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Feb 9, 2011 06:17 AM

Conflicting Opinions Regarding Bistrot Paul Bert

Could someone set me straight on this one? I keep hearing diametrically opposed opinions on this Bistro. Is is Great? Terrible? Worth a visit? Help!

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  1. Your question could be posed about many if not most of the old time bistrots. Much depends on what you expect of a restaurant, what you like to eat and how you order. Usually the best the kitchen offers will not be on the fixed menu. It will usually be (considerably) more expensive than the menu option. A good order might be an a la carte starter, main, (wine) and coffee. Service and welcome will be professional but often brisk (aka effecient.). It can be but also may not be a welcoming, relaxed "dining" experience. But it is a classic one,

    Paul Bert can be the quintessential Paris experience offering up a fine meal and memorable experience, well worth the visit. Or....

    1. For the distaff side. This restaurant was 200 yards from my last apartment. l really wanted to like it and it's sister restaurant, the oyster place next door. Went to both twice, nothing was terrible but nothing brought me back as well. Found the wines interesting, but the service rushed and not greatly pleasant and the food far better in a zillion other places. This was a few years ago when Temps au Temps was kicking butt across the street and at that time a far more interesting place to eat.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

        "[W]hen Temps au Temps was kicking butt . . . and at that time a far more interesting place to eat." Temps au Temps was OK, but certainly not great, when we were there last Feb (2010).

        1. re: Jake Dear

          Speaking of 2007-2008, chef left and has been in disarray since

          1. re: Jake Dear

            Paul Bert has been a hit and miss with me. Somedays I had incredible food (special) and some nothing to recommend.

            As for Temps au Temp, the originals owners moved across town and when Sylvan was behind the stove and Sarah in the front the food was great. Have not eaten there since they sold.

        2. Not great, not terrible, not really worth a visit. Straight enough?

          1 Reply
          1. re: souphie

            I get it, because I know you and have dined with you... but I also get the confusion. Paul Bert is the purported "favorite" of both Dorie Greenspan and Patricia Wells, two well-regarded foodies for French for Americans. And I have to say I have always been pleased when I've dined at places Patricia recommends. Thus, the conundrum.

          2. Not terrible, not great, but I enjoy the atmosphere and had a very good rib-eye steak. Sometimes there is also a coucou de Rennes in vin jaune and always a large wine list, rivaling but not equaling that of Le Villaret.

            1. Tourist trap! Boring food (how a perfectly cooked piece of beef can have no flavor is beyond me), uncaring stafff, overpriced and surrounded by Americans is not my idea of a wonderful Parisian moment.
              Try somewhere authentic like Baratin it is brilliant (but don't tell them that I sent you...I don't think they want tourist). Best food in Paris for a third of the price.

              3 Replies
              1. re: kingkolo

                " (but don't tell them that I sent you...I don't think they want tourist)."

                I'm sure it's ok since you were a tourist too.

                1. re: Parigi

                  3 years later I am reading your response as I do not go on this site very much...I just wanted to thank you for chipping in with your witty response. Very enlightening.

                2. re: kingkolo

                  Le Baratin has *lots* of tourist traffic: I have never been there (and I've been there an awful lot over the last six years) without at least one, if not several English speaking table(s) - not to mention the less frequent but definitely present tables of Japanese or German or Spanish speakers - and it is much smaller than Le bistrot Paul Bert.

                  Also, as far as pricing is concerned, my bill, (based on an entrée, main, dessert + 1/2 bottle of wine per person) is about the same in both places, perhaps fractionally higher at the Baratin, where it is now almost impossible to do entrée/main/dessert for 34 euros (the set menu price at Le Paul Bert).

                  Like everyone, I've had good and less memorable experiences at the Paul Bert. But to describe it as a tourist trap really is going too far: so many other places in Paris serving frozen food deserve that label, but this place doesn't cut those corners that too many others do.