Paris Picks: Restaurants (Partie II)
A continuation of the previous post on my favorite Parisian restaurants (the best pho, a michelin starred wonderland, a lovely north african deli/caterer, among others), today’s edition contains a monument historique, mouthwatering falafel, CRÊPES (because even this girl, obsessed with all types of Asian food, can’t avoid crêpes in France), vegan food (I’m not vegan), duck confit, a mosque, and more!
Without any further ado (because the previous post had enough of that), here is the second half of my restaurant list:
- Bouillon Chantier 7 rue du Faubourg 75009
- Les Cocottes 135, rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 See: Sample menu
- King Falafel, 26 rue des Rosier 75004 (Better than, or at least the same as, L’As du Fallafel)
- Breizh Café, 109 rue Vielle du Temple 75003
- Crêperie Josselin, 67 Rue Montparnasse 75014
- La Grande Mosquée de Paris, 39 rue Saint-Hilaire, 75005
- Café Ginger, 9 Rue Jacques Coeur 75004
- Café de l’Industrie, 16 Rue Saint Sabin 75011
Bouillon Chantier 7 rue du Faubourg 75009
Classified as a monument historique since 1989, this is a charming example of the city’s living history. A grande dame of over 100 years old, this establishment was founded in order to provide “a decent meal for a reasonable price” as their website states. They continue to do exactly that, in a charming, open dining hall, with glowing lights, mirrors and decor that transports you to the turn of the 20th century.
I think I first came across this gem while conducting my little summer research project, when I was tracking Chopin’s footsteps across the street at Cité Bergère. I think I remember being intrigued by their sign on rue du Faubourg Montmartre. I didn’t go in then, but a couple years later, while reading David Lebovitz’s trusty blog I saw a mention of the cheap prices, historic charm and quality frisée salad. I was intrigued. So one afternoon (during the year I was teaching), I decided to finally visit this unique restaurant.
I didn’t have high expectations – I knew this was a place of ambience and decent food, for great prices. I got exactly that. I remember getting the frisée salad, a confit de canard, and I vaguely remember getting dessert (but I could be wrong). I would most definitely go again, because even though the food quality itself was just a-ok, the atmosphere and experience is amazing! I loved the interior, and I most certainly want to go back with my camera and (much improved) photo-taking skills (which still need much improvement, but are loads better than before).
Also note: you might be stuck randomly with a table of strangers. When I went, it was far from crowded, but I got sat right in front of another young Asian girl. We ended up chatting a bit (in English.. I don’t remember where she was from though, I vaguely recall it wasn’t the US). They scribble your order with a pencil on your paper placemat, and are a little brusque in service but effective – tout à fait correct.
Les Cocottes is a wonderful restaurant that I found thanks to a friend (fellow TAPIFer and Stanford alum – we met for the first time Spring semester on campus, after finding out we were both headed to Paris!). It’s absolutely scrumptious, and a bit on the pricier side, but you can try their lunch menu at 23 euros (choose entrée du jour + plat du jour, or plat du jour+ dessert du jour), or 28 euros for it all. I recommend going with their entrée du jour and plat du jour, and finding dessert somewhere in the neighborhood afterwards. Say, Aux Merveilleux de Fred or Lemoine (tiens, pourquoi pas les deux? 😉 ).
Note/Warning: Menus are a WONDERFUL way to save some euros and try what a place has to offer. HOWEVER, most places offer these only Monday-Friday, and that doesn’t include holidays. Of course, some places are super nice and offer it any day, but that’s not the norm. So, just keep this in mind so you won’t be sad later. Just saying. Cause I’ve definitely been sad when I go somewhere on a weekend (I still end up eating allll the noms, though).
Anyway, I highly recommend this place – it’s like the middle ground between a standard bistro/brasserie and an upscale restaurant (which makes sense, given the chef has a range of establishments). I’m such a big fan of scallops, and I was in luck when we visited – the plat du jour was succulent, perfectly-cooked scallops!
King Falafel, 26 rue des Rosier 75004 (Better than, or at least the same as, L’As du Fallafel)
FALAFEL (the featured image of this post)! In the States, I never ate falafel that much (or ever? had I ever before Paris? I’m not sure). Once I got to Paris, though, that changed. In fact, my first meal after landing in Paris for study abroad was, you guessed it, falafel! I remember going to Pitzman with fellow students and a French student guide from our partner institution (tasked with helping us baby lambs get a feel for Paris), eating falafel at the Place des Vosges. From my first bite, I was hooked on falafel. What was this savory mix of textures and flavors? Where had this been all my life?! Basically the questions going through my head as I marveled at my surroundings.
While Pitzman was good, as is L’As du Fallafel (the most famous one), I’m extra partial to King Falafel, which almost never has a line, but has delicious sauce piquante and perfect fried eggplants. It’s a few doors down from L’As du Fallafel (which almost always has a line, and persistent store people who try to reel you in) and was my regular place. I’ve taken both Kenji and my mom here, and have gotten a stamp of approval from both. I’ve also told a bunch of friends about this place.
When you go (because you really should), ask for extra sauce piquante, and maybe extra aubergines (eggplants), even if you have to pay extra. Extra tip: If you don’t want to walk and eat, I suggest you carry your falafel to the Square Charles-Victor Langlois and take a seat on one of its green benches.
