Guys, I’m still dreaming of Paris. I feel like my most recent trip changed me irrevocably, and I haven’t quite shaken it. While part one of my travel guide focused on where to eat and drink during the day, I’m shifting over to heartier meals and wine bars for part two. Read on for some of my most memorable meals in Paris!
Le Servan – This little spot in the 11th arr is turning out some of the best modern French food in the city. All of their dishes have delicious twists on classics, such as a homemade spicy XO sauce served with the pork belly, thai basil with the heaping bowl of clams, or a juicy veal with salsify. Don’t miss this spot, and make a reservation in advance for dinner.
Breizh Cafe – Crepes: one of those staple french items you don’t want to miss while in Paris. Stop by Breizh for lunch in the Marais, but be prepared to wait during primetime (I made a lunch rez). My favorite is the savory buckwheat artichoke crepe, with a runny egg, raw comte cheese, and white jam inside. And don’t forget to skip dessert (caramel crepe with vanilla ice cream is my pick).
L’Avant Comptoir – Hands down my favorite food on the left bank. This little, casual wine bar offshoot of Le Comptoir (see the next entry) is standing room only, with no wine list (the servers know it by heart) and the menu items hanging from the ceiling. In front of you is the most giant pile of bread and butter and jar of cornichons you’ve ever seen. You will eat copious amounts of it. Don’t skip the best beef carpaccio and artichoke vinaigrette. The only item that wasn’t a 10 was the foie gras macaron.
Le Comptoir – The beautiful and upscale spot features a fancy tasting menu at dinner, but if you go for lunch you can order a la carte. Sit outside and enjoy some of the best octopus and lamb I’ve had in the city. Finish it off with the coffee creme brulee.
Chez L’Ami Jean – Infamous for their rice pudding, yes rice pudding. This old school brasserie in the 7th arr offers up a heaping dose of classic French cuisine, but you under no circumstances can miss the rice pudding for dessert, which is served in a giant bowl with an excellent cast of toppings.
Ellsworth – When I heard that Ellsworth was one of the best new restaurants in the city and their signature item was fried chicken, I scoffed. But I went anyways, and this was some of the best chicken I have ever eaten in my life. Go for Sunday brunch – the bar is reserved for walk-ins – but note that people will start lining up about 10-15 minutes before it opens. It’s that good.
Bistro Paul Bert – A quintessential Paris spot, featuring the steak frites of your dreams. I literally skipped the appetizers here and went straight for the steak, which is served in the most decadent au poivre sauce. Get the grand marnier souffle for dessert and you’re golden. Reservation is a must.
Frenchie Bar a Vins – Frenchie has legendarily been one of the hardest reservations to get in the city, and a tasting menu, so I opted for their casual sister wine bar and was not disappointed. There are no reservations, and the line queues up very early and it gets very loud, so you want to be in the first seating and be in the back room, not the bar room. The lamb pappardelle is a can’t miss, and the rotating seasonal menu also featured a killer burrata and foie gras when I went.
Le Dauphin – I absolutely adored dinner at Le Daupin, unfortunately another spot I’d recommend making a reservation. Everything was small plates style and felt very modern – we had tiny fried whole shrimp and a bowl of squid ink that was dense and delicious.
Clamato – If seafood is the name of your game, cozy up at the bar at Clamato. It’s dark and candlelit, and features an amazing selection of seafood. Get a glass of bubbly, some oysters, and their caviar-topped deviled eggs to start off.
Le 404 – This fantastic Moroccan restaurant in the Marais was one of the sexiest spots I’ve been to in Paris. The vibe is fantastic here and it gets packed, and also note that you probably won’t be able to finish all of your food because the portions are quite big. The lamb meatballs, chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives, and mojitos were killer.
Buvette – I ducked into Buvette, sister to the NYC location, on my recent trip when I wasn’t able to get into my desired brunch spot, and was so glad that I did. This cozy little spot in Montmartre felt right at home on a chilly day. I sat at the bar drinking Gamay and nibbling on roasted beets and roquefort cheese and was a very happy camper.
Candelaria – Tacos, you say?? Head to this little speakeasy-style spot in the Marais. The front features a to-go area and casual lunch counter, but cut through the back and you’ll arrive at a fabulously designed Mexican restaurant. The chorizo tacos and margs hit the spot.
La Cave de Septime – Perhaps my favorite wine bar in all of Paris. Right next to the famed Septime, this little spot features all natural wines, and the most lovely staff that will also let you buy and uncork from their vast off-menu selections.
Le Perchoir – For sunset in Paris, there’s nothing like a front row view on a rooftop. Le Perchoir in the 11th arr is the perfect spot for a cocktail and a view of the city that doesn’t require a hike to the top of Notre Dame.
Le Comptoir General – Right next to the canals, this tucked-away spot is actually pretty massive, and features some of the coolest design I’ve seen in the city. It’s perfect for groups, as it has multiple rooms (and randomly, a pirate ship inside).
Freddy’s – From the owners of Semilla and Fish La Boissonerie, this cute little St Germain wine bar is just the ticket for an aperitivo or afternoon glass of wine. Bonus points for hopping next door for dinner at one of their lovely restaurants.
Hotel Costes – I tend to avoid the busiest areas in Paris, but this stunning hotel on the Rue St Honore feels like a world away. Sit in their courtyard for a drink and soak up the gorgeous design and excellent people watching.
Ralph’s – Let me preface this by saying that you will spend an arm and a leg here, so by all means go for drinks and not dinner. Ralph’s in St Germain is simply stunning, and if you go for an after dinner drink, they’ll serve you housemade caramel corn that is the perfect end to any evening.