French

Sarah's Food Guide to Paris

11/21/2019 06:38:00 PM

Paris, The Eiffel Tower
Paris, The Eiffel Tower

Bonjour! Welcome to my Food Guide to Paris! I've travelled to Paris many times (seven times in the last eight years, for anyone playing along at home), and duly blogged each trip, but it never occurred to me to actually write up my recommendations in the one spot. However, a few weeks ago, a good friend of mine told me she was off to Paris and asked for my food recommendations. I was going to just send her some links to my old blogposts, but I quickly realised there were WAY TOO MANY and I ended up writing this massive email with all of my very enthusiastic (or aggressive?) suggestions and recommendations gleaned from my previous travels. She found it useful, and I loved having all my recommendations in the one spot. So now I share this list with you!

Also full disclosure, I have basically zero interest in art, or history, or designer shopping, so this list is all about the food. I also do not have any accommodation suggestions, sorry - when I do go to Paris, it isn't simply "to go to Paris", but rather, to visit my friend Clarice. I stay with her and hang out, and we fit in food destinations around the trip. (Extremely rarely, tourist destinations have made an appearance, but much less frequently as time has gone on).

Most of these recommendations came to me via Clarice (who has lived in Paris for over a decade and is also a foodie like me), but apart from that I primarily discover new places from David Lebovitz' blog and from Instagram. When planning my trips, I always follow the Insta accounts of the restaurants / cafes / patisseries I plan to visit, and then the Instagram algorithm sucks you in and starts suggesting different Parisian food accounts to follow.

Please note, none of this is sponsored, and these are all just places I've visited, paid for, and enjoyed. (Side note: if someone out there wants to sponsor me on a trip to Paris, feel free, hah).  I'm not even sorry for how long and aggressively detailed this is! Amusez-vous bien!

Paris streets
Rue Denoyez

Getting Around

I find Paris very walkable, as the main city is reasonably compact and isn't super hilly (although there are many cobblestone streets, and many/most Metro stations have stairs, so note this may be trickier for those with mobility issues). I am terrible at directions and can get lost very easily, but as long as I have GPS and GoogleMaps on my phone I am usually fine. I like walking and I like seeing the city, so if a destination is only a couple of metro stops away, I usually choose to walk.

The Metro is also great, fast, and services run really often. On my last trip, I discovered the City Mapper app, and it was THE BEST for planning my journeys on the Metro, determining the best routes, and navigating my way around generally. Buses are also nice if you want to see the city while you get around, but are a bit slower. There are Uber and taxis too, but in my personal experience the metro is usually faster.

Clamato in Paris
Clamato, 80 Rue de Charonne, 75011, 11th Arrondissement

11th Arrondissement

So, the 11th has gotten quite gentrified lately, but in a nice way. It's interesting and cute and not bland. I did a lot of walking around here on my last trip - lots of cute organic grocers, restaurants, cafes, and knick-knack shops.

Clamato (80 Rue de Charonne, 75011) - Young casual restaurant, amazing seafood! No bookings, line up at midday when they open. The seafood platter had THREE types of clam! Also excellent were the hardboiled eggs with caviar, and the maple syrup tart. They're owned by the same people who own Septime (just down the road). I haven't tried Septime but I imagine it would be great as well.

Le Servan (32 Rue Saint-Maur, 75011) - Bright and airy bistro, owned by two French / Filipina sisters (hooray for women). They recently started offering breakfast and we ate breakfast here in September, was very good. (Comté brioche with sage butter!) On the foodie grapevine I hear that it's very good for lunches and dinners as well. You will need to book.

10 Belles Bread (17-19 Rue Breguet, 75011) - F*cking awesome bread, they started as a coffee shop near Canal Saint Martin (see "Coffee" section below), but opened a proper bread bakery in the last few years. They supply bread to Clamato and other great restaurants. The sesame cookies are *drool* and they do great coffee.

Bistrot Paul Bert (18 Rue Paul Bert, 75011) - Famously good bistro, does classics like steak frites. Popular with tourists, particularly American tourists, who I know get a bad rap, but I mean cool foodie American tourists. Like I imagine Ina Garten would eat here. Last time, Clarice and I saw a wealthy young American couple smashing a ludicrously expensive bottle of red at the table next to us. The bistrot is famous for the grand marnier soufflé and île flotantes, but I think their Paris Brest is THE BEST. (Actually better than Pierre Hermé and Jacques Genin, IMHO - see "The Famous High-End Pastry Houses" section below).

