Pancakes, poached eggs and hearty seasonal fare served alongside excellent coffee sourced from Belleville Brûlerie in a sunny space along the Canal St. Martin. An international array of coffee preparations (flat whites, espressos, long blacks, cappuccinos, and very good “real deal” filtered coffee) are accompanied by hot chocolate made from homemade chocolate syrup and a selection of teas from Le Parti du Thé. The exceptionally friendly service is notable. Also notable, the lines for weekend brunch. Get there early.
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.
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.
The French have had a love affair with chocolate since 1615, when Anne of Austria (confusingly, actually Spanish) married Louis XIII of France and packed cocoa beans for drinking chocolate in her Paris-bound valise. 400 years later, French chocolates are some of the finest in the world and among the best souvenirs to take home.
The Rodin Museum re-opens today after a long renovation, its lobby featuring a sweet new installation: A copy of the sculptor’s famous Monument to Balzac, standing nearly 4 meters high, and made entirely from chocolate.
France generally doesn’t tend to fall in for fad diets. The Atkins craze that swept the States in the early 2000s barely made a blip in the Hexagon. The past two years, however, have seen a noticeable rise in restaurants and bakeries that are actively marketing their food as sans gluten, or gluten-free.
This friendly upper Marais wine bar serves simple charcuterie, cheese, salads, and sandwiches to go along with 5€ glasses, or a bottle from their cave next door. The plate of truffled ham is always a good bet. In the summer, there’s a great terrace on the street.
This is one wine shop that’s thinking outside the box by thinking inside the box. Don’t worry–it’s not the Franzia of your youth. Bibovino’s bright purple boxed wines come from high-quality, small producers and are available by the glass, carafe, or box.
This is one Chinese spot that doesn’t cater to the French palate. There are signs above the cash register that attest to this fact and warn about the potential gastronomic woes that could ensue after eating the pepper-laden Szechuan fare. Whether it’s soft Mapo tofu with crumbly pork bits or cold, sesame soaked cucumber salad, everything is slicked in fire oil, with an emphasis on the oil. I like this inexpensive, informal joint all the same (or perhaps because of it). Pork raviolis & spicy cabbage are two perennial favorites, and the broccoli with garlic provides a nice respite from the burn. You can choose your own heat level on a scale of 1-5 on most dishes. Level 3 is usually tongue-searingly warm enough for a spice lover. The restaurant is quite small so a larger group should plan to either eat early, book ahead, or take it to-go.
Vegetables aren’t an afterthought at this annex of an Israeli pita chain. They’re the stars of a creative menu. Some of the best sandwich options include the melting ratatouille, the chickpea salad topped with homemade hot sauce & boiled egg, or the whole roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce. Although exceptionally vegetarian (and vegan) friendly, there’s meat and fish options as well. The boeuf bourguignon if you’re looking for something traditionally French, albeit not traditionally in a pita, is delicious. Beef stew in pita form is a bit messy, however, so eat fast.