HOME > Chowhound > France >


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!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  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.

                3. i went twice last year...first time was great: went w/o reservation, but they found me a nice little table and the eggs w/ morels were wonderful...my second visit was so-so/uneven: delicious lamb but other courses not so great, and poor service...

                  i might go back at some point, but w/ so many other places to try, it might take a while before it moves up to the top of the queue...

                  why not give it a shot and report back to us? :)

                  3 Replies
                    1. re: Simon

                      Ok, I'll play. We went yesterday and I must say it was mediocre from my perspective. Let me explain a little more. We(wife and 2 kids, 11 and 13) have been in Paris for a month now and have had PB on our list of can't miss spots. I always like to give the house at least 2 trys due to an off night or my my bad ordering. So, with that in mind, here is a brief tale of last night. First off, it was hot out, and hot inside the resto. We were warmly greeted and seated quickly. Our waiter was really nice and helpful with the blackboard menu.

                      I had razor clams with a Horseradishe foam and thinly sliced radishes served room temp. Good, but not outsanding. The 2 kids split he Cote de Bouef for 2 ordered med. rare. Wife had Entrecote ordered med.( I know. but what I'm I to do). It was just ok. I had some salt cod with veg and aoili which was fine. On reflection, I may have steered my crew wrong. We live in Texas (not the obnoxious type) and have access to really good beef. It was fine, but not outstanding. The beef did not have the flavor it should have. The frites were indeed good. For that meal at 160E.. tough. I think we mis-ordered.

                      1. re: J.R.

                        Plain steak in Paris is always risky for a visitor. Not that steak isn't good but it is often very different to the taste of steak from home, or it is cooked quite differently. So not surprised the meal disapointed. I grew to love blue, chewy, onglet when I lived in Paris but it took a few goes.

                        I have worked for a US based company and had many visitors to the various cities I have lived in around the world and I always steered clear of steak restaurants as I always thought thema risky proposition. The reverse wasn't true, and no, the US chain of Downunder Pubs is not the reminder of home that I yearned for....!

                  1. Now, three years later than the OP and four years later than my last meal December 28, 2010, I have a report from a trusted source, in brief, it ain't what it used to be, in fact our friends from down the block had a horrible meal there today.
                    So sad since we had a fab one at Le Pario.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: John Talbott

                      sorry to hear this -- i was just wondering about this PBert the other day and whether to give it a 3rd try next time i'm in town...sounds like i might be better roaming elsewhere...

                      1. re: John Talbott

                        Interesting that it is still on Patricia Wells' current list of favorites. Could we be getting old?

                        1. re: ChefJune

                          "Your" Bistro Paul Bert and "Wells'" Bistro Paul Bert may be two different species.

                          1. re: mangeur

                            I used to love Bistrot Paul Bert, but I've been there a few times since 2009 and I never could seem to get a decent meal anymore. I've given up.