My Paris Restaurant Itinerary & Shopping List - Please review
I've spent the last couple of months on CH putting together a list of restaurants, made a few reservations, and compiled of list of goodies to bring home with me to Seattle. I would love your input and expertise on what I have so far.
* as a note, in a perfect world I would have reservations for every dinner or lunch in Paris, but it wouldn't fly with my travel companion. She's not a planner and would have a problem revolving her day around a specific time to eat.
With that being said, here's the list:
Things to buy in Paris:
1. Salted caramels from Jacques Genin
2. Speculaas cream
3. Mustard "on tap" from the Maille Boutique at 6 Place de la Madeleine
4. Hédiard's 3 peppers mustard and Herbes de Provence - around the corner from Maille.
5. Savora, a spiced mustard-based spread
6. A chunk of aged comté
7. Christine Ferber jam - the best selection is at La Grand Épicerie, however Da Rosa sells them as well, although they’re a few more euros per jar.
8. Champagne vinegar from Huilerie LeBlanc and from G Detou I get dried mushrooms like cepes and morels as well as fabulous almond paste.
9. Big bag of course grey sea salt and fleur de sel de Guérande
10. Gerard Mulot pastries
11. Dehillerin, whether it's a commercial grade saute or sauce pan, or something easier to carry, such as a specialty knife, whisk, chinois.
12. Bon Maman Madeleines
13. Pierre Hermé Pates de Fruits
Restaurant Reservations: I have 7 nights before leaving for Avignon - we won't eat out for all of them.
Thursday - David Toutain
Friday- Franck Enee
Saturday -Atelier de Joel Robuchon Saint-Germain
Sunday - Le Coq Rico
We're staying in the 6th. Here's my list of Cafe's:
Breizh Café - buckwheat crepes In Marias - stick with the classic complète with ham, cheese, and a sunny-side egg
Gerard Mulot - Wonderful pastries.
Breakfast in the 6th:
Eggs&Co, Un Dimanche à Paris, Ralph's (whose courtyard is paradise in summer), Colorova, Cafe Cassette, Le Bel Ami, etc. Bread & Roses
Drinks in the 6th: need a little help here
La Closerie des Lilas - the Hemingway bar
Restaurants I want to try but have not reserved. Major edit please!!
Chez Jenny for good choucroute
**Chez L'Ami Jean - haven't been able to get a hold of them to reserve.
Le Pont de Yunnan - Chinese
Cafe Les Deux Magots
Youpi et Voila
Le Verre Vole
Ze Kitchen Galerie - cuz John Talbot said so!
First, you should be lauded for doing such extensive homework. It is really a help in offering suggestions.
Secondly, I will help lightening your luggage on your return flight, or rather give you more packing space by scratching #2 and #12 from your shopping list. Of course, this is strictly my humble opinion, buy having tossed a jar of Lotus Speculoos spread, I can't recommend that you bring some home. IMHO, it is rather vile stuff. Kind of like ground up cookies in vegetable oil.
I also think you will find better madeleines in your travels.
what a nice opportunity for multiple tastings.
Keep us posted.
You have obviously done excellent homework. I wish all visiting hounds were like you. Can we keep you ? :)
"Saturday -Atelier de Joel Robuchon Saint-Germain
Sunday - Le Coq Rico"
You can do better
Atelielr JR. I used to love this pioneer of sorts. It is no longer unique. If you want to go to the nearby vicnity in a similar calibre retaurant, I'd go to Zie Kitchen Galerie.
And instead of Coco Rico, I'd go to Jeanne B rue Lepic, its roast Challan chicken is a good standby.
Drinks in the 6th
La Palette is actually a much nicer apéritif spot than a coffee café. Very Parisian moment, full of nearby gallery people.
"La Closerie des Lilas - the Hemingway bar"
The only Hemingway Bar I know is the Ritz now closed for renovation.
If you get a reservation, great. If not, don't kill yourself.
There are many good alternatives nearby : Saturne, Le Bat, A.Noste.
I noticed you seem to focus on mustard. A great mustard source, much better than Hédiard, is the mustard made by monks sold at the Comptoir des Abbayes on rue des Petits Champs. The monks make many other things, what with sublimating their libido and all.
"Chez Jenny for good choucroute"
Not choucroute season for me mais bon…
Not really worth crossing town for.
"**Chez L'Ami Jean - haven't been able to get a hold of them to reserve."
The restaurant was closed all of August. You can call now. The staff is back.
Not worth crossing town for.
"Le Pont de Yunnan - Chinese"
Decent, but full all the time, I mean all the time, even Sunday night in the middle of August.
"Cafe Les Deux Magots"
You can do better. I'd choose the Flores 1st floor or La Palette or Café de la Mairie
on place St Sulpice over Deux Magots.
Youpi et Voila
"Le Verre Volé"
Very nice. Other similar good bistros with wine focus are Juvéniles
and Autour d'un verre.
#13--Yes, the pate de fruit was INCREDIBLE.
Also, if you drink tea--at all--then please go to Mariage Freres! I also ate there a lot and loved it, but really even if you just got tea-leaves to go, I promise... it is so much better than the US.
