Food in Paris:
I fell in love with you the moment I got into my Uber driver’s Audi from Gare du Nord, and that love continued to grow exponentially after tasting all the culinary magic you have spoiled me with. Since I’ve returned home, I’ve been pining away for the glorious food that only you could give. Everything here tastes boring and sub par. Nothing has been able to lift my gastronomical spirits and relight the flame that has been slowly dying. What have you done to me and how come this boring city cannot replicate even a tenth of what you do? But the biggest mystery is, how is it that I lost weight when I indulged in everything you offered, yet managed to gain 5 pounds with all this boring food at home?
Feening for you,
Below is a list of all the amazing food I had during my trip separated into arrondissements (districts). I know there are so many other amazing places and dishes I didn’t get to try, which just means I have to return in the near future!
- Always check the restaurant’s hours before heading over, as some close on Sundays, in between lunch and dinner, and even in the middle of the week. Some are only open for dinner.
- Many restaurants in Paris are small and have limited seating. Unless the restaurant doesn’t take reservations, it may be a good idea to make resos ahead of time. A lot of better known restaurants have an online reservation system through their website.
- If you didn’t have a chance to plan out your dining itinerary, either check out many of the restaurants that don’t take reservations or arrive a little before the restaurant opens to see if they can accommodate you, as most Parisians eat dinner late (~20:00-20:30).
- Dining in Paris is not cheap, but it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg for each meal. Check out lunch options for the pricier places instead of dinner, as a lot of restaurants offer a set lunch special comprised of an appetizer + main dish or main dish + dessert (and sometimes even with a glass of wine) for 15-20 euros.
*All hours and contact information were as of July 12, 2017.
**USD prices reflect the exchange rate by the credit company during out trip (end of May to early June 2017).
Click on any of the districts from below for my reviews!
- 1st Arrondissment
- 2nd Arrondissement
- 3rd Arrondissement
- 4th Arrondissement
- 6th Arrondissement
- 7th Arrondissement
- 8th Arrondissement
- 9th Arrondissement
- 10th Arrondissement
- 11th Arrondissement
- 19th Arrondissement
Make sure to click on the gallery below each food listing to whet your appetite and to see what we ate!
- Udon Bistro Kunitoraya: 1 Rue Villedo, 75001 Paris, 1st; +33 1 47 03 33 65; www.kunitoraya.com
|Mon—Tues, Thurs—Sun: 12 PM—4 PM; 7 PM—10:30 PM|
Reservations are not accepted; seating is first-come, first-served, and there is always a line.
The bistro is known for its handmade udon, which I highly recommend, but it also serves tempura and little izakaya dishes. The nice French couple in line ended up being seated next to us and they recommended the chicken karaage, and it seemed like a very popular dish. We decided not to order too many izakayas since we eat them on a regular basis back at home, including chicken karaage. Servers were very polite, as is expected in Japanese establishments, and they were bilingual in French and Japanese, but limited in English. Nevertheless, we didn’t have any issues communicating with the servers. We were seated at the end of the long table, so we got to see the cooks in action, which is always fun. The bistro also sells onigiris (rice balls wrapped in nori) that you can take with you to snack on later.This Japanese bistro was highly, highly recommended by the previously mentioned Francophile friend of mine, and it certainly lived up to its hype. Reservations are not accepted, so it’s best to stand in line before the restaurant opens. We came on a Saturday evening, and although there was a line, the wait was not that bad. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that we met a very friendly French couple in line behind us whom we got to chat with, or that the restaurant still had a lot of open seats inside, but it seemed like we only waited for about 15 minutes.
What we ordered: 1 cold udon with mountain yam, 1 regular cold udon, 1 onsen egg, 1 tonkatsu, and 2 draft kirins for $57.30).
What I recommend: The cold udon with mountain yam was the best udon I’ve ever had. I can’t remember if I had udon in my previous trips to Japan, but even if I did, it must not have been very memorable as I can’t recall. But this udon, dear reader, was superbly memorable. Forever memorable. I have never had udon that was as chewy and made perfectly as this one. It was as if the noodles had a life of their own. And the dipping sauce was neither too salty nor bland, but had a deep umami flavor. When the grated mountain yam, quail egg, and green onions were added to the sauce, it was so oishi that I had to stop my husband from drinking it all. At €17, it’s on the pricier side for noodles, but it is definitely worth it. Oh and the kirin on tap is always a must! Especially on a hot day!
