I’m creating this running list to see what travellers or non-residents seek out or revisit in Paris, as a contrast to the threads where residents are providing in-depth intel on chefs , restaurants and dishes.
I haven’t been to Paris since 2008. I was there in August so most of the recommended chefs were on holiday. My previous trip was a 2 day stay, and one of the days was Bastille Day, so again, my options were limited!
I love going to the department stores’ food halls. I don’t know whether locals do this. It’s one of the things I do in Paris, London, Berlin and Tokyo.
On my last visit these are the things I was seeking out:
The black currant ice cream
Café liégeois (touristy, I know!)
Éclairs (chocolate or coffee)
Briks ( I had a Chowhound thread on this, but didn’t manage to try any North African restaurants or bakeries during my stay)
The bistro that left an impression went out of business (La Folle Avoine), and the only place out of dozens of restaurants that had been recommended on Chowhound, that we were able to try, since everything was closed or unavailable , was Brasserie Flottes on Rue Cambon. This was a long time ago, but I ended up recommending Brasserie Flottes to several non-CH friends over the years, and quite a few people ended up enjoying it. I’d expect Brasserie Flottes is a little too touristic, pedestrian or boring for a Parisian foodie trying find new things to eat in Paris.
This coming May will be my second visit to Paris. I should start by saying that I have been obsessed with Paris and French culture since I was a kid. I admire the poetic language, the respect residents have for its rich history and culture, and the admiration and skill in the arts including the culinary arts.
I started watching The French Chef on TV when I was five and learned how to cook from it. But it took me years to finally visit Paris. The people on Chowhound were very helpful in steering me away from metro/industrial food, my nemesis. I am a bit fussy, I don’t eat seafood (allergy) or offal, and don’t care for lengthy tasting menus. While I am more on the casual side, I still want to experience the best food I can in this gastronomic mecca.
On my first trip in 2019 I really wanted to taste a Paris-Brest pastry. Didn’t do it, so it’s on my list for May. Would love rec’s as to who makes a great one. I also didn’t have a soufflé or crepe, not because I didn’t want to try them, I did, but because I make pretty good ones at home and had so many other things on the list that there wasn’t time. Will get to them this trip.
I love baking and took a croissant making class offered by Le Fooding. The instructor was a French chef and she was a taskmaster which I truly appreciated. I would love to take another class but it won’t be this trip.
I had read so many good things about the Ispahan croissant by Pierre Hermé that I sought that out and it lived up to its hype.
Although I love trad French, I also want to expand my experience with modern as well. Had a lovely modern lunch at L’Oiseau Blanc (before it got its first of two Michelin stars). Totally delicious.
It was cool how the three-hour class was conducted. Because croissant dough takes a long time to process (make dough, chill, add butter, fold, chill, so on…) we made the dough and did one turn, then we made finished croissants using the chilled dough from a previous class. The teacher was a taskmaster and scrutinized every detail, which I truly appreciated, wanting to make them correctly.
I’m trying my best to not contribute to this thread because I’m a local but just a few corrections:
Café liégeois is very popular, not touristy at all… but the touristy places tend to do the classic version best (inter alia, Berthillon, Les Deux Magots, Le Flore, Ladurée);
“Blackcurrant ice-cream”… blackcurrant = cassis in French… it tends to very seasonal (July/ August) but a few places do have it year-round and far more common as a sorbet than ice-cream.
I’m tossing in an old workhorse of ours. Les Papilles is a wine bar 10 minutes south of the St. Michel. I have been touting it for newcomers for years because what it serves is high quality, totally approachable, delicious, service correct. Yes, it is full of tourists because it is so publicized but also locals continually come in hoping for a free table. The problem is that while Bertrand is a neighborhood fixture, his local buddies are shut out by tourists who have been savvy enough to reserve. So, the gimmick? A no choice menu of a superb garnished soup you serve yourself from a tureen left on the table, a main course of a copper pot of some kind of excellent beef, veal or pork braise, small cheese course, dessert. Wine chosen off the wall or, as we do, by Bertrand’s suggestion. Bottle is recorked and bagged for you to take home should you not finish the bottle. Surrounded by tourists, but well behaved ones. Definitely not a trap.
Ice cream lovers (is there anyone who is not?) should not fail to visit Folderol in the 11th. It was started during the pandemic by the owners of Le Rigmarole, Robert Compagnon and Jessica Yang. We visited last October. Fabulous and not too sweet. Oh, and it’s a wine bar AND ice cream shop, so in the afternoon there’s something for you and the kiddos.
(It seems we should have a topic wholly devoted to ice cream!)