Best Bistrot secondo “Time Out Paris”
They’ve been termed ‘gastro bistrots’, ‘néo-bistrots’ and other things besides. And with good reason: much like Britain’s gastropubs, this new breed of smart bistros offers affordable, creative cuisine in classy surroundings. Bistros, while a French institution, don’t have a clear-cut cuisine of their own; cue some of the country’s most creative chefs, who spice up these venues with some interesting – and always delectable – dishes.
The name is old-fashioned (Pantruche is an old slang word for ‘Parisian’) and the Pigalle location a little frentic, but once inside Pantruche its charm is immediately apparent, with a classic and cosy bistro décor, myriad mirrors and smiling staff. Young chef Franck Baranger, who cut his teeth at some of the most prestigious Paris establishments, offers simple yet sophisticated cooking at affordable prices – there’s a set menu for €17 (dish of the day and dessert) at lunchtime and €34 in the evening (starter, main and dessert). Try the white asparagus, the chicory cream or the excellent black truffle risotto. It’s especially worth mentioning… Read more
Brother-in-law to the chef-owner at Frenchie, Alsatian-born Nicolas Scheidt is making a name of his own in a neighbourhood not known for its bistros. Wallpaper-decorated pillars, big mirrors and hanging lights give the dining room a modern spirit that’s reflected in the food. Not everything works perfectly but there are flashes of brilliance, as in a salad of squid, cherry tomatoes and olives, or the slow-cooked guinea hen. Good to know about in this area, even if the bill is a bit steep.
Named for Parisian novelist Eugène Sue, the gourmet cuisine at La Table d’Eugène is actually affordable. Too bad for Eugène himself, who departed this life in 1857. The décor is, admittedly, charmless, but the men behind the scenes – Geoffroy Maillard and François Vaudeschamps – are both talented and driven. They cook up some magnificent food using simple flavours, all skilfully assembled and beautifully presented. There’s blue shrimp from Mozambique in a walnut crust, or ravioli of Bresse chicken with foie gras and morel mushrooms in a wine, cream and foie gras sauce. There’s a perfectly cooked pork chop… Read more
Mondays and Saturdays, 10am-5pm, there’s only one reason to come to Abri (‘shelter’), a pocket-sized restaurant next to the Poissonière metro: their multi-layered, super-stacked, millfeuille-esque sandwiches, put together by chef Katsuaki Okiyama. One regal specimen contained grilled bread, a deep and lovely sauce, a vegetable omelette, crusty breaded pork (‘tonkatsu’), sweet and sour cauliflower purée and soft cheese. The rest of the week, there are plenty more of the young Japanese chef’s talents to enjoy. His CV (Robuchon, Taillevent, Agapé) would already be impressive on a far older chef, and against a bare décor… Read more
Chic without being bobo, refined without being gastro – Bertrand Auboyneau, already heading up two other well-respected bistros in the 11th (the Bistro Paul Bert and l’Ecailler du Bistrot), opened Le 6 Paul Bert, his third venue, at the end of 2012. It’s a restaurant that wants to be different to its elders, offering a more refined, lighter style of cooking. Two charming, efficient young servers welcome you into the light-filled room dominated by an enormous zinc bar, surrounded by formica tables and studded with original lamps made of forks and bottles of wine. Everything is set up to make you hungry… Read more
A restaurant called Pirouette suggests both deft maneuvering and a dash of panache. Set in a secluded little courtyard behind the concrete mess of Les Halles in the 1st arrondissement, the stage set for the meal is immediately promising, so shiny new behind its huge plate glass window that the first thing you notice as you walk in is the fresh smell of the wood pannelling. So, with a swift arabesque, to the menu, which includes a formule for a mere €36. We started with a perfect coddled egg on a bed of greens, over which a subtle mushroom and chestnut was poured at the table, and the ‘alouette sans tête’… Read more
Youthful self-taught Aussie chef James Henry flexes his muscles, tattoos and chutzpah at this new venture where the ingredients are the stars of the show. Book several weeks in advance for the no-choice four-course tasting menu at €47 a head, served in the 25-seater dining room, or try the bar for craft beers, freshly-shucked oysters and homemade charcuterie.
