HOME > Chowhound > France >


foodie finds in Kremlin-Bicetre (or porte d'italie)

  • s

Our son (a student at Sci-po, yes I'm proud) just moved to the Kremlin-Bicetre area. We will visit often and are looking for good little restaurants or unique food shopping. Any ideas??

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have heard good things about l'Ami Roland in K-B, open only for lunch and Friday dinner - but I haven't been.

    1. Ditto, L'Ami Roland. My sister, a fledgling doctor, just finished a training stint at the Bicêtre hospital and says that it's the only eaterie in all of le Kremlin-Bicêtre that deserves the adjective "good". Sadly, closed at weekends and no dinner except for Friday. But if you want to give your son and his friends a treat, the owner will open up for parties of 10 for dinner on other nights.

      Other options in the immediate area are very limited.... le Kremlin-Bicêtre is not Paris but a sort of hodgepodge suburb ... and for us Parisiens, not very well known...the only reason to go there is when we are dead (huge cemetery there), sick (huge hospital complex), need cheap housing or on our way to somewhere else... parts of it are marginally "de la zone" (la zone is the equivalent of the deprived inner city/ ghetto but in the case of Paris many of the deprived and poor are shamefully wharehoused in public housing complexes in the suburbs) ...other parts of le K-B, especially around "le Fort" almost qualify as charming... the local eating scene seems to be dominated by cheap run-of-the-mill Chinese take-outs, a few North African eateries, and chain restaurants/ food courts at the new Okabé centre commercial (which includes an Auchan hypermarché) on the avenue Fontainebleau ... there is a twice-a-week street market on the ave Fontainebleau but (according to my sister) very limited, much more expensive, & poorer quality than the ones in Paris.

      The Porte d'Italie (not to be confused with the Place d'Italie) is a little more productive with some excellent Chinese and other Asian restaurants (cue: Ptipois) but, as far as i know, no recommendable French ones .... further up the line 7, Tolbiac has a cluster of okay to excellent ethnic restaurants... the nearest and most convenient quartier with a distinct neighbourhood vibe is probably the very cutesy Butte aux Cailles (metro: Place d'Italie or Tolbiac... just a 5 or 6- minute ride from le Kremlin-Bicêtre). It's prime boy-meets-girl territory at night (especially in the summer) but very relaxed, ultra-charming and eminently browsable during the day for the over 40s... although not in the heart of the cutesy bits, L'Avant-Goût on the rue Bobillot is probably your best bet for seriously good food at a great price ... second best but, IMHO, overpriced is Le Déci on the rue des Cinq Diamants ... le Temps des Cerises on the rue Butte aux Cailles is usually enjoyable but does have off-days... if you fancy some pasta/ Italian nosh, Les Cailloux at the rue des 5 Diamants/ rue Butte aux Cailles intersection is very reliable and a superb vantage point for people-watching... there are lots of other cafes, wine bars, restos, boulangeries, crêperies, etc in the area so it might be a good opportunity to just follow your nose... I'm also addicted to the honey shop, Les Abeilles, on the rue Butte aux Cailles and go once a month to see which of the 50 varieties catches my fancy ... if you are up for a bit more walking (but only an extra 5 minutes) the pâtisserie Laurent Duchêne on the rue Wurtz/ rue Daviel is just short of sensational... not everything he makes is amazing, just most of it.

      Skirting the northern edge of the Butte aux Cailles, the Auguste-Blanqui street market on the odd number side of the boulevard Auguste-Blanqui between, roughly, the place d'Italie and the rue Barrault on Tue, Fri and Sun mornings is surprisingly good and has a lovely, if somewhat restrained, cosmopolitan buzz... the Marché Maison Blanche (Thurs & Sun) on the avenue d'Italie just north of the Maison Blanche métro station will be closer to you but I've never been to it and so can't say whether it's worth it or not.

      17 Replies
      1. re: Parnassien

        Great report, but if L'Avant Gout is the best, the poster is indeed in trouble. If from Place d'Italie you go down Avenue d'Italie you will hit Naturalia and a branch of Grenier du Pain for ficelles and kouign amman. Also at Place d'Italie the Tues/Thurs/Sat market is quite vibrant.

