HELP!! - Paris ' Bistro Crawl '.....Choices are scary! Please help to eliminate!!

Hello Foodie members!

I’ll be spending 8 to 10 days in Paris and surrounding areas with my foodie brother-in-law around late September. Apart from splurging on a few Michelin stars meals, for the remaining of our eating itinerary, we would like to focus our effort on doing a ’ Traditional Parisian Bistro Food Crawl '.

For our ’ must-eat ’ choices, based on reputation and specialty dish considerations etc ( eg., Beef Bourguignon ). We have narrowed list down to : Josephine Chez Dumonet, L’Ami Jean and Bistro Paul Bert.

The rest, we hope to eat at more affordable, better value and less expensive establishments. However, amount of choices are scary and I am at a total lost!

Based on ’ food deliciousness ’ criteria alone, please kindly help me in selecting 3 ( mainly for lunches; Good Escargots a bonus )…hopefully with explanation behind selection and recommendation of dishes to order?! Any other fine establishments I missed out on?

My current list include:
Le Mazenay
Aux Bon crus
Aux Cru de Bourgogne
La Grande Brasserie
Bouillon Republique
Bouillon Pigalle
Chez Janou
Robert & Louise
Chez Michel

We also hope to eat some delish seafood at Seulement Sea, Comptoir de Mer or Le Crabe Marteau ( any other non-Michelin star choices worth considering? A good Soupe de Poisson would be a bonus! ) For some reason, we are not too keen about Clamato’s offering?? I’ve also eaten at Le Dome in the past and found it expensive and over-rated!

Lastly, based on recommendation, we’ll be also trying out some good beef at ’ Sacree Fleur '…good choice!!!

Thanks in advance!!

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Have not been since 2019. Bouillon Pigalle is a favorite of ours. I don’t recall seeing a lot of soupe de poisson. If you like fish, then try Fish.


Le Mazenay is a keeper even though the cuisine and the decor are more modern than the others on your list (which is probably a good thing). Aux Bons Crus and Aux Crus de Bourgogne are very similar and déjà-vu to do both… I prefer Aux Crus de Bourgogne because of the decor, buzz, and better desserts… and it has escargots on the menu (but escargot is escargot is escargot and they are all pretty much the same in every bistro) . La Grande Brasserie, yes yes. Better food at Bouillon République than Bouillon Pigalle + Alsacien specialties i.e. choucroute garnie. Chez Janou is better known for its ambiance rather than the cuisine. Robert & Louise is just a tourist restaurant in my book and I haven’t been for a decade. Chez Michel has quite a good fish soup.

For fish restaurant, Le Vent d’Armor in the 5th is superb… sometimes very good fish soup, usually cotriade (Breton specialty), but menu changes often. Or more modern, trendy and less expensive, Belle Maison in Sud Pigalle in the 9th. For the fun factor as well as a very varied menu, Huguette on rue Seine in the 6th… I love the oysters and the petite friture (smelt or other small fish deep fried and eaten whole).

For steak, Les Provinces on rue d’Aligre in the 12rh… butcher shop + resto combo. No experience of Sacrée Fleur and no blip on the local radar but it seems to be a tourist favourite.

For boeuf bourguignon, I am not a fan of Joséphine Chez Dumonet… sometimes it’s like eating in an American retirement home because it attracts a lot of 60+ Americans… the ventilation is horrible and it turns into a sauna in the summer. I’ve never seen boeuf bourguignon on the ever-hanging menu of l’Ami Jean. Instead of boeuf bourguignon (largely a tourist dish in Paris), I prefer the daube de joue de boeuf/ beef cheeks stew at Chez Denise in Les Halles.


If you mean Fish La Boissonnerie in the 6th, it’s not a fish restaurant despite the name (which is simply a recognition that the location was originally a poissonnerie/ fishmonger shop) . Like most bistros, it does have a few fish options but it doesn’t specialize in fish.



We had good meals at Chez Michel, if they suggest you for the basement seating, refuse! Dusty and smelled.

My 2cents (based on 1 dinner each):
-Aux Bons Crus was a tale of 2 places. The food was comforting and well made. We were glad we went. When we arrived at 8pm, the place was full of folks like us (what are we called again? oh yeah… tourists). Everyone talking across tables, telling each other what they were doing in Paris, comparing notes. Friendly, very happy to be there & almost done with dinner. By 9pm, it was a more local scene, with folks coming to “their” place with friends & and not to mingle with others. Still loud, but more private. The food looked the same (our stays in Florence and Rome have taught us that this is not a given), but the staff seemed more relaxed. We’d go again.
-Robert & Louise is, as said, tourist central. The downstairs room was a bus or two, but we had a nice dinner upstairs, again talking to those who were there when we arrived (two tables of NY’ers, including a young couple who lived 4 blocks from us in Brooklyn). However, as the tables turned, we wound up next to an “already happy” local guy who was renting out several apartments in the area and a regular. He was more than happy to chat us up & recommend we tell friends about his apartments. His stories were great but, although he was local, the ambience of the place remained 100% tourists. Oh, by the way, this is a steak house with a large grill by the back tables. Not exactly a “bistro crawl” place, imo.
-Fish La Boissonnerie was one of our favorite “eat at the bar” places & we wound up enjoying both the food and the conversation. Tables were split 50/50 with tourists and French speaking folk (I have no idea if they lived in Paris or were tourists as well - certainly not “locals” known to the place). The bartender was talkative (native English speaker who has lived in Paris for years) and we were joined by the owner, who decided to walk over from his other places nearby and have a drink or two. We liked the food and will definitely return, but I’m not sure this is what you’re looking for either.
Don’t know the other places. I’d add Chez Georges (the one at 1rue du mail) to your list. On a previous trip, we had a good time there. A good lively mix of people and stick to your ribs food (& a bowl of “serve yourself” herring). And, as I’ve said elsewhere, we love L’Ami Jean.


