Rotating Header Image

Where and What We Ate In Paris

I anticipated eating to the point of bursting while we were in Paris and I was not disappointed. I pretty much wanted to eat everything in sight and just didn’t have the time. We also discovered early on that when you go a cafe or restaurant, they get very worried if you don’t finish your plate and assume that you didn’t like the food. So from that point on we really endeavored to eat everything we ordered unless we were in very real danger of bursting. The French REALLY care about their food, the ritual of eating, and bread and pastry making have been elevated to an art form. This is a listing of restaurants, bistros, brasseries, cafes, and specialty shops that stood out for us.

Le Pain Quotidien

We came here for our daily cafe creme and breakfast almost every day. Their croissants totally rocked. I had my first soft boiled egg here. I now own 2 egg cups and had soft boiled eggs and soldiers for breakfast this morning. This is technically a chain cafe and I believe they may even have locations in the US, but totally didn’t feel like a chain at all. And it was a 45 second walk from our apartment, so that was neat.

La Fermette

We were fortunate to be situated extremely close to the rue Montorgueil market street. A market street is typically lined with small specialty shops and will generally include at least one boulangerie (bakery), patisserie (pastry shop), boucherie (butcher shop), poissonerie (fish shop), fromagerie (cheese shop), fruit/vegetable stand, and flower shop along with assorted cafes and brasseries. This little cheese shop was our favorite on the street. They sold plates of assorted soft cheeses for 6 euros and are able to vacuum pack most purchases.

Le Palais du Fruit

It was truly a fruit palace and just a joy to walk by every day. Beautiful melons, bright and sweet strawberries, peaches so perfectly ripe the juices dripped down my chin.

Le Maison Stohrer

Le Maison Stohrer was opened in 1730 by the pastry chef of Louis XV and is one of Paris’ oldest pastry shops. The shop itself is even classified as a historical building of Paris and is rumored to be Queen Elizabeth’s favorite pastry shop. I wanted to live here. Not only did they have ridiculously delicious pastries and breads, but they also had prepared dishes, salads, pates and terrines that you could take away. Even if we didn’t always buy something (because it was more expensive than other pastry shops), we would generally walk in almost every day and just look at what they had to offer that day. Chunky terrine du lapin, oeufs en gelee, escargots, ham carved right off the bone, salmon and leek quiche, not to mention the pastries like the Paris-Brest, mille feuille, eclairs, fruit tarts, macarons, and the baba au rhum. Nicholas Stohrer actually invented the baba au rhum which is a basically a sponge cake soaked in rum. We tried the Baba Chantilly which is the traditional baba topped with whipped cream and strawberries. It knocked us on our ass, frankly. I can appreciate that there are people out there that are devoted to the baba au rhum, but the alcohol was a little too overpowering for us. Nevertheless, a visit to Le Maison Stohrer is a MUST for anyone visiting Paris.


Breizh Cafe

Breizh Cafe is a creperie in the 3rd arrondissement that uses organic ingredients and organic buckwheat flour for their too-delicious-for-words crepes. It’s also recommended to partake in their excellent cider in lieu of wine and their cider list is just as extensive as their wine list. We came for an early dinner and managed to sneak in without a reservation. The crepes were so delicious, in fact, that I totally didn’t notice we were sitting a mere 2 feet away from Famke Janssen who was also enjoying her crepes with her little Boston terrier. This was also my first experience with French salted butter caramel. Oh. My. God. I’m in love. I need to learn how to make this immediately. And then bathe in it.


L’Ecurie

This restaurant was recommended by our Bike About tour guide and specializes in meat. Steak frites, to be exact. We only visited two restaurants more than once, and this was one of them. It was such a cozy little place and the proprietor was very welcoming, serving us complimentary house sangria as an aperitif. The steak was tender, perfectly cooked and flavorful. The frites were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. But the star of the show was the crazy delicious blow-your-mind-its-so-garlicky aoli that arrived with the bread basket. We ended up putting it on everything and even dipped our fries in it. They also serve their house wine by the pitcher and half pitcher. The demi-pichet was perfect for two people and a steal at about 6 euros. In fact, this place is really a hidden gem of value. They also have a prix-fixe 3 course menu for 17 euros with 5-6 options for each course. Add that to the cheap wine, complimentary sangria, delicious food, and complimentary calvados at the end of the meal…what more could you want?


L’Ami Jean

It was fantastic. See previous blog post.


L’As du Falafel

The best falafel I’ve ever had. L’As du Falafel is located in the Marais which is Paris’ Jewish district. The streets are almost impossibly narrow and there is generally always a line outside this place. There’s a guy that takes your order while you’re in line and then you just hand the slip to the guy in the window who proceeds to bang out your falafel at incredible speed, tossing and stuffing cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, hummus and yogurt sauce along with crispy, perfectly sized falafel balls. This was actually the other place that we visited twice. It’s also a great budget meal coming to a total of 14 euros for 2 falafels and 2 drinks. We took ours to the nearby Place des Voges and hunkered down on a bench with them. Lovely.

Chartier

Chartier has been around since 1896 and was a soup kitchen in the early 20th century. Today, the harried servers still turn out budget priced meals that, while not certainly not fine dining, are definitely satisfying. I had my first escargots here and they were freaking amazing. It took great willpower not to lick the parsley-garlic butter out of the little escargot plate. However, I also had the worst green beans of my life here. Most of the meals we had up to this point had been served with some sort of potato as a side, but generally no other vegetables. Pretty much every restaurant offers salads, either as an additional side dish or entree, but you just don’t see vegetables accompanying a main course. At this point, I was craving a green vegetable so badly that I ordered a side of haricots verts a l’anglaise, which I understood to be blanched green beans dressed in butter, salt and pepper. What I got, I think, were green beans out of a can. They were atrocious. It is a testament to my need for green stuff that I actually managed to get several bites of them down. That being said, the beans were really the only bad thing about the meal and it was a really fun dining experience .

This isn’t an exhaustive list of everything we ate, mostly just the stuff I took pictures of :) I didn’t manage to get photos of the amazing Berthillon ice cream on the Ile St. Louis or of our last meal in Paris at Le Boui Boui. Or any of the jambon sandwiches from Paul. Or the moules mariniere from L’Academie de la Biere (highly recommended, though). Guess we’ll just have to go back! But the main thing that struck me about the food in Paris is something that you can’t photograph. And maybe this was just me and the euphoria of Paris, but the food tasted more. That’s really the only way to describe it. The fruit was sweeter and brighter, the bread was flakier, the butter was richer, the cheese was creamier. The chickens in the butcher case were unlike what you see here in the US with their puckered yellow skin and bluish veins. It made me realize just how processed a lot of food here in the US actually is. And the chicken tasted better too–more earthy, more chicken-y. The French may not have realized that they’re not a world superpower anymore nor are they on the cutting edge of food cookery any longer. But they care and they are serious about their food. It’s about more than just getting rid of hunger. It’s about community, tradition, quality and seasonality. It was love at first sight!

3 Comments

  1. Amber and Aurora says:

    You just made me very hungry.

  2. Suzpotts says:

    And I meant "epicurian" in my haste I made up a word. :)

  3. Suzpotts says:

    Not sure where my last comment went but I wrote "epicurial". Think Food-out-of-this-world. :)

Leave a Reply