        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

          hey, hey i LOVE L'Avant-Goût! :) ... lunch there at least once a month and hardly a false note ... and it is THE best in the quartier Butte aux Cailles (by far!)

          and yes, as chain bakeries go, Grenier du Pain is fab... but i was too focused on the Butte aux Cailles as the nearest counter-point to le K-B to remember all the other good places radiating off the place d'Italie

          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            I suspect your "vibrant" Place d'Italie market is my "restrained cosmopolitan buzz" Auguste-Blanqui market and have confused the proud-parent poster with different days... i'm sure that it's on Tue, Fri & Sun mornings

            1. re: Parnassien

              Thanks, have never guessed the days of that market right yet. The wife of the ham guy all the way down, maybe Nougata, has a stand at Lenoir on Sunday as well, so should not confuse it. Sorry about LAG, been there three times with different people, does not work for me, but it is as you say best in area.

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                It's marché madness. :) Your Lenoir is my Bastille?

                Even for the few years that the Marché Bastille was officially called the Marché Richard-Lenoir, everyone still referred to it as Bastille. Now it's officially back as Marché Bastille.

                There are actually two different street markets on the boulevard Richard-Lenoir, Popincourt and Bastille:

          2. re: Parnassien

            "le Kremlin-Bicêtre is not Paris but a sort of hodgepodge suburb ... and for us Parisiens, not very well known...the only reason to go there is when we are dead (huge cemetery there), sick (huge hospital complex), need cheap housing or on our way to somewhere else... parts of it are marginally "de la zone"

            Sad but true. The last and only two times I was there was for a funeral and a visit of a friend in hospital.
            But congratulations to the poster, who should so rightly be proud of his son for getting in a top school in France and toughing it out in a place like Kremlin -Bicêtre.

            1. re: Parigi

              The French Chowhound community is so well informed!

              I understand that my son's apt is just over the Paris border, so he will be able to take advantage of the Porte d'Italie and Tolbiac places mentioned. Many thanks to all posters.

              1. re: Sue R

                And a bravo to your son and best wishes for happy times when visiting him.

                Btw, the footseps through Sciences-Po include those of François Mitterand, Georges Pompidou, Simone Veil, Lionel Jospin, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Christian Dior, Marcel Proust, Léo Ferré, (and, shhh, Dominique Strauss-Kahn) ... so I predict your son will be a president, prime minister, head of the UN, world-famous haute-couture designer, world-famous writer, award-winning singer/poet, or lecherous head of the IMF ... do you have a preference? :)

                1. re: Parnassien

                  of course, he can go where his heart takes him, but I have encouraged meeting a nice girl with an established family vineyard and a guest house.

                  1. re: Sue R

                    One day he can BUY Kremlin-Bicêtre, but I agree with you: that a vineyard, or 2, is much more desirable. :-)

                    1. re: Sue R

                      yikes, just like my mother! except she wanted an Italian principessa with an architecturally interesting and very large palazzo/ wine estate (preferably Brunello di Montalcino) in Italy for me :)

                      1. re: Parnassien

                        We mother's think alike. Home and hearth first. IMF second.

                        1. re: Sue R

                          ah, the mother's touch is so needed in the world these days :)

                          1. re: Parnassien

                            hello again, my fellow foodies.. any thoughts on Commes a Savonnieres on Rue Guisarde?

                            1. re: Sue R

                              The small street has several good eateries: Le Machon d'Henri, Brasserie Fernand, Positano. I have not been to the newish Commes à Savonnieres, but it does look very promising. John Talbott said it was very good.You can find many reviews of these eateries by searching their name in the search box.
                              A bonus re rue Guisarde: you can get the legendary Florentine Santa Marie Novella perfumes at 2 Rue Guisarde...
                              Ptipois and I agree that besides rue des Petites Ecuries, rue Guisarde may have the best food fengshui of Paris today.
                              Lastly, if you start a new thread with rue Guisarde and/or Comme à … in the title, you are likely to get many more replies. A title with Kremlin-Bicêtre does not get the same level of enthusiasm as a title with rue Guisarde. :-)

                              1. re: Parigi

                                I will do that for sure. In the meantime, we went to Commes a Savonnieres on Saturday and loved it. The oeufs en cocotte were a little under seasoned, but otherwise, brilliant. Saturday wine tasting at Le Dernierre Goute was fun too. One of my favorites spots and something of a ritual.

                                1. re: Sue R

                                  One more confirmed good spot on the tiny rue Guisarde. Merci for reporting back.