bistro Archives - Paris with Scott
Intimate and Authentic French Bistros in Paris

Intimate and Authentic French Bistros in Paris

How can we all help Paris after the devastation of Notre-Dame? Visit and enjoy her delights.  (FYI – I put up a post on Notre-Dame de Paris, but it was so engrossing and depressing last week, I just couldn’t email it out to everyone.)

A balm for our spirits could be French food.  And, what better delight than enjoying plate-licking delicious French food! Are you ready for an eating marathon at intimate and authentic French bistros? It really is not such a gluttonous idea if you consider the walking all day long.  And, if you can keep yourself from devouring the incredible bread before the meal arrives. (Plus, I have really decided the bread in Paris is different. It doesn’t make me feel bloated and full. Imagination?)

Here are five restaurants that will complement a week-long visit to Paris.  Gratifying and all-out pleasure – French bistro dinners.  That’s right, choose healthy and light or go full bore to revel in cream sauces and foie gras! Or, balance it all out by enjoying a little of all of the bountiful variety that keeps French food lingering in the memory for years.

The photos are much better at explaining the atmosphere of each place than I can describe. So, take a look.

Le Comptoir in the Hotel Relais Saint Germain

What many people used to call a “nouveau” bistro, but now it is known for solid bistro dining. On the weekdays, Le Comptoir has a set menu with a choice for the main course. On the weekends get in line and dine choosing from a menu. Yves Camdeborde makes the menu each day after checking what is available and in season. They are generous with the delicious food coming out of the kitchen. Seating outside is delightful in good weather and completely manageable when the weather is cool.

Le Comptoir dining room

Studio apartment sized dining room of Le Comptoir.

 

Le Comptoir cheese board

Did someone say cheese board after dinner???

 

photo on wall of Le Comptoir

Hmmm, makes me think of, “you can use every part of the hog, except the….”

Le Comptoir
Hôtel Relais Saint-Germain
9, Carrefour de l’Odéon
75006
http://www.hotel-paris-relais-saint-germain.com/en/savourez-les-restaurants.html
Tél.:  +33 (0)1 44 27 07 97
Métro:  Odeon
Telephone to make a reservation, or ask your hotel to telephone on your behalf.

Josephine Chez Dumonet

Josephine Chez Dumonet looks exactly like the classic bistro that it is. Through the door is a zinc bar on the right and tables to the left and filling the rest of the restaurant. The host is super friendly and ready to help. Like many places, the restaurant’s reservations are kept in a big, thick book on the bar. Generous portions, so you may consider ordering a half portion if available.

In the vintage dining room, order slabs of foie gras, morels stuffed with foie gras, beef bourguignon, steak tartare…. For dessert, a Grand Marnier soufflé that is over the top perfect – and enormous. Plus, an apple galette that is as thin as a crepe and perfect for dessert if you just want a taste of something sweet after dinner. Enjoy the locals enjoying this oh so Parisian restaurant.

reservation book at Josephine Chez Dumonet

Welcome….name for the reservation, s’il vous plait?

 

foie gras at Josephine Chez Dumonet

Foie gras, did you say??? One slab or two?

 

perfect dessert at Josephine Chez Dumonet

Perfection… if you can only have one more paper thin morsel.

 

Little friend at Josephine Chez Dumonet

Petit ami at Josephine Chez Dumonet

Josephine Chez Dumonet
117 rue du Cherche Midi
75006
Tél.:  +33 (0)1 45 48 52 40
Métro:  Duroc
Telephone to make a reservation, or ask your hotel to telephone on your behalf.
Only open on weekdays.

La Bourse et La Vie

With a tiny footprint on the street, you can easily miss this jewel. But, simply turn back if you miss it and you will not be disappointed. In the small plush dining room with green velvet everywhere, you will have attentive and patient service. Daniel Rose and Hugo Richier create some modern takes on the classics. Like pot-au-feu, leeks in vinaigrette, sweetbreads… Intimate, quiet and delightful.

oysters and leeks at La Bourse et La Vie

Elegant and delicious!

 

pot-au-feu at La Bourse et La Vie

Pot-au-feu….. incroyable.

