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Jun 22, 2009 05:25 AM

Looking for a "real" Paris Bistro

I am willing to travel and am not interested in anything near the center that would be mobbed with tourists. I am a good french speaker.

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  1. How about "La Table d'Eugene" in the 18eme, I have yet to go but it is on my list and it is well off the regular tourist track (not than anywhere is Paris really is).

    1. There are two that, I think, are in a class by themselves, if you are looking for France as she used to be:

      1. La Grille, rue du faubourg poissoniere. Very small, with Monsieur in the closet-sized kitchen, and Madame working the room. The house specialties are turbot and scallops, with magnificent beurre blanc, and a great boeuf bourguignon. Very warm atmosphere, with regulars at most tables. Had a rave review in the weekend Figaro last month, so I would definitely reserve a day in advance.

      2. Le Quincy, Ledru Rollin. A little larger, with a slightly more extensive menu. Madame manages the room, while Monsieur tends to spend his time in the entrance area. Don't object if you get one of the 4 small tables here, as this is where they put friends of the house. The menu covers more regions than just the Berry indicated in the name (Monsieur is from the Franche Comte). My last meal there was a sliced warm caillette followed by magnificent milk-fed lamb from the Pyrenees. Monsieur is a well known character and loves to talk. No credit cards.

      I think these two places are among the few remaining old-fashioned bistros in Paris; go while they're still around!


      3 Replies
      1. re: rswatkins

        I'll second the suggestion for La Table d'Eugene. It was definitely off the tourist track and the food was very enjoyable and was also a good value.

        1. re: rswatkins

          Interestingly, both La Grille and Le Quincy are among the list of places Alexander Lobrano wrote about in the July Gourmet that also included: L’Ambassade d’Auvergne, Josephine Chez Dumonet, Au Moulin à Vent, Robert et Louise, La Tour de Montlhéry Chez Denise + Le Train Bleu as well as the soon-to-close Chez Georges.
          I also love the Table d'Eugene which is now my neighborhood joint.

          1. re: John Talbott

            Thanks for the reference. I heard there was to be a change of chef at Chez Georges: is the place really closing? I haven't been to (or heard reference to) Moulin a Vent in years: any other recent reports?


        2. I like everyone's suggestions a lot. But for a "real" as in "real people" bistrot, I'm proposing Au Dernier Métro. Serves all day, cheaper than the others proposed -- this place is not bobo like they are (nothing wrong with it, just trying to respond the question best I can).

          8 Replies
          1. re: souphie

            souphie you have really good suggestions - we're headed to Paris in a week and have booked the following restuarants:
            Aux Lyonnais
            Brasserie Balzar
            Bistrot Paul Bert


            1. re: smkeddy

              They're reliable places, professional. I like neither Aux lyonnais nor Paul Bert, which to me fail to deliver exciting food or a friendly ambiance.

              1. re: souphie

                I like "Aux Lyonnais" but to get the best out of it you need to try the specials and less common dishes (lots of offal), these are more authentic Lyonnais dishes. As it is a Ducasse (still one star?) place they do some more standard dishes for conservative eaters. It is best to book the second sitting at approx 9:00pm, far less tourists and a lot more locals (and a better atmosphere).

                Balzar failed to impress me; fairly standard brasserie food. I had a dire pigs trotter there, but my partner thought her steak tartare a reasonable example.

                1. re: souphie

                  Paul Bert can be perfectly nice for an first course and a drink. Not exciting, but reliable as you say. The ambiance can be nice when the weather is good and it's not crowded. But I certainly wouldn't go search it out if I wasn't already in the neighborhood.

                  (Better ambiance, service and food at the Argentine place across the street. But I don't think it's what the poster is after.)

                2. re: smkeddy

                  Hello! Was in Paris a few weeks ago and dined at Brasserie Balzar! It was wonderful--staff was super nice! I tried their steak tartare and my husband had a great roast chicken dish. Enjoy!

                  1. re: trinyc

                    So glad you liked Balzar; those of us who love this Brasserie take our fair share of abuse on this site. Maybe La Rotonde is better, but it is not here, on rue des Ecoles; maybe it is the great waitstaff, or maybe that they always seat us with locals. Anyway, Balzar is upbeat, friendly, and like Le Rubis, takes us way back to more simple times.

                    1. re: Oakglen

                      Truth is, I never went. I'll make sure I do in the coming weeks.

                      1. re: souphie

                        Being a newbie here I'm not sure of the etiquette and don't want to come on too strong, especially to you and OAKGLEN whom I respect, but (1) there are tons of discussions of bistros in Paris on all the known sites and (2) Balzar is best remembered by reading Adam Gopnik's brilliant piece on it, not by going.