- Sanukiya: 9 Rue d’Argetnteuil, 75001 Paris, 1st; +33 1 42 60 52 61; https://www.facebook.com/sanukiyaparis/
|Daily: 11:30 AM—10 PM|
Reservations are not accepted and there is usually a line in front.
After spending what seemed like an eternity at the Louvre, we wanted some type of Asian comfort food for dinner. We walked around the “Little Toykyo” of Paris in the 1st arrondissement around Rue Sainte-Anne to find the spot that will satiate our Asian food craving. Although it’s known as Little Tokyo and the majority of restaurants and shops in the area were Japanese, we also saw Korean and Vietnamese restaurants and a Korean market. Kunitoraya was closed (Wednesday) and another Japanese restaurant that I was looking forward to trying had just closed when we arrived. L We decided to just go with online recommendations and try Sanukiya, another udon bistro with 4.5 stars from 575 reviews.
We waited in line for about 15 minutes and were seated at the bar in front of the open kitchen, which was cool to watch the busy cooks hustle, but it was also extra warm (special props to the female cook in charge of the deep fryer). Of course, the A/C was nowhere to be seen nor felt, and we slowly melted into the seats. The service was prompt and courteous, different menus were available in various languages, and the food was good. Prices were comparable to, if not a bit higher than, Kunitoraya.
What we ordered: 1 hot sea weed udon, 1 cold udon with pork belly and salad, 1 tamago for $34.89.
What I recommend: I highly recommend the tamago which was very tasty. The udon was also good, but I felt like the noodles were not as chewy as Kunitoraya. I liked the broth of the hot udon, but I can’t compare it to Kunitoraya’s broth, as it was too hot to try their hot udon. The cold udon with pork belly was definitely more like a salad with udon noodles and sesame seed dressing. It was very refreshing, which I recommend getting on a hot day to help you cool down.
- Le Comptoire de la Gastronomie: 34 Rue Montmartre, 75001 Paris, 1st; +33 1 42 33 31 32; www.comptoirdelagastronomie.com
|Mon-Thurs: 12 PM—11PM|
|Fri-Sat: 12 PM—12 AM|
Reservations recommended; online reservation system available on their website.
This restaurant was one of the places I found while researching online, and I was afraid that it was going to be a tourist trap. But we decided to risk it and give it a try due to our love for foie gras and the rave reviews. I made online reservations for lunch before heading to the Louvre, but for some reason, the server was unable to find our reservation. We got seated right away regardless, and although there were some Chinese tourists, most patrons seemed to be local French people. Our server was very friendly and helpful.
This place is part restaurant, part high-end deli that specializes in foie gras and duck. I planned to come here for lunch so that I can check out the deli section, as it closes for dinner.
What we ordered: 1 glass of wine, foie gras and truffle ravioli, duck breast for $42.14.
What I recommend: Almost all of the local patrons were eating the lunch special (chicken), but we had to try the restaurant’s specialties. Most online reviews highly recommended the foie gras and truffle ravioli and the duck breast. We debated ordering between the duck breast and the seared foie gras, but went with the duck breast due to the rave reviews. I do recommend the foie gras and truffle ravioli, which were very tasty, but I’m not so sure about the duck breast. While it certainly was good, some parts were tougher than others. I recommend sharing the different plates for variety, as I can imagine just eating the ravioli or the duck breast on its own might have been too heavy or boring.
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- Frenchie Bar à Vins: 6 Rue du Nil, 75002 Paris, 2nd; +33 1 40 39 96 19; http://www.frenchie-restaurant.com/en/menu_bar_en
|Daily: 12 PM—3PM; 6:30 PM—11 PM|
Reservations are not accepted and seating is first-come, first-served.
People, we had one of the BEST dinners at this wine bar during our trip. If you read other reviews on this post, I know it seems like eating tapas at wine bars was the theme of our dining experience in Paris, which was not our intention at all (although there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!). But every single plate that came out was tremendously tasty, beautifully plated, and creative. Reservations are not accepted and seating is first-come, first-served. We were seated right away as we arrived shortly after opening for dinner. Service was good, especially from the friendly female server. It’s located in a cute, quaint alleyway, directly across from the highly acclaimed Frenchie Restaurant, where reservations are highly, highly recommended (and which, unfortunately, we were unable to acquire).
What we ordered: White and red wines, carrots, foie gras terrine, bonito tataki, and lamb pappardelle for $80.68.
What I recommend: Everything was amazing here, but the carrots and lamb pappardelle were slightly more memorable.