Yves Camdeborde runs the bijou 17th-century Hôtel Le Relais Saint-Germain, whose art deco dining room, modestly dubbed Le Comptoir, serves brasserie fare from noon to 6pm and on weekend nights, and a five-course prix fixe feast on weekday evenings. The single dinner sitting lets the chef take real pleasure in his work. On the daily menu, you might find dishes like rolled saddle of lamb with vegetable-stuffed ‘Basque ravioli’. The catch? The prix fixe dinner is booked up as much as six months in advance. If you don’t manage to dine, you can sidle up the bar, an area the locals call L’Avant Comptoir, for wine and tapas.
Amélie Darvas has a distinguished chef’s CV, her precise and inspired cooking having already been in evidence at Le Bristol, L’Ami Jean and The Broken Arm. Her new 2014 venture is all pale walls and wood, brought to life with lots of plants and bright flashes of colour like a very upmarket mountain cabin. Haikai is a satirical Japanese verse form, a nod to the Far Eastern influences on the décor and cooking. The menu is distributed along more traditional Parisian lines, with a daily lunch menu set at €17 for two courses or €23 for three. In the evenings, à la carte is around €10 for a starter, €20 for a main and €8 for a dessert… Read more
Another new hot néo-bistrot, and one worth the hype. The menu is fairly short (four each of starters, mains and desserts) but varies its ingredients and flavours enough to hold your attention. On our visit, we started with a ceviche of pollack with beetroot, black sesame mousse and orange caramel (€12) and a burratta with marinated vegetables and olive puree (€8). Then a topside of veal with salsify, ginger, spinach and a sauce spiced with Vadouvan curry mixture (€19) and the €14 plat du jour of whiting with crispy rice, cream of mushroom and soya, parsley and shiitake mushrooms…
Street food: a simple concept, almost as old as streets themselves, which is now taking off in Paris despite a slow start. Prepared and/or sold on the city’s pavements (to the extent permitted by the law), and designed to be easily eaten on the fly, this not-so-haute cuisine runs the gamut from sandwiches to kebabs, empañadas to dim sum, without ever breaking the bank. Read on for our picks of the crop, or head here for a fuller list.
We love this New York deli-style takeaway sandwich bar, all in a simple and soigné décor of stone, wood and metal. It’s the latest addition to the Frenchie family by Grégory Marchand and his team, so naturally wildly popular – come early to avoid the queues, and place your order at a large bar loaded with scones, cakes, cookies and muffins. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a seat inside, but more likely you’ll end up on one of the peaceful benches set around the streets and squares of Paris’s ‘Little Egypt’. On our visit we finally decided on the Reuben Sandwich with pastrami (smoked in house and teamed with coleslaw… Read more
In order to set itself apart from the rest of the ever-increasing wave of gourmet burger joints in Paris, the team behind Paris-New York needed to pay attention to detail. They’ve succeeded pretty well – an attractive décor, meats from artisanal producers Le Ponclet and five burgers on the menu to showcase their talents. On the beef side, there’s the Vintage Doublecheese (with excellent cheddar), the Morning California (cheddar, lettuce, avocado) and the Smoky Blue (bacon, blue cheese and caramelised onions), plus a chicken and a vegetarian option. It might seem like a minimalist selection, but the burgers are enormous… Read more
Just minutes away from the Rue des Rosiers and the every-popular As du Falafel, Miznon has wisely decided to stick to what it does best – pitta sandwiches – rather than try and compete with its chickpea-cooking neighbours. The original restaurant in Tel Aviv has been wining over customers for some time, and the Parisian branch follows the same formula – a charmingly basic décor featuring lots of boxes of fruit and vegetables, the same warm atmosphere, the same dishes cooked under the direction of head chef Eyal Shani. It’s a little more expensive than you might find elsewhere, but streets ahead in quality… Read more