And it's not a hot-spot, but in case you need a cafe with great customer service, attention to detail, good wine (although I have limited knowledge), and just all around great ambiance... Comme Chai Toi (near Notre Dame).
Also to note, the Mariage Freres on r. Bourg-Tibourg is truly something to see.
Go see the Dome inside Galleries Lafayette, and while you are there visit the food area and score some Bordier butter for your hotel room. Nothing better than fresh baguettes and Bordier butter anytime you like.
AND AMORINO. I don't even really care for ice cream or gelato.. and I know it is Italian.. but it is INCREDIBLE. I actually liked it better than Berthillon.
(Not to mention: are you avoiding Laduree for any particular reason? Even if you get just one vanilla macaron, I promise it will be great.)
Oh goodie! (Pardon my childish delight.) I didn't get to try Angelina, but I heard theirs were good too.
I bought Laduree inside of Galleries Lafayette or Printemps (whichever one has it towards the top)... and there was no line whatsoever. Versus, when I passed the Laduree stores I saw people waiting in very long lines. And if you are flying out of CDG, you can get some last-minute Laduree at the airport.. but I would still have some while you are out in Paris. I just bought two there as a final taste but also watched the couple next me devour about 20 on the plane. Personally I preferred Laduree because I thought PH's flavors were trying to hard. Laduree's read as deeper, richer pure flavors.
I stayed near Odette and people seemed to love their creme puffs... but alas, I didn't try them because I just don't care for that kind of thing.
As much as I thought macs would be my favorite, the pate de fruit was actually hands down my favorite sweet-thing to eat in Paris--at PH get the box that has the teal colored cover because that is the assorted variety. It made up for never making it to whatever bakery I had wanted to go to (maybe Genin) to try a Paris Brest.
Also my general trick was if I was buying a pastry for breakfast, I would buy two. And even though the other got quite smashed, I would carry it in my bag and when I got stuck in line for something, I would eat it. Then you always have energy.
You need to add Gregory Renard to your list of Macaron sources. His are all about the filling, like blackberry, or chocolate filled with bitter orange. Or insanely rich caramel or pralene. Chocolate with sea salt if good. Located on the west end of St. Dominique.
If you like chocolate and/or mocha macarons, my favorites in those flavors are at Maison du Chocolat.
And the best "chunk of Comte" you will find at Laurence Dubois' stand in the Place Maubert.
Also, if you like foie gras and great duck and ham products, you might like to check out Oteiza on Blvd St Michel near Blvd St. Germain.
Having tasted a million macarons in Paris, I still have no firm favourite. But I can say that no place does a full array of flavours that is decidedly superior to all others. Chocolate macarons, for instance, I like Hugo et Victor in the 7th, Jean-Paul Hévin in the 1st, 6th, 7th and 9th, and Carette in the 4th and 16th.... for pistachio macarons, I adore Dalloyau's version.
And yes, you have missed about 2 dozen places that do macarons well. The big names are well known but the less hyped local pâtisseries like Art Macaron on the boulevard Montparnasse in the 6th (just a short walk from where I live) can be a delightful revelation.
Sampling/ trial and error/ unexpected discoveries are what makes living in Paris such a joy.
Re Bordier butter. Living in France where even ordinary butter is so much better than the equivalent you get in the USA, maybe I'm a little jaded but I don't get the Bordier frenzy. I'm not a fan of Bordier's beurres parfumées (algae, yuzu, and, yuck, lemony olive oil) that some Chowhounders extol to the heavens but for just the taste of plain butter I don't see how Bordier is any better than other (and usually much cheaper) artisanal butters from Brittany, Normandy and Poitou-Charentes and, looking at the prices, certainly not 3 or 4 or 5 times better than the premium versions of Noisy, Grand Fermage and Vrai that you can pick up at a supermarket. I do like the hand-churned raw milk butters from, inter alia, Finistère that you can sometimes find at crèmerie stalls at outdoor and covered markets in Paris... but no pretty wrapping.
Gérard Mulot. Hmmmmm. With all the excellent pâtisseries in Paris, I wouldn't rate Mulot as unmissable. He gets good press and tourists (who usually have no basis for comparison) seem to like him but there are lots of others that are better. I fear that if you get caught in the tourist rut leading to Mulot, you will miss out on Pâtisserie des Rêves, Carl Marletti, Des Gateau et Du Pain, Blé Sucré, Pierre Hermé, Bread & Roses, Laurent Duchêne, etc etc.
Christine Ferber jam. Pierre Hermé and Lafayette Gourmet also stock her confitures. For me, there are better but not so widely known other jam-makers. There's a fab confiture shop on the lower part of the rue des Martyrs (whose name I can't remember but I'm sure Parigi knows it). And the Restaurant Cristal de Sel on the rue Mademoiselle in the 15th has their own "fait maison" line of jams that I'd across town for.
Speculoos. Agree with Mangeur that it's nasty stuff. But there are much more easily likeable "pâte à tartiner" (the generic name in French for these types of spreads) ... the best (and quite expensive) of these usually nutella-like versions are Fabrice Gillot available at Mococho on the rue Mouffetard in the 5th, Sébastien Dégardin/ Pâtisserie du Panthéon on the rue St Jacques in the 5th, and Jean-Charles Rouchoux on the rue d'Assas @ rue de Rennes in the 6th.
