All posts by Our Paris Guide

Les Caves de Reuilly

Dynamic young Bretonne Pierre le Nen took the helm of this well-regarded neighborhood wine shop in February 2014 and promptly turned it into one of Paris’ most welcoming terraced wine bars, where an impressively wide selection of natural wines and their more conventional forbears can be enjoyed with zero corkage fee. For anyone peckish, plates of cheese and charcuterie are available, along with an array of tinned and jarred rillettes and the like. Le Nen also stocks an indulgent wall of whisky and a respectable range of French craft beer.

Les Caves de Reuilly’s out-of-the-way location in the 12ème arrondissement ensures an ambience worlds apart from the bustle and hype of more central neighbourhoods: here instead are bands of quality-conscious, budget-conscious Parisians, enjoying honest, inexpensive wine, each other’s company, and the cool evening air. Be sure to ask the staff if the terrace looks full – as often as not, they’re able to simply whip out another table and some chairs for newcomers.

— Aaron Ayscough, February 2016

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Fine l’Épicerie de Belleville

Founded in 2010 on rue de Tourtille, Cécile Boussarie’s gourmet food and wine shop moved around the corner in 2014 to its current, more prominent rue de Belleville location. Its bold, clean red sign belies the unpolished dowdiness of the shop’s interior, where teas, jams, vinegars, spices, potted meats, conserves, oils, and assorted trinkets line all available surfaces. In the middle of über-urban Belleville, it’s like walking into a deserted village gift shop.

At midday, Fine L’Épicerie de Belleville offers soups and sandwiches enjoyably enlivened with various low-key delicacies (dry Sicilian caper sausage, say, or spiced confit grape cream). Tables in the shop’s deep interior are a refuge from the street for lunchtime diners and the odd professional meeting. Along with cheese and charcuterie, Boussarie stocks a slightly haphazard range of inexpensive natural wine and craft beer. While not a tastemaking authority by any means, Fine L’Épicerie de Belleville remains a handy back-pocket address for things to bring to last-minute weeknight dinner parties and relatives’ birthday brunches.

— Aaron Ayscough, December 2015

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Ô Divin Epicerie

Naoufel Zaïm earned the loyalty of foodies willing to go the (literal) extra mile with his far-flung former Buttes Chaumont restaurant Ô Divin. That restaurant has closed and converted to table d’hôte service, available only for privatization upon demand. But one can still enjoy Zaïm’s winning hospitality, his sharp taste in natural wine, and his instinct for simplicity at Ô Divin Epicerie, his gem-stacked gourmet shop high on rue de Belleville. Chef Paul Houet offers a menagerie of meat products, all prepared in-house, from rillettes to merguez sausage to a variety of terrines. The wine selection includes some sought-after names and surpasses any other épicerie in the city both for value and quality. Sandwiches with sterling ingredients and the occasional prepared hot dish are available for take-out. And jostling for the rest of the shop’s limited space are Italian cheeses, artisanal olive oils, local honey, gourmet salt, canned meats, and all the other accoutrements of eating well. For those not lucky enough to live nearby, it’s worth the hike up rue de Belleville.

— Aaron Ayscough, February 2016

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Lucas Carton

Practical information

Address: 9 place de la Madeleine, 75008
Nearest transport: Madeleine (8,12, 14)
Hours: Closed Sunday & Monday; Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner
Reservations: Book a few weeks in advance
Telephone: 01 42 65 22 90
Average price for lunch: 60-100€
Average price for dinner: More than 100€
Style of cuisine: Haute Cuisine
Website  Facebook  Book Online

Reviews of interest

L’Express (2015) “Il dégaine des asperges vertes de Roques-Hautes superbes de croquant et de profondeur végétale, et les chatouilleavec une tapenade tonique olives vertes-fleurs de coriandre. Il cuirasse la noix de ris de veau d’une belle coloration croustillante et l’escorte de jeunes carottes aux graines de moutarde et d’un jus de veau sans bavure. Il envoie des rafales de pistaches de Bronte sur un valeureux pigeon rôti ou sur une irrésistible île flottante au coeur coulant de caramel.”