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- Le Mary Celeste: 1 Rue Commines, 75003 Paris, 3rd; +33 1 42 77 98 87; http://www.quixotic-projects.com/venue/mary-celeste
|Mon—Sun: Bar 6 PM—2 AM|
|Kitchen 7 PM—11:30 PM|
Reservations are not accepted; seating is first-come, first-served.
Oh Le Mary Celeste, how much I adore thee. From the cool, relaxed ambience, quaint and cute décor, friendly service, and amazing tapas, I loved everything about this place. Le Mary Celeste is open every day, does not accept reservations, and was in walking distance from our hotel, making it our go-to place for dinner. We also met a very friendly French couple at the bar, who even offered recommendations and any help during our trip. Merci Marion!
What we ordered: The first time we were here, Le Mary Celeste was having an oyster “festival,” displaying and shucking oysters outside on the sidewalk. We ordered the oyster special (4 oysters + 1 glass of wine for €10), lamb croquettes, octopus tostada, ceviche du mulet noir, beef tartare, and ½ dozen oysters. The damage was $73.48, which we thought was very reasonable for all the food we had ordered. During our second visit, we ordered a beer (Demory Paris Roquette Blanche), ceviche de mulet noir, jambon, crudo de bonite, pork tostadas, and asparagus salad for $62.07.
What I recommend: I just have four words for you: ceviche du mulet noir. Get it. Now. Like right now. Everything about this dish was so on point. If we weren’t so stuffed, we would have ordered it 10 more times. The fish, the sauces, all the little toppings melded into an epic party in my mouth. Just FYI, it is a ceviche, so the mulet is served raw, and all the dishes at LMC are tapas, so they’re shareable little plates. Lamb croquettes were really good as well, and although we didn’t get to order it (thanks a lot, stranger who discouraged us from ordering it!), the deviled eggs are supposed to be very tasty.
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- Rainettes: 5 Rue Caron, 75004 Paris, 4th Arrondissement/Le Marais; +33 9 86 59 63 85; www.rainettes.com
|Tues: 7—11:45 PM|
|Wed: 12—2:30 PM; 7—11:45 PM|
|Thurs & Fri: 12—2:30 PM; 6—11:45 PM|
|Sat & Sun: 12—3 PM; 6—11:45 PM|
Located on the corner of Rue Caron and Rue d’Ormesson, facing the quaint and romantic Place Sainte-Catherine, this cute little restaurant specializes in frog legs. In fact, rainette is a name for a small tree frog. After a long journey into Paris, my husband and I decided to start our trip with one of the traditional French dishes. This place was in walking distance from our Airbnb in Le Marais and had plenty of tables available when we walked in on a Friday evening. The décor was modern and clean, with a bar on the first floor and the kitchen in the basement (we noticed a lot of restaurants and bars in Paris use a “food elevator” to transport food from the kitchen on the bottom floor to the dining hall on the top floor). More tables are available downstairs. Service was attentive and polite without being overly saccharine, which we found to be the case among most servers in Paris.
What we ordered: frog leg tapas in Provence style (garlic and parsley) and fried with a glass of red wine (€16), pork special of the day (€17), and entrée portion of the salad of the day (€17). Total in USD: $56.17.
What I recommend: Food overall was good, but as Rainettes specializes in frog legs, I recommend that you stick with the frog legs, which were very tasty. Though they offer frog legs as the main entrée, this place may be more suitable for sharing a plate of frog legs with a drink for happy hour or late night drinks.
- Pozzetto Gelato: 39 Rue du Roi de Sicile, 75004 Paris, 4th; +33 1 42 77 08 64; www.pozzetto.biz
|Sun—Thurs: 12:15 PM—11:45 PM|
|Fri—Sat: 12:15 PM—12:45 AM|
After dinner at Rainettes, we came to Pozzetto for gelato to satiate our craving for something sweet. We had originally planned to go to the famous Berthillon on île Saint-Louis, but it had already closed (closes at 8 PM), so we opted for Pozzetto as it was close by and still open. There are other gelato shops around like Amorino and Grom, but we have already had them in Italy and wanted to try something new.
There is a window outside where you order, pay for, and retrieve your gelato. This location is actually a café as well and serves coffee inside, which we didn’t get to try. I believe the prices for eating the gelato inside the café are higher than ordering from outside. There was a substantial line, which moved pretty quickly, and no one inside the café. While waiting in line, we got to study the menu and practice ordering the gelato in French haha. We also noticed that everyone in line were local French people, which is always a reassuring sign when trying food in a different country.
