaza Athénée closed last year for renovations. It will reopen on Monday with a revamped décor by designer Patrick Jouin and a dramatically re-envisioned menu that celebrates fish, cereals and vegetables. No meat, or rather less meat.
The headlines have been rather splashy. The Guardian told us on Friday that “France’s top chef bans meat from the menu” after free transport rag Metronews reported on Thursday that “Avec Alain Ducasse, le Plaza Athénée devient végétarien.”
The same sort out headlines were trotted out back in 2001 when Alain Passard introduced his first vegetable inspired menu at L’Arpège. It wasn’t true then, and of course it isn’t true now that either chef has eliminated meat. Still, Ducasse’s focus on vegetables is certainly interesting. Is it sincere? Why here and not at any of the other 25+ restaurants in his collection? Is it a way to distinguish the Plaza Athénée from Le Meurice, whose three-star kitchens he is also overseeing?
If it is good, then all this cynicism will melt away (like cholesterol from a newly converted vegetarian’s heart).
Read the full article at The Guardian
Practical information and past reviews on our guide page for Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée
Grébaut’s former sous-chef Marco (at right) will be opening Gare au Gorille in October
Good news for people (like us) who have a hard time getting into Septime: two alums have joined forces to open a new bistro in October on the rue des Dames.
Marco, who was second to Bertrand Grébaut at the time of Septime’s opening, will be running the kitchen at Gare au Gorille. Louis, who is known by Septime fans as “the really tall and nice one,” will be taking care of the front of house.
Dans les Landes was sold in July
Earlier this summer, Julien Duboué sold his easy-going tapas restaurant Dans Les Landes (included in Our Guide to the Latin Quarter) in order to open a new place near the Bourse. A Noste opened this week at 6 bis rue du 4 Septembre, and John Talbott shared his enthusiasm in a review entitled “Wow, wow, wow, this place is hot, hot, hot.”
There is a taloa truck parked inside, and they seem to be serving the Basque corn tortilla snacks on the ground floor along with tapas and drinks. One floor up, they’re serving a fixed menu that features giant meat skewers carved table side.
As for Dans Les Landes, we haven’t been back since it was sold in July. However, we did revisit Afaria after Duboué sold it, and promptly removed it from our guide (it was terrible). Let’s hope Dans les Landes doesn’t sink in similar fashion.
After two years in Oberkampf, chef Pierre Sang (a former contestant on the French version of Top Chef) has opened a second location at 6 rue Gambey, 75011.
Just like his first restaurant, reservations are not accepted and hopeful diners should expect to put in plenty of time on the sidewalk. Open Tuesday-Saturday for dinner only. He tends not to stick to a single format, but for the moment is charging €49 for five small plates.
Just in time to ruin Labor Day barbecues in America, Kraft recalled over 7,500 cases of “pasteurized prepared cheese product” Kraft Singles due to storage temperature concerns. This is the third such recall this year for the company including a Velveeta, cheese stuffed hotdog and cottage cheese mishaps. Good thing it wasn’t raw milk…
You can find more info on the recalled products here.
Photo via Flickr by JeepersMedia
Café des Abattoirs (75001) Lindsey Tramuta reported on Café des Abattoirs in the Times this week, calling it a “modern grill-meets-Lyonnaise bouchon” run by the Rostang sisters who “uphold their father’s penchant for simple dishes prepared with top-tier ingredients, in a family-friendly environment that has a whiff of nostalgia… Despite a few missed opportunities — a short, predictable wine list and uninspired desserts — this is feel-good Rostang cooking at its finest.”
For practical information and additional reviews, see our guide page for Café des Abattoirs
Read the full review in The New York Times
Squatt (75011) Looking for an antidote to the ubiquitous Nicolas chain? Aaron Ayscough suggests the brand new “junkyardy wine shop and épicerie” from Pietro Russano, the owner of Retro’Bottega, which is “stuffed with unusual French and Italian selections, not to mention sincere personality… The selection is a 30% – 70% split between Italian and French wines.” Beware though as “Squatt’s French selection is presently a little patchy.”
Read the full review on Not Drinking Poison in Paris
L’oiseau Blanc (75016) LiLi isn’t the only new opening at the Hotel Peninsula Paris, there’s also a rooftop bar with “360 degree view of Paris in a sophisticated and staid space. The drinks menu features around a dozen drinks ranging from appropriate classics (Aviation, anyone?) to twists on classics like their Take Off (gin, sweet vermouth and bitters). Here you’ll find the excellent service and hush hush feel that high-end hotels are known for.” Forrest Collins recommends going early as she suspects many of the best terrace seats are reserved for hotel guests.
