dining 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.

Where to Find Unique Gifts in Paris – All Under One Gorgeous Roof

Where to Find Unique Gifts in Paris – All Under One Gorgeous Roof

Have you been to the Grands Magasins of Paris?  No?  What about one of the huge department stores in Manhattan or in your local mall?  The ones you have seen are big aren’t they?  But, really, really big?

Big is an Understatement

Galeries Lafayette Atrium

Saks Fifth Avenue is big.  Bergdorf Goodman is luxe.  Barney’s is cutting edge.  But, you cannot imagine the spread of the Grands Magasins.  All of the New York stores combined into one do not equal the sheer enormity of either Printemps or Galeries Lafayette.  These are the two, true Grands Magasins of Paris.  And they have food too!

Imagine one of the incredible department stores that you know, then supersize it – twice or three times.  Next, add haute couture names from the best in the fashion world, plus everything you can imagine from a regular department store.  Add in food in all variations.  And there you have it – one of the Grands Magasins.  All under one roof (or three, as the case may be).   As a bonus, the Grands Magasins are next door to each other (and behind the Palais Garnier).  Convenient, eh?

Galeries Lafayette

 

What is Inside the Grands Magasins

Housewares – floors full
Kitchen – great souvenirs in the tea towel section and utensils section
Bedding – anything you can imagine
Men’s – of course
Women’s – can’t have a department store without it
Shoes – for acres
Food – pantry items to prepared gourmet take home
Restaurants – from sandwiches where they slice the aged ham off the bone to a Petrossian caviar and Champagne restaurant right by the atrium in Galeries Lafayette.  And, everything in between.  In Printemps du Goût, we stopped at Byzance for a beautiful smoked salmon baguette sandwich that we enjoyed while looking over the rooftops and the Eiffel Tower in the distance.  Not too shabby!
Grocery – like a super high end grocery store with butchers and fish mongers who can answer any question you have about the product or how to prepare it
Wine and Liquor – tremendous wine selections, rooms of Champagne, spirits of all kinds

Galeries Lafayette Wall Diagram

Thinking of food and drink, Printemps recently opened two new floors of gourmet food halls, Printemps du Goût.  One floor even has a great gift section appropriately named, “Le Cadeau” (“gift” in English).  Shelves of perfectly sized gems for gift giving.  (Just ignore my advice on not really taking jarred and canned things back and get a few for family and friends back home if you dare.)  Galeries Lafayette has amazing food halls, too.  Luxurious, insane, deliciousness waiting for your watering mouth.

Printemps cadeau

Perfect size for gifts.

Fashion at the Grands Magasins

And, are you looking for the most exclusive names because you are a fashionista?  I bet you have never heard of all of the luxury brands encircling the atrium beneath the fabulous multi-colored dome of Galeries Lafayette.  The same with Printemps in an entire building dedicated to women’s wear.  Printemps also has a dome, but it covers a brasserie where, once you are done shopping, you can relax under beautifully filtered light.

Galeries Lafayette Bons Bons Maquillage

Who knew you could get chocolate bons bons in a make up format?

With all that is on offer, it is hard to imagine that any store can be as magnificent as the Grands Magasins.  Just walking around for an hour to browse and getting a snack (or two) can be overwhelming.  And, you cannot make it through the Grands Magasins in a day – or maybe even a week.  They are simply over the top, and at the same time, a must visit.  Obviously visitors from all over the world feel the same way.  You can see any nationality shopping, and the Grands Magasins have sales people who speak practically every language.  The diversity is amazing.

View From on High

View from terrace of Galeries Lafayette

View from the terrace of Galeries Lafayette of the Palais Garnier.

Whatever you do, shop or not, do not miss the view from the top of one of these Grands Magasins.  The view is worth every penny you don’t pay to go shopping.  Expanses over the rooftops at a height that makes Paris seem to stretch out forever at your feet.

Galeries Lafayette Sign to the Terrace

Keep going up!

