Paris is celebrated for its legendary gastronomy, rightfully so. While travelling to Paris for a little less than two weeks, I sure did eat very well! It seems that Parisians do the classics better than anyone else—steak and fries, roasts, croissants, pastries, bread, cheese, and most importantly, wine—all seem to taste better while in the city of love. Every meal seemed to have its own personality, and every restaurant owner their own subtle twist on these traditional recipes. My advice for anyone travelling to Paris is to eat as much as possible and to visit as many restaurants as you can: you simply cannot eat badly in Paris. So take a chance, and follow your gut (literally)! Here are some of the great meals I’ve had, and that you shouldn’t miss. Not pictured is my first meal in Paris: fondue. The cheese looked and smelled so good, that by the time I was about the take a picture, I’d already ingested the entire thing.
(WARNING: Do not read this post while hungry)
Steak and Frites
If you find yourself in Paris, you have to have a steak & frites, it’s essential! There are bistros at nearly every corner serving this quintessential dish, so no excuses. Photographed is the meal I had at Dynamo in the 19eme arrondissement. My absolute favourite was a restaurant that was situated along the seine (I sadly cannot remember the name of) . Like I said, every restaurant you will go to will be good, don’t be afraid to improvise and pick a restaurant at random. That’s how we discover true gems! I’ve paired my steak and frites with a cold beer (it’s also delicious with red wine). And naturally, a good meal calls for a sweet dessert, here I’ve chosen the tiramisu (not very French of me).
Seafood: Oysters, Sardines, In-Season Fish
Seafood in Paris is a must-have! When walking the streets, you can’t fail to notice the enormous amount of restaurants that display their crabs, lobsters and oysters to the passers-by. Le Brebant remains one of my favourite restaurants in Paris. The interior and terrace are superb (they are filled with magical lights) the ambiance is great, the servers are knowledgeable and the food is fantastic! I recommend ordering some oysters and the ravioles de foie gras as a meal (also pictured, is the salmon, very tender and delicious). I am not joking when I say that the ravioles brought tears to my eyes…I still remember it as one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life. I even went twice! Another of their great appetizers are the sardines. They are delicious; I haven’t had better since! If you’re not feeling Le Brebant, there are thousands of great seafood restaurants, don’t miss out!
Saucisses & Patates
I still remember those delicious saussissons lyonnais I had in Quartier de Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and I’m not about to forget them! The French sure love their melted cheese. The dish was served with some decadent patates dauphinoises. If you have the chance, visit a bistro around the university quarter and get this dish, it will literally melt in your mouth. Plus, the intellectuals all seem to hang out around there. Don’t be afraid to have a philosophical debate over your cheesy potatoes…
Vin Chaud & Typical French Dinner in Montmartre
Montmartre is absolutely beautiful and more importantly, it is boasting with great little intimate bistros. I recommend having a three-course dinner accompanied by a vin chaud (warm wine)—our waiter plainly refused when we said that all we wanted was water—as if we were being indecent, and I am glad that he did… Here, I had a French onion soup (a must-eat), escargot (also a must-eat), and some delicious and succulent rabbit or confit de canard (the most must-eatable). You absolutely have to try the confit de canard if you have the chance, because there is nothing like it! Pictured, is also a beef ragout—tender and perfectly balanced!
A fancy lunch in Versailles
Why not awake the Marie Antoinette in all of us and have a fancy lunch in Chateau de Versailles? The view was beautiful, and the food very good. The restaurant is called Ore, and I ordered rabbit served with some polenta and for dessert a variety of fruit sorbets (mango, raspberry and lemon).
Petit Déjeuner: Croque Monsieur, French Omlette, Croissant, Tartine
Un petit déjeuner Parisien can range from a croque monsieur/madame, to a savoury omelette, to just a simple warm croissant (some eat it with danone yogurt and orange juice), or a tartine with jam, and all have to be served with a strong café. My apartment in Paris was right next to a bakery, so every morning I woke up to the smell of freshly made bread and croissants (heaven on earth!). Once, the baker even brought the baking tray fresh out of the oven for me to pick my morning croissant! For a decadent and sweet breakfast, try to almond croissants—it will give you your dose of butter for the entire day. Another great Parisian specialty is the French omelette. The best omelette I’ve ever had from Café de Flore. If you want to eat at Camus and De Beauvoir’s favourite spot, be ready to pay big bucks. A coffee for 8 euros? Why not? And when you order a simple coffee, you will get what we call in the Western world an espresso—they do not serve filtered coffee (thankfully).
On the run? Grab a delicious sandwich from any sandwich stand or bakery—simple, yet so perfect. Baguette really can fix anything! I got mine from Blonde de Pain.
Sometimes while travelling, I get tired of the bustling city and just want to spend a night in! Eating at home will not let you down in Paris…Just visit some specialized stores and you got yourself a feast! The French don’t shop in a massive grocery store, but rather go to a bakery for baguette, a cheese store for cheese, a sausage store for sausage, and so on. Have some fun and discover some new flavours! I’ve never had rillettes de canard before Paris and it was one of the best gastronomic discoveries I’ve ever made. And like this, you can try different (Mendl’s-looking) pastries.
Pattiseries Angelina & Chocolat Chaud
Angelina—home of the prettiest, most elaborate deserts in the entire world. Just look at them! I don’t even want to bite into them! I recommend their specialty—Mont Blanc. I also got a fluffy mille-feuilles. You should also try their hot chocolate, it is made from real chocolate and it is divine.
Paris is magical! And eating in Paris is even more magical. I hope you enjoyed my food adventures, bon appétit!