Chef Philippe Damas is showcasing the season's best ingredients (porcinis, partridges) at this this bistro near the Canal Saint-Martin.
Le Chateaubriand currently holds the #4 ranking in our list of our favorite Tasting Menus under 100€. You can only reserve for the first seating at Le Chateaubriand. After that, you’ll have to wait in line from 9pm for a stab at Iñaki Aizpitarte’s no-choice tasting menu, a parade of provocative flavor pairings that has landed the restaurant on San Pellegrino’s 50 Best list for several years running. Whether you love or hate this restaurant may depend on your affinity for natural wine and improvisational cooking. We have had brilliant meals here, where every delicious dish taught us something new. We have been outraged, and we have been indifferent. You never quite know what to expect here, and that’s part of the fun. Just be sure to go with omnivorous friends who share that outlook.
We have not yet visited Le Bel Ordinaire, which combines an épicerie (grocery and wine shop) with a wine bar and cave à manger. Scroll down to read some of the early reviews.
What people are saying
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.
The many fans of Café Oberkampf will rejoice at the opening of a sister restaurant with longer hours and online reservations. With its light and airy interior, friendly staff, and an addictive breakfast roll, Café Méricourt is currently our #1 favorite place for breakfast or brunch in Paris.
Chez la Vieille is a fun place to drink but a confusing place to eat.
Address: 31 rue Lepic, 75018
Nearest transport: Abbesses (12), Blanche (2)
Hours: Open every day from 8:30am
Reservations: Reservations not accepted
Telephone: 01 84 79 23 40
Average price for lunch: Less than 10€
Style of cuisine: Baked goods, soups/salads/sandwiches
Photo via L’Éclair de Génie Café’s Facebook
Address: 60 rue du Cherche Midi, 75006
Nearest transport: Rennes (12), Vaneau (10)
Hours: Closed Sunday & Monday; Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch & dinner
Reservations: Walk-ins Welcome
Telephone: 06 88 88 48 23
Average price for lunch: 20-39€
Average price for dinner: 20-39€
Style of cuisine: Small plates, modern French
Reviews of interest
Time Out (2016) “As soon as you enter this well-presented cave-cum-restaurant on the Rue du Cherche-Midi, you get an inkling you’re going to eat well. There’s something about all those interesting wine bottles stacked on the walls, the friendly intimacy of the main room (just 15 tables) and the small kitchen nestled at the back that immediately gives a good, homey impression.”
Astrance is included among our favorite Tasting Menus over 100€.
Address: 4 rue Beethoven, 75016
Nearest transport: Passy (6)
Hours: Closed Saturday, Sunday & Monday; Open Tuesday-Friday.
Reservations: Book many weeks in advance
Telephone: 01 40 50 84 40
Website Facebook Instagram
Astrance in photos
What people are saying
Have you been? Leave your own opinion about Astrance in the comments!
Condé Nast Traveler (2015) “It’s a sanctuary where you can revel in the pleasures of such dishes as spinach with spicy piquillo peppers, chili pepper sorbet, and baby ravioli stuffed with a tangy bite of citron.”
Juveniles currently holds the #2 ranking in our list of favorite Classic Bistros in Paris.
What used to be a friendly wine bar run by the inimitable Tim Johnston is now a friendly wine bistro run by Tim’s daughter Margaux and her boyfriend Romain. The fresh market cooking from Romain (formerly at Le Comptoir and La Régalade Saint-Honore) goes well beyond the satisfying sausage & mash of the old carte and Margaux’s service and wine selections make this the sort of place where you’ll want to become a regular. Desserts are delicious, but their selection of British cheeses with recommended wine pairings is my favorite way to finish. On your way out, buy a bottle from the shelves to bring home.
Clown Bar currently holds the #5 spot in our list of favorite restaurants for small sharable plates. The team from Saturne has taken over the historic bar near Cirque d’Hiver. The beautiful Belle Epoque space remains (tastefully) decorated with clowns, but the menu has been seriously revived by Sota Atsumi’s intriguing small plates. Wines are heavily natural, with good options by the glass as well as the bottle. Don’t expect to get a table without calling a couple of weeks in advance.
