adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

Paris Part II – The Food

Living in San Francisco, and as a total snob, I like to think that we offer the "best of the best" as far as food is concerned.  I believe that’s the truth...for the most part.  But there are certain things that the French do in ways no one else can, which mostly includes cheese, pastries, and bread. These decadent treats seem to be around every corner and you just can't get anything like it in the United States! After several trips, I've been able to put together this list of Fabulous Places to Eat in Paris.  Being a foreigner, it can be hard to know which places are the best and which places are mere tourist traps, but I promise you - these places are the real deal.  How do you know you can trust me?  Check out my 2011 San Francisco Restaurant Guide.  If you agree with my choices, then we’re on the same page. Before we begin, a few tips for dining in Paris:
  • As a general observation, I've noticed that the steaks in Paris are not really that great.  They are either served extremely rare or charred.  However, they prepare lamb beautifully, so I always choose lamb if I’m in the mood for red meat.
  • Buyer beware:  when you order fish, more often than not you're going to get the whole thing - bones, head, and all.
  • No matter what beverage you order, it will be served with a glass.  Make sure to always pour your beverage into the glass before drinking – if you don’t, it’s a dead giveaway that you don’t belong.
  • Said glass will be tiny.  Very, very tiny.
  • If you need to get hydrated, order a carafe of water.  If you don't, you'll get the teeny, tiny glass.
  • I recommend making a reservation whenever possible.
  • Be prepared for a lengthy dining experience.  It's very customary for the server to have minimal contact throughout the meal.  If you need something like an extra napkin, another beverage, or the check, you are usually going to have to signal for it as they will not be checking up on you very often.
  • ALWAYS order dessert.
Now that you're hungry... LUNCH L'As du Fallafel This well-known lunch spot is unbelievable and is a very important part of our trips to Paris.  Located in the Jewish quarter of the Marais, a line begins to form at lunch time that can extend the length of the entire block.  I recommend arriving around 11 to avoid the rush, but if there is a line, just be patient and do not go to the other falafel spots nearby.  You’ll only be met with disappointment!  We always order the standard falafel pita and it’s packed to the brim with delicious veggies, perfectly formed falafel with just the right amount of crunch and a moist center. Their hummus is tasty without being too messy and you can add as much spice as you want.  Fun Fact:  this also happens to be one of Lenny Kravitz’s favorite places in Paris.

address:  34 rue des Rosiers (in the Marais) phone: Creperie Bretonne What makes these mouth-watering crepes different from most of the street vendor varieties is that they are made in the traditional Brittany style with wheat or buckwheat flour.  Creperie Bretonne’s menu is simple with offerings of sweet and savory.  You can add an egg to any savory crepe which I highly advise! ‎

address:  67 rue Charonne (in the Bastille) phone: La Creperie des Canettes This is a little creperie that I stumbled upon while window shopping at all the high end stores in St. Germain des Pres.  I was beginning to get quite hungry while shopping, so I popped in for a little solo lunch.  It was small, cozy and very yummy.  The staff was very patient and friendly as I attempted to order a Croque Monsieur, fumbling through the few French phrases I know. address:  10 rue des Canettes phone: DINNER Le Chalet d'Avron The Hub’s French co-workers took us here for dinner back in 2008 and it’s still one of my most memorable experiences of Paris.  It’s pretty obvious that this restaurant does not get many tourists.  Le Chalet d’Avron is a very traditional, authentic fondue & raclette restaurant and it is out of this world!  You order your cheese and sides of meat, veggies, breads and potatoes.  Next, cook your meat right there on the built-in grill (similar to a Korean BBQ), simply melt the cheese and dip away!  Make sure to order a cheese called l'pages that is just to die for.  This is a must visit restaurant for a fun and unique French experience.

address:  108 rue de Montreuil (near Place de la Nation) phone: Mansouria I went here with two of my girlfriends and we had a marvelous time.  Moroccan is a cuisine that the French do very well and there are many restaurants to prove it.  Mansouria offers a variety of tagines and couscous dishes.  It's great for going with a group to share dishes, and also caters to vegetarians. Reasonably priced wine list as well. address:  11 rue Faidherbe phone: Chez Paul I have actually never eaten here but it's a favorite of The Hub's and also of our friends who used to live in Paris.  Chez Paul is great for large groups and serves very authentic, French food.  If you must have a steak in Paris, Chez Paul is where you should go.  The Hub recommends the lamb and says that you absolutely must get the scalloped potatoes - they're made the French way, which means lots butter and cream. address:  13 rue de Charonne phone: Le Petit Marché A group of us went here on recommendation and had a wonderful experience.  This quaint bistro has some mouth-watering appetizers like the Chinese Chicken Salad and small plates to share.  I had the Pasta with Shrimp for dinner and was not disappointed.  Make sure to save room for their scrumptious desserts! address:  9 rue de Bearn phone: F&B Last October, my girlfriend Jess and I popped into this super cute, cozy and romantic restaurant on a whim. Even though there was only one other couple dining, the atmosphere felt very hip.  I ordered the bone-in lamb that was tender, succulent and delicious.   We also shared a nice fruit based dessert. address:  14 rue charlot phone: Le Petit Parisien If you find yourself hungry in Montmartre, and want something off the beaten path, then this is the place for you. The Hub ate here when he was in town right before Christmas and said it was fantastic, funky and contemporary.  He recommends the duck and carrot soup. address:  28 rue tholoze phone: SWEETS Pierre Hermé Not only do the treats here look beautiful, but they taste amazing.  The chocolate is rich and the pastries are light and buttery.  My friend Jess ordered this insane Rose flavored macaroon cake with raspberries pictured below.

address:  72 rue Bonaparte phone: Ladurée Don't even think about not going here!  I never even knew that I liked macaroons until I tried these.  Remember when I told you about them before?  I was converted at the first bite.  Make sure to go to their shop in the Champs Elysées where they have crazy flavors like Salted Caramel and Jasmine Mango.

address:  75, avenue des Champs Elysées phone: Lenôtre Rich, decadent, and creamy, these are my mom's favorite chocolates in all of Paris.  I am not allowed to return to the United States without a box for her (and one for me too!)  The shop is very haute, the staff is friendly and the treats are packaged beautifully.

address:  10 rue Saint Antoine phone: La Fougasse My friends who lived in Paris are absolutely smitten with this patisserie.  They have incredibly soft, fresh bread and some delectable pain au chocolat (my favorite!)

address:  25 rue de Bretagne phone: Josephine Vannier Josephine Vannier is a true artist when it comes to chocolate.  I didn't try any of her confections, but just stood outside the window with my mouth hanging open.  Definitely plan a stroll by the shop to check out these works of art.

address:  4 rue du Pas de la Mule phone: Now wipe that drool off your keyboard and book your flight asap!  But before you do, make sure to read up on my Paris shopping secrets and sites to see. À bientôt!

2 Responses to “Paris Part II – The Food”

  1. Shannon says:

    Awesome!! Thanks for the help! This will be useful for our trip this summer. Now I’m starving!!

  2. Jen Haines says:

    My goodness! Chocolate, croissants, macaroons! Can’t wait!

Leave a Reply

Design by RoyCreative