Gault & Millau (2015) “Sa carte est très actuelle, axée légumes et saison: fleurs de courgette et curry vert, saint-pierre de ligne et fleur de fenouil, agneau de lait des Pyrénées et petits pois. Bien sûr, école Senderens oblige, un vin est conseillé avec chaque plat ; bien sûr, le service est d’une courtoisie qui frise l’obséquiosité (mais c’est Paris et le style est nécessaire), la cave est grande et les desserts eux aussi font l’effort de suivre le calendrier (bon mariage fraise rhubarbe en été).”

John Talbott (2015) “Beautiful presentations; big English-speaking staff; but the food is not yet up to the old guy’s standards.”

Photo via Lucas Carton’s website

Restaurant Sylvestre

Practical information

Address: 79 rue Saint-Dominique, 75007
Nearest transport: La Tour-Maubourg (8), Invalides (8, 13, RER C)
Hours: Closed Sunday & Monday; Open Tuesday-Saturday for dinner and Thursday-Friday for lunch
Reservations: Book a few weeks in advance
Telephone01 47 05 79 00
Average price for lunch: 60-100€
Average price for dinner: More than 100€
Style of cuisine: Haute Cuisine
Website   Facebook   Book Online

Reviews of interest

Le Monde (2015) “Chef  Sylvestre Wahid, doublement étoilé, propose une cuisine pleine d’humilité mais de très haute technicité… Sa cuisine lui ressemble: calme et aiguisée.”

Le Figaro (2016) “Venu de Courchevel, Sylvestre Wahid succède à Piège du côté de chez Thoumieux, manœuvre la berline de brasserie du rez-de-chaussée et ordonne, à l’étage, une gastronomie de force tranquille, sans esbroufe, d’un chic foncier, appliquée au saisonnier, consciencieuse à disposer en menu dédié (chair, mer, végétal) une cuisine renouant avec la générosité et ce vieux mot que l’on croyait usé: la gourmandise.”

Gault & Millau (2015) “L’enjeu est énorme, mais le jeune chef, très confirmé, qui anima avec brio l’Oustau de Baumanière pendant des années, a les épaules assez larges, à la fois pour essuyer les plâtres et les critiques du début, et pour pose sa propre patte sur une carte à son effigie.”

L’Express (2015) “Oeuf de poule, cèpes au fumet de truffes blanches en chaud-froid avec de la truffe blanche d’Alba finement rappée: Voici un plat signature qui se décline tout au long de l’année avec d’autres matières premières en accompagnement de l’oeuf. Gustativement, on comprend vite qu’on a affaire à une assiette gourmande parfaitement maitrisée au niveau des accords et du tempo. Une expérience que l’on aimerait renouveler lors d’une future déclinaison, juste pour voir si c’est aussi bon.”

Photo via Hôtel Thoumieux’s Facebook page

Le Grand Restaurant

Practical information

Address: 7 rue d’Aguesseau, 75008
Nearest transport: Madeleine (8,12,14)
Hours: Closed Saturday & Sunday
Reservations: Book a few weeks in advance
Telephone: 01 53 05 00 00
Average price for lunch: 60-100€
Average price for dinner: More than 100€
Style of cuisine: Haute Cuisine
Website

Reviews of Interest 

Le Figaro (2015) “Le plat à ne pas laisser filer: homard bleu de Bretagne en feuille de figuier, mûres épicées, foie gras au poivre sauvage, pur instant de mijoté réinventé.”

Simon Says (2015) “En fait, si l’on a bien compris, Jean François Piège semble vouloir siffler la fin d’une mi temps où les chefs faisaient un peu n’importe quoi (voir ailleurs s’ils y étaient). Il est en cuisine avec ses coéquipiers (chacun à sa place), fait une cuisine franche, lisible et distincte. C’est du premier degré (ouf!). Avec un élément nouveau: la sincérité. ”

Paris Bouge (2015) “La cuisine de Jean-François Piège est une ode au patrimoine culinaire français, c’est une cuisine du jus, de la cuisson lente qu’on retrouve dans ses mijotés modernes.”

Food & Sens (2015) “Je vais mettre en avant ce que j’ai déjà commencé à travailler il y a quelques semaines, que j’appelle le mijoté moderne», annonce Jean-François Piège, citant un «chevreuil cuit sur les marrons grillés avec une réduction sauce poivrade» et «une poularde de la cour d’Armoise cuite en croûte de riz». «Au lieu d’être en garniture, le riz devient un élément de cuisson. Et on vient casser la croûte devant le client», décrit-il.”

