Ooooh, Paris! I have not spend enough time in Paris, a day here, a day there, mostly just as a stop-over when going some other place, really. This time, we were staying for almost 4 days, we were going to eat all the things at all the right places so we had all our eating opportunities planned, from breakfast to lunch to dinner, we even had a day where we had breakfast, two lunches, one of them a menu, and a dinner with five courses planned for later in the evening. We were doing this thing right, we were prepared, we were ready.
What you need to know, though, is that Paris restaurants don’t appreciate if you prefer to not have meat in your dishes. It’s 2019, but they will still act surprised you would rather not eat that foie gras. Well, you’ll certainly always get a starter (salad), and a cheese plate (pieces to taste), but a main? I was worried about that before going, so I made sure that we inquired at every place when we made the reservation whether they would be able to accommodate a vegetarian diet. And I was fully prepared to accept if they didn’t, and already cancelled the idea of going to “classic” places like Benoît. So I didn’t stumble into this naively, I thought. However, it was a struggle. You can read more below.
Rant over, and back to the beauties of Paris. The boulangeries especially, the high quality of food in general, the gorgeous facades and boulevards, the fun fashion stores (Frankie, Gang of Earlybirds, Merci), the bars, the savoir vivre, etc.pp. I managed to eat at more than fifteen places, eleven of them are described here, we even saw the stunning Citron, a restaurant by Jacquemus at the very new, very hip Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées and ate at the now very grown up Rose Bakery at Le Bon Marché (just had an expensive carrot salad, since I went to brunch and two more boulangeries before). You can easily spend all your time in Paris wandering from one resto to the next, nibble a bit here, taste some things there, and never even think about getting in line for the Louvre. We’ll do that next time, for sure.
Du Pain Et Des Idees
Famous for making the best croissants in the city, this place looks like what you would imagine when you think of a classic French boulangerie. I ended up having the pistachio chocolate croissant, because they sold like crazy and come in an intense green, that is quite far off from what you think pistachio would look like. The croissant part is great, but I would definitely go for the classic when I come again, the pistachio looks fancy, but isn’t entirely worth it.
34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris; Mon–Fri 07:00–20:00
Le Clown Bar
This was the place everyone wanted to go, where we made a reservation about three weeks prior, and then it ended up being quite… disappointing. Clearly, the bigger the hype, the bigger the expectations. However, this was also the place of the first revelation how little Parisian restaurateurs value their vegetarian guests. It took us several attempts to convince them to make a vegetarian main, even though we were assured it wouldn’t be an issue when we called to book the table, and in the end I received a mix of vegetables with sauce, that was fine, but clearly not supposed to be a well conceived dish. It was my first one in Paris with akacia flowers, a floral addition none of the current cool places can do without, it seems.
What was worse though was the service. No, Paris isn’t known for its friendly waiters, but Clown Bar took this stereotype up several notches. We ended up not spending loads of money (56 Euro per person), because they literally did not pay attention to us, so we neither got a second bottle of wine, nor coffee or digestives, not even water. Later, it took us ages to get the bill, and even though my friends mains were really quite good, they couldn’t really make up the overall lousy impression the place left us with.
114 Rue Amelot, 75011 Paris; Wed–Sun 12:30–14:30, 19:00–22:30
Le Mary Celeste
Leaving Clown Bar, we crossed the street and went around the corner to meet friends at this bar. And even though we just left the restaurant, the menu at Mary Celeste sounded interesting enough to make us order more food: the devilled eggs pictured above, as well as a clafoutis for dessert, which was excellent. We all liked the vibe in a place, and we all love a cocktail bar that has a bar food menu! Something that’s still so under-represented in Berlin. I mean, who doesn’t like to eat with a few drinks?! This bar was recommended to us by many, and it didn’t disappoint.
1 Rue Commines, 75003 Paris; daily from 18:00
Ten Belles Bread
Still a bit tired, we walked from our hotel to this bakery on our first morning in Paris, and received the coffee we desperately needed along with a breakfast bun with onions and cheese, as well as two scones with butter and jam. Heard a lot of good things about their sandwiches as well, but we had a lot of food coming up so we skipped them. Great casual place to start your day!
17-19 Rue Breguet, 75011 Paris; Mon–Fri 09:00–19:00, Sat–Sun 09:00–17:30
Ash wanted to check out the local Chinese food scene, so we went to this place for lunch. We started with some extra delicious century eggs and an excellent dish of broad beans and mushrooms, and then ventured into the less exciting with a lackluster mapo tofu, and a noodle dish. However, the eggs, the mushrooms, and beans are still on my mind, weeks after!
On a side note, the next day, we got in line at the mega hyped soup place called Trois Fois plus de Piment, and oh wow was that disappointing. The noodle dish we got was very spicy, indeed, but that was it – it lacked salt, sour, sweet, basically anything besides hot chili flavour. Dunno if it was a glitch, because people love this place, but we didn’t even finish half of our two bowls and left.
