Category Archives: Classic Bistro

Café de la Nouvelle Mairie

For the wine-indifferent, Café de la Nouvelle Mairie is merely a timeless, picturesque terraced café on a shady lane beside the Panthéon. Wines are inexpensive and available by the carafe, like in the old days. The café’s simply-executed bistrot cuisine is well-sourced and agreeable: oeufs mayonnaise, chicken liver terrines studded with grapes, and hearty Angus steaks for pressure-free meals on long summer evenings.

But for alert wine geeks, Café de la Nouvelle Mairie might as well be the Panthéon itself, as pertains to natural wine.  >> Read More

Le 6 Paul Bert

Le 6 Paul Bert had a brief closure followed by several different chefs and menu makeovers. We’re not sure what’s going on over there right now, but will update this description after another visit. Here’s what we wrote about the first incarnation: >> Read More

La Bourse et la Vie restaurant in Paris | parisbymouth.com

La Bourse et La Vie

La Bourse et la Vie is one of our favorite Classic Bistros in Paris. It’s a place where you come to celebrate, to bring a date, and to devour one of the best steak-frites in Paris.

This dining room near the Bourse (the former stock exchange) is compact and cozy, complete with all the markers of a comforting old bistro. It’s largely filled with Americans, especially now that chef Daniel Rose has become the toast of Manhattan with his French restaurant Le Coucou. The latter is delicious but difficult to book and easily five times the price of La Bourse et la Vie. Rose’s primary restaurant in Paris (now that Spring has closed) feels like a steal if your reference point is French food in New York.

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Arnaud Nicolas restaurant and charcuterie in Paris | parisbymouth.com

Arnaud Nicolas

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. It’s like tasting chocolate from Patrick Roger when you’ve only ever known Hershey’s, or switching from Kraft singles to raw milk cheese sold by Laurent Dubois.

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Le Villaret

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 Villaret boasts a wine list every bit as interesting, especially if you’re looking for a balanced mix of natural and conventional wines, and bottles are served without the side dish or distain that you’re likely to receive from those popular boys. Wine is definitely the attraction here, so decide first what you want to drink and then find something on the lengthy food menu to pair with your choice. On a recent visit, I pounced on a 2011 Chablis 1er Cru from Raveneau (80€) and enjoyed some lovely if not life-changing monkfish medallions in lobster sauce (30€). There’s also a three-course menu for only 35€, and plenty of moderately priced wines. For people who love wine and want to enjoy a special bottle (or four) and some classic bistro food, Le Villaret is currently one of most reliable options in town. >> Read More

Le Baratin Restaurant in Paris | Paris By Mouth

Le Baratin

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. After more than a decade of hopeful visits, I haven’t yet received a smile or any helpful wine guidance from the patron. His cellar is reputed to be one of the best in the city, with an emphasis on independent producers and natural wines. However, he is an unwilling ambassador for these wines and a significant drag on the overall experience. I love Carena’s cooking, but I won’t hurry back because I fear that, once again, I’ll be treated with glaring disinterest by Philippe and the dining room staff who mirror his attitude. For those who really want to try their luck, go at lunch. The dining room, which is harshly over-lit at night, reveals itself beautifully in the sunlight, and the lunch menu for 19 euros remains an incredible deal.
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Philou

Chef Philippe Damas is showcasing the season's best ingredients (porcinis, partridges) at this this bistro near the Canal Saint-Martin.

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L’Assiette

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.  >> Read More

Juveniles restaurant in Paris | parisbymouth.com

Juveniles

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.  >> Read More

Bistrot Paul Bert Restaurant in Paris | Paris By Mouth

Bistrot Paul Bert

The Bistrot Paul Bert currently holds the #4 ranking in our list of favorite Classic Bistros in ParisThe 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.