What we ordered: A small cone with strawberry, fiordilatte, and yogurt (€4) and a medium cone with strawberry and yogurt (€4.90).
What I recommend: We came to Pozzetto twice during our trip and both times, we ordered the same flavors because they were that good. So good. I recommend the flavors we got, but it looked like the other flavors were just as tasty.
- L’as du Fallafel: 34 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris, 4th; +33 1 48 87 63 60; https://www.facebook.com/pages/LAs-du-Fallafel/219467498071637
|Sun—Thurs: 11 AM—12AM|
|Fri: 11 AM—3 PM|
The 3,400+ reviews on TripAdvisor should be a tell-tale sign of how popular this place is, located in one of the oldest Jewish quarters in Europe. They are known for falafels and pita sandwiches and offer take-out at the window or table service for those who wish to dine in. There is always a line at the window, which I was not about to wait in, as this is not only a popular place among humans, but also among pigeons as well. Luckily, L’as du Fallafel opened a second take-out window at 44 Rue des Rosiers, which is literally several doors down the same street. There was no line or birds at this location, so we got our pita sandwiches here.
What we ordered: Falafel pita sandwich for €6.50 and lamb shwarma pita sandwich for €9.
What I recommend: This place is definitely a tourist trap, but there is a very good reason why tourists flock to this place. It was so good that we managed to finish the huge sandwiches in a flash. I recommend using a fork and napkins, as it could be a bit difficult to eat. Both sandwiches were amazing, the falafels were one of the best that I have ever had, and all the fillings/toppings/sauces were scrumptious. My husband loved his lamb shwarma sandwich so much that we attempted to come back, but L’as du Fallafel was closed for the week due to a religious holiday. 🙁 We still crave the sandwiches and are on the hunt for comparable falafel and lamb shwarma back at home (which have yet to be discovered).
- La Résistance: 16 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris, 4th; +33 9 70 38 17 40; www.laresistanceparis.fr/en
|Mon—Fri: 5 PM—2AM|
|Sat—Sun: 1 PM—2 AM|
After walking around and exploring Le Marais all day in 90+ degree heat and humidity, my husband and I were ready to rest our feet and cool down for a bit. It was still too early for dinner, so we walked into this modern bar for some drinks. The best seats in the house were already taken by another couple (two seats facing the street for people watching and getting fresh air), so we chose the seats across from the bar. While the drinks were cool, the place was extremely warm, so we had to move downstairs where it felt a whole 10 degrees cooler. We exchanged the cool ambience, people watching, and sunlight for respite from the heat and humidity. Plus, we had the whole floor to ourselves as it was still too early for the DJ and the night crowd. Service by the bar and wait staff was great. They even came down a couple of times to check on us and to escape the heat for a bit too.
What we ordered: 1 glass of chardonnay and 1 beer (Bap Bap Original) for $21.91. Complimentary snacks and water provided.
What I recommend: We didn’t have a chance to try their cocktails or to check out the bar at nighttime, but I can imagine this place to be a pretty cool hangout. Online reviews also say that their cocktails are “unique” and “excellent.”
- La Droguerie du Marais: 56 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris, 4th; +33 1 40 26 13 51; https://www.facebook.com/pages/La-Droguerie-du-Marais/345621242191376
|Daily: 12 PM—11 PM|
Crêpes are one of the classically French food items that are abundant in Paris. There are a lot of popular crêperies like Breizh Café and Bretonne, but we only got to try crêpes at La Droguerie in Le Marais. Located on Rue de Rosiers of the Jewish Quarters, you can spot La Droguerie by the all-blue exterior. You order at the window, watch the master crêpe maker do his thang, pay, receive, and enjoy your crêpe goodness while walking around the cute streets of Le Marais.
The first time we stopped by La Droguerie, we came for a sweet crêpe for dessert, which we enjoyed inside the quaint crêperie. After we devoured our crepe, we sat around for a little to watch the nice man make a savory crêpe, mesmerized by his skills of cooking shredded cheese into perfect brown crisps along the edge of the crêpe. He must have found our wonder endearing, as he kindly gave us a free cup of mint tea. The second time we stopped by, we ordered a savory crêpe so that we can enjoy the cheese crisps ourselves.
What we ordered: crêpe with Nutella and bananas (€4.50) and crêpe with ham and cheese (€4.50).
What I recommend: Although I didn’t get a chance to try all the different crêpes, both sweet and savory crêpes were so delicious. I definitely recommend both crêpes mentioned above!
