Friday, 18 July 2014

Paris Part I: Food and Drinks


Let me take you on a culinary adventure today. Having traveled a lot, there is a crucial point that can turn your trip into a good or (hopefully not) bad one: The choice of the good restaurant. As Paris is full of touristic restaurant traps, I now want to show you my favourite places for food and drinks, from French Cuisine to absolute hip places around town. (I also compiled a short list a few years ago that is still valid but must be enlarged after 6 months trying all kinds of hideouts). 

L'Heure Gourmande

French Cuisine
Since we are in France, let's begin with the obvious. It is a must to go to a typical French brasserie for me every once in a while and I typically go for Chez Chartrier, a great place in the 9ème with low prices and delicious food that consequently lead to long queues in front of the restaurant as no reservations are taken. Another great brasserie is the Comptoir de l'Arc near the Arc de Triomphe. My apartment was situated just above the Perroquet Vert, a gastronomical highlight as their dishes always come with a little twist. In my opinion a perfect dinner place, especially because it is mainly frequented by locals. Another must is fish: French people love sea food and this time a rather exquisite restaurant in the posh 16ème is my favourite - the Chasse Marée. Finally I want to recommend two parts of the French cuisine that are not to be missed: Tartes (best at L'Heure Gourmande) and Crêpes (either at night a one of the thousand stalls or in the Rue de Montparnasse where there is one Crêperie next to the other).   

The Café Suédois

When the sun comes out in Paris, I have the urge to sit outside, enjoying a good meal while being blessed by the sun. In the Marais, I typically go for the Café Suédois, a simple cafe with Scandinavian touch. I also love to hide on the terraces of the Café A or the Bistro des Dames. And when I don't know what I want to have for lunch, I love to stroll through the alleys of the Marché des Enfants Rouges that instantly inspires me to try something totally new and exotic on the provided benches. While I recommend the Chalet des Iles for special occasions and larger budget, the Crous Place (Port de la Gare, near Pont Tolbiac) next to the Seine is a real secret - 2€ for a glass of wine (besides, the whole quay invites you for a relaxing after work). If you like to have a little entertainment while eating, L’été en pente douce at Montmartre or L'Entrepot in the 14ème are really nice. And don't miss the Qinoa dishes at L'Entrepot - ahhhhhhhh!

The Pesto Burger at La Karambole

Not only I am foreigner in Paris, but many exotic places offer great food that take you around the world. The Eiffel Tower and the Trocadoro is a quite expensive area which is why I was really happy when I found the Frog XVI, a micro-brewery on Avenue Kleber. One of my favourite districts is the Marais quarter that is also known as the Jewish part of Paris. No question, but Jewish food is a must at L'As du Fallafel, even if the queue is very long. And what if the the queue is really too long? Would you mind having a really good American hot dog at La Mosaique? Or you could walk a little further until you reach the Flag Café with its simple and low budget dishes with the view at the Bastille roundabout. There is also Montmartre with the Italian Oggi or the local tip Sens Uniques... Eventually I am a huge fan of "La Bonbonniere" - a restaurant group with great places all over Paris: Le Clan des Jules, Le Barbe à Papa, Les Fils à Maman, Le Club des 5, Les Athlètes or the Prairie du Petit Resto


Hot places
As a fan of little restaurants that have a small menu this section is truly fun: Let's start with the créateur de pizza at Colonna where the Parisian Pizza is not only the simplest but also the most surprising. In the same neighbourhood, people meet at the Strobi in order to eat steak with sherry sauce or at the Karambole for excellent burgers (go for the Pesto one!). The Dépanneur at Pigalle is known for its Tacos and always a good start for a night, so is La Fourmis only a couple of streets further. In the Marais, I hardly can pass by the delicious salads at Pick Clops. If I do, you certainly will find me in the courtyard of the BHV Marais Men: A little open space with waffles, burgers and drinks. With friends I highly recommend the Ouh là là! Cantine St Martin because there is no better than sharing takes with your beloved ones. And if you look for a nice spot for fantastic desserts, try the Pain Quotidien in Rue des Martyrs. 

Maison du Chou 

We end this little list with desserts (of course!). I have already mentioned my love for Crêpes that you can find at many stalls. Nevertheless I have found my favourite take-away in the 6ème: Crêperie St. Germain (33 Rue Saint-André des Arts). Macarons are another French specialty that some cannot resist. Rather than going for the classical and very expensive Ladurée, I found a great alternative at Paul bakeries (everywhere in the city). Speaking of bakeries, you can always find a little treat in them. Though, be careful when it comes to the Baguette! My nearby bakery was the Chez Anthony (10, rue des dames) that provided the perfect baguette as it was not too crunchy from the outside and really smooth from the inside - this is how I like it the most! I also discovered a new obsession: Chous (= puffs). Popelini in the Northern part and La Maison du Chou in the South are my places to go to in order to satisfy my need. 

Extra tip
Check out La Fourchette for reservations as they often have special offers when you use their system. Parisians do so in order to pay 30 to 50% less!

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