Read the full review at 52 Martinis
LiLi (75016) Alexander Lobrano thinks this brand new Cantonese restaurant will be one of the biggest hits of the rentrée with “an extravagant but carefully edited program of temptations that debuts with dim sum, including the juicy Shanghai style soup dumplings below and also other more delicate and tantalizing versions of the genre, including the lobster-stuffed caviar-dressed single dim-sum that was so good I ate it in one excited bite.”
Find practical information and additional reviews on our guide page for LiLi
Read the full review from Alexander Lobrano
Stephane Davet reports today that Yam’Tcha – the celebrated and nearly impossible-to-book restaurant from chef Adeline Grattard – will be closing at some point in the next few months in order to reopen in a larger space. The new restaurant will also be in the Les Halles neighborhood but will pass from 20 to 35 covers and have space for four cooks instead of three. Anyone who has seen their current set -up can understand why she might want some more elbow room in the kitchen.
Read the full story in Le Monde
Monsieur Henri (75003) Natural wine scene fixture Dzine Breyet has opened a new wine bar in the haute Marais, featuring “harsh lighting, a low ceiling, and ill-advised primary-coloured wine storage cages,” according to Aaron Ayscough. However, “the value of a divey geek wine bar like Monsieur Henri lies in individualist eccentricities [like multiple Jura white being offered by the glass that night]. Monsieur Henri contains magnums of challenging wines. It offers cult eau de vie de cidre. It is perceptibly run by someone with a passionate investment in the scene.”
Read the full review at Not Drinking Poison in Paris
Le Comptoir du Relais (75006) Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport acknowledges the (still) impossibility of scoring a reservation at Yves Camdeborde’s restaurant, and then gives it some more much-needed mainstream press coverage. The appeal for him lies in “the restaurant’s bustling, studio-apartment-size space, completely free of pretense in a city famous for pretense,” and the fact that “there is no menu—you eat whatever inventive, abundantly fresh, elevated bistro dishes Camdeborde chooses to cook that evening.” Also, the cheese (much of which comes, we’ve heard, from Twiggy’s place inside the covered Saint-Germain market): “Finally, there is the cheese board, oozing with only-in-France creations (and honey and quince jam and all that good stuff) that your waiter plunks down on the table after your meal and lets you have at it.”
For practical information and additional reviews, see our page for Le Comptoir du Relais
Read the full review from Bon Appétit
Aux Deux Cygnes (75011) Aaron Ayscough thought the pristine & professional wine bar could benefit from “a little more anarchy, a little more scuff on its polish,” but found that the wine list “by emphasizing outlier categories like Languedoc whites and Swiss reds, manages to retain interest without following trends or touting big names.”
Read the full review on Not Drinking Poison in Paris
While our stops and samples change with every tour (you’re not guaranteed to taste what’s pictured below), there’s always something delicious and photo-worthy. Here are some recently snapped tastes to share from our food & wine tours in Paris.
Goat cheese, while it’s still in season, Taste of the Left Bank
Basque charcuterie, Taste of the Marais
Seasonal mushrooms, Taste of the Latin Quarter
Discovering French wine, Taste of Saint-Germain
Pâtes de fruit, Taste of the Marais
Small production AOC olive oils, Taste of the Left Bank
Chocolate boxes, Taste of Saint-Germain
Terrine and pâté en croute, Taste of the Marais
Chocolate box, Taste of the Marais
Charcuterie, Taste of the Left Bank
Rustic apple tart, Taste of Saint-Germain
Bite sized shrimp, Taste of the Latin Quarter
The big spread, French Cheese & Wine Workshop
Traditional loaves, Taste of Saint-Germain
While the weather is still holding, check out Alice Bosio’s list of 5 great Paris places to play pétanques and drink including: Le BarOurcq, Le Bellerive, Les Niçois, La Passerelle, and Les Apéros des Pétanques.
Read the full article at Le Figaro
La Fine Mousse Restaurant (75011) Kate Robinson visited La Fine Mousse’s new restaurant, which aims to “bring beer to the dinner table and prove that it’s a worthy companion to exceptional food.” There were “still a few wrinkles to iron out, especially considering the price point,” but “there’s no denying the quality of the ingredients or the creativity of the menu.”
Read the full review at Haven in Paris
Find additional reviews and practical information for the beer bar on our page for La Fine Mousse.
We’ve rounded up our favorite outdoor destinations for dining, drinking, and picnicking, and let you know which restaurants will be open and closed in August.
Gyoza Bar 2 (75003) – The Japanese dumpling bar now has a chic second location in the Haut Marais that Paris Bouge declared “tout comme dans l’autre restaurant… Cuisiné par des mains expertes sur un plan de travail tout en ouverture, ce petit chausson rapide en bouche, cuit à la vapeur et grillé d’un côté, se trempe dans une sauce soja-agrume parfaitement relevée.” What is different at this location, however, is flavored angel food cake roll-ups from Pâtisserie Ciel for dessert.
For practical information and additional reviews, read our guide page for Gyoza Bar 2.