- Chez Hanna: 54 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris, 4th; +33 1 42 74 74 99
|Daily: 11:30 AM—12 AM|
As a late night snack, we went to L’as du Fallafel (LDF) to relive our pita sandwich fantasy, but that fantasy was crushed upon finding that LDF was closed for a few days to observe a Jewish holiday. We settled with a shwarma pita sandwich from Chez Hanna instead, which is on the same street as LDF. The man who was making our sandwich was not very friendly, a bit intimidating, which was the first and only time we encountered and unfriendly person in Paris. The sandwich, albeit tasty, was nowhere near on the same par as LDF. The sauces and the toppings, as well as the actual meat, were not as impressive as LDF, and the unfriendly service did not help much either.
What we ordered: 1 shwarma pita sandwich for $9.57.
What I recommend: Just stand in line at LDF to get an amazing falafel or shwarma pita sandwich. If you’re short on time and can’t stand in line, or would rather settle for decent rather than amazing, then I guess Chez Hanna is for you.
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- L’avant Comptoir: 3 Carrefour de I’Odeon, 75006 Paris, 6th; +33 1 42 38 47 55
|Open daily from 12 PM—11 PM|
Reservations not accepted; first-come, first-served.
This is a standing room only tapas bar that serves up awesome tapas and affordable and tasty wine by the glass. Reservations are not accepted and I love the fact that they are open daily. It seems to be popular among the local Parisians as well as tourists alike. Not sure if it became more popular among American tourists after Anthony Bourdain stopped by on his show, The Layover, but I totally get the hype of this place. The wine recommendations were great, as was the food. The specials are on the chalk board and the regular menu hangs on the ceiling (to be more accurate, cards with the name, picture, and price of the dish), so you have to look up and around to see what you want to order. We asked for recommendations and none disappointed. Each dish was so delicious!
What we ordered: 1 glass of white wine, pork belly, seared foie gras, tomato salad, and duck hot dog for $39.88. Bread, butter, and cornichons complimentary.
What I recommend: The foie gras and pork belly were amazing! I really enjoyed the tomato salad and the wine as well (mad at myself for not remembering the name of the wine). If we weren’t so full, we would have ordered a lot more food, but we came here after stuffing ourselves with breakfast. Yes, we’re fatties.
- L’avant Comptoir de la Mer: 3 Carrefour de I’Odéon, 75006 Paris, 6th; +33 1 42 38 47 55. Next door to L’avant Comptoir.
|Open daily from 12 PM—11 PM|
Reservations not accepted; first-come, first-served.
This wine bar serves seafood tapas as its name suggests and has a similar layout as L’avant Comptoir with menus hanging from the ceiling. The difference is that there were stools to sit on and prices were a bit higher due to the ingredients. We stopped by for lunch after walking around Blvd Saint-Germain area and before heading out to Le Bon Marché. All stools were taken when we first walked in, but seats opened up soon after, so we didn’t have to wait for too long. Service and food were good, wine recommendation was great, and we even met a couple from Los Angeles and had a nice chat.
What we ordered: 1 glass of white wine, prawns (on the smaller side), tuna carpaccio, octopus and chorizo, and scallops with potato for $39.51.
What I recommend: Although all the dishes were tasty, there wasn’t a dish that stood out in particular. The tuna carpaccio was fresh, but a bit heavy handed on the salt sprinkles. The couple seated next to us said the lobster in corn bisque was really good, but we had already finished eating, so we’ll have to wait ‘til our next visit.
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- La Grande Epicerie: 38 Rue de Sévres, 75007 Paris, 7th; +33 1 44 39 81 00; www.lagrandeepicerie.com/en
|Mon-Sat: 8:30 AM—9 PM|
|Sun: 10 AM—8 PM|
I absolutely love going to the market. Big, small, indoor, outdoor, local, international, you name it. I try to go to a market whenever I travel for both browsing purposes and picking up necessities/snacks. La Grande Epicerie is the Ferrari of markets, a classy, impressive, gourmet version of Whole Foods. After exploring Le Bon Marché, we crossed the indoor bridge that connected to La Grande Epicerie and upon entering, I was giddy like a kid in a candy store. The beautiful store had everything you could imagine, from the usual produce, butcher, bakery, seafood, dairy, dessert, alcohol sections, as well as different gourmet ready-to-eat food sections, and aisles of everything you would need to turn yourself into an amateur gourmet chef at home. The whole lower floor is dedicated to wines and tastings. Service was friendly, especially the lady from the fromagerie and the young man from the boulangerie. The only bummer about our visit was that I was so excited and distracted that I didn’t get to take any pictures while there. L
What we purchased: truffle gouda, charcuterie, baguette, peaches, and a bottle of Bordeaux for $23.03 to snack on at night in our hotel room.