Photo courtesy of Jean-François Piège’s Facebook page

L’Avant Comptoir de la Mer

We have not yet reviewed this restaurant, but you’ll find practical information about location and hours on this page, along with links to other reviews. Feel free to share your own opinion in the comments.

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Tiger

On a busy street lined with touristy pubs near Saint Sulpice, Tiger is a cocktail-focused breath of fresh air. Gin & tonics are the specialty here, with more than six variations on the standard available, all made with Tiger’s homemade tonic. Other gin-based cocktails make up a strong part of the menu (think French 75 or martinez), and, as one might expect, the selections for individual gins are excellent, including a version from noted calvados producer Christian Drouin. Those seeking a little variety have other options in the form of a short classic cocktails menu, too. Vaguely Southeast Asian small plates are available, too, if you’re hungry, but the laidback atmosphere and fun cocktails are the true draw.

Helmed by the gregarious Stanislas Jouenne, formerly at La Maison du Whisky, Tiger is a relaxed alternative to the other more serious (and more uptight) cocktail destination nearby, Prescription Club.

— Catherine Down, January 2016

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Baton Rouge

Bayou-themed Baton Rouge is a high-end dive that’s strategically manufactured, but still thoroughly enjoyable. It’s rowdy, rollicking good fun; the tone is set by the twangy soundtrack and good-natured staff, who set down a bowl of peanuts immediately upon your arrival and actively encourage you to throw your shells on the floor.

The atmosphere, ripe with plastic alligators, could potentially feel silly, but it’s saved by the cocktails which are anything but. Partners Joseph Biolatto of Le Forum and Julien Escot of noted bar Papa Doble in Montpellier have curated a mixture of pricey bottle-aged cocktails, unusual (for Paris) milk punches, classic American highballs, a variety of old-fashioneds, a cherry-tinged take on New Orleans staple the sazerac, and an original Baton Rouge creation of cognac, absinthe, and vermouth topped with champagne. The cheeky presentation features red Solo cups garnished with paper umbrellas for true American frat party style, or a stroop waffle on top of a bottle for a milk punch.

It’s interesting to see a Parisian bar delve into regionally specific American comfort foods such as shrimp poboys, muffaletta sandwiches and BBQ ribs.  While I wouldn’t exactly call the po boy authentic, as that would require the shrimp to be deep-fried and served on an actual hoagie roll, it was tastier than a hot mayonnaise sandwich with a few seared shrimp has any right to be. It’s sloppy, fun, drunk food that didn’t cost a fortune and although not perfect, it does the trick to sop up all the sazeracs.

Catherine Down, January 2016

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Mabel

Grilled cheese seems like the epitome of spontaneous late-night eats, yet you’ll want to make a reservation at Mabel if you’d like yours washed down with a cocktail. The small speakeasy-style bar nestled behind a family-friendly grilled cheese sandwich shop requires clients to be seated, which is great for a cozy tête-à-tête and less exciting for those who want to mingle. It also means that, while walk-ins are welcome, they could well be disappointed. If the sandwich alone is your poison, you’re better off visiting the street-facing shop,  where alongside the traditional a handful of other flavors including a classic tuna melt, vegetarian pepperoni, pulled pork, and rum marinated bacon with egg are on offer. They’re authentically greasy enough despite the virtues of seeded bread.

In the bar, a self-proclaimed “cocktail den and rum empire” the rum selection is, indeed, impressive at more than 100 varieties and counting,  but there’s a bevy of other options from Joseph Akhavan using a variety of other spirits, too, and one of the best bitters selections in town. There’s a lot going on in his complex cocktails and it’s a great place to discover a more sophisticated side of the liquor we so commonly associate with Spring Break, but a few of his thoughtful pairings have perhaps a little too much going on, notably a “Tempted to Touch” which featured Stilton infused rum with “banana colada” emulsion.

— Catherine Down, January 2016

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La Cave de Belleville

La Cave de Belleville’s unlikely origins sound like the set-up for a knock-knock joke: a pharmacist, a sound engineer, and a gallerist open a cave-à-manger. François Braouezec, Aline Geller, and Thomas Perlmutter deserve a lot of credit for the scale of their ambitions, as La Cave de Belleville, open every day of the week, is at once a wine shop, an épicerie, and a vast, casual wine bar. The airy, well-lit space (a former leather wholesaler) positively bustles at apéro hour, when locals nip in for inexpensive plates of charcuterie, cheese, and canned delicacies. The trio’s limited industry experience is sometimes evident in the inconsistency of the shop’s maximalist selections of wine, spirits, and beer. (Were the wine not mostly natural, it would be hard to call it a “selection”. Filling shelves seems to have been the priority.) But one senses the owners’ intentions are sincere, and the Belleville neighborhood – chaotic, culture-clashy, forever on the cusp of gentrification – stands to benefit greatly from a friendly, accessible social anchor like La Cave de Belleville.

