I'll be going to be in Paris with several of my gal pals and we'd like to visit the spots that make the city such a famous dining destination. We'd like to find some charming little creperies and bistros, etc, that are very Parisian. Thank you!
So many good places in Paris.
I love the juxtaposition of L'Ami Jean against traditional "stuffy" French dining. It's all about serving world-class food in an everyday setting. Pigeon meat, blood sausage and chicken tureen with minced vegetables in olive oil and vinegar syrup.
L'Escargot Montorgueil is classic French staple served in a way that still resonates with diners.
If you like souffles, it's soufflés galore at La Cigale Recamier. Sample savory mushroom to sweet salted caramel and everything in between.
If you're looking for an authentic French crepe, stop by the Breizh Café. Le Bistrot Paul Bert is one of my favorite French bistros. Make sure you stay for dessert. Le Gavroche serves the best fillet de boeuf in the country, and that's saying a lot. During the winter, Chez Michel features fresh game with their "hunters specials."
Open only during the week, A La Biche Au Bois features fixed menus including a cheese course.
For the tastiest treats from France, Italy and Spain, go to Da Rosa. I would stop by just for the olives.
For amazing Indian food, go to Saravanaa Bhavan. If you're looking for something lighter, this place is completely vegetarian and completely delicious.
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Le Bouillon Chartier - Loyalty has its privileges and in the old days at Chartier that meant having your own drawer in which you could keep your napkin for next time. While the practice is gone, the drawers are still there as are the long, long lines. Created to provide affordable meals for the working class, it's still one of the cheapest and most lively places in the city to eat.
Angelina - As strange as it now seems, up until the early 20th century women dining in Paris were not allowed to sit alone at the city's terraced cafes. Thus, they turned to the tea salons like Angelina's which were considered acceptable places for single gals to dine (that said, it was author and loyal patron Marcel Proust who really put the place on the map). Today the place is known world wide for its hot chocolate which is the consistency of liquid gold and rich beyond all imagination.
LE GRAND COLBERT - While it has a pretty incredible history (it's been at the same location since the 1800s), is well known for its seafood, and is one of the city's most bustling, fun restaurants, it's probably best known for being the restaurant in which Diane Keaton dines with Jack Nicholson and Keanu Reeves in the movie "Something's Got to Give."
Brasserie Lipp - Talk about preferential treatment. With patrons like Ernest Hemingway (who immortalized Lipp in "A Moveable Feast"), the second floor of the restaurant earned the name "Siberia," reflecting the fact that less famous patrons (not to mention tourists) were served there rather than on the more conspicuous ground level. Perhaps the owners had a Napoleon complex as the Lipp never quite gained the reputation of its neighbors, Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots.
La Grande Epicerie du Bon Marche - While Fauchon and even the food hall at Galerie Lafayette may get the most ink, I really feel that the ground floor of the Bon Marche is the best place to go for specialty food items. No, it's not the cheapest (you can find some items for less at GL), but if you're looking for obscure stuff (whether ready to eat or cooking supplies), you can find it here. I found some gelatin my mother had been trying to find for years here. Oh, and they make THE BEST almond croissants ever!!!
Café de Flore - In the 1940s this place was such a home away from home for existentialist writer Jean-Paul Sartre and his philosopher partner, Simone de Beauvoir, they should have charged them rent. Their presence, along with that of absurdist writer Albert Camus, created a bit of a rivalry between the cafe and neighboring eatery Les Deux Magots; a competition that still continues to this day.
Ladurée - While, to the dismay of many, this Parisian institution has been somewhat over commercialized as of late (there are stores all over the world now), luckily the aesthetic integrity of the original remains in tact at the Place de la Madeline. Here, unlike the shiny new boutiques on the Champs and the airport, the turn-of-the-century murals by famed poster artist Jules Cheret still remain, making for an extraordinary, if expensive, lunch experience.
Restaurant Astier - Here's a reason to keep coming back here: they customize the wooden steak knives with the names of regular customers.
Le Bofinger - In addition to being one of the city's finest examples of Belle Epoque architecture (and in this city that's really saying something), Bofinger is also known as being the first restaurant in the city to serve beer (which they did in pots the customers brought themselves). In addition to being a great place for a brew, it's also a great place to spot celebrities.
Polidor - Affordable food, a slightly gritty, authentic atmosphere, and an over 100-year-old history have made Polidor one of Paris's most well-known restaurants. A favorite of Hemingway, James Joyce, and even Jack Kerouac, it was actually used in the movie "Midnight in Paris" as the place where Gil Pender begs Hemingway to read his work. The tables and even condiments are all communal so come ready to share with your neighbors!
L'Escargot Montorgueil - Just shy of its 200th birthday, L'Escargot Montorgueil is one of Paris's most interesting interiors. Make sure to look up when you go; the incredible muraled ceiling once graced the home of legendary French actress Sarah Bernhardt.
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Colette is a great cafe and an awesome place for gifts as well.
Be sure to pop into Creposuk - Restaurant Crêperie if you're short on time and don't want a big commitment. Utterly fantastic crepes and a great story behind this little place and its owners (three brothers who used to perform as horse-less horse jumpers during World Cup and football game halftime).
Go to Breizh Café. This general area is a great place to wander... this street (Rue Vielle du Temple) towards the Seine has a great stretch of bars and cafes (Rue de Vielle du Temple between Rue de Rosiers and Rue de Rivoli)... great place to wander, eat, drink, etc. Les Philosophes, Au Petit Cheval Du Ranelagh, etc. Very cool, local area.
Speaking of Les Philosophes, it's a good corner bistro... always crowded. Good place for food or a drink (but if I were eating dinner, I would probably eat dinner at Le Coude Fou around the corner and save Les Phlosophes for after dinner drinks or lunch/late lunch here if the time suited).
Another great option in this small area is Petit Fer à Cheval (with Le Coude Fou and Les Philosphes). Great for food or a drink. The place is TINY but has a lot of character. Great 1/2 oval bar.
If you're looking for a nice bar, check out Experimental Cocktail Club. Hip, hi-style speakeasy style cocktail bar.
Berthillon serves the best ice cream in town.
By the way, you should pick up Le Fooding. This is a restaurant guide that has great recommendations. Pick it up at the airport (or order it online). Its in French, but has English synopses. Will give you some great recommendations for dining that you'd otherwise miss.www.lefooding.com
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