Saturday, May 11, 2013


Paris is an ever-evolving city when it comes to food.  Like New York, there is always a classic place to cross off your list and a brand new hot spot to try.  Balancing the old and the new is the key to getting the most out of your visit. 

Food recs for first timers and folks who have been to this city multiple times will vary, so the list below consists of things that I always eat when I'm in Paris.  I’ve been to each of the places below at least 4+ times each – that’s how highly I recommend them.  Bon appétit!


The love of my life
The eclair, plain croissant, and ispahan macaron were all winners
If you only retain one piece of information from this post, let it be this:  forget the cafes, forget the hotel breakfast, forget everything else and head straight to Pierre Herme for their heavenly, sublime, exquisite, too-good-to-be-true ispahan croissant for breakfast.  

Tips:  There are only two locations that serves baked goods and I've listed them below.  The rest of the locations in Paris only sell macarons and chocolates.  You should go early, and I would even recommend being there when they open at 10am.  They usually sell out or stop serving them in the afternoon. I would recommend the location in the 6th arr., it would be easier for you to kill two birds with one stone and do a macaron taste-off since Laduree is just down the street.  I usually go down the street and get a cappuccino to go (very not kosher...taking it to go, but it's that or bring our pastries into the cafe), and we eat it on one of the benches in the lovely square across the street (there is no where to sit and nothing to drink at Pierre Herme).

6th Arrondissement
Opening Hours: Monday to Wednesday and Sunday, 10am-7pm; Thursday and Friday, 10am-7:30pm; Saturday, 10am-8pm
Address: 72 rue Bonaparte, 75006
Phone: 01 43 54 47 77
Metro: Saint-Sulpice
Highlights: Ispahan croissant, ispahan macarons, croissants

15th Arrondissement
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday, 10am - 7pm; Friday and Saturday, 10am-8pm; Sunday, 9am-5pm
Address: 185 rue de Vaugirard 75015
Metro: Pasteur

Highlights: Ispahan Croissant, Ispahan Macaron, Macarons, Croissants. 


Duck confit served with potatoes and salad
Amuse bouche, half portion of foie gras terrine, and money shots of the glorious duck confit
This place shows you what duck confit should always be.  The skin - crisp and crunchy.  The meat - succulent, luscious, and absolutely divine.   

Tips:  Reservations are essential.  Make sure you factor in the time to get to the restaurant since the metro is a bit far.  If you're coming by taxi, 10 minutes max and you should be here, even if coming from the right bank. Also, the portions are huge here.  Try to skip a meal or eat lightly throughout the day so you don't ruin your appetite!

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 12pm - 3pm (lunch), 7pm - 10:30pm(dinner). Closed on Saturday and Sunday.
Address: 117 rue du Cherche Midi, 75006 (6th Arr.)
Telephone: 01 45 48 52 40Metro: Duroc or Falguière
Price: 50-80 EUR
Dress Code: Smart casual. 
Highlights: Foie gras terrine (half portion will be more than enough), duck confit, boeuf bourguignon aux tagliatelles (I've never tried this, but many blogs recommend this dish), millefeuille (see below).   


Mouth-watering faux filet served bleu
The best steak tartare I have ever tasted
Collage of various cuts and pairings we've tried over the years
I have tried a few places famous for steak frites, but Le Severo continues to reign supreme.  It's good to note that the scale of how well you want your steak cooked is different than what we're used to in America.  There are five levels (I've put the American equivalent in parentheses):  bleu (very rare or just seared on each side for a minute), saignant (rare or cooked a little longer than bleu), a point (medium rare or cooked a little longer than saignant), cuit (cooked or done), bien cuit (well done).  I'm not sure they would serve you anything beyond saignant here though.  On our first visit, I ordered mine "medium rare" and was told, no, you want saignant.  I didn't argue. The man that served us (also the owner), wouldn't have it any other way.  Even when we ordered wine, he said no to our request and instead gave us what he thought would go best with the meat.  The one he gave us was actually less expensive than the one we chose, so he definitely wasn't trying to upsell us, but trying to give us the best experience possible.  Just trust him.  If eating rare makes you queasy, you should should probably forgo the entire steak frites experience.  For beef that is aged and prepared this well, it would be a shame to cook them too well. The steak tartare (raw, hand-chopped, very high quality beef mixed with onions and capers) was amazing, possibly more so than the steak.  The steak and frites came to our table perfectly salted.  We didn't need to add anything to it. 

Tips:  Reservations are absolutely essential.  Each time we are there, we see a countless number of people try to walk in, but every single one, without fail, are always turned away.  If you have a French speaking friend, have them call for you.  I have tried making reservations many times in English and broken French, and it never works.  The last time I tried, I said, "Bonjour, parlez-vous anglais?"  and the reply was (in good English), "No, I do not speak English".  Click.  Lastly, don't be fooled by the restaurant around the corner Le Bis (formerly Le Bis Du Severo).  It was purchased in 2011 and is no longer affilicated with Le Severo. 

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm (lunch), 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm (dinner);  Closed Saturday and Sunday.
Address: 8 rue des Plantes, 75014 (14th Arr.)
Phone: 33-1-45-40-40-91
Metro: Mouton Duvernet or Alesia
Price: 25-50 EUR
Dress Code: Casual
Highlights: Steak tartare, steak frites (faux filet, cote de boeuf, rump steak)


Chez Dumonet again.  We came here for the duck confit and were very pleasantly surprised to discover how unforgettable their millefeuille was.  It was like eating a stick of (high quality) melted butter sandwiched between flaky puff pastry and finished with a generous shower of powdered sugar. Not good for your diet (or health), but so tasty. Sharing is a must.  If you can polish this off after the foie gras and duck confit, you are a beast my friend!

Tips:  Same as above.  Make a reservation.  Also, if at all possible, save room for this.  You may be on the verge of throwing up after a full meal, but it is so worth it.  When I came here with my mother, we ordered the foie gras and duck confit and by the time the millefeuille came, we literally couldn't shove more than a bite down our throat.  Luckily, they can pack it to go for you.  Just don't forget to take it with you when you leave (like we did).

Information: Same as above

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