A few eating recommendations in Paris. On any trip we enjoy a mix of favourite bistros, new places and sometimes jetlag takes over and we go to the closest place to where we’re staying.
Often it’s surprising how good the food is in very unassuming places like Café Le Florès near our hotel. It’s a very standard looking basic corner café/bar where tourists go early in the evening and locals prop up the bar later while watching sport on TV. It opens about 7-7.30am and closes about 11pm. Sure it has a huge menu with all the standard stuff that you see on old fashioned Parisian menus but they make a great omelette, the house cured herrings with warm potato salad are delicious as is the onion soup and more.
When I’m by myself I usually end up here at night about 10pm after writing an email for you all to read. Sometimes we make lunch the main meal of the day as it’s often easier to find a table at popular places rather than for dinner.
3 rue de Prague, 75012
We chose Table for lunch because it’s close to the start of Promenade Plantée that I talked about last week. We arrived at about 1.45pm which meant we could easily get a place. The décor in this neo-bistrot is quite contemporary with stone walls and wide stainless counters at which sit about half the guests. The owner is a journalist food writer turned restauranteur. His emphasis is on the freshest ingredients from particular producers. At lunch there wasn’t a set menu for the three course 25 euro meal. It’s been called one of the best lunch deals in town because of the quality of the food. I see that dinner is substantially more expensive. We started with watercress soup that was the inspiration for the recipe I did about 3 weeks ago. That was followed by very simply pan-fried fish with two different vegetable purées. We declined the dessert. We’ll definitely be back.
Le Bistrot Paul Bert
18 rue Paul Bert, 75011
Many of you may have been to this traditional Parisian bistro. For dinner you need to book a day or two in advance and until this trip I’ve haven’t been that organised. It’s regarded as a favourite by Parisians and tourists alike. Well known American chef Alice Waters has recently said ‘everyone – local and foreign – loves the place for its time-honoured classicism.’ The menu is à la carte and fixed price – 38 euros for three courses or if you really only want two, it works out to be 37 euros. The food is simple, unpretentious and delicious.
After tempura cod cheeks to start, Mike and I had slow-cooked spring lamb shoulder with fresh peas, Emma enjoyed pan-fried sole and Jeremy went for beef tartare because he’d never had it before. The desserts are huge!! Luckily I went for the fresh strawberries – Emma couldn’t finish her baba au rhum and Jeremy struggled with his crème caramel. In the same street, owner Bertrand Auboyneau has two more bistros – Le 6 Paul Bert and L’Ecailler du Bistrot –both of which I’ve talked about previously.
Le Roi de Pot au Feu
34 rue Vignon, 75009
Off and on for many years we’ve come here. For those of you who have read our book you may remember it as the bistro that inspired the courgette gratin recipe. Three or four years ago was the last time for me and I’d been a bit disappointed for some reason. We decided to give it another go for lunch on Emma and Jeremy’s last day in Paris before they headed for the airport. Emma had last been with us there in 1997.
The main dish is the pot au feu – boiled beef stew – a piece of beef and marrow bone cooked in a broth with carrots, leeks, turnips, potatoes, cabbage and onions. It sounds basic but it’s a great French classic. It comes with toasted crusty bread and very coarse sea salt and large crocks of cornichons and Dijon mustard. You spread the bone marrow on the toast and sprinkle it with the salt. Each table comes with a bottle of the house wine, Beaujolais. You’re charged for what you drink. We all really enjoyed our lunch. You might think that boiled beef and veges would be tasteless but they were full of flavour and the bone marrow was yummy.