Paris this summer
I am coming to Paris this summer with my kids (11 and 13), and all three of us are committed epicures from San Francisco, a city where one can eat quite well. I am looking for a selection of bistros (as we will try to eat well on a healthy but not extraordinary budget) and am particularly interested in places like the ones Mark Bittman chronicled in his June 2009 article, "Alive and Evolving: The Paris Bistro." He gives favorable reviews to Le Gaigne, L’Epigramme, Itinéraires, and Les Papilles, all of them small, innovative and, he says, delicious. Are there others of this ilk I should consider? We are staying near the Sorbonne so are particularly interested in places near there, but we can also take the metro far and wide. I would also be curious to find a good brasserie or two in that 'hood.
Many thanks in advance to all who reply,
I have been staying in the Mouffetard neighborhood for April & May this year and my comments are as follows. The best new place is Dan Les Landes for daily changing tapas as well as a daily plat du jour, I think it would be ideal for your group... casual, big selection and just plain satisfying. As Chef June says the Boulangerie du Monge is quite good but just a few steps up Mouffetard follow the long line to the Boulangerie Mouffetard and order a baguette céreal. Christophe is sort of a bare-bones place with excellent meat based cuisine. Terroir Parisien is a slick new modern place that makes me think Manhattan...excellent product. I fear that La Cagouille has seen better days, we were disappointed yesterday and besides it is not within spitting distance of the Sorbonne if that is a criteria. We have been disappointed in the brasseries in the area; if that is a priority probably you should stick to the Balzar or better La Rotode in Montparnasse. Epigramme has had a change of owners since Bittman's article. As far as I can tell, Les Papilles is exactly the same, casual, crowded, good "country cooking' and pleasant service, usually by the owner.
You are within walking distance to the wonderful Dans Les Landes, a fave for many of us. Its smaller-plate tapas format is great for dining with adults and children an teens. Children like the fun aspect and the variety. And when you order, say, 8 to 10 smaller plates, even the pickiest eaters will find something they like.
In fact last time for some out-of-town friends staying near the Sorbonne, we first booked Les Papilles then changed to Dans Les Landes. My husband in our experience like Les Papilles ok, but we love Dans Les Landes and find its food inventive and exciting.
Le Gaigne was quite nice as of 3 years ago. Since I have not been back in the last 18 months, I should not comment. Accoriding to friends, it has gone downhill, then up, then down, then I lost track.
And remember: For an article written in 2009, a lot of things will have changed for a dining scene as vibrant as that of Paris or Barcelona, or SF.
But I wonder if you did a compare and contrast with the recomendation from thi board in 2009 how many woud have changed?
I woud bet Le Cinq, CLJ, Spring (although maybe between homes - but still mentioned), Frenchie, Dumonet, both Regalades, Coccottes, Violin des Ingres, Passage 53, andAgape (although no substance yet) would have featured frequently, yet they are still the hard core of recomendations.
So does it change that much, or is the board very conservative?
If you are staying near the Sorbonne, you are quite near a few outstanding shops for "picnic materials:" Oteiza the Basque charcutier on Blvd St. Michel (near St. Germain) and Dubois cheese shop in Maubert.
Last December, Souphie pointed me towards the chocolatier Patrick Roger. Shop is on Blvd St. Germain just outside the Odeon Metro stop. I followed his advice, "Just get the bars!" and can honestly report I have never eaten better chocolate. My favorite was the Cote d'Ivoire bar, but they were all wonderful.
I liked Les Papilles, but I seem to be the only one on here who wasn't wowed. That said, the food was tasty, and the price reasonable.
I almost always stay near the Sorbonne. It's my favorite part of Paris. I love shopping on the rue Mouffetard. It's a market street with lots of stalls, open every day. Boulangerie Monge is outstanding, and not too far from you. I love La Cagouille, a seafood restaurant in the 14th that I've walked to from my hotel(s) on numerous occasions.
Don't be afraid to take the Metro or bus all around Paris for good eats. It's such an easily navigable city.
Don't have a clue whether Souphie will be in town while you're there, but he has kids around the same age as yours who are adventurous eaters. You might want to contact him. Here's a site for starters: http://www.julotzeblog.com/
Les Papilles should be a definite GO for your group. I have sent and taken a dozen people there, and each has loved it: excellent and very approachable food, mostly tourists but also locals who know to book ahead and not hope to just pop in, many local parties of 4 to 6.
Itinieraries is a place that you want to love and just can't make it happen. On our first visit, shortly after its opening, I had the gaspacho of a lifetime and the worst rabbit ever, while our 3 course dinner took three hours. I returned with our son and d-i-l because my son's friend recommended it, and nothing was bad and service had improved, but said son commented that it was the poorest meal of our 2 weeks.
Parnassien and Phil are sending you in the right directions.
Tobias - unfortunately it is quite a generic question and thus has been answered many times. The four restaurants you mention have been discussed many times so may be sensible to do a search. I ate at Pappilles recently and it is good plus it is close to th Sorbonne. My meal at Itineraires was a few years ago and soon after they opened: I was disappointed. That said a good friend says it has improved and found its groove and is good, but it is a darling of US critics so can be dominated by US visitors. For a brasserie near to you Balzar probably meets the spec - simple but traditional. If I were you I would add in one or two leading edge places like Saturne or Agape Substance to experience where Paris's newer chefs are heading.