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Best brasserie in Paris?

My first two choices were Bofinger and Au Pied de Cochon but no one here seems to like either of those.

Is there a bettter, not to be missed, brasserie I should try?

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  1. Is there a difference between a "bistro" and "brasserie"??

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ora

      Brasserie is French for brewery and most have an Alastian origin. Beer as well as wine is popular and most have specialities such as oyster and shellfish platters, choucroute, steaks. They are generally large, noisy, informal, open late and one doesn't need a reservation. The famous Parisian brasseries have been in a decline for many years. Recently many of the large brasseries have been taken over by the Flo chain (La Coupoul, Brasserie Flo, Julien, Bofinger, etc.) Although they retain the wonderful decor and atmosphere, most of the food have a generic quality.
      Bistro is a small casual restaurant, many originally family owned with a small menu. Recently, bistro has been expanded to include creative chef-owned restaurants, some are part of a large restaurant empire. Although still casual, most need a reservation.

    2. OK--I'll be sure to look for bistros then when I visit Paris soon. Thanks.

      Know any good bistos in 5e & 6e near San Michel??

      1. Like a goodly number. In the fifth I am paticularly fond of Le Repaire de Cartouche & Le Reminet and in the 6th: Ze Kitchen Galerie, Le Rotisserie d'en Face, Les Chapentiers, & Les Bookinistes (I think they changed the spelling). For a traditional and wonderful bistrot don't miss Chez Denise in the 1st arr. It is open all night from Monday to Friday. I was in Paris in Dec. and posted about Le Pamphlet (wonderful) Le P'tit Troquet (also delightful) and a couple of others. If you search this board you should be able to find them. I am not yet up on the new site. Enjoy yourself. you can email me if you want details. littlebird465@yahoo.ca.

        1. Can add to faijay's list in the 5th: Chez Rene and Moissonnier for classic bistro food; the 6th: L'Bastide D'Odeon and L'Epi Dupin for modern bistro; Le Repaire de Cartouche is in the 11th and not the 5th.

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          1. I'll add Le Petit Pontoise, Rue Pontoise, 5th (M°: Maubert-Mutualité). A small, wonderful bistrot.

            1. To the growing list I'd add Chez Clovis. It's right around the corner from Chez Denise mentioned above, on rue Berger facing the park just in front of St. Eustache. It's much easier to get into than Chez Denise and it's very authentic, much like it was when Les Halles was the marketplace of Paris. I usually get marrow bones and tete de veau while my husband gets duck confit with wonderful crispy garlic fried potatoes. It's our favorite bistro, indeed favorite place to eat in Paris.

              But don't give up on Pied de Cochon or Bofinger. If this is a first trip to Paris or even a second, there's something magical about those wonderful old, over the top places even if the food has declined from previous standards. The decor is fabulous and very memorable. If you don't want to expend an entire meal, you can stop in Bofinger for a drink at their tiny bar and then at least peek into the wonderful rooms with their stained glass ceilings. At Pied de Cochon, you might stop for a snack of oysters or other seafood, see the place--including the bathrooms with the pigs feet handles--and be on your merry way. Enjoy.

              1. Flo group or not, you should have a blast at Bofinger (I also enjoy Julien). You order at a brasserie what will be good at a brasserie: not complicated things, but oysters, shellfish platters, steaks, creme brulee, etc.

                A brasserie - like place near the Champs-Elysees is the Boeuf sur le Toit: fancy and fun if you are a fan of the arts in Paris of the 20s. They were all there, and you can go too. It is convenient for checking out museum shows at the Grand Palais, etc.

                1. Brasserie Balzar, rue des Ecoles, off of the Blvd St. Michel. It's part of the Flo empire but hasn't changed much from the way it was before. Very charming place and the service is excellent -- many of the waiters have been there for many years.

                  1. I love le grand colbert in the galerrie vivienne but that is 2nd arrondissement I think. bistro atmosphere guaranteed.

                    1. Friends have just returned from Paris and, with trepidation, searched out La Coupole. The food was excellent, good value without being cheap, and, as expected, a buzzy atmosphere.
                      Our last experience was only average and these people ate with us then, so there was a benchmark. Give it a try.

                      1. I recently ate at Balzar on the recomendation of a friend, I was not disappointed, very typically french food and service. My only complaint is that teh space is a bit too well lit.

                        1. bon, i find that a problem with the parisian brasseries is that fortunately the architecture, the walls, the woodworks and the space seems to be protected by some patrimoine safeguard system( city of paris, unesco?), but when it comes to plateware, menu, stemware the goodtaste fly away, the californian square plates at la coupole, bodega glasses, everything a la plancha....and more. the world learned the best from them, the time warp of paris brasseries was a incredible capsule of knowledge for the foodies, gastronomes or whoever wanted. it is i think, of a great importance that this history should be preserved as well as the ceramics and the zinc.

                          1. I have to agree with those who have mentioned Brasserie Balzar. We have gone back again and again for the poulet roti and crispy frites! A French couple sitting next to us on our last visit praised the Cassoulet. I love that you can reserve online!


                            1. Interesting stuff. Any other decent brasseries in Paris (not bistros)?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: wittlejosh

                                Wepler is apparently one of the few remaining brasseries that is still independently owned. It's on the Place Clichy, just below montmartre where the 18th meets several other arrondissements. It's nowhere near as showy as the other brasseries mentioned but when we ate there on a hot September day, I had a gazpacho that actually had a scoop of icy tomato melting in the center. The taste was different from but rivaled the terrific gazpacho I'd had the preceding day at Atlier Robuchon, I kid you not.