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Bistrot Belhara

A recent visit didn’t live up to the hype in which Thierry Dufroux’s Basque-inflected bistrot was declared “one of the revelations of 2013.” With the exception of a vanilla millefeuille with fresh strawberries, every dish was fine but forgettable. The wine list was uninspired and service was brisk and joyless. Three years ago, when most of this restaurant’s reviews were written, Belhara may have stood out as more exciting. It may have actually been more exciting back then. But today, when Paris is experiencing a renaissance of old-fashioned cuisine bourgeoise, Belhara doesn’t quite make it to Our Top 50 Paris Restaurants. Its saving grace: three courses for 38€ is still a great value for dinner in the 7ème near the Eiffel Tower.  >> Read More

Amarante restaurant in Paris | parisbymouth.com

Amarante

We have visited and will be adding a review soon. In the meantime, you can scroll to see photos and what other people have said about Amarante.  >> Read More

Le Gabriel

Practical information

Address: 42 avenue Gabriel, 75008
Nearest transport: Franklin Roosevelt (1, 9)
Hours: Open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner
Reservations: Book a few days in advance for breakfast and lunch; Book a few weeks in advance for dinner
Telephone: 01 58 36 60 60
Average price for lunch: More than 100€
Average price for dinner: More than 100€
Style of cuisine: Classic French, Haute Cuisine
Website   Book online

Reviews of interest

Le Monde (2015) “L’hôtel La Réserve abrite, près des Champs-Elysées, un beau restaurant dont le chef cultive une verve culinaire à tomber par terre.”

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Bouillon restaurant in Paris photo via FB | parisbymouth.com

Bouillon

Practical information

Address: 47 rue de Rochechouart, 75009
Hours: Closed Sunday & Monday; Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch & dinner
Telephone: 09 51 18 66 59
Style of cuisine: Classic bistro
Website   Facebook

What people are saying

John Talbott (2015) “Warm welcome, warm soups, warm friends, what could be better?”

Simon Says (2015) “Sa cuisine est bigrement bonne, hautement classique (un superbe bouillon de «vrais» champignons de Paris, foie gras de canard, céléri-coraindre), elle tape avec joliesse et saveurs comme avec ce cabillaud cuit vapeur aux citrons confits et épices. Mais ces dernières font comme la clientèle, comme par syncrétisme. Il faut qu’elles manifestent leur présence, impriment fort (trop), tapent presque du pied d’impatience.”

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L'Auberge Bressane photo via FB | parisbymouth.com

L’Auberge Bressane

Practical information

Address: 16 avenue de la Motte Piquet, 75007
Nearest transport: La Tour-Maubourg (8)
Hours: Open Sunday-Friday for lunch & dinner and Saturday for dinner
Reservations: Book a couple days in advance
Telephone: 01 47 05 98 37
Average price for lunch: 20-39€
Average price for dinner: 60-100€
Style of cuisine: Classic French
Website   Facebook

Reviews of interest

Alexander Lobrano (2015) “A living archive of the great tastes of Gaul… With the possible exception of the price–there’s an excellent value 24.50 Euros lunch menu, but it’s expensive to order a la carte, which we did–everything about this meal pleased.”

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Boucherie Les Provinces butcher shop in Paris photo via FB | parisbymouth.com

Boucherie Les Provinces

Practical information

Address: 20 rue d’Aligre, 75012
Nearest transport: Ledru-Rollin (8)
Hours: Closed Monday; Open Tuesday-Sunday for lunch; Open Thursday & Friday for lunch and dinner
Reservations: Reservations not accepted,  but the restaurant can be booked for private parties at night
Telephone: 01 43 43 91 64
Average price for lunch: 20-39€
Average price for dinner: 20-39€
Style of cuisine: Rotisserie, Classic French
Website   Facebook

Reviews of interest

David Lebovitz (2014) “At boucherie Les Provinces, you won’t be blown away by the food, but you’ll have a good time, as we did, digging into our onglet steaks… While you likely won’t find Les Provinces listed in restaurant guides as a place to cross town for, I can’t think of a better way to spend a day in Paris than strolling around the Aligre market… before diving into a couple of steaks while knocking back a few glasses of red in the convivial atmosphere of boucherie Les Provinces.”