A Couple of Notes on Visiting the Grands Magasins

– Expect your bags to be checked by security when you walk in the doors of each store.
– Do not bring suitcases with you.
– Galeries Lafayette will soon open another location in a huge historic building on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées
– Thinking of eating during a shopping trip?  Be prepared to be overwhelmed; there are lots of choices and lots of competition for seats
– Practice a few key menu terms before you go
– At the restaurants, pay attention to the details – yes, they have “hairnets,” but they are stylish
– Galleries Lafayette even has an RER entrance into the men’s department
– Check out this warning – and admonition to get your body moving – from the Printemps website:

ALCOHOL ABUSE IS DANGEROUS FOR THE HEALTH. CONSUME WITH MODERATION.
FOR YOUR HEALTH, PRACTICE REGULARLY PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES.

View from Printemps Food Halls

Not a bad place to enjoy a smoked salmon baguette sandwich!

Galeries Lafayette – Paris Haussmann
40 boulevard Haussmann
75009

Printemps – Paris Haussmann
64, Boulevard Haussmann
75009

Recipes for a Parisian Bistro-Style Meal

Recipes for a Parisian Bistro-Style Meal

Cooking and enjoying a Parisian bistro-style meal is a great way to get in the spirit of visiting Paris.  With a little planning, it can be an easy weeknight event.  Or, invite some friends and make it a weekend dinner for family and friends.  Either way, it will transport you to Paris – even if just for the evening.

These Parisian recipes are pretty simple with ingredients that can be purchased in nearly any local grocery store.  Do not worry if it doesn’t come out perfect.  My cooking always seems to look lopsided on the plate.  It took me multiple attempts and lots of photos to try to make these dishes look as good as I could.

Three Part Series for Parisian Bistro-Style Meal

There are 3 parts in this series on Parisian recipes.  I always start with dessert.  Then, you will find the appetizer.  Finally, the main course and a couple of sides.

With those 3 courses, it will be a simple, but filling Parisian bistro-style meal.  It should satisfy your yen for French food – right in your own home.

Here is the first in the series.

 

Should you want to know what the French have for a full dinner, the following are the courses and the order.

 

Aperitif (same in English)

Generally a glass of Champagne or a glass of dry white wine, maybe a kir, along with some roasted nuts, assorted olives and a cracker.  Not a cocktail hour, but a settle-in drink while waiting for everyone invited to gather round (or make it to the dinner).

 

Entrée (our appetizer)

This is the first course at the table.  Generally, this will compliment the main course.  So, if you are having fish or seafood for the main course, you may want to have a vegetable tart or onion soup.  If you are having meat for the main course, then choose a fish or seafood appetizer.

 

Plat Principal (main dish)

Obviously, this is the bigger portion of the meal that will include a protein and a side dish or two.  Again, make it work with the appetizer to provide variety during the meal.

 

Salade (salad)

Just like how it sounds, but probably very simple.  Some greens, a light dressing and really that is it.  No need to go crazy with eggs, olives, nuts, dried fruits and all the things we toss together in a salad.

 

Fromage (cheese)

A great thing about Paris is that there are cheese shops all over the place and it is easy to have little tastes of a variety of cheese at the end of a meal.  Like you can imagine, a plate may be presented family style with 3 cheeses.  Maybe some honey, preserved fruits or roasted nuts will be on the side.  Then, you slice off a portion for your plate and pass it around.

 

Dessert (dessert)

Been waiting the whole meal for this?  Well, like over here, some people go all out on extravagant desserts and others are simple and often contain fruit.  The thing about Paris is, pastry stores create beautiful desserts that are wonderful tasting – and you don’t have to make them.  So why not go all out on dessert in Paris?

 

Café (coffee)

At the end, after dessert, coffee will be served.  Often times a small bit of chocolate will be served to accompany the coffee.

By this time, you should be D-O-N-E.  Even without huge portions, this should be a sufficiency.

The recipes here are for an abbreviated version of this full French meal.  Even without all of the courses (let alone all the dishes to wash), this Parisian bistro-style meal will probably satisfy you.