(Place de la Bastille, M: Bastille)
A brasserie right on the edge of la Place de la Bastille, Falstaff has a wide sidewalk full of chairs made for sitting out in the sun and enjoying un café, and a traditional French menu.
|"In the heart of Paris, at Place de la Bastille, le Falstaff was a short walk from our hotel in the Marais. Eating here was a great way to get a first taste of a fundamental aspect of Parisian cuisine: the brasserie. A brasserie is what I would call fast food done right. Forget McDonalds or Burger King when in Paris and in need of a quick meal; opt for a brasserie. Falstaff offered a great selection of typical French food: croques, sausages, composed salads, and more. My personal favorites were the croque monsieur (a variation of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich) and the gratinée (authentic French onion soup), and I highly recommend them. However, Falstaff does have its shortcoming. If you’re a big soda drinker, this is not the place for you: on our second visit, they charged us a whopping 12 € for a large Coke… ouch!" (OJ)|
(46 Rue Saint-Louis-en-Ile)
A small restaurant gastronomique, Tastevin offers delicious traditional French cuisine and great service.
|"Le Tastevin was our initiation into French cuisine. Any respectable French dinner starts with an apéritif, which can consist of a coupe de champagne;, akir, or a kir royale. A kir is a traditional French cocktail which contains dry white wine and blackcurrant liquor. In a kir royale, the white wine is replaced with champagne.
"After the apéritif follows an entrée (an appetizer); a typical choice is, for example, foie gras, soupe à l'oignon gratinée, or coquilles St. Jacques; (scallops). The main course consists of a variety of fish and meat dishes, accompanied of course by white or red wine. Le plateau de fromages plays an important role in French cuisine. At Le Tastevin, the owner explained to us the cheeses and told us the order in which to eat them for maximum enjoyment. Just as white wines should precede the red ones, cheese should be savored starting with the mildest one.
"A light dessert, such as crème brûlée or soufflé glacé is the next in line. After that, a good cup of strong coffee, served with a square of dark chocolate, is another special moment of the dinner. And after so many courses, a digestif(usually cognac or armagnac) is not only a pleasure, but a necessity. Bon appetit!" (CC)
|"Before going to dinner this night, Professor Turk warned us (in French, of course), "You guys are going to learn how the French eat tonight!" After two weeks, meals would end up being a huge part of the trip for us, and tonight, at le Tastevin, we discovered why.
"Before we even began eating, we all enjoyed un apéritif - a drink before the first course. Ordering was interesting- like all of the meals to follow, looking at the menu pretty much involved us asking Professor Turk what every single dish consisted of. We started with une entrée, which ranged from escargots to foie gras, followed by le plat principal (the main dish). I had lapin for the first time (rabbit); the lady serving us assured me that the mustard in the sauce was not very strong, but I could definitely taste it. Throughout the entire meal, much of the table was also enjoying a good vin rouge, which the woman always made sure the glasses were full of. When we all finished our food, we got to try a sampling of cheeses, eating them from weakest to strongest in taste, so that the taste of the strongest did not overwhelm that of the others (we all learned a lot during this meal). Josh tried to convince me that he was "probably allergic" to the cheeses, but he was good about trying each one. Before having a digestif andun café, we finished eating with a dessert (bien sûr!). Some people enjoyed a chocolate fondant that melted in their mouths while others had une glace or other mouthwatering, fattening pastry. Three and a half hours later, we all rolled out of the restaurant, convinced that the only way we ate so much was because we did it so slowly, in typical French fashion." (SC)
(5 Rue de la Bastille)
Dating from 1864, the oldest and one of the most popular brasseries in Paris is known for its marvelous décor, excellent shellfish, and reliable menu. Other specialties include choucroute (sauerkraut) and grilled meats. It is a very popular place, due to its location across from la Place de la Bastille, and is a good spot for a souper after a performance.
Fleurs de Thym
(19 Rue François Miron, M: St-Paul)
A small Lebanese restaurant situated in le Marais, with delicious hummus andkafta, a pita filled with lettuce and ground beef formed into sausage-like strips.
|"Lunch at Fleurs de Thym was a unique experience for me, as I had never before tasted Lebanese cuisine. I didn’t know what to expect as I entered the restaurant, a cozy setting with hardly a dozen tables within the rustic stone walls. The menu was initially mystifying, with dishes called kafta and chawarma, but the waiter was exceptionally friendly and answered all our questions. My meal turned out to be delicious: tender strips of beef nestled in pita bread, with a side of hummus. For dessert, we all shared some baklava, a pastry with honey and nuts, and a curious white flan flavored with rose water." (TK)|
(8 Rue de Marigny, M: Quatre Septembre)
Near the Opéra Comique, this restaurant is known for its service personnalisé et sa nourriture satisfaisante ("personal service and satisfying food").