The Bistrot Paul Bert currently holds the #4 ranking in our list of favorite Classic Bistros in Paris. The Bistrot Paul Bert boasts of the most charming dining rooms and patrons in town, appearing to first-time visitors like the Paris bistro of their dreams. Their menu is torn straight out of the classic bistro playbook, with options like steak frites, andouillette, soufflé and tarte Tatin. Compared to many other bistros, Paul Bert shines bright because of superb ingredient souring and careful cooking. Owner Bertrand Auboyneau is a real wine lover and supporter of vignerons, and his list is a joy to drink from. Overall, while many long-time fans will admit that it’s not quite at the level it once was, Le Bistrot Paul Bert remains a top recommendation for anyone wanting to experience a classic bistro in Paris.
Frenchman Thomas Abramowicz spent a year training in central Texas and tracking down everything he would need (meat, wood, Bourbon) to open the first authentic smokehouse in Paris. Beef is king here, in the form of slow and low smoked brisket and gigantic ribs, but barbecued chicken, baby back ribs and pulled pork also feature on the short menu. Vinegary cole slaw and steamed vegetables instead of baked beans or mac & cheese, but you can still expect to finish with pecan pie. Or just have another Bourbon – there are more than 50 to choose from – including impossible to find Pappy Van Winkle’s and a 22-year Elijah Craig – plus a handful of craft beers and natural red wines. Read the backstory here.
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.”
Yam’Tcha currently holds the #2 ranking in our list of our favorite Tasting Menus over 100€. Universally praised Franco-Chinois fare from Adeline Grattard, and all but impossible to book. The restaurant moved to a new location at 121 rue saint Honoré, 75001 in June 2015 and converted their old space at 4 rue Sauval into a tea salon and to-go window selling delicious steamed buns (bao).
Verjus currently holds the #2 ranking in our list of our favorite Tasting Menus under 100€. 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.
At this beautiful 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€. Chef Tomy Gousset departed in 2016 to open Tomy & Co, but Pirouette remains a solid bet.
Ellsworth currently holds the #3 spot in our list of favorite restaurants for small sharable plates.
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 currently holds the #5 position in our ranking of favorite Tasting Menus over 100€.
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.
Be sure to specify when booking that you’d like to be seated downstairs in the main dining room. They’ve recently added a number of small tables in a cramped and airless room upstairs near the bathroom. Surely these bring in more money, but dining there is another (far less interesting) experience altogether.
This popular restaurant and wine bar run by Drew Harre and Juan Sanchez is a sort of Anglo haven, excellent for a quick glass, a solo dinner at the bar, or for those times when you’re just tired of speaking French. The wine list is populated by small producers, many of them organic and bio-dynamic, with fair prices and plenty of options by the glass. They’re open every day, and we often find ourselves here on a Sunday or Monday when so many other restaurants are closed. Compared to their sister restaurant Semilla, the more gastronomic option across the street, Fish is the reliable bistro and a genuine Saint-Germain institution.
After L’Office and Le Richer (one of our favorite new openings of 2013), Charles Compagnon is back with another gift for the Faubourg. If he has run out of ideas for restaurant names, the same cannot be said for the dishes coming out of his kitchen. The compact menu with 3-4 choices per course contains plenty that we want to eat: well-roasted duck with coco beans, corn and kale, and an egg yolk ravioli with ham and mushrooms that was satisfyingly reminiscent of one of our favorite dishes at L’Office. Beyond the very good wine list, special attention has been paid to other liquids, starting with their own café Compagnon (roasted by Coutume), including a beer called La Maryse created in collaboration with Dirk Naudrs from De Proef, and finishing with a selection of very special small batch eaux de vie from Christoph Keller at the Stählemühle distillery. Like at Le Richer, this place is open every day with continuous service from 8am to midnight. No reservations, but you can wait (or eat, or drink) at the bar.
One of our Favorite Paris Restaurants (small sharable plates).
