Joel Robuchon has 26 Michelin Stars- more than any chef in the world. I could attribute this to the steak I had at Atelier Saint-Germain de Joel Robuchon. My advice – skip the dissapointing filet mignon (tournedos) and go right in for the kill with l’entrecote a la plancha. The most beautiful, flavourful steak I may have ever bitten into.
My family and I are all suckers for the perfect steak frites. It is no surprise that we have an affinity for Relais de L’Entrecote, a French chain that serves the same set menu to every diner: a salad to start, and plentiful steak frites as your main course. I’ve been told the sauce is secret and made in a laboratory. In fact, there are whole clubs made up of people trying to re-invent the sauce, as well as newspaper articles trying to figure our the secret ingredients (it may involve chicken livers). Regardless, it’s worth the trip, very affordable, and my brother and I have been known to go here two nights in a row for dinner.
I have been going to Polidor since I was little. This cozy French restaurant first opened it’s doors in 1845 and hasn’t changed much since. The food is simple and served on long wooden tables that you’ll share with strangers. Make the most of it, share a big pitcher of wine, and don’t skip dessert. The bathrooms are also from another time, you’ve been warned.
While the tourists often flock to La Durée for macarons, a more moving experience awaits you at Pierre Hermé. Known as the Picasso of pastries, Pierre Hermé has a talent of taking food to another level. His macarons, in flavours that range from traditional chocolate to blackcurrant and crème brûlée, eating these delicacies is an experience I think everyone should have at least once.
I’m very confused when I hear people talk about how good the coffee is in France. Non, Monsieur, that would be Italy. As David Lebovitz says ‘French coffee has a few fans. But for most of us, it’s lacking in flavor and can be bitter, murky, and poorly prepared.’ Surprisingly, the best coffee I’ve had is at Cafe Flore, a tourist hot spot, but also my favourite place to stop for an espresso or a light brunch.
After a late night of drinking your body weight in red wine and filling up on steak and foie gras, sometimes your body is crying out for freshness. I am a die hard fan of Bob’s Juice Bar and Kitchen for healthy vegetarian and vegan food and delicious fresh juices. He also has a great selection of baked goods!
Best Candy Store: L’Etoile d’Or
L’Etoile d’Or is something out of a storybook. Run by Denise Acabo, a radiant older woman who wears a traditional school girl outfit, this tiny confectionary shop is what dreams are made of. Denise is famous for carrying hard to find items like Bernachon chocolates, CBS caramels, and a selection of the best chocolate from around France. She wraps treats in comic book paper and charms you with her youthful outlook and pride in what she does. Don’t leave without a sweet treat.
The Bon Marche Epicerie is one big gourmet grocery store. It’s the best place to find foreign items, sauces and spices and specialty liqueurs. I also love the little cafe upstairs to stop for a mid day café crème. G Detou is a play on words meaning “I have everything“, and it really does. The small shop has everything a baker and cook can dream of, with shelves lined with bulk chocolate, flavored syrups, tea, sugar, honey, dried fruit, nuts and more.
Commonly known for inventing the Bloody Mary, Harry’s Bar is the perfect drinking hole. It may be a tourist hot spot but the cocktails are perfection. Served by a bartender in a lab coat – they are old fashioned, strong, and worth your buck. I favour the Gimlet and Lemon Drops.
This is not your traditional baguette sandwich. L’As de Falafel has a permanent line outside for it’s dreamy falafel sandwich. With thick falafel, creamy hummus, red cabbage, salted cucumbers and fried eggplant tied together with a hit of harissa wrapped in a soft pita, it’s hard not to go back for. It doesn’t hurt that it costs about 4 euros.
Palais de Tokyo is a modern art museum with one of my favourite restaurants in the city. Both the museum and the restaurant are open til 1 a.m. most nights and are perfect for a late night art crawl, a sweet mojito, and a great dish or two.
Bosophore is my favourite restaurant in the city. It is owned by a Turkish family who let me live with them for months on end in Paris and never let me go hungry. Not only is their warmth and charm enough to come back for, but the food is incredible. Warm lamb, soft bread, smooth hummus and hot Turkish tea linger in my most delicious memory. It’s incredibly well priced and you can even grab a box to go to take up to the Sacre Coeur to enjoy the view.
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon: 5 Rue de Montalembert
Entrecote: 20 Rue Saint-Benoît (and many more around Paris)
Polidor: 41 Rue Monsieur le Prince
Pierre Herme: 72 rue Bonaparte (and more)
Cafe Flore: 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain
Bob’s Juice Bar/Kitchen: Bob’s – 15 Rue Lucien Sampaix / Kitchen – 74 Rue des Gravillier
Bon Marche: 38 Rue de Sèvres
G.Detou: 58 Rue Tiquetonne
Harry’s Bar: 5 Rue Daunou
L’As du Falafel: 34 Rue des Rosiers
Palais de Tokyo: 13 Avenue Prés Wilson
Bosophore: 41 rue de Clignancourt
I could have left you with my best bites of the year – but the ones in Paris are always my favourite. I’ll be back in January with more to share!
What were your best bites of the year?