Paris is packed with ideal picnic locations, but where to buy the food and wine? Here are our selection of the best stops for portable provisions (cheese, charcuterie, breads, sweets, prepared foods and bottles) near our favorite picnic spots.
Our Favorite Picnic Spots in Paris
Click on any of our favorite picnic places below for our map showing where to buy your food and wine at each location.
At the Sacré-Cœur
Along the Seine
Champ de Mars (photo via Dewet/Flickr)
Palais Royal/The Tuileries (photo via Dalbera/Flickr)
Esplanade des Invalides
Luxembourg Gardens (photo by Nadya Peek via Flickr)
Parcs des Buttes-Chaumont and de la Villete
Place des Vosges
Some tips for a pique-nique Parisien:
- Those whistles you hear in the parks late at night? They’re important. They’re the last call for frolicking before the gates close and you will get locked in the park if you dally too long.
- It’s perfectly acceptable to borrow a tire-bouchon (corkscrew) from a picnic neighbor if you find yourself without an opener. Or ask your wine shopkeeper to open and re-cork your bottle.
- Cheap blankets and disposable serveware can be found at any grocery store. Plastic cups (aka gobelets) can also be bought by the sleeve or individual piece at most bodegas.
Other Warm Weather Posts:
Brand-name suppliers (Joel Thiebault, Quatrehommes, Annie Bertin, Hugo Desnoyers, Christophe Vasseur, Terroirs d’Avenir) and natural wines are the backbone of this trend-heavy, but pleasant, modern French bistro helmed by the young Japanese chef Yoshi Morie.
Michael Greenwold of Roseval and James Whelan of L’Inconnu have teamed up to open the first dedicated fish and chips shop in Paris. Hake, pollock or catch of the day are available alongside thick chips and mushy peas. Pickled eggs, fish nuggets, chip butties (french fry sandwiches) and candies from across the chunnel make for an authentic Brit experience.
Chef Bruno Doucet took over La Régalade from his boss Yves Camdeborde in 2004, then added La Régalade Saint Honoré in 2010. This third location, part of a new boutique hotel designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, opened in February 2013 and is serving classic Doucet bistro fare like house-made terrine, pork belly with lentils, sea bream with fennel, rice pudding, and a Grand Marnier soufflé. Affordably priced with prix-fixe menus at lunch (26€) and dinner (35€).
Just north of Grands Boulevards, this fashionable address is serving aged beef, stiff cocktails, and many varieties (some of them good) of frites.
Named for a pig’s snout (and not its other end), this dirt-cheap Breton wine bar is sandwiched between Thierry Breton’s two other eateries Chez Michel and Chez Casimir. Don’t worry if you don’t understand the system–it’s not clear that there is one. Just sidle up to the bar, let them know how hungry you are, and wait for the small plates to roll out. Expect hearty regional fare including breaded pig snout with tapenade and braised oxtail with celery root purée, plus spot-on desserts like chocolate kouign amann and prune-studded far breton. On the beverage front, it’s wines by the magnum and box wine that isn’t atrocious. The small-plates lunch is augmented by excellent sandwiches on Breton’s own bread with ingredients like house-smoked salmon, raw cream and piment d’Espelette. These can be packed to-go for travelers headed to the nearby Gare du Nord.
An absolute favorite
Chef Tomy Gousset passed through the kitchens of Le Meurice and Daniel Bouloud (NYC) before opening this stunning new restaurant in the underserved district just north of Les Halles. Serious technique is brought to bear on beautiful veggies and offal alike. The consistently delicious dishes, the polished room and the very good wine list all add up to something that’s much greater than the bargain prices should allow. There’s a prix fixe at lunch for only 15€, and diners can go à la carte at lunch or dinner for 36€. Recommended.
An absolute favorite
The sepia-toned dining room at this historic bistro remains the same, but Alain Ducasse and protégé Laëtitia Rouabah have taken over the kitchen and the accompanying carte of classic Burgundian dishes. Reviews are mixed.
Be prepared to bibimbap it by the Canal as there are only two tiny tables at this Truffaut film-inspired Korean takeaway. Kimbap or lukewarm bibimbap available with your choice of shrimp, beef bulgogi, spiced pork or simply veg. Make sure to ask for the sauce piquante. There’s also a 4-person picnic prix fixe for 44€.
David Toutain is back. The much lauded chef, who brought acclaim to Agapé Substance before jumping ship back in December 2012, returned with his own place during the last days of 2013. His meticulous and conceptual cooking highlights seasonal produce, with vegetables often playing the starring role. This is by no means a vegetarian restaurant, but Toutain’s ability to bring out the beauty in oft-ignored roots reminds us of his former boss Alain Passard. Tasting menus range from 42€ at lunch to 98€ for the most extensive menu (available at lunch or dinner). Wine pairings – thoughtfully done – are available for another 40-50€.
An absolute favorite