With its mix of vibrant immigrant culture and French sophistication, Paris is a veritable smorgasbord for fantastic eating. Our number one goal in Paris was to sample as many French culinary delights as we could. Fortunately, Paris with bevy of bistros and brasseries did not disappoint in delivering exquisite French cuisine in all of its high calorie, creamy goodness.
We comprised a short list of the must try foods and restaurants at the beginning of our stay in Paris so that we could get around to doing all the things that we wanted to during our five night visit to the city. We spent few hours trawling through ratings on the four square app when picking our dinner options each night and ended up visiting the following places.
The Parisian branch of Buvette is owned by the same group as the one in New York. Buvette Paris is located in the 9th arrondissement and is open all day, here one can go for an early breakfast or linger long into the evening for a nightcap. The bar takes up the majority of the space and is loaded with baskets of breads, cheese and meats. Dessert items are also stacke on display on the bar, readily tempting you into indulging in the sweet treats!
The walls and tabletops of Buvette, are filled with curios and antiques giving the place an edgy vintage-hipster feel. It screams old world Paris with a touch of New York cool. As such the vibe in here is a little different to other Parisian bistros. Drinks however, are expensive here and some of the food is hit and miss, especially if you are after traditional French cuisine. However the restaurant has won the hearts of locals and tourists alike with its off beat drinks list, quirky vibe and that incredible cheese display on the bar counter top. When visiting this place, expect to queue up for a table.
Buvette has an incredibly incredibly high user ratings on four square and is reputed for its Coq au Vin. Buvette’s version was a mellow, buttery concoction of the iconic French dish.
This is one of those bistros that invariably gets mentioned on most foodie lists. It is a bistrot by the famous French chef Christian Constant. The restaurant is in close proximity to the Eiffel Tower so you can plan your trip here around some sightseeing. The place actually gets packed fairly quickly and queues begin to form even before the bistro opens. We waited with a throng of diners before the restaurant’s opening time and were guided to a small two person table wedged up by the bar 20 minutes later. This is how busy the restaurant was at 6pm on a weekday during the Parisian summer!
The food served here is traditional French cuisine perfected, expect delicate buttery sauces drizzled over tender fish and fantastic desserts! This restaurant was the most traditional French bistro we visited during our trip and I would definitely recommend if you are looking for an exquisite interpretation of French cuisine.
Le Petit Cler:
This was my favourite bistro from our time in Paris, it is by the same team as La Fontaine de Mars bistro and is also well regarded as a place for goods quality, affordable meals. We headed here for a late dinner the night we arrived in Paris noting its smart and neat set up, that seamlessly ties in with its 7th Arrondissement surroundings. The front of house staff at Petit Cler, all greeted warmly and in English, even providing us with an English menu to peruse. The service here is laid back and at times slow, however for our first night in Paris it was exactly what we needed as we were quite nervous conversing in French after our recent experiences in Lyon!
We decided to try some snails since we were in Paris and ordered a plate of their traditional escargot. They were soft, buttery and garlicky. All in all, a very nice way to be introduced to this delicacy. I ordered the lamb main whilst B ordered the steak with pomme frites. The lamb was perfectly cooked, whereas B wasn’t a huge fan of the steak, he reported the cut of meat was a little too tough for his liking.
For dessert we shared a Tarte Tartin and a bowl of vanilla ice cream from Berthillon’s. Petit Cler actually offers a small selection of this famous Parisian ice cream for their guests to enjoy. This is a nice way to sample some of this luxurious ice cream without the hassle of lining up at the Parisian store front.
This place was a very low key bistro that served exceptional quality food and great wines. I definitely recommend the restaurant, the menu is brief but manages to cover all bases and has some fantastic French wines on offer.
We decided to change it up for dinner one night and headed to this authentic crêpes café. The café is lauded as one best places to eat authentic Breton crêpes and as such has a very loyal local and tourist following.
There are now multiple locations opened up across Paris, however the café in the Le Marais district is the original. We were running a little late for dinner the night we visited and ended up having to wait over 30 mins for a table. The staff, however do an incredible job of efficiently turning the tables over, enabling multiple services during the dinner rush. The interior of the cafe in Le Marais is Breton rustic-chic, with light oak wood panelling, flooring and sturdy oak furniture and gives off a very homey vibe.
Breizh café makes crêpes the traditional way like they do in Brittany. The savoury galettes are fantastic here, made with buckwheat and topped with quality ingredients. The sweet crêpes are also a must with lots of options for the sweet tooth. The café is also famous for their large selection of Breton cider, you can purchase by the glass or bottle. If you are after a cheap and easy meal that is undeniably French than this is the place for you, just make sure to be prepared for the long wait time for a table!
La Maison de La Truffe:
We somehow happened to stumble upon this place when we were googling restaurants in Paris. Given it was almost the end of our trip to Europe we decided to splurge and went ahead and made a reservation. We visited the Marbeuf location and were pleasantly surprised by the restrained elegance of the dining room. The muted sage and cream decor, linen tablecloths and large artworks depicting truffles set the scene for an extravagant dinner. If planning a visit make sure to dress up, the diner profile at this restaurant consists of elegant couples, business men and well-heeled tourists.
