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 |

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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A la Renaissance Restaurant in Paris | Paris By Mouth

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 |

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.”
  • >> Read More

    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.
    >> Read More


    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 |


    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 |


    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.”

    Le Figaro (2015) “Même chez les grandes tables, il y a parfois cette volonté d’être à belle distance. L’éprouver, cette saison, en une parenthèse palace, du côté de cette table d’allure, soutenue par un chef signant et stylant une cuisine en talons hauts mais refusant avec pudeur les postures et les ego. Il y a là une gastronomie en charme discret que des chambres coquettes (à l’étage) et un opportun patio se plaisent à préfacer ou conclure.”

    Gault & Millau (2015) “Tout est doré sur tranche dans ce palace jeune et bien né : la situation rue Gabriel, si facile d’accès depuis l’Elysée, le cadre, le service, les tarifs et un chef talentueux, Jérôme Banctel, que l’on connut chez Senderens.”

    Gilles Pudlowski (2015) “Le brunch qui se prolonge en repas alerte est carrément royal: oeuf mimosa avec avocat façon guacamole et tourteau, tartare de veau aux huîtres et wasabi qui fait des clins d’oeil au vitello tonnato, ou encore salade de fruits sont épatants. Comme les « vrais » plats – macaroni au parmesan et boeuf croustillant, Saint Jacques et cèpes en civet ou encore côtes d’agneau de Lozère purée de butternut – enchantent.”

    Photo courtesy of  Le Gabriel’s website

      >> Read More

    Bouillon restaurant in Paris photo via FB |


    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.”

    John Talbott (2015) “… one of us had a pissaladière in which the onions were rubbery – bad rubbery – yuck and the rest had their famous bouillon which today needed much salt and pepper, as opposed to last time.”

    Les Grands Ducs (2015) “C’est frais, c’est beau et le plat du jour à 14€ est une très belle affaire.”

    Table à Découvert (2015) “Un bouillon d’une couleur foncée qui met en appétit, des morceaux de foie gras qui ont le temps de cuire juste un peu dans le bouillon, de la coriandre fraîche, des filaments de céleri et de petits boutons champignons de Paris.”

    Alexander Lobrano (2015) “I’m not sure I’d go back. Why? It’s expensive for what it serves, and I found a perceptible lack of generosity in the restaurant’s DNA.”

    L’Express (2015) “Un vrai bon bistrot à l’ancienne… l’esprit parisien sans parisianisme, le charme de la serviette en tissu, du fauteuil capitonné, du couteau de Thiers et la bienveillance d’un plat du jour à 14 euros (cette semaine-là, une poule au pot dans les grandes largeurs avec ses légumes d’hiver, sa sauce suprême et son riz basmati), d’une brouillade très généreuse en truffe noire servie dans sa casserole en fonte, de quelques cocottes de partage qui fleurent bon la France ripailleuse.”

    Photo via Bouillon’s Facebook page

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    L'Auberge Bressane photo via FB |

    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.”

    Time Out (2012) “The welcome is exactly as you’d expect in a country inn, as well, friendly and unpretentious. The menu features hearty dishes like eggs en cocotte in beaujolais with bacon and shallots, frogs’ legs provençale, utterly traditional coq au vin. If you indulge, remember to order one of the unforgettable dessert souffles, Baked Alaska or flamboyant crepes suzettes at the beginning of your meal.”

    Le Figaro (2011) “Un petit joyau régionaliste, tel qu’on les affectionnait après-guerre, lorsque le mot design n’existait pas encore. Cela donne du papier peint à fleurs de lys, des suspensions en fer forgé et lampes bougeoirs, des nappes blasonnées, des fauteuils en cuir cloutés et tout le cortège habituel de moules à charlotte, tonnelets-service à liqueurs et diplômes de boudin qui vous façonnent un décor. On plonge avec délice dans ce giron provincial activement préservé. Trop bien!”

    Photo via L’Auberge Bressane’s Facebook page

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    Boucherie Les Provinces butcher shop in Paris photo via FB |

    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.”

    Le Fooding (2014) “When we’re feeling ravenous at the end of the Marché (d’Aligre), we head to the Boucherie des Provinces, choose a piece of well-matured meat and grab a table. Ten minutes later, the meat is out of the pan, in the company of sautéed new potatoes and salad, augmented by €9.80 of cooking fees. Hanger steak, veal filet, leg of lamb, pork ribs, andouillette, veal sweetbreads, or carpaccio and tartare, made using meat guaranteed to be in excellent shape by Christophe Dru, the son of the butcher and a student of the neighborhood star, Michel Brunon.”

    Table à Découvert (2014) “Cette boucherie-restaurant plantée au milieu du marché d’Aligre est irrésistible… Les pommes de terre rattes confites (le seul accompagnement de la maison) sont divines. Un peu sucrées, dorées comme j’aime, un peu grasses aussi.”

    Time Out (2013) “As you walk in, all the meat is displayed on the left as usual, with Aligre locals lining up to do their shopping, while the rest of the space is a jumble of tables and counters, heaving with hungry meat-eaters tucking into a giant entrecôte or côte de boeuf, sweet lamb chops or juicy pork ribs.”

    L’Express (2013) “Sur place ou à emporter? On a le choix chez le boucher Christophe Dru. Ses pièces de boeuf français longuement maturées se déclinent en carpaccio, tartare, onglet, faux-filet et côte, que l’on déguste devant l’étal.”

    Photo via Boucherie Les Provinces’ Facebook page

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    Chez Casimir restaurant in Paris |

    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 |

    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.”

    Not Drinking Poison in Paris (2014) “A  refined, contemporary bistrot with the confidence and smarts to remain simple… Thrill-seeking critics might find the menu a bit ho-hum. Tant pis for them. I’d deem it a rare example of an unself-conscious, quality-oriented contemporary bistrot menu.” >> Read More

    Le Severo steakhouse in Paris |

    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

    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.”

    Alexander Lobrano (2012) “… the best steakhouse in Paris…the charcuterie is one great reason to come here, and the sharp knives and good bread, two others… I come here to eat a pavé de rumsteak from nearby butcher Hugo Desnoyer… with a tiny magic mountain of some of the best frites in the whole world.”

    John Talbott (2011) “Severo/Desnoyer’s beef is not for the faint of heart or wallet, running one 80 E for two – but it is the Gold Standard and the method of making the frites should be required reading for the chefs at the other 39,999 restos in the ville.”

    Alexander Lobrano via David Lebovitz (2009) “… all will be forgiven when your steak arrives. Owner William Bernet used to work for the Boucheries Nivernaises, one of the best butchers in Paris…”

    David Lebovitz (2006) “… worth the trek for the excellent meal…” >> Read More

    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

    >> Read More