Our guide to where you can eat this August, when a fair number of restaurants are closed for summer holidays.
Vaccinated Americans, Canadians, and Brits are allowed into France from June 9 with a PCR or antigen test. Unvaccinated travelers from these countries have to jump through a lot of hoops. Australians, New Zealanders and other travelers from “green” countries with very low COVID rates face no restrictions in entering France or crossing EU borders.
This contemporary French restaurant in the 11th arrondissement is known for its handmade charcuterie, vegetable-driven (but not vegetarian) cooking, and desserts with a savory spin. The 400-reference-strong wine list and impeccable (Anglophone) service make this neighborhood restaurant one worth crossing the city for. Now helmed by chef Christopher Edwards, the menu in summer 2021 is featuring plenty of peak-season produce, line-caught fish, and an incredible selection of white wine and craft beer for sipping on the sidewalk terrace.
La Poule au Pot is a looker. It's wonderful to walk in and witness the vintage wallpaper, the globe lighting, and the silver-plated serving chariot wheeling between Pepto-Bismol colored tables. It is at once a little elegant and also a touch cheesy. One can almost picture the 80s pop stars who used to slouch into these red banquettes, the mirrored pillars reflecting their manliner and sprayed hair. Today's Poule au Pot, having been recently rebooted by star chef Jean-François Piège, reflects something different - a desire for traditional cuisine bourgeouise and also the willingness (by some) to pay for it.
This small plates restaurant not far from République boasts a Japanese-accented assortment of dishes from French-American chef Robert Compagnon. Handmade pastas and yakitori are must-try items on the tasting menu. Ask for seat at the bar to see the binchotan grill at work. The team here easily caters to more (or less!) adventurous diners, with offerings like chicken sashimi and offal skewers. Co-owner Jessica Yang is the Taiwanese-American pastry chef behind the delectable desserts – save room.
At the impossibly young age of 24, Arnaud Nicolas achieved one of the highest honors in gastronomy – the title Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) – for his talent in charcuterie. Fourteen years later, he opened an ambitious shop and restaurant near the Eiffel Tower with the explicit goal of returning charcuterie to a place of honor on the French table. In the same way that prize-winning artisans have reshaped traditional baguette-making and pâtisserie, Nicolas wants to reintroduce charcuterie to palates that have become used to mediocre industrialized examples. So is it really that different? Yes.
Le Villaret is one of our favorite Classic Bistros in Paris. Sometimes in life we chase after the ones who play hard-to-get and we ignore the nice, stable options who just want to treat us right. Le Villaret is the homely neighborhood bistro that I never appreciated until I stopped looking for love at Le Baratin and Le Repaire de Cartouche.
Le Grand Bain is a small plates restaurant on the narrow rue Dénoyez, a Belleville destination for street artists. Helmed by chef Edward Delling-Williams (ex-Au Passage), this restaurant boasts an ever-changing chalkboard menu of small plates and natural wine. Expect loads of choice and loads of vegetables.
Food and wine pilgrims, particularly those who read the New York Times or watch Anthony Bourdain, are willing to climb the hill for this Belleville institution. Raquel Carena tends the fire, offering her own personal brand of bistro cooking - sometimes delicate, sometimes hearty, always heartfelt. In stark contrast to the loving kitchen, the dining room is cold as ice, thanks to the joyless leadership of Carena's husband Philippe.
We're falling more in love with Tomy & Co. with each visit, and have elevated this to our #1 favorite Paris restaurant for modern & creative cuisine. Chef Tomy Gousset’s cuisine is thrillingly modern, and he's a master of using herbs, acidity and texture to elevate sometimes humble ingredients like beef tongue or tête de veau.
With its worn wooden tables, intricately painted ceilings, and charcuterie slicer propped on the marble counter, L'Assiette has the precise look of a dream Paris bistro. It also serves many of the classic dishes, like escargots and cassoulet, which have mostly disappeared from the city's restaurants. The far-flung location in the 14th arrondissement, near the Catacombs but far from the center, has probably helped L'Assiette to stay off the tourist radar. Chef David Rathgeber and his team are friendly with visitors but don't cater to them. The customers who come to indulge in this hearty fare are mostly local, which makes this a great option for tourists looking to avoid their own countrymen.