The restaurant serves good quality French dishes that pair well with truffle, in fact they actually have a truffle menu to choose from when dining here. All the dishes have a base price, providing you the opportunity to choose the truffle you wish to add. The truffle menu changes based on the season, we had the option of adding the Australian Black Truffle, Black Summer Truffle or the Black Melanosporum Truffle to our dishes. Price is dependant on the truffle with the Black Melanosporum Truffle being the most expensive.
We ordered dishes to share including a dish of asparagus and poached egg, a French omelette and a prawn risotto. Of all the dishes the asparagus and poached egg was the favourite, due to its simplicity the truffle was really able to shine. We decided to try the Melanosporum Truffle with the risotto and found that it tasted similar to mushrooms. We actually preferred the Australian Truffle we ordered for the other two dishes.
For dessert we ordered their famous truffle ice cream cone, this was a really unique experience of savoury and sweet. The ice cream was a rich and creamy version of a soft serve, with earthy characteristics from the flecks of truffle that were mixed into the cream.
Le Pain et Quotidien – breakfast:
B decided he was sick of the hotel breakfast one morning so we ventured out to the local café behind our hotel. We ended up at this chain café which serves boulangerie type food. We were pleasantly surprised by the breakfast menu. B ordered the Farmers breakfast and was served with a smorgasbord of food including yoghurt and muesli, egg, cheese and meats. It was a very decadent and French way to begin the morning.
Du Pain et des Idées – boulangerie:
Chances are if you are looking up croissants or bakeries in Paris, then this one will definitely pop up somewhere on your feed. It is regarded as one the best bakeries in Paris and is located in the 10th arrondissement, which is a little out of the way however definitely worth the visit. They bakery sells loaves of bread, savoury bites to eat and of course a host of sweet pastries and croissants. The boulangerie has a corner profile in busy strip of shops in this district. The bakery is housed in an old world building that opens up into a small service area. The interior is a heady combination of oak panelling, and glassed off displays of golden freshly baked bread. Its the kind of place that makes you happy just by walking in – or maybe it is just the tantalising promise of carbs in all of its forms…
When visiting this boulangerie make sure to get there early as they sell out very quickly. We were lucky enough to arrive, just as another lot of croissants were being taken out of the oven! Since we had travelled all this way for a Parisian croissant we decided to sample a few different things. Foursquare reviews highly recommended their escargot so we ordered a croissant, an escargot and sun dried tomato and olive stuffed mini-pavés. The croissant was buttery, flaky and soft – the epitome of a perfect Parisian croissant really. However, the escargot stuffed with raisins was the stand out favourite of the morning, it was flaky and textured with all of the layers of pastry and the raisins and syrup glaze added the perfect sweetness.
After browsing through the area, we decided to go back to the boulangerie to pick up some croissants for the next day. By the time we got there after 1pm everything had pretty much sold out!
Christophe Adam Éclairs:
The food hall at the Galleries Lafeyette on the Boulevard Haussmann is a treasure trove of famous food vendors from around the city. I stumbled upon the counter top for Christophe Adam Éclairs and was intrigued by the decorative display and innovative toppings.
Normally I am not much of an éclairs person, however the mantra during this time was decidedly when in Paris…I asked the server to package a coffee/chocolate éclair and a strawberry one to take away. B and I ended up eating these for dessert that night. They were easily the best éclairs I have had to date! The choux pastry remained flaky and airy, giving way to a delicious, fresh cream filling. Whilst the icing on top of the eclairs provided the requisite sweetness.
Pierre Hermé – Macarons:
We had received recommendations that this was the place to go to for macarons before we had even left Australia. When we first arrived in Paris, I decided to scout out the location for these famous macarons and quickly realised that the patisserie has various shop fronts in Paris, with one located in the 1st arrondissement.
Entering into the door of this patisserie is like entering a secret club. The atmosphere is hushed and reverent, with the attention of staff and customers alike on the centre display glass cabinets. The glassed off counters hold rows and rows of the prettily coloured macarons, honestly choosing flavours is the really difficult part.
The Pierre Hermé macarons are incredible, the exterior is comprised of andelicate hard outer layer that helps it to retain its shape. This top layer easily gives way to a soft and crumbly interior filled with a luxuriant cream filling.
We ended up spending a half hour umming and ahhing over the selection of macarons. We had decided to take these back to Australia as a souvenir, the server was incredibly helpful and recommended travelling boxes to carry them in. Our friends and family received the macarons three days later and apart from a few being slightly squished out of shape they still retained their softness and were a big hit!
Drinks by the Seine River:
As we were walking along the Seine River, we noticed there were many barges anchored by the water’s edge. Some of these places were standing room only, whilst others had tables set up by the river side. We struggled to find a table to sit on and also encountered some French local rudeness during this expedition. Instead, decided to sit by the water drinking our Rosé and watching the sunset over the River Seine. A perfect way to end a day sightseeing through this incredible city.