Boasting one of the city’s best selections of wine by the glass, Freddy’s is a great call when you want to share some delicious nibbles while perched on a stool, especially at odd hours or on Sunday & Monday when many other places are closed. With high quality and reasonable prices, this place draws a serious crowd. Come with a large group or at peak hours (anything after 7:30pm) and you’re not likely to find a spot. Come early to dine alone or with a friend and you’ll be in for a treat with interesting food and wine plus great people watching.
One of our Top 50 Paris Restaurants (small sharable plates). If you want a taste of Gregory Marchand’s cooking without the challenge of scoring a reservation at Frenchie, this sister wine bar is a great option. However, there are caveats. A victim of its own popularity, Frenchie Bar à Vins is often chaotic, loud, and (for folks who don’t wish to perch on stools) a little uncomfortable. But chaos and noise, when combined with creative and delicious small plates, not to mention a fascinating wine list, can combine to make for some wonderfully memorable evenings. You shouldn’t go if you need to be seated and fed right away, or if you’re not willing to flag down a friendly server to beg for what you need. Go for rowdy fun, and by all means go early, like right when they open at 6:30pm. Either that, or after the major rush passes, after 10pm. Arrive during peak hours and you can expect to wait for a fairly long time out on the cobblestones.
Frenchie currently holds the #5 ranking in our list of our favorite Tasting Menus under 100€. Frenchie was wonderful – so good that you felt you were getting away with something – back when it opened in 2009. Then the tiny restaurant landed on every journalists’ “best of” list and was featured in every food travel show you can name. It became difficult, very difficult, to get a table. It became a challenge to even get through on the phone. This is when people stop rooting for a restaurant. This is when people begin to wonder whether it’s worth it, and honestly, is any restaurant really worth begging and pleading for? We’ve heard so many disappointed rants about Frenchie from people who suffered to get their table and felt unrewarded for the effort. We sympathize, but that’s not how we experience Frenchie. We go for lunch on Thursday or Friday, when it’s relatively easy to book. Or we make plans to go to their wine bar across the street and pop in to let the restaurant hostess know that we’d be happy to swoop in if there are any no-shows (this often works). When you don’t have to struggle to get in, it’s possible to experience Frenchie in the way that Greg Marchand intended – as an extremely good neighborhood restaurant. At the end of the day, that’s all Frenchie is. It’s not a site for spiritual awakening or the missing key to your vacation. But we’re awfully happy every time we eat here, and we appreciate that it’s one of the few attention-soaked addresses that seems to be getting better each time we visit.
East meets west at William Ledeuil's much-lauded Ze Kitchen Galerie.
This tiny space near the Palais Royal functions functions both as a neighborhood wine bar and as a holding tank for those waiting for their table at the restaurant upstairs. The printed wine list is filled with so many interesting bottles, and the ever-changing chalkboard list has plenty of options by the glass. The food options have changed several times over the years. Their famous fried chicken is no longer available here, having moved over to Ellsworth, but you can still order small plates to nibble with your wine. Options on the menu right now include veal tartare, house-made pork and duck terrine with pistachios, and warm Mont d’Or cheese with pickled mushrooms. Groups of more than two will have a hard time squeezing in, but the intimate space is perfect for an apéro before dinner upstairs or elsewhere in the neighborhood.
Address: 5 rue saint Bernard, 75011
Nearest transport: Faidherbe-Chaligny (8)
Hours: Closed Saturday & Sunday; Open Monday-Friday 8:45am-6pm
Reservations: Walk-ins Welcome
Telephone: 09 80 81 82 85
Average price for lunch: 20-39€
Style of cuisine: Baked goods, Middle Eastern, modern French
Reviews of interest
Le Figaro (2016) “Officiellement, ce petit bout d’enseigne s’annonce comme un «coffee & bakery» (il y a de cela) si ce n’est qu’on y profite aussi de la sacrée touche d’un binôme cuistot – pâtissière boutiquant des assiettes intuitives, sans codes ni frontières hors celle du feeling.”