In every single of these places, I have been inspired and learned something: food pairings, decoration ideas or the characteristics that make a good host…
I have had regular minor panic attacks while in Paris. Reading blogs, books and magazines, I am constantly overwhelmed by the variety and seemingly infinite number of restaurants, bistros, food shops and bars the French capital has to offer. Coming from a small Swiss city, I am not used to this diversity. So many interesting eating concepts or foods of certain chefs that I wanted to try! Not having the time, the purse or the metabolism to try all the places that appealed to me, I had to limit my options. My "Gastronomy-To-do list" kept growing, but little by little I could put a tick behind each address. Here are the places I particularly liked. They made my Paris experience an unforgettable journey for my taste buds.
The streets of Paris are dotted with bakeries and patisseries. I have had the good fortune of living close by to two exceptionally good bakeries.
The award winning croissants (second place in 2014’s Best Croissant awards) of L’Artisan des Gourmands make Sunday breakfasts extraordinary. For good everyday bread, Le Grenier à Pain par T’Elma sells flavoursome, crunchy baguette tradition, produced with both beer yeast and natural yeast from previous productions or the baguette au levain naturel, a pure sourdough baguette. Their other products are also very good, truly a bread heaven!
For a proper brunch, I love Holybelly in the charming Canal St. Martin area. Just the thought of their pancakes with bacon, fried egg and maple syrup make my mouth water (and the trousers pinch!).
Once the breakfast is digested and the stomach starts to rumble, a cheap and quick yet special lunch can be found at the Marché des Enfants Rouges in the Marais Area. At Alain Miam Miam’s food stand, you can get an authentic Breton galette complète – a buckwheat crèpe with cheese, ham and caramelized onions. Going there is not only worth of it for the food, but also for Alain, he is truly a character!
If you crave for something non-French, in the same neighbourhood you will find falafel awarded the ‘best in town’. Queuing at L’As du Fallafel is definitely worth the wait, eating it – preferably on a bench in one of the parks close-by makes every lunch break special.
If your mouth is watering for a good hamburger, the Schwartz Deli offers in addition to their famous pastrami sandwiches awesome burgers and fries.
Another good fast-food address is Frenchie To Go on Rue du Nil. Their pulled pork sandwiches are simply delicious.
Looking for a healthier lunch option? The several restaurants of Rose Bakery offer scrumptious, creative and healthy food – their mixed vegetable plate is always an inspiration. Despite being a chain, Le Pain Quotidien serves a good, high quality lunch. In addition to the various and really tasty tartines prepared with their whole grain sourdough bread, they also have lentil salad, quinoa salad and other super foods on the menu.
Looking for a real gastronomic experience for lunch, the five course lunch menu for 45 Euros at AT Restaurant is a real treat! Atsushi Tanaka, who previously worked at prestigious institutions such as Pastorale in Belgium, Quique Dacosta in Spain or Pierre Gagnaire in France opened his first restaurant here in Paris in April 2014. His dishes are truly artworks for both the eyes as well as the palate. These lunches restore your strength for an afternoon of discovering the beauty of Paris.
In case of a sugar low in the afternoon, the tartelettes au citron (Lemon Tarts) of Jacques Génin are the best tartelettes I have ever tasted – and I say this as a self-declared tartelette au citron expert!
As the day progresses, dinnertime is drawing closer but with no shortage of options. I have found some fantastic addresses for different occasions.
The restaurant I frequented most is Au Passage – I simply love this place for the food they serve and the casual and friendly atmosphere. The British chefs Edward Delling-Williams and Peter Orr prepare ever-changing daily menus of delicious small plates that are shared among diners. They use the best local and seasonal ingredients and prepare them in a fantastic way, creating original and surprising flavour combinations and textures. The quality to price ratio at Au Passage is one of the best I have found in town. Another place that serves sharing plates is Le Bat in the Grands Boulevards area. It is a modern, bright place and they too have a menu that changes daily. “Shrimp and Melon Salade – Mozzarella di Bufala”, “Sword Fish Sashimi, Raspberry&Miso French Dressing” and “Marinated Mackerel, Potatoes Cream with Olive Oil” just to give you a mouth-watering idea of their dishes.