"The most memorable moment for me in this restaurant came when we were served our main dish. Orlando had convinced me to get the pigeon, since I had never tasted it before; he ordered the same thing. Both of ours came served in ceramic dishes with a cover on top. When we uncovered them to dish it onto our plates, we began to notice differences between ours: "Stephanie, mine doesn't have bacon." "Ummm, yours has a lot more vegetables." Orlando had an entire bird, bones and all, whereas my dish came with two small round things, which I assumed to be pigeon breasts. However, as soon as I cut into one, I was sure it was brain, but no one else believed me. But, after tasting it and asking our waiter, it was confirmed: I had been served "sweet breads" (or ris de veau), a delicacy of calf's brains. Needless to say, it was quickly switched with the pigeon.
"Other than that little surprise, the restaurant was really good. Everyone seemed to enjoy what they had to eat (except for Andy, who expected his oysters to be cooked and not raw, and Cristian, who ordered a sausage made of multiple internal organs of some animal), and we left with a few more good stories to tell." (SC)
(69 Rue des Gravilliers, M: Arts-et-Métiers)
Frequented by models and actors, this restaurant serves its Moroccan cuisine with a flare: the room is brilliantly decorated and the couscous, among other things, is delicious.
|"For me, food was an integral part in this trip. We dined at several fine restaurants, but none of them surpassed the Moroccan restaurant Le 404. Maybe, I am just biased because I'm from Nigeria and always wanted to taste couscous. The food was amazing (I still remember exactly what I ordered: mixed salad, couscous 404 style, and a fruit salad). The waiters and waitresses were humming and dancing as they served the food. Happiness is contagious. Le 404 definitely brought a smile to my face." (AN)|
|"The first thing I noticed was how small this restaurant was: a single first-floor room with an open kitchen (prepared dishes on the counter waiting to be served, enormous metal pots heating on the stove) and a bar. Dim chandeliers lit the room through intricately carved metal shades ; splashes of light shone through, covering the tables and floors in exotic patterns. We sat at a surprisingly low table surrounded on two sides by a wrap-around couch. I took the waiter up on his recommendation of a traditional apéritif: lime juice, sugar, and vodka mixed with a thick layer of fresh mint. Everyone ordered some variety of couscous, and the food was served family style with a large bowl of couscous, another of vegetables, and separate plates of meat (beef, lamb, and sausage). The meats were delicious, and the strong flavors complemented the plainer couscous. Nobody was quite sure what the Crêpe Berber was on the dessert menu. When we asked the waiter to explain, he ran off to get an English language menu, which he handed to us by way of answering our question. He seemed surprised when we didn't understand any better what Berber Pancake meant, but eventually he revealed that this was a crepe topped with honey and nuts (though I ordered mine without). It was kind of dry, but I really enjoyed the sweetenedthé à la menthe that was served along with dessert. It's really unfortunate that several members of the group were sick that night and couldn't join us: they missed one of the food highlights of my trip." (JM)|
Vins et Terroirs Chez Marie
(Rue St.-André des Arts, near the Place de l'Odéon)
|"After the wonderful plays of Ionesco, we were again ready for a nice French dinner. Professor Turk knew a good Spanish restaurant near the Place de l'Odéon, but unfortunately it was already closed when we arrived. So, here we were, wandering in the Latin Quarter, looking for a restaurant. Our search ended when a group of three men exited from a restaurant and told us that they strongly recommended us to eat there. And, unfortunately, we followed their advice.