Idle question: Bouillon 47 opened maybe a year pre-covid to very positive reviews (from people I trust). But no news in recent times. Any recent visits?

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We’ve been to Bouillon 47 twice, the first in April 2015, and very much enjoyed both times. We would like to hear recent reviews.

A ‘BIG’ THANK YOU TO ALL for all your prompt and useful responses Much Appreciated!
I’ll do more Google searching and let you folks know what we have decided!

BTW, trying to single out a good Michelin 1*or two is equally tough! Don’t know why all of my choices begins with ‘A’??!..AT, Auguste, Arcane, Alliance!! Ha!

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I found the Beef Bourguignon at Chez Fernand Christine in the 6th to be utterly delicious. But I’ve only been once, and I’m a tourist so what do I know.

Speaking of tourist, Bistro Paul Bert can be tourist central, and I had a bad experience there. Tough pork, flavorless soufflé, forgotten tea and dessert. Good steak frites, but I think you can do better.


Trish, I have a fuzzy memory from your report on Chowhound that your boeuf bourguignon at Chez Fernand was made with beef cheeks rather than the classic chunks of beef. True ?

Just to apologize if I’ve ruffled feathers. Of course, my Paris is very different from the tourist Paris and, we locals – just like New Yorkers, San Franciscans, Londoners, etc-- can be a little too quickly dismissive of tourist favourites on the deeply rutted tourist trail. We also happen to know more restos than tourists happen to know. Just a matter of different perspectives.


Add a “g” to the mix and consider Granite.

Actually now I’m curious about Paul Bert, I have 2 experiences with it, once at the bistort, good comfort food with the price tag. Another experience with a Fooding event, at the Saint Ouen flea market, very long queue, small portion, food is all right not surprise or original, but it’s good old bistrot food.

Maybe I will try a meal this week or next to confirm .

Different restos. There is a Bistro Paul Bert on rue Paul Bert in the 11th and there is a different Le Paul Bert on the rue Paul Bert in the St Ouen flea market: But maybe the Le Fooding event was held at Ma Cocotte on rue Paul Bert in the Marché Paul Bert Saint Ouen, no ?

Who would have thought that a 19th century physiologist and fierce anti-Catholic would have so many streets and places named after him ?

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I think I’ve been to the Café le Paul Bert in Saint Ouen, I had a good Paris Breast, I believe.

Héhé, that particular Fooding pop-up event happened in the puce, but not linked to the café le Paul Bert. The idea was like treasure hunting, we were given each a handful of coupons, a map indicating where to find the food and some description of restaurants and food they served. We were free to choose where to order our food, btw, the flea market was closed, it was like 20h, the restaurateurs had some temporary mini stands or empty shop space with their equipment to cook food. There were many stands, including of course la Cocotte (nothing to do with the one in rue Dominque), there was also Inaki Aizpitarte, but his stand was not operating or experienced some problems. The problem with this type of events, the experience is never as good as eating in a restaurant. Food are simple or cold. True le Fooding events, you could taste many small dishes but the portions are too small and one need to rush and queue all the time, I think I am too old to find that fun or cool. I have tried 3 times, including once in a Montmartre garden with Eric Frechon serving me a crispy pork belly with his spectacular barbecue plancha. I think these types of events, including Taste of Paris etc. without a proper table, are not for me.


I think travellers also choose different dishes when they will only be in Paris for a few days, than locals would choose when they are in Paris for weeks at or months at a time.

I had started a thread for NYC some time ago, mentioning favourite places I seek out or revisttas a non-resident. Quite a few locals mentioned they never went to the restaurants I mentioned. I avoid ordering things like hamburgers and pizza when I travel, because my home city does a pretty good job, and I’m usually focused on favourite dishes, dishes I can’t find where I live, and seasonal or regional specialities.

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Also there are many of simplier bistro dishes, I cook them regularly at home, so it’s not things that I’m very inspired to eat when I go out, at least I’m talking about myself. Other charcuterie dishes like pate or terrine, etc, we can buy them in good traiteur. So after eaten the same dish over and over again, the appreciation is a bit different.

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I will still order pizzas in Italy. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Yes, I’m guilty of ordering pizza in Italy! :joy:

My cacio e pepe pizza at the Central Market next to the Termini train station in Rome in 2017

I also ordered a burger in Shinjuku after making my hangry friend circle 3 blocks for an hour looking for a gyukatsu restaurant that we eventually found, which had a long line-up down some steps.

I haven’t ordered Pizza in NYC since 2011 (Don Antonio and Motorino)