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Looking the hippest/best in Paris, Dec 28-Jan 1 (also, wine, beer, coffee)

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hi! I'm a Toronto 'hound in my early 30s heading to Paris with the husband for a quick winter getaway.

Us: We like simple food with quality local ingredients - I'm a fan of vegetable and fish-focused dishes, the huz prefers pork, beef or quality pasta (but steers away from offal). We like to eat places that are fun and happening, but prize good service and quality food over being in the trendiest spots. We like eating in small plates, too, and love making several stops over an evening, wandering between places, and sitting at the bar when we can.

What we want: looking for a combination of Paris' best and newest-hippest places to eat. A few pricier meals are okay, but mid-range is best. We don't mind doing lunch instead of dinner, and we do want to have one or two reservations in place before we go. If anyone has a good plan for New Year's Eve for us, that would be good too. Also looking for wine bars and craft beer bars, ideally near to the places we might be dining.

Right now we've got a dinner at Spring and a lunch at Boquinistes booked. I've heard of/am considering also Candelaria, Verre Vole, Buvette, Sherry Butt, Mama Shelter, Cafe Breizh, Dirty Dick, Au Papilles, Bones. Any thoughts on any of these?

We'll be staying in Le Marais, but will travel far and wide for what's good.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Please don't ask us for the "best" even if you're nice Torontonians; there is no best.
    Now for hip, I turn my time over to Souphie and Parnassien.
    I would ask why Boquinistes or the Cafe Breizh?
    As for some of those other places they sure sound hip but I'd be frightened of going inside.
    Recall too that Chirstmas-New Year's week is dicey at best. Call and recall.

    12 Replies
    1. re: John Talbott

      Shall I ask for the "best of what's new and hip"? Perhaps that makes more sense.

      All the places I mentioned were suggestions from sommelier/chef/foodie friends in Toronto.

      Why would you be frightened to go inside?

      1. re: LemonLauren

        Look I'm a born & bred Upper Canada guy, but names like Sherry Butt and Dirty Dick cause a tiny frisson.
        Why do you need to eat at "what's new and hip"?
        I had lunch today with a very new and hip guy whose business is to refer folks to what's new and hip and who told me that folks today demand to be seated at Spring, Septime, Frenchie, etc etc etc. on demand.
        Please try a few "old" places, Parnassien and Pti have plenty of good suggestions, and if you want to beat the NYT crowd try Lazare, Desnoyer, Cigale, Les Enfants Rouge, Bistro Belhara.

        1. re: John Talbott

          What John said. And remember that by the time a place gets labeled "hip", the really hip have move on and you find yourself sitting next to the same old, same olds, all looking around anxiously to spot the hipsters.

          1. re: John Talbott

            okay, let's not get hung up on hip. what I mean, is that we enjoy places where good food and stellar service doesn't mean pretense. old or new. I don't want anything on demand. I want to try what's unique and new because I can't get it at home and won't be back. thanks for the list, will check those out.

            1. re: LemonLauren

              LL - I get what your saying. I equally enjoy eating at the leading edge which these days can be called hip (rock star chefs and all that).

              Bones is the only place that fits the description on your list. I didn't get to Bones but would have if we hadn't had a few trad places. I loved James' food at Au Passage and he has a good rep.

              I thought a Semilla was very much of the moment with the locals, a few lost middle aged tourists but the place welcomes all.

              Pirouette has something about it that I like and again see it is a place that is very much now. I also like Thoumieux it's go the right big night out feel about it with a good mix, its a Costes Bros place but not so much of the"beautiful people" as some of their other ones.

              Le Dauphin still has a good reputation and is less full on than Chateaubriand.

              On your list Mama Shelter is too nightclubby for me (we stayed there). I think a Spring is safe, the fact it seems to attract every US food tourist visiting Paris has put me off (hid original was good), maybe unfairly but I bet it ain't hip.

              Boquinistas I'd so safe it's practically parental. Breizh - crepes can never be hip they are comfort food. Go when you bring the kids. Au Pappilles, Love it but it's the opposite of hip it's like an old pair of slippers, and non the worse for that.

              Craft beer isn't easy in Paris - I had a list but never coordinated it with food. Better to stick to wine it's a lifetime of discovery. Search wine bars on the board lots of good advice.

              NYE like everywhere overpriced, seedy and best to celebrate with friends at home. The Marais is good but it's become a little mainstream and lost a bit of its gay scene so more tourists than it's heyday but still have good bars - best to use your bar sixth sense rather than chase down recommendations it's a smallish area.

