Paris, mon amour, and her finger licking food. Upon my last visit to Paris, in July, I decided it was high time for a city and a food guide of this tremendously incredible city. It took me long enough to finally get to writing it, but alas, here we are. As always, I divided my restaurant recommendations into breakfast, lunch and dinner categories, this time adding wine and snack spots, because well,´ were in Paris after all. Bookmark this for your next trip to the city of love and enjoy one of the ´worlds best cuisines.
Pastries, pastries, and encore de pastries. But while I did not eat a single croissant that was not fantastic, I would like to share with you where I had my favourite breakfasts in Paris, and what places I didn’t get to go to, but that were on my list. Du Pain et des Idées and their signature “pain des amis” bread will make your jaw drop as you step into a tiny 1875 shop with beautifully painted ceilings. You can eat outside, at its few tables, or take their pastries and coffee away to enjoy by the nearby canal, the Quai de Valmy. I chose an escargot with pistachio, an apricot tart and a salty pastry with cheese and bacon. Blé Sucré might look like yet another tiny patisserie, resting quietly next to the Trousseau square, but we went out of our way to go there and try their pain au chocolate and we were not disappointed. Freshly baked and soft, it will melt in your mouth. Founded by Fabrice Le Bourdat, the former pastry chef at Le Bristol, the three-star Michelin restaurant (nowadays called Epicure), Blé Sucré also offers the best madeleines in Paris according to Le Figaro. Next, we had a fantastic brunch at the trendy Sunday in Soho. And our final brunch of the trip was at Clint, on which we stumbled upon accidentally as we were leaving the Père Lachaise cemetery. Other places I had on my wish list: Restaurant Drouant, a historic Art Deco restaurant where I wanted to have brunch, Laurent Duchêne, a fantastic takeaway franchise bakery with award winning croissants, and Le Loir dans La Théiere – a bohemian tea, cake and brunch place.
WHAT´S FOR LUNCH/DINNER?
Without having done any research on the area where the Catacombs are, and after failing to get into the Catacombs because they were sold out, we stumbled upon a lovely little Italian restaurant called I grappoli. On a street corner, packed with families and couples from young to old, this was the perfect place for a sunny lunch. Check out their divine bruschetta, pizza, and great Italian wine. Now, if you’re into busier and buzzier places, I’d recommend lunch at Flora Danica, on the Champs Élysées. You probably wouldn’t expect it, but this is a Danish restaurant that might look like all the other regular restaurants on the Champs Élysées, but it actually hides gorgeous green terraces in its back, in case you don’t enjoy judging *uhm I mean observing* the crowded traffic of the Champs. For dinner, I have two suggestions, that might seem like polar opposites. On the one hand we tried and thoroughly recommend La Causerie, a modern take on French cuisine, focused on seasonal products. La Causerie was featured in the Michelin guide and it was my favourite restaurant for a romantic meal while in Paris. Give their gnocchis a la Parisienne truffés and their boeuf de pole pané, courses et champignons a try. But if all of that sounded way too over the top (you do remember you’re in Paris though, right?), check out Mamatchai, an uncomplicated delicious Vietnamese restaurant with fantastic pad thai and pho dishes. I was pretty hangry by the time we stumbled upon it, and only sat down skeptically as it was not on my extensive list of “must try”s but I was pleasantly impressed! Other restaurants that are again on the more elegant side, but that I wanted to check out for dinner after doing some research in the Michelin Guide and in conversations with friends are Bistrotters, Les Petits Parisiens and Bistrot Paul Bert (where as of last autumn you can´t make a reservation anymore as they are in such demand they had to stop answering their phone; and if that doesn´t convince you to try them out, I don´t know what will).
DRINKS AND SNACKS IN THE EVENINGS
Leaving the best for last, my absolute favourite place in Paris was this tiny bar where we had the best tapas and wine ever – Avant Comptoir de la Terre. The offering of dishes to choose from is absolutely insane, and whether you just enjoy their delicious bread served next to mountains of butter that keep travelling from one end of the bar to the other, their fondue, croque monsieur or more, you will not be disappointed. The place is tiny, your only seating options are on tall chairs at either the bar or on the side, and yet, two glasses of wine in, you´ll decide you will never want to leave. Also, don´t be fooled by this one featuring in my snacks section, we had the biggest (and actually cheapest) dinner of our trip here. When it comes to wine bars, Paris cannot possibly disappoint. And even though our preferred spots for wine were at sunset by the Seine, we stumbled upon an intimate and homey wine bar called Ma Cave Fleury that I cannot help but recommend. The stark contrast of great wine and champagne served at a simple bar surrounded by sex clubs, just makes it more well … Parisian. Other places I would have loved to give a go for drinks are Septime La Cave (to be booked in advance) and Le Mary Celeste in Le Marais for drinks and cheese.
Finally, an honourable mention has to go out to Ladurée for their exquisite macarons. Even though I am not the biggest macaron fan, I couldn´t resist neither grabbing one at their stunning Champs Élysées location, nor another twelve at the airport.