What I recommend: The truffle gouda was one of the best truffle cheeses I’ve ever had! And the baguette that the baker recommended to eat with cheese and wine was amazing as well! The charcuterie (I cannot remember what type of meat we got) and the Bordeaux were also good. The peaches were a tad bit sour, but I didn’t mind it too much as I like tart and sour flavors.
- Le Café Varenne: 36 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris, 7th; +33 1 45 47 62 72; http://menuonline.fr/cafevarenne
|Mon-Fri: 8 AM—10:30 PM|
|Sat: 12 PM—8 PM|
As the weather turned cloudy and rainy towards the end of our trip, my husband started craving French onion soup. You would think that finding a place that serves French onion soup in France shouldn’t be that difficult, but our internet searches produced a very limited list. A friendly local whom we met at Le Mary Celeste earlier on our trip recommended a couple of brasseries, but they were not in our vicinity and we were in a hurry to return to our hotel to try all the goodies we had bought from La Grande Epicerie. We finally decided on Le Café Varenne, which according to past reviews, served amazing French onion soup.
Unfortunately, the café no longer serves French onion soup, but it did serve another classic French dish: escargot. The food was great, service was also great, and the ambience was a classic bistro/brasserie with a lot of locals seated in the patio having their aperitif and after work drinks.
What we ordered: escargot, roasted chicken with potatoes and mushrooms, 1 beer, and a pear tart with caramel for $56.78.
What I recommend: I actually liked everything we ordered here. The food had a classic, homemade, comfort-food feel and was very tasty. We only got one main dish as we wanted to save room for our night snack, but we didn’t pass up on the dessert (pear tart with caramel), which was amazing.
- Debauve & Gallais Chocolate Shop: 30 Rue des Saints-Péres, 75006 Paris, 7th; +33 1 45 48 54 67; www.debauve-et-gallais.fr/en
|Mon-Sat: 9 AM—7 PM|
This fancy and elegant chocolate shop has over 210 years of history and being the official chocolatier for royalty (Louis XVI) and Napoleon Bonaparte. The shop has been at the same location since 1817, and the exterior and interior décor is elegant. We walked through the rain and were the only ones when we first entered the shop. There were glass cases filled with rows of beautiful sweets and we had a difficult time making our choices. An English speaking gentleman helped us out and told us that the ganache was what the shop was known for. We went with a few of his recommendations, including the ganache and mushroom shaped chocolate. I don’t remember what the prices were like, but it was not cheap. We ended up going with purchasing by the weight instead of per piece, as it was supposed to be of better value.
What we purchased: About 6-7 chocolate pieces for $14.34.
What I recommend: The chocolate was silky smooth and rich, and I appreciate the history, but I’m not sure if I would go out of my way to get more chocolate from Debauve & Gallais in the future. I’m not too crazy into chocolate to begin with, and I didn’t find any that knocked my socks off.
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- Les Petits Mitrons: 26 Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris, 8th/Montmartre; +33 1 46 06 10 29
|Mon—Tue, Thurs—Sun: 7 AM—7:30 PM|
We arrived at our meeting point for the City Free Tour of Montmartre about 20 minutes early, so instead of just waiting around, we searched for a bakery, walked about 5 minutes up a hill, and arrived at Les Petits Mitrons to get our croissant fix. The small blue bakery was filled with all kinds of pastries and heavenly sweet goodness, but we opted for a regular croissant and a pain du chocolate, as we were short on time and not quite that hungry yet. The two came out to be about €2 and some cents, and they were both perfectly flaky and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, with sugar and butter beautifully intertwined to put me in a good mood enough to overlook the fact that it was already humid and hot at 9 AM.
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- Cot Cot: 21 Rue Gérando, 75009 Paris, 9th; +33 1 42 40 72 62; www.cot-cot.com
|Tues: 12 PM—3PM|
|Wed—Fri: 12 PM—3PM; 7 PM—10:30 PM|
|Sat: 12 PM –11 PM|
|Sun: 12 PM—10:30 PM|
After the City Free Tour of Montmartre and exploring the area on our own, we walked down to Cot Cot for lunch. Situated near the border of 18th and 9th arrondissements, Cot Cot is a tiny, hole-in-the wall joint that serves fried chicken tenders, one of my husband’s favorites of all time. Not surprisingly, my husband is the one who found and guided us to this place. Due to the tiny size and limited number of staff, the smallish line took a bit longer than desired in the middle of the day with the sun directly above us, but the food was worth the wait.
