Monday, March 23, 2009

Eat Like a Parisian

When my friend Anna from Cookie Madness asked us advice on a restaurant in Paris, I immediately turned to my brother David for recommendations. He's been living in Paris for more than 10 years and is a fine gastronomer. As a matter of fact, I think he's influenced me greatly on that part! 

He put together a list of his favorite restaurants in Paris for me. He made sure to combine places that have an interesting decor (but always very good quality food) with places off the beaten path - tres parisiens! I can assure you that you won't be disappointed with any restaurants in the list below! They are affordable and you will have a true French food experience without being chichi. 

I have linked all these restaurants to their websites (for those who have one) and included their hours of operation. Bear in mind that:
  • a lot of restaurants in France close on Sundays or Mondays but not all of them. 
  • In big cities, restaurants stay open late (up to midnight or more) but it depends. 
  • Restaurants start serving dinner in the evening at about 7pm. Most French people go later, around 8.30 / 9pm or even later, especially in Paris.
  • Service is included in France so tipping is not required.  If you do want to add a tip, just leave 1 or 2 euros, but it is not an obligation at all.
  • Do order "menus". They include an appetizer (une entree), an entree (un plat) and dessert or cheese for usually a VERY reasonable price. I'd say for 20 euros, you can get a very decent meal! The menu usually gives you the choice between 2 to 4 appetizers, 2 to 4 entrees and 2 to 4 desserts. It depends. But take my word for it and ORDER A MENU! Restaurants usually offer from 2 to 4 different menus to choose from, from the cheapest to the most expensive.

La Fermette Marboeuf

Near the Champs Elysees. The interior of the restaurant is decorated art deco style. Gorgeous setting but noisy.  Open until 11.30 pm.

Located in an old railway station. Elegant old-world charm. Open everyday, Sunday included, until 2 am.

Oldest cafe in Paris with an "old Paris" feel. Near Saint Germain des Pres. Open until 1 am.

Very authentic decor. Very traditional French food. Open until 12.30 am, except Sundays (11 pm)

One my brother has told me a lot about. Cheapest menu will cost you $25. Closed on Sundays. 

Le Coude Fou

Very Parisian, very traditional, good food and good wine! Open until 2 am.

Beautiful setting. Historical Parisian brasserie

Another historical restaurant. Used to be a favorite for blue collars at the turn of the 19th century because it was cheap. Still very cheap today, they offer very homestyle French food like endive salad, shredded carrots with vinaigrette or leeks and vinaigrette. (I have never tried it myself but would be really curious to try it out next time I'm in Paris!)

Very good meat restaurant near Les Halles. "Louchebem" means "butcher" in the old Paris slang.


My brother told me to go check out their cheap but delicious couscous. 

C Comme Cochon

Traditional food. Their pork shanks cooked in hay is a must. 


david said...

I especially recommand the "Menu accord mets et vins" at L'aiguière.
Wonderfull courses (really), and 2 glasses of different wines, chosen to be perfect wih each dish. Actually, it is ! 70€, and really worthes it.

Jamie said...

Thank you for this post. I have a thing about French cuisine that I am obsessed with. My husband and I actually plan to travel to Paris in July so this is very helpful. As I need to put some feelers out now, do you know of a good cheap hotel to stay at in Paris?
Thank you very much,
Jamie G

Joanna Goddard said...

yay! thank you so much!!! joannaxo

Anna said...

I can't wait to go back and spend more time in France. Paris was fun, but we were only there for one night and it wasn't long enough. I'd also like to see more of France than just Paris.

As for our one dinner in France, we ended up at La Fontaine de Mars because it was near the Eiffel Tower and opened on Sundays. The food was excellent and there seemed to be a good mix of tourists and locals. One woman had even brought along her dog and had seated him in the chair next to her.