Breakfasts in the 6th. Eggs&Co doesn't open until 11am. Ralph's is more for brunch and doesn't open til noon... horrendously expensive and at a weekends a bit of a scene... yet I like it a lot but I'm French and so the American dimension is kinda exotic for me and the garden setting is dreamy. I would also add Boulangerie Paul on the rue de Seine @ rue de Buci. There's also some very pleasant breakfasting opportunities to the east of Le Luco (familiar name for Luxembourg park)... Au Petit Suisse on the rue Vaugirard @ rue Médicis, Le Rostand on the rue Médicis @ place Edmond Rostand, and the pâtisserie-salon de thé Dalloyau on the place Edmond Rostand @ bd St Michel.
Drinks in Saint Germain des Prés. There's about a zillion places but very few are one-size-fits-all so it depends on your style, age, drink preferences etc. The Piano Bar at the Closerie des Lilas is indeed fab, has lots of Hemingway associations, and, for me at least, is the prefect place for drinks.... but on the Montparnasse side of the 6th. In the same area, Rosebud on rue Delambre in the 14th is another landmark bar that, after mixed fortunes over the last few decades, has been re-polished and returned to its former glory. More decidedly "germanopratin" (= the word to describe the inhabitants or lifestyle of Saint Germain des Prés), La Rhumerie on the boulevard Saint Germain is often described as a "veritable institution"... and it is... Brigitte Bardot hung out (literally and figuratively) there in the '50s, my parents in the '60s and '70s, and now me... and one of the few places in St G des P where locals often outnumber tourists and suburbanites. .. but you better like rum. For the best cocktails, maybe Prescription Cocktail Club on the rue Mazarine and its sibling Curio Parlor on the rue des Bernadins in the 5th. If you're into whisky and can pass for slick bond traders, the bar at Le Steaking on the rue Sabot has an enjoyable clubby feel but can occasionally be patronized by types that bring a curl to my upper lip. And speaking of clubby, the gorgeous bar at Lapérouse on the quai des Grands Augustins is quite impressive... but a caveat, it's been recently taken over by the team from the ultra-fashionable oh-so-huitième Le Baron night club and I'm not sure what if any changes have been made. For a sense of chic and sophisticated, the bar at L'Hotel on the rue des Beaux Arts. I also enjoy a glass or two of bubbly at Point Bulles on the rue Clément... usually live jazz on Sunday evening... also a restaurant so best not to go at meal times if you just want drinks
Restaurants. I like your unbooked list better than your reserved one. David Toutain and Franck Enée are indeed very recommendable. But I have been deeply disappointed by the Ateliers Joel Robuchon... food is indeed good value but the scripted spiel that goes with it, the general air of joylessness, and rather Las Vegasy clientele are quite off-putting. Coq Rico, I find that the food is ok but a bit unsurprising and not good value (an understatement) ... there are just hundreds of other restos I'd rather go to. As for the others on your wish list, I agree with Parigi that the over-hyped Frenchie is a missable... again hundreds of other places that are as good or better and require less hassle.... have a look at Caius in the 17th as an alternative.
That jam store on the lower end of the rue des martyrs is indeed out of sight! Is is a mere sliver, on the same side of the street as as Arnaud Delmontel and has a dizzying assortment of sweet and savory jams ( you can use these as accompaniments for meat or other main courses) . They are beautifully packaged and make a most unusual gift for your friends. If you go at the lunch hour,you might enjoy Premices,a restaurant just 5 minutes walk away. As far as pates a tartiner, Monoprix makes a confiture du Lait, a sort of a milk jam, that is smooth and slightly caramelized. Under their label Reflets de France.
Due to this thread l went to Chambre de Confiture on the lower end of Rue Martyr this morning. l tasted about 10 confitures and left buying none. Even the ones that were 80% fruit tasted too sweet for me and the flavors were not intense in the way l like them. As at the metro 12 line, went to C Constant on Rue Fleurus and bought a few of his, very happy and Constant as a bonus are bigger and less expensive.
As I've explained a few weeks ago, their method for roasting fowls (poaching them low-temp in water then browning them in oven) results in extremely tasty broth and not so tasty birds.
Which explains why the chicken velouté is fantastic and the chicken is a bit meh.
For 90€ a beast, that's a little rich.
I actually remembered a little incorrectly. We didn't get the 29 E fowl, but rather the 92 E fowl. That is why it stands out to me as the most overpriced thing I have ever purchased. I was assuming it was a full bird that would easily feed at least 2. It was closer to a portion that would satisfy 1 (I've actually had portions of guinea fowl meant for 1 that were the same size before). It was truly bizarre.
Part of me wonders if they charged us for the full guinea fowl, and delivered the 29 E version, because it truly made no sense. I think we ended up spending about 279 E for dinner and left not too much fuller than when we went into the place.
It is true that the sauce the bird was in was probably the tastiest thing we ate though.