The décor is simple, ambience and staff are trendy/cool kids with an American influence (in fact, one of the (young) owners/chefs said that he has an Italian restaurant in New York and travels back and forth), and service was good and friendly. There are only about 10 seats available (6 bar stools along the tiny little bar on the wall and 1 table with 4 seats), and we had to wait a few minutes to get a seat. As it is in most restaurants in Paris, there was no A/C (or even if there were one, no one bothered to turn one on), and with the open kitchen in the tiny place, it was very warm inside. Bathroom available downstairs.
What we ordered: 2 original sandwiches, 1 order of fries, 1 can of Coke, and 1 bottle of Heineken for $29.21.
What I recommend: The sandwiches were delicious! As mentioned above, the food was worth the wait and sweating our arses off in the warm restaurant. The chicken tenders inside the sandwich were crispy, juicy, and flavorful, and all the ingredients inside the sandwich worked well together. The bread, which seemed to be baked in house, was also really good. The Heineken, however, was not cold enough and nothing is worse than room temperature beer, especially on a hot day. If the weather is nice and you don’t mind the disgusting pigeons, enjoy the sandwich at a park or outdoors somewhere.
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- McDonald’s: 19 Place de la République, 75003 Paris, 10th; +33 1 42 72 97 87; www.mcdonalds.fr
|Daily: 7:30 AM—3 AM|
We had just stuffed our faces with amazing tapas at Le Mary Celeste, taking a nice stroll back to our hotel at night, when my husband insists on getting a Big Mac and French fries. Why, oh why, would you do such a thing? We rarely get McDonald’s back at home in the good ol’ US of A, where McDee was birthed and multiplied internationally. Nonetheless, I gave into his boyish plead and we found ourselves waiting in line with a bunch of young French people to place our order electronically/wirelessly on these screens. When it was our turn, my husband giddily placed his order of a Big Mac and fries, but when he tried to pay, the machine prompted us to go see the cashier to complete our transaction. Apparently, the machine can’t take credit cards without a PIN. The young lady at the front had some difficulty understanding the issue, but we eventually paid and got everything sorted out. The food came out in lightning speed, and my happy husband ate his second meal of the night at the hotel bar with a beer.
What he ordered: Big Mac and fries ($7.82).
What I recommend: If you can help it, please don’t get McDonald’s while you’re visiting one of the most exciting and crucial culinary capitals in the world. My husband said the burger was not that great or any different from Big Mac at home (duh!) and the fries were atrociously dried out/old/in bad shape. I am a French fries fiend, and I could not continue eating them after defiling my palette with those withered fries a couple of times. Ugh. Just don’t.
- Ciacco République: 9 Rue René Boulanger, 75010 Paris, 10th; +33 1 42 06 38 07
|Tues-Sat: 12 PM—2:30 PM; 7:30 PM—11 PM|
On the very last night of Paris, I was hoping to finish up our culinary extravaganza with a bang, but those hopes were not filled due to my feeling pretty sick. I didn’t have any strength to leave the hotel room, so my poor husband had to look for a decent place nearby the Renaissance that had take-out service available. A quick internet search rendered Ciacco as one of the few contenders, and who can turn down pizza on a drizzly evening while watching French television (and conjecturing what is happening on the screen)?
What the husband came back with: a pretty well-made pizza with prosciutto and arugula and some other toppings for $16.93. My apologies, I was so out of it that I didn’t take any pictures nor paid attention to what I was stuffing into my mouth. I just recall being pleasantly surprised by this tasty, thin crust pizza made with chewy, fluffy dough and fresh toppings.
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- Au Passage: 1 bis Passage Saint-Sébastien, 75011 Paris, 11th; +33 1 43 55 07 52; www.resturant-aupassage.fr
|Mon—Sat: 7 PM –11:30 PM|
Reservations are recommended; you can book a table on their website (above).
This is the only restaurant where I actually made reservations prior to leaving the States because of all the rave reviews and by my friend’s recommendations. The restaurant is in an unassuming alleyway, the ambience is relaxed, and French style tapas are served. Staff were friendly and helpful. When we had first arrived, the place was relatively empty, but it filled up very quickly throughout our meal. Reservations are definitely recommended. It seemed like more than half of the diners were Americans (either tourists or ex-pats). I did not know until after I had returned from the trip that Au Passage was another restaurant that Anthony Bourdain dined in on The Layover. That’s two AB recommended places in one day (L’avant Comptoir being the other)!