Breizh Café, 109 rue Vielle du Temple 75003
If you’re looking for delicious crêpes (both the savory buckwheat galettes and the sweet crêpes) that draw from Breton tradition, Japanese aesthetic, and fresh ingredients, look no further (the owner’s wife is Japanese…I read a blog that said their floor was tatami? I didn’t notice because I was too busy thinking about the crepes I was about to eat). Breizh Café is where it’s at. They’ve been a hot item for a while, and even though I’m not usually into jumping on the band wagon, I have to admit that these crêpes are yummy. Their sweet crepes, in particular, with their delectable caramel au beurre salé sauces, or chocolate sauces, or any other combination of lovely things, are my favorite. They’ve got such a long list of galettes and crêpes, though, that you might have a tough time deciding! I know I did.
The one slightly “minus” point, if one could even call it that, is that it tends to get crowded, especially during French meal times (well, duh, I guess), which happen around 12h -14 h (France does military time) and 19h – 21h. Either during these times, or not, the service might not be super dee duper friendly. I think I’ve gone twice, and I got this impression both times. It’s possible it was because I was speaking English at the table (though I spoke to anyone related to the restaurant in French), it’s possible it was because they thought I was just another tourist checking off Breizh Cafe, consuming without appreciating, it’s possible for a whole number of reasons. However, they weren’t particularly rude either, so I’ll continue to visit whenever I get the chance 🙂
Oh, and order a cidre (hard cider, not as sweet as the ones in the States, and kind of smells funny in my opinion) or a pommeau (apple juice-apple brandy mix of heaven, clearly my drink of choice) or a calvados (apple brandy). Traditional Breton galettes deserve traditional drinks 😉 But if you just want water, remember to ask for “une carafe d’eau, s’il vous plaît!” With a smile. A smile always helps, except on the metro (where you should have your metro face on).
Crêperie Josselin, 67 Rue Montparnasse 75014
Another wonderful crêperie, with more traditional decor as well as food (you really feel transported to northern France when you step inside) and warmer staff. Inside, you’ll find old wooden ceiling panels and supports (which are decorated with traditional painted plates) which give a wonderfully cozy feel in the autumn and winter chilliness. Order a bowl of cider, a savory galette (and maybe also a sweet one) and you’re set!
Located near the Edgar Quinet metro (as well as the monster of a station Montparnasse), it’s convenient to get to. It’s also near university student territory so it gets quite crowded. You won’t be able to enjoy a leisurely 2 hour lunch here – there are people lined up who want to take your spot! So as friendly as the owners are, they will scoot you out once you’re done.
We’d come here often when studying abroad, and I’ll always have fond memories! Definitely recommended, especially for the ambiance/decor. To be completely honest, I like the flavors at Breizh Café more, but I prefer the experience of Crêperie Josselin.
La Grande Mosquée de Paris, 39 rue Saint-Hilaire, 75005
Ah, la Grande Mosquée de Paris. A beautiful place located in the 5th arrondissement (notice, the last digits of the zipcodes in Paris tell you the arrondissement of the address), complete with a peaceful place of prayer (there’s a section where non practicing folks can see the architecture, you just can’t enter the prayer room) as well as a tea room and dining room. Tons of delectable treats, sweet mint tea and yummy tajines, cous cous and so much more!
You can come here just for tea (you might sit outside though, surrounded by chirpy little birds that also might leave something less desirable behind their fluffy feathered tails) or you can join them for lunch/dinner! It’s a bit on the pricey side, so maybe save this for a special occasion (but, if you’re anything like me, you might turn any day in Paris into a “special occasion” just because). When my mom and her sisters came to visit me from Japan, we went here to celebrate our last days in the city!
Café Ginger, 9 Rue Jacques Coeur 75004
So I’m not someone that’s super into vegan food (I’m not against it or anything, it’s just hard for me to be vegan). When my friend/fellow TAPIF-er asked if I wanted to try a wonderful new vegan café she found, I agreed because I knew she had great taste and also looked for super fresh, healthy, wholesome food. THIS PLACE WAS SO GOOD. I may not be vegan, but this place opened my eyes to great vegan food.
When the waitress heard us incorrectly and brought a kale-ginger-apple juice for both of us (instead of just for my friend), I eyed the foamy, dark green contents of my glass with distrust. I was convinced I was not about to enjoy this. However, one sip in, my mouth had a whole Greek chorus thing going on. The kale flavor, while there, was mostly overpowered by the apple (a good thing), with the punch of ginger coming through.
Anyway, who knew vegan food could be so yummy? I got their plat du jour with an assortment of salads and grains as well as a vegan tart (I don’t remember exactly what the
Café de l’Industrie, 16 Rue Saint Sabin 75011
This is a great bistro/restaurant near the Bastille métro. I will say the quality fluctuates a bit day to day, but the confit de canard (Duck) is magnificent with its spiced honey sauce. I can’t speak to the other things because I literally always got the duck.
That’s it for restaurants, folks! (For now, at least) Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or additional thoughts! I’d love to hear about your favorite Paris restaurants!