Unless you’re on an all-chocolate diet, this can be a frustrating food neighborhood. Prices are high and quality is sometimes questionable. But with a batch of new openings over the past two years to add to our old favorites, we’re no longer stumped by the (frequently asked) question: “I’m staying in Saint-Germain. Where should I eat?”
Behind an old iron gate in the 3rd arrondissement lies the surprising sprawl of the Marché des Enfants Rouges, the oldest market in Paris at 400 years old. While an exciting destination for foodies – you have your pick of Japanese bento boxes, Lebanese sandwiches, fresh pressed juice, gluten-free brownies, towers of Moroccan couscous, buckwheat crêpes and more – the choices and lines can be overwhelming, and not every stand is equally excellent. Read below for our tips to navigating the market and the food for which we think it’s worth braving the masses.
Don’t get excited: Paris has no Brooklyn. Due to short-sighted urban planning in mid-century, Paris is cinched into its ring-road, le péripherique, like a dress it wore sixty years ago and never removed. The sheer impracticality of crossing this eternally congested ring-road has long prevented, in les banlieues, development of establishments Parisians might consider destinations. For Parisians, you’re either within city limits, or you’re way, way out.
A second effort from the folks behind Pirouette, here with a chef who trained in Japan and his arsenal of anywhere-East-of-here flavors. The two-course 20€ lunch menu on the day of our visit included gnocchi with gingered sea bass, plus steak with caramelized shallots and tempura shimeji mushrooms. The three-course 45€ menu (available lunch & dinner) is a roster of French standards with exotic inflections, like my dish of perfectly cooked turbot accented with nori and encircled by delicate nests of interwoven fennel and shallot strands. If there’s anything to shrug about, it’s the interior. Design choices that worked well in the shadowy space of Pirouette appear here, in the shadow of the centuries-old Palais Royal, as painfully new. In any case, Zébulon’s arrival is great news for anyone hoping to eat well before or after a visit to the Louvre, and a welcome addition to the increasingly interesting (Verjus, Juveniles,) Palais Royal quarter.
There are few neighborhoods that are nicer for strolling than the area around the Canal Saint-Martin. On warm evenings, the waterway that runs through this neighborhood provides the backdrop for a great number of picnics and impromptu acoustic concerts. There’s plenty to enjoy here that doesn’t require sitting on the ground or listening to another rendition of “No Woman No Cry.” Here are our favorites.
In case you missed his much-discussed lament in the New York Times, Thomas Chatterton Williams is upset that Hipsters Ruined Paris. More specifically, he’s annoyed by the proliferation of “burrata salad” at the expense of hostess bars in South Pigalle. He warns us against the anesthetizing effects of steel-cut oats and worries that there isn’t room for both kale and human trafficking in the neighborhood to which he moved two years ago. From Brooklyn, of course.