La Bourse et La Vie
12 Rue Vivienne
75002
Tel.:  +33 (1)0 42 60 08 83
http://www.labourselavie.com/en/
Métro:  Bourse
Can reserve online

Chez l’Ami Jean

Find the best butter ever right here on the tavern tables. That is why it is nearly impossible not to eat a whole basket of bread! Basque cuisine in the center of Paris. High energy, tables interact, waiters are fun, super nice and they encourage the fun. From the open kitchen, you can hear chef yelling. But, that is because he wants the food delivered to the table immediately, so you, the diner, can enjoy it – NOW! The atmosphere here is relaxed and fun with lots of wood and brick and close tables – often seems communal. Always changing menu depending on what Chef Stéphane Jégo finds appealing.

l'ami jean charcuterie

What to choose first… And, look at that butter!

 

steak at l'ami jean

Oh my, scrumptious steak, with a bite of boudin blanc on the side for good measure!

Chez l’Ami Jean – Stéphane Jégo
27 rue Malar
75007
Tél.:  +33 (0)1 47 05 86 89
http://lamijean.fr/en/
Métro:  La Tour-Maubourg
Can reserve online

l’Assiette

Although l’Assiette may be off the typical visitor’s path, it is worth a visit. It is a neighborhood restaurant that welcomes visitors. David Rathgeber performs in this kitchen now and the dining room is simple, yet elegant with painted glass panels on the ceiling. The host and waiters could not be more accommodating.

L’Assiette is a very French restaurant serving generous portions of French favorites. Try cassoulet, escargot (with lots of garlic and butter perfect for the bread on the table!), rillettes, and sweetbreads. For dessert, order the crème caramel au beurre salé (custard with salted caramel sauce on top) and watch your friends’ eyes roll back in their heads.

cassoulet l'assiette

Cassoulet – for 3? Order appropriately!

 

creme caramel au beurre sale at l'assiette

It may look unassuming but watch for eyes rolling back in the head.

l’Assiette
181, rue du Château
75014 Paris
Tél.:  +33 (0)1 43 22 64 86
https://restaurant-lassiette.paris
Métro:  Mouton-Duvernet or Pernety or Gaîté
Can reserve online

For all restaurants, telephone 24 hours ahead of your reservation to reconfirm. Or, ask your hotel to do this for you.

James Bond Style Dining in Paris – Le Drugstore

James Bond Style Dining in Paris – Le Drugstore

Le Drugstore

When it opened in 1958, Publicis Drugstore offered Parisians a more chic (and adult) version of our old drugstores with soda fountains. After a recent makeover by Tom Dixon, the interior is sexy and comfortable. Request seating outside – even in a bubble when it is cold – to gaze at the Arc de Triomphe while dining. Peruse the fancy cocktail list and order from friendly staff. The experience is kind of like stepping into a James Bond movie, or dining with Don Draper.  Probably more Don Draper…

Unlike other places, ask for a cocktail and “Finger Food” first, then the waitstaff comes back for the food order. Quick delivery after order of healthy portions. Although there are plenty of Americans who are loud and do not try to speak French, Parisians make up a gentler percentage of the patrons. Our waitress said all desserts are made in house and what we tasted was excellent!!! By the way, beautiful bathrooms. Le Drugstore is especially convenient if you are going to the Lido for a show after dinner. Or, it stays open so late, dine after the show.

view to Arc de Triomphe from le drugstore

Arc de Triomphe from the bubble.

 

steak tartare at le drugstore

Steak tartare.

 

entrance to Le Drugstore

Enter through the drugstore – buy pens, paper, posters…. all on the way to your table.

 

Other side of Le Drugstore

Can you find a pet rock?

Madison Avenue Ads?  You need Don Draper!

Le Drugstore
133 Av. des Champs-Élysées
75008
Tel.:  +33 (0)1 44 43 77 64
https://www.publicisdrugstore.com/en/le-drugstore
Métro:  Charles de Gaulle–Étoile
Can reserve online
Open until 2am, so if you are hungry late…

Telephone 24 hours ahead of your reservation to reconfirm. Or, ask your hotel to do this for you.

Don’t miss the opportunity to shop for novel souvenirs before or after your meal.  Everything from pens to posters to pet rocks!  Okay, I didn’t see a pet rock, but it seems like they should have them.

If you’re in the mood for an intimate and authentic Parisian bistro, check out this post.

Vintage Clothes in the Marais

Vintage Clothes in the Marais

Jennifer was on a quest to find the best vintage clothes in the Marais.  As soon as we were planning the trip, Jennifer began researching names and locations of vintage clothing stores.  Then, she decided to narrow it to the Marais.  With that limitation, she and I could map out the stores and create a route for the day, with some culture and a snack or two along the way.

Jennifer is an expert at vintage clothing and has a collection that rivals the best shops anywhere.  Whether in New York, Miami or London, Jennifer has found exceptional quality at vintage clothing stores.  Along with clothes, she shops handbags, jewelry, shoes, luggage, and hats.