Cyril Lignac is a famous celebrity chef, and he has a "golden triangle" in the 11th of chocolaterie / patisserie / restaurant. I haven't been to these myself (we just walked past and Clarice pointed them out and I had a peek in the windows), but I reckon they'd be good. My friend Alaina (for whom I originally wrote this list) has since tried a Kouign Amann there and a savoury roll with cheese and sesame seeds, both fantastic.

Bar in Paris
The bar at Astair, 19 Passage des Panoramas, 75002

Restaurants

Ok, these are restaurants not in the 11th.

Verjus (52 Rue De Richelieu, 75001) - five-course seasonal menu, they can do matching wines too. Lovely for a blowout meal! Food is great, it's super cozy, they have an atmospheric wine bar downstairs too. (Option for a sexy date if this is something that floats your boat). They did corn macarons as the petit four, too cute! (The chef also gifted me chocolate-covered muscatels because I follow him on Instagram and I unsubtly commented on his post saying "I hope these are there tonight", heh. But for realsies, I'm famous). Definitely ok to go here on your own, when we went for our 10pm dinner (zomg, European hours!), there was an American girl sitting next to us who'd just flown in and was doing the five courses and matching wines all to herself. (What a champion!) Waitstaff are super nice, speak many languages. (We heard French / English / Spanish while there).

Astair (19 Passage des Panoramas, 75002) - Lovely restaurant in the Passage des Panoramas (like Melbourne's Royal Arcade but nicer), with a nice bar, very pretty. They do a good value prix fixe lunch menu. I suggest going off menu for dessert and getting the madeleines with chocolate pot. SO GOOD.

Le Bon Georges (45 Rue Saint-Georges, 75009) - Traditional French bistro. Had very good steak tartare and regular steak here too. Feels old school - when we went for lunch there was a massive older French dude sitting by himself at the next table smashing a three course meal with bottle of wine followed by petit fours and espresso. (Again, what a champion).

Le Garde Robe (41 Rue de l'Arbre Sec, 75001) - Cute dingy wine bar. Obviously, lots of different wines you can try, but cheese platters and open toasties are great.

L'As Du Falafel (32-34 Rue des Rosiers, 75004) - Translates to "Ace Falafel", not "Falafel Ass" as I originally thought. It's recommended by Lenny Kravitz' according to the sign outside. Food is really good and a nice break from French French food.

Pecan Kouign Amann, Le Petit Grain in Paris
Pecan Kouign Amann, Le Petit Grain (78 Rue Denoyez)

Bakeries / Cafes

Of course there are hundreds of bakeries / boulangeries in Paris and usually at a high standard. (Certainly at higher standard than an equivalent place in Melbourne). I personally don't think it'd be worth it going nuts trying to find THE BEST croissant in Paris, as most of the neighbourhood bakeries do very good croissants that are super enjoyable. However, these are my special favourites.

Le Petit Grain (7 Rue Denoyez, 75020) - really nice bakery (takeaway only), who use natural leavenings only, not commercial yeast. I had a pecan kouign amann here which was transcendent. Not too sweet. Clarice has also had a pistachio honey one which she loved, and I've seen a sesame one on their Insta recently. They've just opened a second branch at 1 Rue des Deux Ponts, 75004, on the Île-Saint-Louis!

Rose Bakery (46 Rue des Martyrs, 75009) - This one's more of a cafe. Actually an English cafe, which was quite popular and trendy like twelve years ago. I've been meaning to buy their cookbook but never got around to it. Nice to sit down and have a square quiche, the pistachio loaf cake is also great. I sat down in the cafe to eat, but I believe next door is a takeaway / deli-type section that has salads / quiches / cakes on display that looks more impressive.

Compagnie Générale de Biscuiterie (1 Rue Constance, 75018) - a fantastic biscuit shop, so buttery, and all the biscuits are small crisp and nice and just divine. You'll be able to smell it walking up the street. Buy a big tin of assorted biscuits! Happens to be in Pigalle (the red light district), but I felt it was fine during the day as it was super crowded. (I get anxious walking alone in dodgy areas). If you come here you may walk past a sex store called "Pussy's" with a neon sign, and it's also near the Moulin Rouge, so you may come across annoying tourists doing stupid loved-up selfies.