If you are patient enough to queue for a couple of minutes, queuing a bit before 7pm at Frenchie Wine Bar on Rue du Nil is absolutely worth it. The waiting will be rewarded with delicious creations of Gregory Marchand, paired with some nice wine from their very attractive wine list. I will not forget their “Burrata, pesto de petits pois, citron cédrat” and their “Merlan, asperge blanche, framboise, ricotta, thyme orange”. Just perfect combinations that have been burnt into my taste bud memory.
In addition to Frenchie, Bones might be the place in Paris that is most en-vogue. With his creative product driven cooking, Chef James Henry from Australia has rightly conquered a firm place in Paris’ restaurant scene.
For a slightly more exclusive dinner, I very much enjoyed Roseval in the less touristy 20th arrondissement. The young team – Italian Chef Simone, Danish Sommelier Martin and French Manager Clément together create a stylish and tasteful restaurant. The clear and simple yet sophisticated dishes are perfectly paired with wines chosen by the sommelier. Martin Ho, which worked previously at Fiskebar in Copenhagen among others, explains with a lot of knowledge, passion and enthusiasm the wines he chooses to accompany the menu. This makes the whole dinner at Roseval a unique experience.
Restaurant David Toutain is probably the place I had my best dinner thus far. Everything in my opinion was just perfect: the restaurant is furnished with bright and natural materials which also reflect also the cooking style of Toutain. “Tous les gouts sont dans la Nature” – “All the flavours are in the nature” is written on the menu and that is exactly what you find on the plates: the best ingredients that are not overly modified, but thanks to precise cooking techniques together with innovative, creative and perfectly balanced combinations and wonderful plating, they come close to perfection. Between the ingredients on the one plate but also between the different dishes there is a wonderful marriage of flavours, textures and colours that take diners on an unforgettable journey. David Toutain has a “carte blanche” menu which means you choose either between a small or a big degustation menu but the dishes are a surprise chosen by the chef. In addition to the delicious food, the atmosphere is superb: the service staff are very attentive but not overly patronizing, even for an exclusive dining place. This is also a restaurant that is alive, with people laughing and talking at normal volume.
Good places to go out and have a nice cocktail are Experimental Bar and Lockwood. They make really good cocktails with nice settings good music. For beer lovers, La Fine Muse is a must. They have more than twenty beers of microbreweries on tap, served in a casual and youthful ambience.
In every single of these places, I have been inspired and learned something: food pairings, decoration ideas or the characteristics that make a good host. They were all enriching experiences that I have started to write down in my booklet just next to the ‘Gastronomy-To-do list’, so as not to forget, because one day if my dreams come true I too will open a place of my own…
The list of above mentioned places:
L’Artisan des Gourmands
60 Rue de la Convention
Le Grenier à Pain par T’Elma
134 Rue Saint Charles
19 Rue Lucien Sampaix
Alain Miam Miam
Marché des Enfants Rouges
Rue de Bretagne
L’As du Fallafel
32-34 Rue des Rosiers
16 Rue des Ecouffes
Frenchie To Go
5-6 Rue du Nil
30 Rue Debelleyme
Le Pain Quotidien
25 Rue de Varenne
4 Rue Cardinal Lemoine
133 Rue de Turenne
1bis Passage Saint-Sébastien
16 Boulevard Montmartre
Frenchie Wine Bar
5-6 Rue du Nil
43 Rue Godefroy Cavaignac
1 Rue d’Eupatoria
Restaurant David Toutain
29 Rue Surcouf
37 Rue Saint-Sauveur
73 Rue d’Aboukir
La Fine Mousse
6 Avenue Jean Aicard