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Mar 24, 2009 10:25 AM

Brasserie suggestions in Paris (5th arr.)

Hi everyone,

My husband and I are going to Paris at the end of May for only 2 nights. Can you recommend some nice, authentic, not touristy brasseries for lunch and dinner? We like nice meals with a good atmosphere, but we're not interested in paying an arm and a leg for a meal (we do that in the States!). We're staying in the 5th arr.

On a separate note, is it worth busting out my rather broken conversational French while we're there? I took French for 9 years and I'm a little rusty, but all is not lost. I just don't want to offend anyone. :)


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  1. I have been to Paris twice and stayed in the 5th both times. There are brasseries in the neighborhood that I often walked by like Balzar, one near to the Cardinal Lemoine metro (I think it was called Le Cardinal....maybe?), there is another on the corner of Rue des Ecoles. I have not been to any of them, so cannot speak about the food or service, but are there if a brasserie is what you are after.

    There are some nice bistros in the area that are reasonably priced by Paris standards; perhaps Petit Pontoise or Louis Vins.

    My French is hardly conversational and is in fact quite bad, but I did always greet in French and try to begin the conversation in French, if only to say that I didn't speak the language. It seems that the Parisians appreciate the attempt and were always polite to us, and graciously kicked into English if we were struggling!

    5 Replies
    1. re: shopwinedinefine

      Balzar may be be a tad below Bifinger and La Rotonde, but it is on rue des Ecoles and the wait staff is friendly and conversant in English. Steak Tartare is quite good and the poulet roti/frites also good, although if you arrive at an off hour it may be reheated. All the traditional dishes are offered, ecept for shellfish platters; for that, and other Alsatian dishes, head for Bofinger. You can reserve on-line.

      1. re: Oakglen

        I was at Bofinger a couple of weeks ago. The interior is definitely gorgeous and the food is decent, but I thought it was over-priced for what you get.

      2. re: shopwinedinefine

        i've been living in paris for a little while now, and am accustomed to the way French restos generally work. I was recently at Petit Pontoise, and was quite disappointed with the service. the food was good, though not amazing, but the waitstaff was unpleasant enough that i won't be back. i bring it up only because le petit pontoise is often recommended on these boards.

        1. re: montythefrog

          Monty - do you have any other suggestions? Like I mentioned, we're staying in the 5th, but are willing to travel for a great place.


          1. re: scout1

            fish, at 69 rue de la Seine, isn't really a bistro, and is in the 6th; but it's excellent, and isn't far at all.

            le pre vert is an interesting bistro in the 5th (rue thenard, between ecoles and st. michel). i ate there as part of a group for lunch recently. wonderful carrot-ginger soup. good standards--one person i was with had the parmentier, which was excellent. the slightly experimental dessert--lentil creme brulee (?!)--was maybe not a success.

      3. Non-touristy in the 5th pretty much precludes the northern portion of the 5th. There is a good, non-chain, brasserie called "Marty" in the lower end of the 5th at 22 Ave. Gobelins.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Laidback

          I should also say that we don't intend on doing everything in the 5th. We're open to other places as well.


          1. re: Laidback

            Marty is a classic old style place. Lovely setting off the tourist trail. Foodwise, the one time I went for lunch it was ok. They do have a website and I beleieve that they have prix fix.

          2. Wherever you are in Paris La Coupolle is a must. Great décor, ambiance and food. One of the oldest. 102, Boulevard du Montparnasse, 75014 Paris
            Tel : +(33) 1 43 20 14 20 - Fax : +(33) 1 43 35 46 14

            2 Replies
            1. re: bombayduck

              My kids went to La Coupole for dinner Saturday night and we ate together with cousins at Bofinger for Sunday lunch. They thought the food at Bofinger was much better. They thought service was about the same. We ate at Bistro du Dome on Rue Delambre on Saturday night and really enjoyed our meal and service. The staff was great. I should add I do speak French fluently and own a French bistro in Sonoma County California and the staff enjoy talking about restaurants especially in California so we might get more friendly service.

              1. re: bombayduck

                I think the quality of the food at La Coupole has dropped noticeably in recent times, much more so than at the other Flo brasseries. It's still a fun place to go but the food has become quite marginal. Was there for a business lunch recently and, on a whim, ordered the "famous" curry. It was really not very good at all.

                The Bistrot du Dome is one of the most pleasant restaurants in Paris, especially the one in Montparnasse, on rue Delambre. Service is great and so is the food.

              2. Balzar has gone off a bit and is quite expensive; Bouillon Racine is not bad; Polidor is cheap but very cheerful; Bistrot du Dome de Montparnasse is very good; L'Ardoise is excellent but in 1er and very reasonable for the quality - the mousseline of carrots was to die for....also Chez Hamedi in the Rue Boutebrie for Moroccan and there is a very good Vietnamese but can't remember the address but it is 5e. Hope it helps