On the trip in January, Jennifer packed 3 vintage berets that she sported jauntily in our evenings out.  Also in her suitcase, she packed vintage dresses from Yves St. Laurent and Givenchy, vintage Gucci heels, vintage clutch, and bags full of vintage earrings and jewelry.  (She was stunning each night!)  Her motto is save for something spectacular and timeless, and do not waste money on trends at retail stores.  With that goal in mind, she set our mission for the day of shopping at vintage clothes in the Marais, and we were off.

Start at Saint Paul for Vintage Clothes in the Marais

Rue de Rivoli near Saint Paul

Rue de Rivoli near Saint Paul Métro

First, we took the Métro up to Saint Paul station.  After walking past some of the beautiful foods offered at shops along the way, we arrived at Tilt on the rue de Rivoli.  Jennifer went in to check out our first shop of vintage clothes in the Marais.  A few minutes later, she returned to the sidewalk without making a purchase.  Her assessment:  not high end, not really vintage, more of a resale shop.  Nice sales people that were helpful.  At the end of the day, she added that Tilt is not crammed and jammed like the ones on the rue des Rosiers (more to come about those).

Fit in a Little Culture and Some Great Food

Picasso Museum Courtyard Entrance

Entrance to the Picasso Museum – nice house!

From Tilt, we walked to the Picasso Museum and saw his personal collection on the top floors.  Then, we walked around the corner and ordered crêpes to go from Breizh Café annex – next door to the sit-down restaurant.

Park behind Picasso Museum

Great picnic spot! The other side of the house from the entrance to the Picasso Museum.

We walked across the street and had a picnic at one of the tables in the park behind/in front of the Picasso Museum.  Along with our to go boxes, the cutlery and packaging were all biodegradable.  (An example of Paris really trying to be green.)  This was a completely perfect way to enjoy a delicious Breton crêpe in the Marais!

Bio c’ Bon

Bio c' Bon

Now that we were fortified, we could start our shopping in earnest.  But, Paris has many diversions, even if it is a grocery store.  On our walk, we passed a store, Bio c’ Bon and I went in to get a bottle of water.  It turned out to be an amazing store of 3 floors of only organic products.  From brimming meat cases to stunning produce, to everything else in a regular grocery store – all organic.  A great find – and they are all over Paris.  Add it to your list.

Place de la République

Place de la Republique

Place de la Republique

We kept going up to near the Place de la République to find the shop, Nice Piece.  It was supposed to open at 12:30 pm, and we got there right at 12:30.  We looked in the window for a few minutes.  Jennifer said it looked good and worth checking out.  We waited, then walked up the street and looked at Place de la République, took some photos, then back again.  Still not open.

Onward to High-End Vintage

Time was ticking, so we walked over to the end of rue Tournelles.  Two vintage stores are down the block from each other:  Odetta and Fabri & Co.

Fabri and Co

From the outside, each one looks like a high-end boutique – small, tasteful, luxe.  Jennifer and John were in Fabri & Co. so long that I was sure Jennifer was making a purchase.  Finally, they came onto the street without a bag.  But,  Jennifer was very impressed.  She said the shop owner was super friendly, high-end vintage, the quality was great, clothes were in great condition, lots of beautiful jackets and matching skirts or pants from the 70s, 80s, and 90s.  Also, handbags and some shoes.

Odetta

Next, they went into Odetta and did not spend as much time.  Jennifer said it was extremely high end with a salesman to match.  The shop is a sparse boutique with a well-edited collection.  Clothes are beautifully made, along with handbags and jewelry, all in great condition.

Café Time

Chez Janou zinc bar

As we made our way down the street, we saw a café and stopped in.  It was Chez Janou.  A café with a super-great Parisian feeling.  A beautiful rounded zinc bar, a friendly bartender, a lively crowd and an excellent looking menu!  We ordered a celebratory drink – Jennifer a glass of Champagne, John a kir and me a glass of red wine.  Maybe you wonder why celebratory?  It is Paris and that is reason enough to celebrate!!!  Plus, Jennifer was feeling especially optimistic about our next stops.  After our pick-me-ups, we started out again.

More Beautiful History

Place des Vosges winter

Place des Vosges in winter.

On the way to the next store for vintage clothes in the Marais, we had a few stops to make.  First, we walked in and around the Place des Vosges.  We sat on a bench for a few minutes admiring the amazing architecture and calming square.  Even without any leaves on the trees, it remains one of the most beautiful squares in Paris.

