I was very, very sad that dinner was over.
Dear friends, if you're ever in Paris, I can recommend the following dinner spots. In fact, Matthew and I often talk about returning to Paris just for dinner.
I've included phone numbers. Because if you don't call ahead — please try to make the reservation in French — you might end up crying over a baguette, wandering aimlessly through the streets. Not the worst thing in the world, but still.
Rules for enjoying Paris: Do your food research to avoid tourist traps. Let servers at wine bars pick the wine for you. Don't be gluten-free, vegan or on a diet. And trust the chef. If he wants to serve the duck rare, let him. It will blow your mind.
Le Baratin 3 rue Jouye-Rouve, 75020 Telephone: 01 43 49 39 70
Edible heaven: Pollack ceviche; beef cheek.
After eating here, I journalled:
“We give up on food. We have no reason to ever eat again. We’ve had the best.”
This Belleville bistro was a little pricey, sure — but not really, if you consider how much we ordered and how awesome every single bite was — and it was WORTH ALL THE MONEY.
The menu changes frequently, but here’s what we had:
Both: Glass of white wine. The lovely French server brought us whatever he thought we should be drinking. No objections. Best white wine either of us has ever had.
Starter (Nadine): Artichoke hearts in a steamy broth. Total comfort food. It was like...a buttery chicken noodle soup made with vegetables. Ish.
Starter (Matthew): THOUGHT he ordered a lamb tart, ACTUALLY ordered a pollack ceviche with beets, yellow radishes and raspberries. I’m pretty sure this dish will go down in the history as the best thing he’s ever eaten.
Main (Nadine): Beef cheek. Guys, I don’t typically (ever) order red meat in restaurants. In fact, a waitress at a restaurant we frequent in Toronto assumed I was a vegetarian for over a year! So I’m not sure what compelled me to go for the beef this time. I will tell you this: It was the best piece of meat I’ve ever had in my entire life. Buttery, melt-in-your-mouth perfection. Sometimes I lie awake at night...missing the beef cheek.
Main (Matthew): Duck, two ways. The legs were “confit,” but not in oil, and the breast was quite rare. The entire thing was described by my husband as “candy.”
*For dinner, we split a 1/2 litre of the smoothest, deepest red wine we’ve ever tasted. Because the bistro’s wine cellar is packed with mostly “natural” wines and independent producers, nothing here is super-expensive, just awesome.
And because we were livin’ it up....
Dessert (Nadine): Chocolate mousse made with 100% cocoa. Smooth. Sophisticated. The perfect amount of sweetness. I can die happy now.
Dessert (Matthew): Crème brûlée with Haitian vanilla. “Let’s live here forever!”
Le Verre Volé 67 rue de Lancry, 75010 Telephone: 01 48 03 17 34
Blood sausage; Tuna steak.
This was a recommendation from our Airbnb host. (Friends, Airbnb is the best.)
Le Verre Volé is a tiny bistro and wine bar near the Canal Saint-Martin. Listen to their wine recommendations. Because it’s also a wine shop, a bottle is simply retail price + a low corkage fee.
I’m not usually a huge fish person — this trip certainly changed that — but I couldn’t resist their daily special: Barbecued red tuna steak with roasted Mediterranean vegetables.
Matthew went for the blood sausage. Because he’s gross. (It was actually super-tasty.)
We split another cheese plate at the end of the night because...we were in Paris.
Jeanne B 61 rue Lepic, 75018 Telephone: 01 42 51 17 53
We took no photos here. This place was too hip for that. We wanted to blend in, cool kids-style.
On a particularly depressing evening — after a long meandering walk, with no real dinner plans, we had to run out of a tourist-trap bistro with bad English translations on the menu — Matthew and I emergency-Googled to find this classic-French-with-a-twist gem in Montmartre.
No tourists. The menu was in (just) French. They spoke French to us! And the food was fan-freakin’-tastic.
We split a steamed artichoke. I ordered their signature dish: the Croqu’Homard, essentially a Croque Monsieur with fresh lobster. Matthew ordered the rabbit tart. We ended the night with a cheese plate and cognac.
When we got back to our apartment, I wrote in our travel journal: “I would pay/do anything to eat this every day.”
(Weird) Honourable Mention:
Chez Chartier 7 Rue du Faubourg, 75009
Um, so we lined up for an hour, got seated with strangers — I accidentally ordered wine for them?! — were rushed through our order and ate mediocre food all for the “experience” of Paris’ oldest brasserie. The eats are cheap, the Montmartre restaurant itself a historic monument, and the night was a complete whirlwind.
While I can’t recommend the mains — my steak tartare was essentially an unseasoned raw hamburger — I did get to cross an item off my bucket list: escargot.
Phew. Okay, folks. That’s the food. The best part, right?