Berthillon - So Berthillon is the most famous ice-cream maker in Paris, and you probably already know about them. They're supposed to be sold ONLY on the Île St Louis. Often the shops have super long lines and you have to eat while walking, so hot tip, go to the Berthillon Salon de Thé (29-31 Rue Saint-Louis en l'Île), and sit down. You can have the ice-creams, but I'd also suggest ordering the apple tart tatin and having it with a scoop of salted butter caramel ice-cream. I've tried the marron glacé (candied chestnut) ice-cream too and it's FAB.

Coffee and Cake, KB Coffee Shop in Paris
Piccolo and carrot cake, KB Coffee Shop (53 Avenue Trudaine, 75009)

Coffee

I know, nothing more clichéd than a Melbournian leaving Melbourne and heading straight out to search for the best new-wave Melbourne-style coffee, but here we are. Also usually when I get to Paris I've been in Germany for at least a week prior, so I've been drinking plain filter coffee at home or not-so-great cafe coffees and will have developed a craving. Don't judge me.

KB Coffee Shop (53 Avenue Trudaine, 75009) - Australian owned (I think) coffee shop. Bonus: free wifi. Coffee is awesome and they sell yummy cakes too.

10 Belles (10 Rue de la Grange aux Belles, 75010) - 10 Belles Bread (mentioned above, see "11th Arrondissement" section) obviously do coffee, but the original branch on the Rue de Grange Belles (near Canal Saint Martin) is more atmospheric. Super cute little coffee shop, nice cookies, yum.

Dreamin Man (140 rue Amelot 75011) - Japanese owned tiny little coffee shop, has a Melbourne vibe. Coffee is great. On Saturdays they sell this hectic flan (Japanese pudding/creme caramel) which I haven't tried but Clarice has and said it was *heart eyes emoji*.

La Fontaine de Belleville (31-33 Rue Juliette Dodu, 75010) - New wave coffee roastery housed in an old-school French bistro. So you get the good coffee but the old Parisian vibe. Totes honestly I didn't LOVE the food, but the coffee was very good.

La Caféotheque (52 Rue de l'Hôtel-de-Ville 75004) - I haven't been since 2013 but was one of the original fancy coffee places in Paris. Very good coffee. The place has an old-school Melbourne 90's vibe like Quist's, smells of roasty coffee and lots of coffee bean sacks all over the place.

Dose Dealer de Cafe (73 Rue Mouffetard, 75005) - randomly stumbled across this one while walking on the Rue Mouffetard, it's good.

Jacques Genin Paris Brest
Jacques Genin Paris Brest

Matcha Croissant
Matcha croissant, Sadaharu Aoki

The Famous High-End Pastry Houses

Most of these pastry houses below have a few branches, some are just for takeaway and others are a salon de thé where you can sit down and eat. I'd suggest double-checking online before making your way to one. Not all the branches always sell all the items, so if there's something specific that you're dying to try (the Jacques Genin Paris Brest, for example, or Sadaharu Aoki's matcha croissant), I'd suggest giving them a call first to double check.

Pierre Hermé - the best! Macarons are incredible and I always buy them, my fave is the Mogador (passionfruit shell chocolate ganache filling) but they're all good. The entremets (i.e. individual desserts / cakes) are amazing. Of the entremets, I can recommend the Ispahan (Pierre's signature flavour of rose / raspberry / lychee), the Tarte Infinement Vanille, and the Paris Brest. I personally wouldn't bother with any of the packaged stuff they make and sell (e.g. waffle biscuits, chocolate bars, chocolate pralines etc.), as I've found they're not quite as good and honestly I think they're just there to make extra money off his brand.

Sadaharu Aoki - Their matcha croissants are one of my top ten dessert island foods! The branch on 56 Boulevard de Port-Royal has seating and is nice for breakfast. Of the entremets, the vanilla chou bun is INSANE. Sadaharu the man also uses a lot of enthusiastic exclamation marks in his Instagram posts and I enjoy the middle-aged-Asian-mum vibe.

Jacques Genin - Chocolatier and patissier. Famous for chocolates (hot choc and bonbons, both of which I love), and their pate de fruits and caramels. I'm not into pate de fruits or caramels but you might be. His pastries are also ridiculous. Some branches just sell the chocs/caramels to take away, but there's a salon de thé on the Rue de Turenne where you can sit, and enjoy a hot chocolate and his amazing pastries (mille feuille and chou creme are AMAZING). He's famous for his Paris Brest as well, but I prefer the ones from Pierre Hermé and Bistrot Paul Bert.