— Aaron Ayscough, January 2016

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Mmmozza

Mmmozza has one of the bbbest selections of mozzarella that you’ll find in the city, ranging from tiny bocconcini, to a  baseball-sized burrata stuffed with black truffles, to an enormous braided rope of bufala mozzarella, hacked off by the slice. The skinny sliver of an Italian specialty shop has lines out the door at lunch for its messy, affordable sandwiches featuring fresh mozzarella, cured meats and vegetables, and arugula. When the weather is nice, there’s outdoor seating or you can chow down in the Square du Temple park directly opposite. A variety of imported prosciuttos and salamis, stuffed pastas, oils and vinegars, and a small but quality range of Italian wines are also available for purchase.

— Catherine Down, January 2016

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Ravioli Chinois Nord-Est

You’re not here for the bare-bones space or the bare-bones service, you’re here for the fresh dumplings, pure and simple. They’re cheap, abundant, and most importantly, good.

There are usually 10 varieties on the menu including beef and turnip, pork and celery, shrimp & chive, and a great vegetarian mushroom option, all priced around €5 for a plate of 10, and served either grilled or boiled. The cucumber, peanut or noodle side salads are a good complement. Space inside is cramped, so plan on a short wait for a table, and don’t let the length of the queue put you off: Most are waiting for their goods to-go, no surprise when 100 frozen dumplings can be purchased for as little as €20.

— Catherine Down, January 2016

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Les Caves de Prague

Parisian wine shops tend to exhibit tunnel vision, often to the point of obsession: either they sell natural/organic/biodynamic wine, or they sell “traditional” wine, and rarely do the twain meet. One sees many of the same wines over, and over, and over again.

Not here. There’s plenty to satisfy any palate or ideology, and what’s more a lot of the labels aren’t the common names littering most modern restaurant lists. Add in a casual vibe, a ton of tables for casual in-store imbibing (with a wonderfully minuscule droit de bouchon), a rather surprising menu of tapas and the usual wine bar comestibles, and there’s finally something new under the Parisian sun.

— Thor Iverson, December 2015

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Superbieres

Bright and welcoming, this little shop near the Canal Saint Martin carries a large selection of French beers and a nicely curated selection of imports. There is even a seasonal house beer, brewed in collaboration with Brew Unique. Nico, the rock-drummer-turned-beer-aficionado owner, serves up sandwiches and other snacks for those who want to turn their beer run into lunch or an apéro.

— Camille Malmquist, December 2015

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Deck & Donohue

Since opening their brewery in early 2014, Thomas Deck and Mike Donohue have been on a roll. With five flagship beers and one rotating seasonal brew, they make some of Paris’ best beer and sell it to many quality restaurants and bars in the city. A visit to the microbrewery in up-and-coming Montreuil makes a pleasant Saturday outing (the brewery is only open to the public on Saturdays), and Metro access is easy. Once there, you can meet the bearded brewers, sample their range of beers, buy bottles, or get a growler fill.

— Camille Malmquist, December 2015

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Hop Malt Market

The service is friendly and enthusiastic at this small, erratically-stocked shop. Look for the newest arrivals on the shelf right in front where lesser-known French beers hobnob with Belgian stalwarts and imports from further afield. Prices are very reasonable, especially for local and large-format beers.

— Camille Malmquist, December 2015

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Brew Unique

Spearheaded by Simon Thillou of La Cave à Bulles and directed by Mike Gilmore, formerly of Frog Pubs, Brew Unique is Paris’ first brew-it-yourself brewery. Newbies can choose from a provided set of beer recipes, and more experienced homebrewers can get pointers on their own creations. Either way, Gilmore guides guests through a four hour brewing session, followed by bottling about a month later. All the necessary equipment and ingredients are there, and those lucky enough to have space to brew at home can even stock up as the place moonlights as a homebrew supply shop.

— Camille Malmquist, December 2015

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