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Jan 14, 2010 07:47 PM

Gratinée (and Breton “oignons de Roscoff”)?

I’ve just finished the chapter entitled “Gratinée” in William Black’s “Plats du Jour” (2007 -- “A Journey to the heart of French food”), and after reading about the Breton “oignons de Roscoff” (and “Onion Johnnies!”) we’re in the mood for a Paris lunch of this wintery soup.

Can someone recommend a place other than Le Pied de Cochon? I have an old recommendation of “Le Pont 9” (1er) – is that still valid/ does it serve a good rendition?


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  1. As one of my favorite dishes, made it the goal some years back of trying all l could find in Paris. Tried 18 and Pied was only edible one. Alton Brown's recipe is what l use now, and it is perfect. Le Bec Fin used to have a great one in Philadelphia, but alas , like many other things at that restaurant, it is meh now. Hopefully someone will come up with a great one.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

      A nice gratinée is one of those things that we used to dream about when we dreamed about Paris.
      A few years ago when, with a group of French friends, we wandered into a quelconque café near Trocadéro aiming for a vin chaud, I saw gratinée on the menu. Tilt.
      By the time I said I wanted a bowl of gratinée, my French friends had already ordered their vin chaud, but to a person they all said: "Tiens, sounds good. Gratinée pour moi aussi."
      It was great, probably more for the ambiance, because we were a group of friends frozen together and chanced upon this creature comfort dish that came right out of a French chidlhood which France - or at least Paris restaurants - seems to have forgotten…
      As for Roscoff onion, it is a tasty onion period, whether eaten sautéed or in a soup or uncooked in a slightly marinating dressing.

    2. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Delucacheesemonger and Parigi. My parents took my sisters and me for onion soup at Les Halles – probably at Le Pied de Cochon – back in the winter of 1967. I remembered it as great, but what did I know then? Anyway, I’m still hoping for a current recommendation, for a nice wintry lunch . . . .


      2 Replies
      1. re: Jake Dear

        OK, maybe I'm trying to hijack this thread. Way back when, I had onion soup at Les Halles in the center of Paris. All I knew was when in Paris, go to the Market at 4 am and have onion soup. It was getting pretty touristic then, 1959.

        Lately I've been back to Les Halles at Rungis. The scope blows my mind. Once I pay the toll to gain entry into the Market, I look for Bistros that have no buses in front and have maybe a few Mercedes parked there. Is this the way to find good place in Les Halles now?

        1. re: BlueOx

          BlueOx , Well, given the luck I've had so far scaring up a recommendation, your hijack is fine with me. (But I've heard that Rungis is rather soulless?) Anyway, I think we'll recalibrate our winter lunch plans, but, staying with the soup motif, aim for one of the six daily offerings at le Bar à Soupes, 11eme. (I guess I'll be surprised if we're offered onion/ Gratinée!)