Le Grand Restaurant is currently closed.
Le Grand Restaurant in Photos
In Other Words
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. “
Where can you find a great baguette in Paris? Below we’ve listed and mapped the bakeries who have placed among the top ten winners in the city’s annual competition to determine La Meilleure Baguette de Paris. Look for the bakery that’s nearest to you, or focus your efforts on those who have finished first – we’ve indicated the Grand Prix winners with a heart.
Address: 3 rue Richer, 75009
Nearest transport: Cadet (7), Grands Boulevards (8, 9)
Hours: Closed Saturday and Sunday; Open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner
Reservations: Book a few days in advance
Telephone: 01 47 70 67 31
Website Facebook Book Online
L’Office in photos
What people are saying
Have you been? Leave your own opinion about L’Office in the comments!
John Talbott (2014) “The newest chef, Konrad Ceglowski, is a master of protein with fruit and veggies… seduced, successfully, by the sauteed calamari with a creamy fennel sauce, zucchini and squid ink. It was superb, no other word for it.”
Figaroscope (2011) “De jolies surprises dans des formules à prix doux : velouté de coco et lardo di Colonnata pour l’onctuosité, mariage détonnant de poulpe, os à moelle et citron, poulet tendre parfaitement rôti, girolles et panais. Une belle maîtrise qui s’affiche jusqu’au dessert…”
Alexander Lobrano (2011) “I was impressed by [former chef] O’Donnell’s technically impeccable and very personal Italian accented bistro cooking…This is a terrific little restaurant, though—and also an excellent buy for the money.”
John Talbott (2011) “…superbly priced lunch menus…the pork belly with tomato, egg and rocket and…the pulpo with bone marrow and lemon…were tasty, very tasty.”
Table à Décourvert (2011) “un style entre les irrésistibles tables du moment (Septime, Frenchie, Autour d’un Verre) et le bon vieil Office que l’on aimait…Allez-y!”
Verjus is currently closed.
Our Most Recent Visit
I never tire of returning to Verjus, which has one of the most creative and affordable modern tasting menus in town. Chef Braden Perkins is self-taught, disciplined and obsessive. He makes time time for travel in order to take inspiration from chefs around the world, returning home to refine and personalize their best ideas. When he wasn’t happy with the produce available from local sources, he partnered with other chefs to cultivate a more direct network from farms in Normandy. The result of all this is a tasting menu that mixes a modest amount of meat or fish with some of the best vegetable creations I’ve ever tasted. Six very small dishes (snacks) are followed by homemade bread and butter, three more substantial dishes, and dessert for 78€. Perkins’ partner Laura Adrian has put together an incredible wine list that is heavy with organic and biodynamic producers, and her wine pairings for the tasting menu (55€) are spot on. On a practical note, there’s a private room that can be booked for 8-12 people, and the kitchen is known to accommodate a wide range of dietary issues with advance notice.
Address: 34 rue de Richelieu, 75001
Hours: Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch & dinner. Closed Sunday & Monday.
Telephone: +33 1 42 60 59 66
Website / Book Online / Facebook / Instagram
Ellsworth is currently closed and not accepting reservations. They’re planning to reopen in September.
Our Most Recent Visit
Following their success with Verjus, where the more elaborate formula of dégustation + wine pairings has drawn a loyal following of happy locals and visiting celebrities, Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian have decided to open something more casual. Let’s call it “serious casual” because at Ellsworth (named for Perkins’ grandfather), foods that you might see at a county fair are elevated through careful sourcing and a sincere spirit of DIY. The fried chicken from Verjus Bar à Vins has moved over to Ellsworth, leaving the former as more of a place for drinks and snacks before or after dinner at Verjus.
David Toutain, who brought acclaim to Agapé Substance before jumping ship back in December 2012, returned to the Paris scene with this signature restaurant in 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.