What we ordered: 1 glass of wine, oysters, pork snout, octopus hotdog, rarebit minotte for $44.38.
What I recommend: Perhaps it was due to walking over 9 miles around Paris in one day in heat and humidity, or perhaps we just ordered the wrong things. Or (more plausibly) it may be due to being forced to walk by a pigeon roadkill with a huge flock of live ones on a nearby wall, along with the urine stench coming from a homeless encampment right before walking down the alleyway to reach the restaurant. Whatever the reason may have been, I was not as impressed with Au Passage as I was with prior restaurants we had tried. It was definitely good, but I’m not sure if it lived up to its hype given all the rave reviews. To make matters worse, my husband insisted on ordering the pork snout, which came out in a terrine form, and I got a bit queasy while eating it. I’m all for trying new things, but my stomach was still a bit upset after walking down that alleyway of terror, so I did not enjoy chewing on the bits of the snout.
I do recommend the octopus hotdog and rarebit minotte, which were delicious and different.
- East Mamma: 133 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, 75011 Paris, 11th; +33 1 43 41 32 15; http://www.bigmammagroup.com/fr/trattorias/east-mamma
|Mon—Thurs 12:15 PM –2:30 PM; 7 PM—10:45 PM|
|Fri: 12:15—2:30 PM; 7 PM—11 PM|
|Sat & Sun: 12:15 PM—4 PM; 7 PM—11 PM|
Reservations are not accepted and seating is first-come, first-served at this Italian restaurant.
We walked in for lunch on a Monday and were seated right away. The restaurant was relatively larger than others we’ve been to so far. I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the restaurant and the Italian + French ambience as well.
What we ordered: 1 glass of scalia bianco, 1 truffle pasta (la pate a la truffe), 1 regina caramba pizza for $42.58.
What I recommend: EVERYTHING we had was amazing! The scalia bianco was really refreshing; the pizza had the perfect amount of fresh ingredients and chewy yet crispy dough; and last but definitely not least, the truffle pasta was PERFECTION. Pasta was cooked perfectly, the sauce was neither heavy nor too light, and the truffle put us in umami bliss. We were on carb overload, but used the table bread to fare la scarpetta to leave the pasta pot squeaky-clean. I wish I could not only eat, but also inhale and bathe in this truffle pasta every day. I love you, truffle pasta from East Mamma!
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- Mensae: 23 Rue Melingue 75019 Paris, 19th; +33 1 53 19 80 98; www.mensae-restaurant.com
|Tues-Sat: 12:15 PM—2:30 PM; 7:15 PM—10:30 PM|
Reservations recommended; reservations can be made on their website (see above).
When I read multiple articles online about the best restaurants in Paris, Mensae was one of the restaurants that consistently made the list. Acclaimed chef and Top Chef winner Thibaut Sombardier started Mensae and has handed the reins over to another Top Chef alum, Kevin d’Andréa. Mensae is located in a small, quiet street in Belleville, away from all the tourist attractions. I made reservations for lunch on a Saturday to take advantage of the very reasonably priced lunch menu. Service was top notch, décor, simple and modern, which I appreciate, and the ambience, cool and casual. But the standout of this place was, of course, the food. Everything we ordered was out-of-this-world good. We were impressed from start to finish (even their table bread!).
What we ordered: Frog legs, 1 glass of beer, and 2 lunch specials of the day (cucumber gazpacho, linguini with clams, and dessert) for$67.73.
What I recommend: EVERYTHING!!
Let’s start with the frog legs, shall we? Ugh, those frog legs were to die for. These frog legs put those at Rainettes to shame. They were perfectly crispy on the outside yet juicy on the inside, and the browned butter/garlic/parsley sauce or marinade was phenomenal. We sopped up every drop of that sauce with the table bread, and my arteries probably got clogged a bit after this dish, but it was so worth it!
The lunch special comes with either an appetizer and the main or the main and dessert, so my husband ordered the one with the appetizer and I with dessert so that we could taste both. Every part of the lunch special was excellent, from the cool cucumber gazpacho, which was so suitable for the warm days in Paris, to the perfect linguini with clams, and to the dessert—OMG the dessert! I don’t remember all the different ingredients that were artfully crafted together to form this masterpiece, but it consisted of some ice cream with strawberries, some kind of foam or cream, and sprinkle of crumbs of some sort. And fairy dust and magic. Neither too heavy nor overly sweet, that dessert was uh-may-zing!
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