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Chez Casimir restaurant in Paris | parisbymouth.com

Chez Casimir

This bustling annex of Chez Michel offers hearty seasonal cooking and a heavy dose of old Paris charm. Open weekdays for lunch and dinner with menus at 22€ and 29€, and from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays with 25€, all-you-can-eat brunch.

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La Regalade Saint-Honore restaurant in Paris | Paris by Mouth

La Régalade Saint Honoré

This second location of La Régalade has been full since chef Bruno Doucet opened the doors in spring of 2010. The formula (terrine + 3 classic courses for a prix fixe) has since been replicated at a third location in the 9th. Is it less special now that it’s a franchise? Some think so (see below), but it remains a good bet in central Paris, especially on Mondays.

– Meg Zimbeck, 2010

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le rubis 75002 restaurant in paris photo from Facebook | parisbymouth.com

Le Rubis

Practical information

Address: 14 rue Léopold Bellan, 75002
Nearest transport: Sentier (3)
Hours: Closed Sunday & Monday; Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner
Reservations: Book a day or two in advance
Telephone: 09 84 39 42 49
Average price for lunch: 20-39€
Average price for dinner: 20-39€
Style of cuisine: Classic French
Facebook   Book Online

Reviews of interest

Figaroscope (2014) “Adieu à l’Hédoniste (dommage!), remplacé illico presto par ce repaire s’essayant au genre du café populaire. Las, l’assiette besogne trop pour emporter conviction et enthousiasme.”

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La Regalade restaurant in Paris | parisbymouth.com

La Régalade

You can’t talk about “la bistronomie” without mentioning La Régalade. Founded by Yves Camdeborde and later sold to his second, Bruno Doucet, La Régalade and it’s spin-offs in the 1st and 9th are still reliable sources of solid bistro fare at reasonable prices.  >> Read More

Le Grand 8 restaurant in Paris | Paris by Mouth

Le Grand 8

Le Grand 8 is a low-key, winemaker’s restaurant in the middle of Montmartre tourist hell. They serve simple, well-executed meat and potato dishes, accompanied by a very strong wine list that favors natural wines. While the food is basic, not mind-blowing, the wine, friendly service and unbeatable location make it a great option for groups and out-of-towners. >> Read More

Le Severo steakhouse in Paris | parisbymouth.com

Le Severo

Practical information

Address: 8 rue des Plantes, 75014
Nearest transport: Mouton Duvernet (4), Pernety (13)
Hours: Closed Saturday and Sunday; Open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner
Reservations: Book a few days in advance
Telephone: 01 45 40 40 91
Average price for lunch: 20-39€
Average price for dinner: 40-59€
Style of cuisine: Classic French
Facebook

Reviews of interest

Simon Says (2015) “Si l’on veut manger une bonne viande à Paris, c’est ici. Même les deux bouchers « stars » qu’une fausse inimitié savamment alimentée oppose (Hugo Desnoyer et Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec) sont d’accord là-dessus.”

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La Tour de Montlhéry – Chez Denise

The market at Les Halles is long gone, but its legacy is still in evidence at Chez Denise, an old-school meat joint that’s open late. Expect to find steak, bone marrow, frisée salad on these red & white checked tablecloths. Come hungry, and don’t expect to be fussed over.

– Meg Zimbeck, 2010

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Alain Ducasse Plaza Athenee Restaurant in Paris | Paris By Mouth

Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée

Alain Ducasse’s flagship at the Plaza Athénée remains one of the bastions of French gastronomy. Since autumn 2014, the restaurant has reoriented its cuisine around fish, cereals and vegetables. The quinoa doesn’t come cheap here: expect to pay more than 1000 euros for 2 people at lunch.

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