"Wherever you go in Paris, you can have a wonderful meal. Well, Vins et Terroirs was the exception that confirmed the rule. The soupe à l'oignon was cold, the salad wasn't fresh, and the list can go on and on. For the first time, Caglar didn't finish his plate. For the first time, we didn't order dessert. However, as always, we had a nice conversation, which is perhaps the most important aspect of the French experience of cuisine." (CC)
Auberge de Jarente
(7 Rue de Jarente, M: St-Paul, Bastille)
A cozy restaurant, Auberge de Jarente specializes in the cuisine of Southwestern France, including delicious cassoulet.
|"It's a good thing Professor Turk warned us to come hungry. This was my first experience with frogs' legs (and whatever anyone says, they do taste like chicken), and my first time eating cassoulet. The haricots in the cassoulet were delicious, white beans melting into something soft and wonderful in my mouth. In fact everything was delicious, and our waiter was both highly amusing and highly attentive: He only half-jokingly offered Andy escargots for dessert ; I had a new fork almost before I realized I'd dropped my first one. And of course he was more than willing to take our picture. If I went back, I would order everything the same -- with the possible exception of the vieille prune digestif after the meal." (JM)|
(Corner of Rue Saint-Antoine & Rue St. Paul, M: St. Paul)
Located in the heart of the Marais, in the 4th arrondissement, Miss Manon is a typical French boulangerie-pâtisserie. Specialties include fresh-baked croissants, pains au chocolat, brioches, and fruit tartes.
|"If you visit Paris, definitely go to the Marais and order a croissant and a pain au chocolat from Miss Manon. Those are the best pâtisseries that I have had for a long while. The fluffy croissant simply melts in your mouth. You can add a little bit of strawberry jam to spice up your petit dejeuner (breakfast). The line to get pastries from Miss Manon always goes to the door. Check it out for a solid breakfast or midday snack." (AN)|
Au Bistrot de la Montagne
(38 Rue de la Montagne-Sainte-Geneviève)
Near the Panthéon, this restaurant claims to have part of its building dating back to the 13th century. It specializes in hosting large groups; there is a "cave" in the basement reserved especially for this purpose.
|"Sophie had the wonderful idea of planning an "international" dinner with us and many of her friends who also come from other countries. On our way to the restaurant, she told us that she had arranged the seating and that she had put me across from a very cute French boy. This was bound to be good.
"Though the food wasn't very spectacular (I had to swallow my hatred for French onion soup and ordered it for an entrée because the other things offered were even more to my disliking), the conversation and company more than made up for it. The boy was cute, but more importantly, really nice and friendly. All of her friends were engaging and outgoing, and what surprised me the most was that many of them didn't know each other, yet at dinner they all seemed to be old friends." (SC)
Le Clos des Gourmets
(16 Avenue Rapp, M: Alma-Marceau, Ecole-Militaire)
With a great chef, wonderful service, and softly painted yellow walls, this restaurant is one of the best in the 7th arrondisement.
|"A very nice and cozy, but expensive restaurant located at 16 Avenue Rapp, 7th arrondissement. The restaurant is managed by a young couple who recently had a baby. They like to get to know their clients, and their English is quite good, so feel free to talk to them. You will probably also find other English-speaking diners at the tables around you. Make sure to have a glass of champagne and order one or two of their big wine bottles for dinner. Remember, red is good, but you can't go wrong if you get white as well! For appetizers, I recommend the sesame-covered Noix de St. Jacques, or scallops. The dish looks beautiful and tastes wonderful. For the main dish, if it's available, order the Ris de Veau(sweet-breads), commonly known as cow-brains. Don't be afraid to try this, as it is delicious. (When we were there, Josh ordered it by accident, and he was too scared to even taste it!) Pick dessert yourself; I'm sure they're all good. A line of clients eager to take your table will probably have formed by the time you finish your meal. Don't rush to leave, however, because you're in France, not America. The waiter will discreetly prod you once, but that's it. One last tip: finish your wine! In France, it's impolite to leave the table without doing so. Je blague." (CG)|
(Port de la Bourdonnais, M: Trocadero)
This classy nighttime boat cruise takes you on a tour of Paris along the Seine, while serving a delicious meal. Live musicians, satisfactory waiters and a boat with glass walls make this a memorable evening.
|"To end our séjour in Paris, our group, along with Sophie, Professor de Courtivron, and a German-Japanese writer friend of Professors Turk and de Courtivron, dined while cruising along the Seine. Though we feared the dinner would be a hokey tourist trap, we were pleasantly surprised by the elegance of the meal. The food was delicious, from the creative champagne and orange juice aperatif, to the ultra rich chocolate coulant with violet ice cream. Even better, however, was the entertainment. As we coasted through the heart of Paris, a live band serenaded us with a lively mix of old French favorites and contemporary American tunes. A quick turn on the dance floor ended this last but certainly not least memorable dinner in the City of Light." (TK)|