              1. re: PhilD

                Ah, PhilD, you are starting to give insight into what I've found to be the baffling loathing of Les Bouquanists. 'Parental' may indeed crack it, though, as it was my mum who took me there as a gift for my birthday. I really enjoyed the food and the time there with her (she is not based in Paris but in the environs) and have often wondered why people (chowhounds) hate it.
                I am starting to figure out why. I think.
                Here's the deal then: Maybe it's safe, but the food is very good and the service for us (francophones) was superb. I've been to many a crappy place, and this was simply not one of them. I'd recommend it for those looking for something lovely, reliable and well placed.
                Then again, I do not have the pleasure of a large income and a permanent residence in Paris. And perhaps this is not what people with only one chance to visit would do, but I enjoyed the food and the service and would be fine recommending it if it meant that people experienced what I did.
                Here's hoping you don't boot me from CH.

                1. re: Lizard

                  "Here's hoping you don't boot me from CH."
                  There's a way to do this?
                  John

                  1. re: Lizard

                    Before I boot you from CH (just kidding) I'd like you to explain why you think Les Bouquinistes is so loathed here, for I fail to grasp the explanation in your post. Thanks Lizard.

                    1. re: Ptipois

                      May not loathed but has it ever been recomended?

                      1. re: PhilD

                        And what about Au Bon Coin? We went there last week and loved it. young, lively, well priced and delicious..

                        1. re: pammi

                          Double post.

                      2. re: Ptipois

                        First, yikes, I can't believe my spelling. I had a whisky (or two) in me and should not have been allowed to post.
                        Second, I've never seen it recommended, and every time it is raised, it is questioned and almost all regulars jump in to claim there are much better options.

          2. For the "hip" tips, I usually go to the Hip Paris Blog : http://hipparis.com/

            I think they have good suggestions.

            For new year's eve, the consensus is to order/takeout food from a good "traiteur" and eat in your hotel room/appartment and then go out and walk out the city.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Maximilien

              Rue du Faubourg St Denis and Cour des Petites Ecuries are the hippest spots in Paris now, but hip equals crap in the Paris dining scene. I strongly urge you to eat at home first then go to a hip place.
              The only places with good food there are Bla Bla and the Turkish places, especially Urfa Durum and Oslem.
              Totally agree with Max:
              "For new year's eve, the consensus is to order/takeout food from a good "traiteur" and eat in your hotel room/appartment and then go out and walk out the city."
              There are certain new trends:
              - Hamburger is the rage. Need I say more. Pti and I are hoping, praying, that it be replaced by teh fish&chips trend, esp fish&chips from Dans Les Landes.
              - Another trend is Japanese chefs doing French cuisine. This trend, I heart heartily. Examples include Kiku, Abri, Encore… All very good, inventive ma non troppo, not gut-busting,

              1. re: Parigi

                "Kiku, Abri, Encore"
                And you can add Les Enfants Rouge to the list. Wonderful meal there yesterday. And H Kitchen, Es, Aki, ah the beat goes on.

            2. Try Tokyo Eat at Le Palais de Tokyo (but don't expect edible food there. You can't have it all).

              2 Replies
              1. re: Ptipois

                Love you Pti, but Tokyo Eat is best savoured in summer when its hot on the terrace and Monsieur Bleu, down the stairs is pricy and not superb.

                1. re: John Talbott

                  Yeah, sure, but the hype is there all year round. And the food is conveniently crappy from January 1st to December 31st.

              2. FYI : Sherry Butt ...

                http://www.worlds50bestbars.com/fifty...

                2 Replies
                1. re: Maximilien

                  there ya go. thanks.

                  1. re: LemonLauren

                    Where did you end up dining while you were in Paris, LemonLauren?

                2. Aaah the word "hip"... it has become as criticized as the word "foodie"...

                  Of course it depends on your definition of "hip", but when I went to Verre Volé recently, it was fairly hip, meaning the crowd was young, the place is cool and unpretentious, the food by Japanese chef Takao Inazawa was amazing (I was expecting good, but it was more refined and more fragrant than just good), the music is hip and gets loud (unfortunately for that part...). However the place is not new, and people know about it, so in this sense it's a bit past its prime hipness.

                  And if you're in the neighborhood, you can go have a great coffee at Ten Belles before dinner. Now that is a hip place (people with "ironic" mustaches and all), and the coffee is some of the best I've had in Paris.