17 Rue le Peletier, 75009 Paris; daily 12:30–14:30, 18:30–22:30
This was a spontaneous visit, the service seemed a bit sloppy and the place almost empty, so we hesitantly ordered just one crêpe to share (12 Euro), and I didn’t even take a pic because I was like: how recommendable can it be. Oh well, so much that we ordered another one and even though we just had lunch and dinner was just around the corner, we pondered ordering a third! The toppings are delicious (pictured here is the chestnut cream with ice cream, the other one we had was rhubarb), but the star is the crêpe itself. Don’t know how they do it, but it’s better than any I ever had, perfectly cooked, perfect flavour, perfect in every way.
109 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris; daily 10:00–23:00
Another very hyped place, with recommendations from many people, and even more food guides, with a great interior and a menu that reads very interesting. However, no vegetarian mains and no hurrahs from the kitchen if you order one (although they also said it wasn’t an issue when you called to make the reservation). This one ended up being the most disappointing, because my main dish was just every vegetable side available in the kitchen that night, on one plate. And not just that, the waiter even said that when he put it in front of me. At least Clown Bar arranged it in a way that it looked like it was a dish. Le Servan’s veggie main looked like I went to a buffet and paid 22,- for one plate.
32 Rue Saint-Maur, 75011 Paris; Mon 19:30–22:00, Tue–Fri 12:00–14:00, 19:30–22:00
I’m not well versed in gluten-free baking, just because I don’t have to be, but my friend is and recommended this place very much (and even had us get some lemon tarts to bring them). We tried the pain de sucre (pictured), which comes in bar-shape, and also the rest of their breads has more of a focaccia shape, which means they have much more crust than usual loaves. Probably because without gluten, the crumb is usually very soft or sponge-like and more crust balances that? Flavour is good though! But really outstanding were the choux buns, I couldn’t have guessed they were gluten-free.
14 Rue Ternaux, 75011 Paris; Tue–Sat 08:00–20:00, Sun 08:00–18:00
Another day, another high end restaurant. We had gotten the table the day prior because of a cancellation, and I honestly wasn’t very hopeful that this experience would be any better than the other two chic and hip restos we ate at before. We arrived in pouring rain that we more or less managed to avoid, entered the spacious restaurant and were guided to our table by a super friendly host who answered “of course” when I enquired about the vegetarian menu. My shoulders relaxed a bit. We ordered an infusion instead of wine (because, rain), and received a big jug filled with herbs, strawberries, rhubarb and blossoms in hot water, which created a slightly sweet, herbaceous drink that made us very happy. On to the menu, which comes at 60 Euro per person: from the first to the last course, this lunch was a sheer delight of soft flat bread, poached leaf vegetables, roots, mushrooms and fresh peas. Above is what I thought was most delicious: broad beans and fresh peas with acacia flowers in acacia butter. Fun fact, we got the almost same dish at Châteaubriand later that night, but it wasn’t even half as good as here. Main reason: the intense sweet and green flavour of the fresh peas with the mellow floral butter. This one was my favourite meal in Paris.
80 Rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris; Mon 19:30–23:00, Tue–Fri 12:15–14:30, 19:30–23:00
So, if you go for dinner with really good friends, to celebrate your one good friend’s birthday and also because it’s your own birthday the next day, and another really good friend shows up, who you haven’t seen in ages, and two bottles of champagne arrive, as well as several courses of food, and you’re placed directly next to a party of 8 who love to laugh out very loud constantly – how much do you remember of the food? Did the food even have a chance, to begin with? People go to Châteaubriand for the atmosphere, they say. The food is good, although not outstanding, but the place itself is great, the waiters are attentive, you will get a vegetarian menu that is not just side dishes (75 Euro), and the champagne is delicious. What more can you ask of a place in Paris, really?
129 Avenue Parmentier, 75011 Paris; Tue—Sat 19:00–23:00
It was my birthday so I really wanted all the sweets. After a brunch at Holy Belly (fine, but not extraordinary nor worth the wait in line), a pistachio chocolate croissant at Du Pain Et Des Idees (look all the way on top), we arrived at Bontemps and I was delighted by the sight of all the intricate, beautiful cakes! And even more by the fact that this patisserie has all their cake flavours in small, one-bite versions! Which is great if you can’t and also don’t want to decide for just one. Because every single one is an absolute delight, it was my favourite sweets I had in all these days. I was obviously partial to the rhubarb, but the chocolate ganache, the framboise, and the lemon were also outstanding, as were the strawberry and also the orange. Just thinking of these make my mouth water. 100% recommended.
57 Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris; Wed–Fri 11:00–19:30, Sat–Sun 10:00–18:00