Thursday, September 8, 2011

For when I wish I were in Paris...

I have regular cravings to be back in Paris.

The recent visit of a friend who lives there sent my mind right back to the city I haven't yet returned to after leaving in January.  It probably doesn't help that I've been torturing myself in the London summer turned winter by reading Paris was Ours edited by Penelope Rowlands.  It's a collection of short tales by thirty-two writers who have lived in and experienced Paris.  My commuting companions on the Brighton to Bedford train line know my thoughts on the book...mostly in tear format...sometimes in missed stop format. I blame David Lebovitz for the missed stop day, the book was his recommendation!

Until I can visit Paris again (which looks like next month for Le Salon Du Chocolat!!), I have to settle for a "Best of" memory montage of my favourite places.  In my head it's in some hipstomatic slide show to a Gainburg soundtrack.  Either that or some crappy poppy Christophe Mae song long since defunct down the wrong end of the charts. 

I know there have been so many developments in the Paris dining scene in the past 9 month which I can't wait to bite into, but favourites stay favourites for a reason!  

Favourite wine bar and tapas - Standing up, but the best Left Bank experience - L'Avant Comptoir.  It get's crowded, but if you head early you can grab a spot at the bar. The Morgon red is amazing and their tapas dishes are seriously good. ( (L’Avant Comptoir, 9 carrefour de l’Odéon, Sixth Arrondissement, Paris; 011-33-8-2610-1087. No reservations. Open daily).

Beautiful, Chateaubriand
Modern French and one of my bias favourites because I staged there last year - Chateaubriand. Good luck making a booking after it placed 9th in the S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards for 2011, but if you get there about 9 you can have a wine and wait at the bar for the unreserved second sitting.  You could also try their other restaurant Le Dauphin two doors down.  It's amazing. That's all.  Please try them...or try them again! ( and ( (Chateaubriand, 129 Avenue Parmentier, 75011 Paris, +33 (0) 1 4357 4595, Reservations necessary for 8pm sitting).

Jackie's comfort duck at Je The..Me
If it's super classic old school French cuisine you are after brave the semi-suburban 15eme and book at  Je The Me.  Jackie is the owner and his son, Damien, the sommelier.  The restaurant is in an old national trust general store and brilliant, his kitchen no bigger than your home set up and his food is like a rich rich hug ( (Je The..Me, 4 rue d'Alleray, Paris, France 01 48 42 48 30).
Home to craving satiation - Le Petit Marche
Probably my favourite place to eat in Paris is Le Petit Marche in the Marais. It's classic French with a modern Asian twist, the staff are laid back and young and it's right of the Place de Vosges so easy to get to (  Location isn't really relevant to me usually (I just spent an entire weekend commuting to a small island in Lake Como for their menu (and absolutely worth it in case you are wondering) but when you crave their Salade Chinoise from Le Petit Marche (which happen regularly) it helps to get there fast! (Le Petit Marche (9 Rue Bearn, Paris, 75003, Tel: 01 42 72 06 67, Reservations necessary).

I forgot about the potato dauphinoise, another reason to order nothing up this
For a classic bistro steak I always head to La Taverne L'arbre sec near Chatelet.  The menu is all good (so my friends tell me) but the Cote de Boeuf is all I ever order.  There is no point pretending even for a minute that any other dish element will trump bone marrow ( (La Taverne De L'arbre Sec (109 Rue Saint-honore, 75004 Paris, 01 08 99 78 61 69).

And now this is were the montage speeds up a little, but don't pay any less attention to these places...I'm just typing faster to get onto to book a train immediately! 

Favorite ice cream (well gelato more correctly) - Grom, Left Bank just near Rue De Buci:  (

Favorite macaron that I continue to emulate at home with fastidious attention and adoration  - Pierre Herme (

Favourite falafal in the Marais: L'As du Falafal, don't waste you time on the others, you will miss out on the best harissa on the block (  I am happy to enter into a street located rap battle on this one you know how many words rhyme with harissa?

A salad in an acceptable size

Best giant French salad and market street combo: Le Rocher de Cancale because I firmly believe that if one must eat salad it should be around the size of a moderate torso ( (78 rue Montorgueil 75002 Paris, 01 42 33 50 29).

Cafe Charlot brunch
All time favourite brunch / classic Parisian bistro lunch - Cafe Charlot in the Marais.  It's perfect and busy and cramped and covered in hollandaise and newspapers hiding heavy rimmed spectacles on beautiful faces ( (38 rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris, France 33 1 44 54 03 30).

Favourite sandwiches, no bread and sandwiches in Paris: Gontran Cherrier.  Ok yes, I have a food crush here but that in no ways sways my integrity or opinion.  Hmmmm ( (22 rue Caulaincourt, 75018).

And finally, in case you are now heading to the same place I am, here, this will make it easier for you: