Spring, â€œChestnuts in Blossom,â€ Mais oui â€” Paris
Many of you have asked for some of my favorite restaurants or bistros in Paris, since I have spent so many years exploring this wonderful city.I have dined at Pierre Gagnaire, Guy Savoy, Apicius, Arpege,Astrance, Le Carre de Feuillants,The Bristol with Eric Freechon &Le Grand Vefour, where Ifeasted with Mary Risleyfrom (Tante Marie Cooking School) for 3 hours over lunch and a glass or two of champagne .These gastronomic temples are delicious and merit the stars and accolades they have earned.
However, there are some special contemporary bistros that are cropping up around Paris that are less well known.
My number one favorite of this new crop is Lâ€™itineraires, 5, rue de Pontoise. A warm and friendly husband and wife team runs the place with panache and modernity. Last summer while in Paris for the French Open, I delved into a fresh salad of asparagus with borage flowers and marinated salmon, followed by pink rack of lamb with risotto of petits pois . The salads were gorgeous, the entree perfect and the atmosphere terrific, very French. However, it has now been written up by the NY Times, so you may need to make a reservation. Please do. 01-46-33-00 11.
Last year in May and June, I was introduced to La Gazzetta, a quirkyreasonably priced neighborhood bistro in the 12th,# 29 rue de Cotte .It features simple but modern food, lively atmosphere, with a local crowd.Itâ€™s also near the MarchÃ© dâ€™Aligre so in case you donâ€™t get into the Baron Rouge; you can go there for lunch or dinner.I had langoustines and pied de cochon with spring radishes and young turnipsâ€“ but do remember that the chef is Swedish and the food is slightly quirky and the publicity is rampant for this spot.
Some other places in Paris I love for varying reasons:
Les Papilles , on Gay Lussac. You get a prix fixe dinner; you pick your wine from the bins right in front of you at a small 10% mark up over retail.One of the owners was the pastry chef at Taillevent. It is simple meal, usually a satisfying soup to begin, then a copper chafing dish entree, followed by a crÃ¨me caramel or chocolate mousse, nothing too special there in description, but the food is perfect for that first night of arrival when you want to feel that you are really in Paris, but jet lag is making you wish for bed.
Brasserie Balzaar, 5th arrondisment, has come back, back with a flourish and st
ill has the great old bistro feel. The waiters however are young!The chicken is still moist, the steak tartare is perfect, the frites, are well, just frites, but the atmosphere, it does not get better than this for feeling that you are in a true old fashioned bistro.
Other favorites: This Christmas I dined at Les Petrelles, rue de petrelle, in the 9th. It is a gem of set design and staging. The chef is both a magician with design and with cooking. The space is filled with baskets of produce being used for the eveningâ€™s meal, old cookbooks, and rose petals on the tables, candles.In winter I dined on farm fresh eggs with truffles, his breast of pheasant and my husband has the Scotch grouse over winter lacinato kale.This is a special place for special occasions.
Try the great wine bar (no, not Willyâ€™s, which I love too) called Le Grand Fils , in the Galerie Vivienne.Sit at the bar; order a charcuterie platter and / or the â€œchica picaâ€ of sardines.A glass of cornas is perfect.
If you are near the Jardin de Luxembourg at lunch, donâ€™t miss going to Jean Paul Hevinâ€™s patisserie on Notre Dame dâ€™Assas, 6th arr.Simply the best chocolate tart in Paris, I think. And they have fabulous presents to take home to those who deserve a little a bite of Paris.I always bring the dark bittersweet cocoa powder and the hand finished chocolate candies.
Other favorites with no real descriptions just go and enjoy:
Lâ€™ami Jean, on rue Malar, 7th; when you are in the mood for grilled steak, frites.
Lâ€™Affriole, rue Malar; if they are making the chocolate trio dessert, donâ€™t miss it. My husband loves the headcheese and I love the sardines.
Jadis,(I ate there this past Christmas, 2009) in the 15th. It has a very good blanquette de veau, which you spoon out.
Lâ€™Atelier de Joel Robuchon (again, dined with Mary Risley, just superb, especially the sole ) note it is open on Sunday nights!
Claude Colliot, 40 rue des Blancs Manteaux, 4th arr.
Le Glou, 3rd, 101 vielle du temple; simple and young in clientele.
Chez la Vieille-Adrienne, Michel del Burgo is now the chef! (1st arr, near rue de lâ€™arbre Sec).
Chez George, rue du Mail (a perennial old bistro favorite) Avoid Allard at all costs, it was really poor this January 2010. Donâ€™t miss the turbot and lunch is the best time to go.
Lâ€™Oulette, 13th, near Parc Bercy, has a wonderful onion confit to match with a perfect housemade duck patÃ©. Often makes wine pairings for you to match with your meal. Prices run about 35- 50 euros, without wine.
Le 122,Rue de Grenelle, when you want to dine with the ministers of France and the politicians, lunch is the best time,has excellentfood quality & presentation .
Le Cafe Beauvau, rue de Saussies, near Elysses Palace, 8th (very chic).
Table 128: good luck getting a reservation, it opens this spring, after his restaurant Spring just closed in fall, 2009.( note I have not yet eaten here , but it is run by an American,who loves cooking in Paris, just market availability at his first restaurant, it was a kind of cult almost for many foodies)
I can no longer recommend Le Comptoir, at the Odeon and St. Germaine intersection. At Christmas this year, the food was tired, the staff rushed and it was filled with Americans like me, it was almost like sitting at Cafe Flore or Les Deux Magots. That is not the worst thing but â€“â€ been there and done that.â€