Angelina - The classic! They're famous for their Africaine hot chocolate, and their Mont Blancs. The Mont Blanc is one of the most exquisite things I have ever put in my mouth. You can also buy tubes or jars of their chestnut paste - yum. The branch near the Louvre on the Rue de Rivoli is a salon de thé and is super pretty, so is a good spot to relax and hang out.

Cedric Grolet - voted world's best pastry chef, is also hot and has a six pack. (Refer his Instagram). Famous for amazing entremets that look like fruit. He does the high end afternoon tea at Le Meurice hotel, and also has a patisserie there where you can get takeaway. I indulged in the Le Meurice afternoon tea last year around Christmas, and it was divine, but since then there have been some terrible laws passed by the international owner, and this hotel is no longer somewhere where I'd choose to spend my money. However, Cedric is launching his own standalone Cedric Grolet Patisserie though, near Opera, set to open late November-2019! The croissants on the Instagram account look incred!

Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse - chocolatier. Alain Ducasse is a famous 3-Michelin star chef, and he's opened an intense bean-to-bar chocolate shop where they produce everything from scratch. I've only been to the branch in Galleries Lafayette Gourmet, but the chocolate bonbons are AMAZE. Super dark and roasty flavours, especially the "Pralinés à l'ancienne". Expensive and excellent.

L'Éclair de Genie by Christophe Adam- probably more modern than the others, they do excellent eclairs. Passionfruit raspberry is the shiz.

Yann Couvreur - another famous pastry house. His rum baba is wonderful, as was his mirabelle tart. They seem to do seasonal tarts, so I would recommend picking up any small baked tart with fruit on top (e.g. apricots etc.)

One more thing: I would recommend visiting Lafayette Gourmet (35 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009), the food section of the famous department store Galeries Lafayette. The ground level is a food hall with individual pastry shops and delis, and the basement is like a supermarket/market where you can get fresh vegetables, cheeses, meats, fancy groceries etc. The food hall has Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse, Yann Couvreur, L'Éclair de Genie, Sadaharu Aoki and Pierre Hermé. (There's also a sit-down Angelina at Galeries Lafayette, but it's in the fashion/luxury building under the dome, I think). I habitually visit at least once on each trip to do a sweep and buy all my favourites - Pierre Hermé macarons, Kusmi TeaReflets de France butter biscuits and so on. My main callout for Lafayette Gourmet, though, is the Cinco Jotas counter (they sell *insane* Spanish hams). The ciabattas with pure Bellota jamon ibérico, Manchego, and crushed tomatoes are out of this world! Excellent for lunch on the run, or the train or whatever.

Fine foodie treats from Paris
My latest shopping haul from Lafayette Gourmet

Wish list / Next time

A couple here that are on my list for next time that I have yet to visit.

Le Dechenaud (32 Rue Robert Giraudineau, 94300) - Chocolaterie in Vincennes that does these amazing-looking cookies. Drool-worthy Instagram account!

Marsan or Jòia by Hélène Darroze - As you can tell from my list, I haven't visited any of the super-high end Michelin starred restaurants (mainly due to lack of interest, but also due to lack of funds), but Hélène Darroze's restaurants are definitely on my wish list! She's a high-end well respected chef with restaurants in London and Paris, all while raising two daughters on her own. Total idol! I understand that Marsan is the fancy one on the Rive Gauche with epic multi-course degustation menus, and Jòia is a more casual venue and I am keen on both!

The Hood (80 Rue Jean Pierre Timbaud, 75011) - A newly re-launched coffeeshop and Asian canteen, serving KAYA TOAST (on baguette, lol) and other Vietnamese and Singaporean deliciousness like congee, Hainan chicken rice, achar etc., as well as coffee. Honestly it's nothing I can't get here in Melbourne (or obviously in Malaysia), but I think the idea is super cute, the coffee looks great, and usually when I'm in Europe I'm missing Malaysian food so I'm sure I'll have a craving next time.

Mokonuts (5 Rue Saint-Bernard, 75011) - Bakery cafe and restaurant. Apparently they've got these incredible tahini and rye chocolate chip cookies. I WANT.

FIN.

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4 comments

  1. LOL at no interest in history etc. I feel the same way and people look at me very oddly but it's true! Don't make me go to a museum, church or tell me history. Just the food please!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, different strokes for different folks!

      Delete
  2. Love the food department at Galeries Lafayette. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it great?! :)

      Thanks so much!

      Delete

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