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

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. 

Mmmozza

Address: 57, rue de Bretagne, 75003
Hours: Open Tuesday-Thursday 10am-3pm, 4-8pm. Open Friday & Saturday 10am-8pm. Open Sunday 10am-2:30pm. Open Monday 10am-3pm, 5-8pm.
Telephone: +33 1 42 71 82 98
Facebook

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.

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

Rococo

Practical information

Address: 4 rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin, 75010
Nearest transport: Strasbourg-Saint-Denis (4, 8,9)
Hours: Open every day noon-midnight
Reservations: Reservations not accepted
Telephone: 01 40 37 69 43
Average price for lunch: 10-19€
Average price for dinner: 10-19€
Style of cuisine: Kebab and falafel
Website   Facebook

Reviews of interest

Le Fooding (2015) “Un «fine kebab»… Servie en gamelles rondes avec des frites de petit calibre, la viande qui tourne débarque en trois versions: agneau broche (épaule et poitrine marinées citron/épices, oignon nouveau, caviar d’aubergine et sauce curry), cochon broche (échine de porc orange/moutarde) et agneau braisé (viande cuite au jus pimenté, pickles, harissa…), plus un kebab fallafels (boulettes de pois chiches, chou vinaigré, yaourt à l’ail et salsa d’herbes).”

Paris Bouge (2015) “Notre crush: les boulettes de pois chiches, chou vinaigré, yaourt à l’ail et aux herbes, le tout servi avec des frites.”

Figaroscope (2015) “Avec un pain moelleux, des marinades bien senties, et des viandes finement sélectionnées et cuisinées (cochon et agneau à la broche ou agneau braisé), Rococo fait déjà de nombreux adeptes.”

Table à Découvert (2015) “Mousse au chocolat… Une densité comme je l’aime personnellement, un taux de gras proportionnel à celui de chocolat et de sucre, c’est à dire l’équilibre entre les trois. J’ai une image là soudain : le triangle équilatéral. Bref, elle est parfaite.”

Photo via Rococo’s Facebook page

Blackburn

Practical information

Address: 52 rue Faubourg Saint-Martin, 75010
Nearest transport: Jacques Bonsergent (5)
Hours: Open every day
Reservations: Walk-Ins Welcome
Telephone: 01 42 41 73 31
Average price for lunch: 10-19€
Style of cuisine: Soup, salad & sandwiches
Website   Facebook

Reviews of interest

Sprudge (2015) “While the coffee is carefully selected, here the focus is more all-around cafe as opposed to coffee bar; it’s the entirety of Blackburn that’s important, not just what they’re serving. There are fresh juices if you’re not in a coffee mood, all food and most of the pastries are made in house, and there’s even an inviting couch at the back – a vintage Scandinavian model of course.”

Good Coffee in Paris (2014) “… the awesomely understated Blackburn Café, content in its isolation and home to some excellent coffee… Coffee is à la demande (by request), with an interesting variation in the beans, which have origins as diverse as Indonesia, Ethiopia and Salvador. There are several seating options depending on how much conversation is desired, and  sections for reading and laptop work.

Photo via Blackburn’s Facebook page

Hakata Choten

While the focus of this cheap and cheerful Japanese franchise is ostensibly the authentic tonkatsu ramen, the real highlight is the gyoza with a thick, crisp, seared crust and a juicy pork filling. The parent restaurant won the Prix du Concours National of Gyoza in Japan in 2004, and the dumplings truly are winners. The dining room is busy and the lines can be long, but the steaming bowls of ramen come out fast and are worth the wait. The counter seating on the bottom floor makes this a nice option for dining alone.

— Catherine Down, September 2015

Chéri Charlot

Practical information

Address: 33 rue Richer, 75009
Nearest transport: Cadet (7)
Hours: Closed Sunday; Open Monday for lunch only; Open Tuesday-Friday for lunch and dinner; Open Saturday for dinner only
Reservations: Walk-Ins Welcome
Telephone: 09 80 41 78 27
Average price for lunch: Less than 10€
Average price for dinner: Less than 10€
Style of cuisine: Soups/Salads/Sandwiches
Website   Facebook

Reviews of interest

Figaroscope (2015) “En appui d’une épicerie (vraiment) fine, un comestible où trois frangins argumentent le «sur le pouce», le «coin de comptoir» et la levée de coude. Il y a là des produits de tempérament et un réel talent à tailler les meilleurs casse-croûte de ce printemps.”

Paris Bouge (2015) “Le prix vaut le met, le pain a été délicatement choisi chez Jocteur (de Lyon), il est toasté et savoureux. Les ingrédients sont originaux, du fromage en veux-tu en voilà, de la charcuterie bien goûteuse, des cornichons, de la salade, des oignons, tout pour nous faire fondre entre deux rendez-vous clients.”

Photo via Chéri Charlot’s Facebook page

Kiez Biergarten

Practical information

Address: 24 rue Vauvenargues, 75018
Nearest transport: Guy Môquet (13), Jules Joffrin (12)
Hours: Open every day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks
Reservations: Walk-ins Welcome
Telephone: 01 46 27 78 46
Average price for lunch: 10-19€
Average price for dinner: 10-19€
Style of cuisine: German, burgers
Website   Facebook

Reviews of interest

Paris Bouge (2014) “… côté cuisine, le Kiez Biergarten nous propose des classiques, avec des bretzels home made, kartoffelsalat et apfeltorte mais aussi des plats beaucoup plus modernes.”

Time Out (2014) “Arrivent les plats: un bretzel pour patienter, une assiette de fricadelle et sa salade fraîche de patates/concombres, un curry wurst et une assiette de nuernberger rostbratwuerste (vous n’imaginez pas comme l’on peut se ridiculiser en prononçant le nom de ce plat à la serveuse adorable et surtout très bilingue!). Tout était vraiment bon.”

Le Figaro (2014) “Saucisse blanche, moutarde sucrée, bretzel: manque plus que les rues de Munich. Salade de haricots blancs et lardons: vite bectée. Cheese-cake allemand: solide.”

 Photo via Kiez Biergarten’s Facebook page

Burger and Fries

As the name implies, burgers and fries. It’s no In-N-Out Burger, which it clearly mimics from the basic concept to the red & white décor right down to the “double double” menu slang and secret sauce, but it certainly scratches the itch. It’s a decent burger, made from quality ingredients, that doesn’t cost a fortune which (sadly) is still a novelty in Paris. Plus, they’re open all day, every day.