La Joie de Vivre in Paris (Part Deux)

In my previous post, I began to tell you about Paris--what to see and do and suggestions of hotels to make your home base. In this post, I will get into the eating and drinking aspect of your holiday to the City of Lights. To begin, here are a few tips to help make your food experience go as smoothly as possible:

  • Dining options are usually classified as either cafés, bistros, or brasseries. A café is the most casual and serves coffee, alcohol and light fare. A bistro is generally a small, modest place that is meat-centric (as opposed to seafood). A brasserie is generally a larger, slightly more upscale establishment offering more seafood than meat. Although these days there's a fine line between bistros and brasseries.
  • Listen very closely to this one! An entrée is actually an appetizer. Don't get fooled or you'll end up leaving the restaurant quite hungry!
  • Café au Lait (coffee with steamed milk) is the drink to order with your petit déjeuner (light breakfast usually consisting of a croissant or pastry with coffee or tea).

WHERE TO EAT

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

Drouant for a delicious dinner that highlights chef Antoine Westermann's farm-fresh, local, seasonal veggies. I miss his bistro, Mon Vieil Ami, but this is the next best thing. Reservations needed. (18 Rue Gaillon)

Septime for one of the most popular tables in town. Modern, bistro dishes in a rustic yet elegant atmosphere. Reservations a must and can only be booked 3 weeks in advance. If dinner is too competitive, lunch is a great alternative. (80 Rue de Charonne)

Huitrerie Regis for oysters in a lovely, quaint seafood and oyster bar. Menu includes a large selection of bubbly and white wine (naturally). There is a minimum 1 dozen oysters per person rule, but it was delicious and the best place to try France's famous fines de claires oysters. They don't take reservations and the place is small but if you go on the early side of the dinner rush you should not have a problem getting a table. (3 Rue de Montfaucon)

Josephine Chez Dumonet for some of the best duck confit around as well as other French classics served in a traditional bistro setting. Reservations needed. (117 Rue du Cherche-Midi)

Le Stella for seafood in true brasserie. When it's nice, request a table outdoors on the terrace. I recommend ordering the seafood tower or at least some oysters to accompany your meal and fit in with the crowd! (133 Avenue Victor Hugo)

Le Relais de l'Entrecote for steak frites. This casual yet delicious eatery is a must if you like steak & french fries (don't expect anything else on the menu!) Just tell the waiter how you would like your steak to be cooked and watch as your plate keeps filling with steak and fries. There are a couple locations around Paris but it doesn't feel like a chain. They don't take reservations so I recommend going to dinner on the earlier side if you don't want to wait in a long line. (20 Rue Saint-Benoît)

Le Bistro Marbeuf for a casual meal in a cosy French bistro. A great option if you're in the Champs-Élysées neighborhood. Reservations recommended but not necessary. (21 Rue Marbeuf)

CAFÉS

Eggs & Co. for a sit-down breakfast or brunch. This really cute little place in the Saint Germain neighborhood serves (farm fresh) eggs and lots of them prepared in a million different ways. I recommend the eggs benedict with a green side salad to balance out the meal. Good coffee and freshly squeezed OJ too. Truly an egg-cellent choice! (11 Rue Bernard Palissy)

Coutume Café for a light breakfast, snack, brunch and/or coffee in a rustic, cozy atmosphere. (47 Rue de Babylone)

Café Trama for a really delicious croque monsieur in a rustic yet modern setting. (83 Rue du Cherche-Midi)

Briezh Café or Little Briezh for authentic crêpes. The savory, buckwheat variety are what draws the crowd but sweet ones are also available. Whatever you choose you can't go wrong. Reservations recommended. (109 Rue Vieille du Temple & 11 Rue Grégoire de Tours)

Cuisine de Bar for a tartine-filled lunch. Open-faced sandwiches served in a cute, light & airy setting. Reservations not accepted. (8 Rue du Cherche-Midi)

Cosi for yummy sandwiches served on warm, fresh flatbread. This is the place that inspired the chain we know here in the States but is not associated in anyway. Great to take away and have a picnic lunch in the park. (54 Rue de Seine)

OTHER DELIGHTS

Poilâne for fresh apple tarts right out of the oven. Despite being a bakery, do not expect a baguette to be found here. Several locations but I prefer the one in Saint Germain. (8 Rue du Cherche-Midi)

Eric Kayser for one of the best baguettes in the city. Yummy croissants too. Many locations but don't let that deter you. I prefer the one in Saint Germain which also has a few tables for snacking onsite. (18 Rue du Bac)

Androuet for authentic French cheeses to go with your baguette and wine. Don't be afraid to ask the staff for some help selecting. Several locations but the one in Saint Germain is strategically across from Eric Kayser for baguettes. (37 Rue de Verneuil)

Berthillon for ice cream or glacée as the French refer to it. This is one of the best ice cream parlors in the city so if you're only going to have ice cream once, make sure this is the place. Having a pocket dictionary is always helpful in deciphering the flavor menu. (29-31 Rue Saint-Louis en l'Île)

WHERE TO DRINK

Prescription Cocktail Club for a prohibition-era drink in a dark, speakeasy, loungey atmosphere. Fun place to go after dinner. Located in the Saint Germain neighborhood and a little tough to find because of the lack of signage but you'll know you found the right place when you see the bouncer outside. (23 Rue Mazarine)

Tiger for a craft cocktail in a trendy, retro setting with a bright, tropical twist. This place specializes in gin & tonic (they offer several spins on the classic and make their own tonic) but for those not into gin they offer some other fun, tasty cocktails. Located in the Saint Germain neighborhood. (13 Rue Princesse) 

La Terrasse at Hotel Raphael for a rooftop cocktail with views of the Eiffel Tower. Open for lunch and dinner, which is a tough choice. Either way you get an amazing view! Reservations by phone or email are necessary to get a table on the terrace. (17 Avenue Kléber)

Les Deux Magots for an aperitif or coffee in Hemingway's old hangout. Grab a table outdoors when the weather is nice and watch the Parisian world go by. (6 Place Saint-Germain des Prés)

Les Philosophes to take a break from all the walking through Le Marais. Perfect for an aperitif or coffee outdoors on the terrace. Also has some of the best onion soup incase you need a snack too. (28 Rue Vieille du Temple)

Well, I hope you're hungry and thirsty because you've got lots of eating and drinking to do! This list could go on and on since there is just so much good food in this city. You won't go home hungry, that's for sure! Have you been to Paris already? What is your favorite restaurant? Bon appétit!