During lockdown, Frenchie launched Frenchie to Go, a takeaway delivery service that it maintains following lockdown easing Tuesday-Saturday. Order the three- or four-course menus (complete with vegetarian options) online. Frenchie is also now open to dine-in; reserve online. It boasts a few tables on the pedestrianized rue du Nil available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Papillon has reopened.
Papillon in Photos
Photos by Meg Zimbeck © Paris by Mouth
In Other Words
John Talbott (2016) “The best/most innovative meal I’ve had in 3 weeks.”
Les Grands Ducs (2016) “La carte est courte, c’est le moins que l’on puisse dire, et le menu déjeuner (choix imposé), à 36 €, une toute relative bonne affaire. Mais le talent est là. Car côté cuisine, ce papillon ne manque pas de couleurs. Ni de vivacité. L’influence des années Ducasse y est bien présente, dans une forme de simplicité et de vérité rendue au produit dont les saveurs sont présentées sans artifice inutile… Seuls gros bémols, un niveau sonore beaucoup trop bruyant et un service en surnombre et pourtant débordé.”
Mensae is a contemporary French bistro not far from the sprawling Buttes-Chaumont park. Classics like frogs' legs and steak tartare are frequently featured on the ever-changing menu, revisited with a contemporary bent and more reasonable portion size than the behemoths found in other restaurants. Don't miss the chocolate mousse for dessert.
Between now and October 17, Le Bon Marché (LBM) is celebrating New York’s most populous borough with their Brooklyn Rive Gauche festival. Throughout the department store and their next-door food hall La Grande Épicerie, black water tower display stands direct shoppers to kale chips, artisanal matchsticks, and beard cream.
This was true for food blogger Adam Goldberg, who wrote a scathing report of his first meal at L’Ambroisie. After returning more than twenty times, however, he declared “I am now certain that this is the finest French restaurant in the world.”
Until now, I’ve had a hard time answering this question. I know well the landscape of the city’s classic bistros, modern French restaurants, and food-loving wine bars, but this class of two- and three-star tables is a different terrain entirely. There’s an obvious barrier to understanding these restaurants: the staggering, outrageous, almost immoral price of a meal. Prior to this project, in which I anonymously tested every three-star restaurant in Paris over a period of twelve weeks, I had only visited a handful.
The reliably cynical Fox News network has been broadcasting an interview with Nolan Peterson (photo at right), a supposed security expert and confirmed bozo who has declared Paris to be dotted with “No-Go Zones” where “in just a ten-minute cab ride from the Eiffel Tower, you can be walking through streets that feel just like Baghdad.”
Baghdad, eh? How wonderful for Baghdad if their streets are also filled, as these districts are, with modern bistros, craft breweries, natural wine haunts, vegan cafés, and spots for Philly cheesesteak. Not to mention a place that ranks among the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and a bakery that won the Best Baguette in Paris competition.
Inspired by a rebuttal by Sened Dhab, we decided to plot all of the wonderful restaurants, bars and shops that fall within these unterrorized borders. They are some of the most vibrant quarters in Paris and you shouldn’t hesitate for a single moment to visit.
Au Passage has reopened with a temporary terrace across the way.
Our Most Recent Visit
It’s so nice when a restaurant delivers more than they need to, more than you expect to receive. When looking at a chalkboard menu filled with cheap small plates, one rarely hopes for anything more than simple products. But here at Au Passage, your 8€ octopus dish has undergone three days of preparation. There’s a quiet ethos at work beneath the blaring bustle of the dining room: staples are homemade (butter, bread, stock, charcuterie), vegetables and fish receive priority attention, and meat is served in a nose-to-tail spirit with every last offaly bit turning up on the menu. So much heart and creativity for so little money. Au Passage is not for everyone, nor is it trying to be. If the loud music, frenzied service, and worn-out interior turn some people away, that leaves more space for me.
Update December 16
Following his (really very) negative review of Le Verre Volé sur Mer, writer Aaron Ayscough (Not Drinking Poison in Paris) received this comment from chef Laurent Julien:
your gonna review only soups restaurants after you cross my way motherfucker.You need a good reminder of what respect is.Tu va connaitre ton poid sans tes dents mon enfant de chienne.a bientot