Snack Time

Florence Kahn Bakery

Even in cold and rain, you can sit outside at Florence Kahn Bakery and enjoy falafel.

Then we made our way down the narrow streets to the corner of rue des Rosiers and rue des Ecouffes – falafel central of the Jewish quarter.  John had been waiting for a snack here.  He got a falafel stuffed pita and we all had a bite of the falafel – deee-licious.  It is always a great place to go on each visit to Paris for a reasonably priced and delicious meal (or snack).  When making plans, remember that most of these restaurants are closed on Saturdays in observance of the Sabbath.

Kilo Shop

Kilo Shop – one of multiple.

While we were walking for a falafel snack, Jennifer saw a second-hand store, the Kilo Shop, and went in.  Jennifer’s assessment:  some vintage clothes, fur coats, men’s and women’s jackets, shirts, and jeans.  Minimal accessories and the store was packed with things.  Here, shoppers buy by weight – an interesting idea.  Later comment – Kilo Shops are all over Paris with thrift-store quality.

More Like Thrift Stores

Vintage Desir

Look on the glass storefront for the painted letters – Vintage Desir.

Another find was right off of the falafel corner.  Vintage Desir (or Coiffure – looks like a leftover sign from a previous haircutting place) is a second-hand shop and Jennifer went in.  Her assessment:  slightly more upscale thrift shop quality.  Much more wear to the clothes, both men’s and women’s clothes, everything from jackets, to bins of scarves, purses, hats.  Some hidden gems.  Kind of a free-for-all inside with the shoppers.

Free'P'Star

Another Free’P’Star is across the street from this one. Look at the piles of purses.

Free’P’Star was the last store of vintage clothes in the Marais on Jennifer’s list.  It is in the next block from Le BHV with a Kilo Shop next door.  Jennifer’s assessment:  claustrophobic, free-for-all, thrift store grade, knock-off purses by the load.  Once she got in, she had a hard time getting out.  It is two stores, one across the street from each other.  I only looked in the window and it was a mob scene.

Place de l’Hôtel de Ville

Hotel de Ville

After the raucousness of Free’P’Star, that was it for the day.  We walked to the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, satisfied our craving for a Nutella Crêpe, saw Yellow Vests marching down the rue de Rivoli, then headed back to the hotel for a nap.  No purchases, but Jennifer took us on a great tour and we found out a lot about vintage clothes in the Marais!

Take a tour of vintage clothes in the Marais, but add some spice and spend the day.  Here is a map with directions for this walking tour of vintage clothes, history, art, and food.

Tilt
8 rue de Rivoli
75004 Paris

Picasso Museum
5 rue de Thorigny
75003 Paris

Breizh Café
109 rue Vielle du Temple
75003 Paris

Nice Piece
76 rue Charlot
75003 Paris

Fabri & Co.
82 rue Tournelles
75003 Paris

Odetta
76 rue Tournelles
75003 Paris

Chez Janou
2 rue Roger Verlomme
75003 Paris

Kilo Shop
locations around Paris

Vintage Desir
32 rue des Rosiers
75004 Paris

Florence Kahn Bakery
24 Rue des Ecouffes
75004 Paris

Free’P’Star
61 rue de la Verrerie
75004 Paris

Classic French Bistro – Garlic Chicken and Brabant Potatoes

Classic French Bistro – Garlic Chicken and Brabant Potatoes

French Bistro Garlic Chicken with Baked Brabant Potatoes and Salad

About this Recipe

By: Scott

Here is the bistro-style main course: Garlic Chicken with potatoes and salad on the side.  What more could there be after an appetizer of oeufs mayonnaise?  I suggest beginning with the potatoes.  When you put them in the oven, begin the chicken.  While the potatoes are cooking and the lemons and garlic are cooking, make the salad dressing.  All of the recipes are pretty easy for most home cooks.  Make sure to get lots of crusty French bread to go with the meal.

 

Servings: 4

Prep Time: 1 hour

Meal: Dinner

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 thin-sliced, boneless, skinless chicken breasts *
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 20 cloves garlic, peeled, mashed and roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, sliced very thinly, seeds removed
  • chopped parsley for garnish, if desired
  • black olives for garnish, if desired

* Some groceries have chicken breasts that are sold already thinly sliced.  If your grocery doesn’t sell them like that, buy regular boneless, skinless breasts and slice them in half horizontally to make thin slices.

