Category Archives: Classic Bistro

Amarante restaurant in Paris | parisbymouth.com

Amarante

Go big or go home at this larger-than-life bistro featuring hearty, classically French fare.

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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. But for alert wine geeks, it might as well be the Panthéon itself, as pertains to natural wine.

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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.

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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.

When comparing it to other Paris bistros, this place feels lavish and expensive. On the surface, La Bourse et la Vie appears to have much in common with a neighborhood bistro serving classic dishes like poireaux vinaigrette, steak-frites and pot au feu. But look more closely and you’ll learn that the leeks are dotted with hazelnuts from Piemonte and the steak is 30-day aged Simmental beef.

Steak frites, made with 30 day aged Simmental beef

Rose, who is obsessed with old recipes, continues to resurrect and refine vintage dishes that modern-day travelers are rarely able to encounter. His version of pot au feu is deeply delicious and evokes the classic dish that was bubbling a century ago on stoves all over the nearby market neighborhood of Les Halles. However, it’s radically different and probably more delicious than the original because it marries perfectly cooked (not boiled to death) cuts of veal and lightly cooked vegetables with the sort of profound bouillon (broth) that has become Rose’s signature. It’s also served with a side dish of tête de veau with a sauce ravigotée. More “authentic” Paris bistros are not making food like this anymore.

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

Pot au Feu

All of this specialness doesn’t come cheap, of course. That delicious steak-frites is priced at 39€, and dinner for two is likely to be 120€ before wine. However, most new restaurants that have opened in the years since Rose took over La Bourse et la Vie are offering much less for a similar price. Paris is becoming very expensive. At La Bourse et la Vie, it’s both expensive and very good.

Practical information

Address: 12 rue Vivienne, 75002
Hours: Open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner. Closed Saturday & Sunday.
Telephone: +33 1 42 60 08 83
Website   Facebook   Instagram   Book Online

La Bourse et la Vie in pictures

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À La Renaissance

Great natural wines by the glass, fresh well-prepared food, and congenial service at this simple bistro near Bastille.

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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.

Nicolas isn’t the only star charcutier in town (Gilles Verot has a well-deserved following), but he’s the first to build a restaurant around his creations. This could be terrible – I cynically anticipated great charcuterie followed by mediocre mains and forgettable dessert. I was instead delighted by the best Quenelles de Brochet with sauce Nantua that I’ve ever tasted (yes, even in Lyon). The Baba au Rhum is also as good as all the other reviews (see below) say it is. As for the charcuterie, there’s a whole page of options to be taken as starters, ranging from elegant (Pâté en croûte with quail, pear and pistachio) to down-and-dirty (La Couronne de Cochon with all parts of the pig). The wine list is short but includes some very good Beaujolais, which is what you want to be drinking here. The connected shop selling for takeaway is a great source for picnics on the nearby Champ de Mars, and it provides a way to share his creations with my friends who never, ever leave eastern Paris.

Notable dishes:

  • Charcuterie starters, including different versions of Pâté en croûte
  • Quenelles de Brochet
  • Baba au Rhum for dessert

Practical Information

Address: 46 Avenue de la Bourdonnais, 75007
Hours: Open Tuesday – Saturday for lunch and dinner. Open Monday for dinner only. Closed Sunday. 
Telephone: 01 45 55 59 59
Website   Facebook   Instagram

Arnaud Nicolas in pictures

What people are saying

  • Alexander Lobrano (2017) tasted two different pâtés en croute and says they “were among the most elegant foods I’ve ever eaten.” He also raves about the head cheese and the pork terrine. “I am besotted with charcuterie in its every iteration, and I don’t think I’ve ever eaten better in my life than what I had at Arnaud Nicolas’s,” concluding that this has “immediately become one of my favorite Paris restaurants.”
  • Le Figaro (2017) compares Nicolas’ creations to fine jewelry, saying that they’re closer in style to the nearby Louboutin and A.P.C. boutiques than to the corner traiteur. Nicolas is ushering in a new age for charcuterie, says Emmanuel Rubin. Oh, and the baba au rhum, prepared to order, is one of the best in the city.
  • Food & Sens (2017) offers another rave review, calling the tourte (a sort of pot pie) with chicken, cabbage and vin jaune “splendid.”
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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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