Fashionable Paris has swooned for burger vans, hot dogs and tacos, but perhaps the best of the street food was always here; in a Kurdish sandwich shop.Hidden away in the heart of Strasbourg Saint-Denis, Urfa Dürüm is a tiny wood-panelled venue where you are greeted at the entrance by the owner, flour and rolling pin in hand, busily preparing the flatbread dough. Further inside, meat grills in the stone oven. On the chalkboard menu, there are two choices of house speciality: Lahmacun or Dürüm. Lahmacun is a small wrap prepared like a pizza with minced meat, tomatoes and onions, and rolled up with salad…
CheZaline offers a happy lunchtime alternative to microwaved leftovers or a sandwich from your local boulangerie – le sandwich de luxe. If you think you’ve got the wrong address on arrival, that’s normal. The patronne has changed almost nothing of the décor from the place’s former incarnation as a horse butcher, which gives a certain raw charm to what is now a quality deli. There’s not much space inside – just four places and bar for the lucky ones who can grab a seat – but there’s a welcoming retro atmosphere with the scales still in place and old-fashioned butcher’s slabs on the walls. There are plenty of good things… Read more
A brilliant little burger joint, which takes the traditional American burger and gives it the French terroir treatment. Nowhere’s been left out, with regional specialities from all over France wedged between delicious sesame seed buns from the bakery next door. There’s fourme cheese from Ambert, tomme cheese from Savoie, Saint-Nectaire cheese, Charolais and Blonde d’Aquitaine beef and more. The menu lists five house burgers, but you can also build your own. Choose from beef, chicken, lamb and veal and then add cheese, grilled vegetables, streaky bacon, sauces, herbs or spices. You order at the counter… Read more
With this location (a stone’s throw from the Rue de la Paix), you’d expect a smart address. So it’s a pleasant surprise to find Le Petit Vendôme on the Rue des Capucines, with its colourful frontage, neon signs, handwritten menu on chalk boards over the bar and hams strung from the ceiling. A huge queue stretches out of the door, putting off the casually curious. The waiting faithful are hypnotised by the promise of a rapide croute auvergnat (a speedy Auvergne snack), watching the generous layering of ingredients – Bleu d’Auvergne cheese? Garlic sausage? Country ham? Behind the bar, backchat and good humour… Read more
Fancy one of the best burgers in Paris? Forget your posh napkins, tablecloths and seating, the Camion Qui Fume is Paris’s first American-style burger truck, run by Californian Kristin Frederick; and you only have to look at the long lines of salivating bobos to know that the burgers here are good. The secret lies in the ingredients: baker-made bread, top quality meat, hand-cut fries and real cheddar (for just €10). The truck’s nomadic concept is quirky too: driven to a different spot everyday (often place de la Madeleine, Porte Maillot, the Canal St-Martin, MK2 Bibliothèque and in front of the Musée d’Orsay)… Read more
Japanese cuisine seems to be becoming better and better presented in Pigalle; Momoka, Ito and Tsubame all opened in 2013 within a few streets of each other, and now here’s Peco Peco. We came at lunchtime to try a donburi (€8.50), balls of rice filled with meat and vegetables – salmon, shiitake mushrooms, egg and peas, for example, or sweet and sour beef with rocket and ginger – paired with a bowl of soup for €3.50. Or if you want to really go for it, perhaps a Katsusandwich (€4.50) – a delicious snack with breaded pork, red cabbage and home made BBQ sauce piled into a fresh, crunchy baguette… Read more
Don’t be put off by the newspapers in the window – this unassuming restaurant-cum-newagent, in the middle of the hip rue Faubourg Saint-Denis, has a class all of its own. The Middle Eastern menu is cooked by Ahmad, who grew up in Nawa in southern Syria and emigrated to Stockholm before coming to Paris with the idea of sharing the cooking of his homeland: hummus, salad, pickles, kibbeh ras (ground beef with pine nuts), falafel, labneh (strained yoghurt) with olive oil, mtabbal (aubergine dip), tabbouleh and more. A falafel sandwich ‘extra’ is put together as you watch: €5 for falafel, hummus, grilled aubergine… Read more