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

In a large skillet, melt butter with vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper, then brown on both sides, 4-5 minutes each side. Place browned chicken on a plate and set aside. 

Brown the chicken.

Step 2

Whisk flour into the hot oil and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Whisk in flour.

Step 3

Stir in wine, chicken broth, lemon slices, and garlic and bring to a boil.

Add the garlic and lemons.

Classic French Bistro-Style Baked Brabant Potatoes

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 2 russet baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chopped parsley for garnish, if desired

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Preheat oven to 425.

Step 2

Spray a large sheet pan with non-stick spray or oil it generously with olive oil.  Spread the potatoes on the sheet pan in a single layer and season generously with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with more olive oil and toss to coat the potatoes on all sides.

Step 3

Bake, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.  Then, turn the oven to broil and brown the potatoes.  After 15 minutes, stir the potatoes and brown on the other side, about 15 minutes more.

Green Salad with Dijon Citrus Dressing

Ingredients

  • 4-5 ounces of  baby arugula, mâche, or other tender greens
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • blue cheese for garnish, if desired

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Place greens in a large bowl.  Combine olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

Step 2

Drizzle dressing over greens, toss and serve.  Do not toss the greens more than 5 minutes before ready to serve.

A Few Favorite Cookbooks…

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

by Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle

The classic set of books that essentially brought French classical cooking to America! (read more)

Bistro Cooking

by Patricia Wells

The cult idol created this go-to, mouthwatering cookbook for every day and special occasions. (read more)

Simple French Food

by Richard Olney

Meticulous instruction from an obsessive and masterful cook. (read more)

A Parisian Style Egg Salad (Oeufs Mayonnaise)

A Parisian Style Egg Salad (Oeufs Mayonnaise)

Parisian Style Egg Salad (Oeufs Mayonnaise)

About this Recipe

By: Scott

Parisian Style Egg Salad (Oeufs Mayonnaise) is a classic Parisian appetizer.  It became difficult to find for quite some time.  But now, oeufs mayonnaise seems to be enjoying a resurgence.  Why not?  They are luscious and surprisingly filling.  Plus, they look interesting on a plate – trying to capture that in the photo.

This is part of the series on making a Parisian dinner right at home.  Again, trying to make easy recipes, with a portion that can be made ahead.  The Parisian Style Egg Salad (Oeufs Mayonnaise), really fits the ticket of ease of preparation, making part ahead and being classically Parisian.

You can prepare the eggs and the mayonnaise a day ahead and simply plate it when you are ready to begin your meal.  The recipe is for 4 servings of 3 halves each.  However, it only takes a little math to increase this for more people.  And, you will be happy to have extra if there are only two of you for dinner.

 

Servings: 4

Prep Time: 1 hour

Meal: Appetizer

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs, nearly hard-boiled and peeled
  • 1 c. mayonnaise – prepared
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. vinegar (white wine vinegar, but could use red wine, white vinegar – probably not balsamic)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • optional – chopped chives, chopped green part of green onions, cherry tomatoes halved, sprigs of celery leaves, fresh thyme stem with leaves, any of these for garnish

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Boil the eggs (or go buy some already boiled and peeled).  Really, I am a big believer in the 6 minute boiled egg.  They come out beautifully, no dark ring around the yellow, yolky but firm, not dry and mealy.  I use the age-old recipe in many, many cookbooks for a 7 minute boiled egg, but reduce it by a minute.  Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Then, when it comes a boil – a real boil – turn the time on for 6 minutes.  Next, reduce the heat only a little and let them boil for 6 minutes.

Now that is boiling!

Step 2

Remove from heat and pour out the water. Fill the saucepan with the eggs with cold water, a few times, so the cooking stops completely.  Peel and store in the refrigerator if you are making them ahead.

Step 3

Good luck with peeling them.  I have read that if the eggs are old they peel easier.  Or, some say put vinegar in the water.  Others say peel when hot.  Just do your best.  Keep reading and you will find that we are going to hide the blemishes of these little jewels.

Step 4

Make the mayonnaise.  In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients (except garnish) in a bowl and mix until smooth.  It should be thin enough to spoon over the eggs, but not really thin enough to pour.  Set aside.

Step 5

Slice the boiled eggs in half lengthwise.  Place 3 halves, yellow side down, in a peace sign arrangement on a salad plate.  Spoon the mayonnaise over the eggs to cover them completely.  Garnish if desired.  Repeat on 3 other salad plates.

Serve with crusty French bread so none of the mayonnaise is lost.

More Bistro-Style Recipes