Paris – a food roundup
It goes without saying that Paris is well and truly a foodie haven. However, navigating the city’s dining scene can be a daunting task for the non-French speaking traveller. It’s hard enough trying to choose which of the thousands of establishments you will choose to patron during your short stay in any large city, let alone one with such strict dining etiquette.
My advice is: do your research! I, as a paranoid foodie, spent about a week meticulously planning out every meal we were going to eat based on what part of town we would be in; you don’t have to go to that extent, but shortlisting a couple of decent options around your hotel isn’t the worst idea. Believe it or not, even Paris has bad food!
1 Place du Palais Bourbon
This was our first meal in Paris: where to go other than a classic French brasserie?
While only located some 500 metres away from the ever-popular Musee d’Orsay, a large proportion of patrons appeared to be French locals, which was a good sign. Here you can expect all the French classics: think steak frites, duck a l’orange. I actually read a rather ignorant trip advisor review where someone complained about their dish being served with french fries, accusing the restaurant of doing it because they were American. Did it ever occur to them that perhaps the French also eat French fries?
The highlight of our meal was definitely the rich, meaty and cheese-topped onion soup. Expect to pay around 30 euro for 2 courses.
Le Pre Verre
8 rue Thénard
Located in the Latin Quarter, this was our lunch stop off after trying (and giving up on) getting into Notre Dame.
The lunch deal is good value: 14.50 euros gets you a starter, main, glass of wine and a coffee. The main was a simple dish of tender white fish and vegetables in a flavoursome, buttery broth, which was mopped up with the provided fresh bread.
An affordable, good quality feed that won’t weigh you down for the rest of the day; perfect while travelling.
21 rue François-Bonvin
Le Troquet specialises in Basque cuisine, which is from the south-western part of France which borders Spain. The menu changes constantly, so it is displayed on large blackboards which the waitstaff perch on a chair next to your table; novel, albeit slightly impractical. Expect fresh, simple dishes with a focus on quality ingredients and technique.
Dinner pricing was 32 euros for three courses or 41 euros for six courses. This place fills up quickly, so make sure you book!
Ah, macarons. While the local trend, kickstarted by Masterchef, seems to be on the decline (likely thanks to the McMacaron), a trip to Paris just wouldn’t be complete without sampling the ubiquitous almond confection.
Debate rages over where the best macarons in Paris are to be found, however Pierre Herme seems to be a popular contender. The texture was spot on: a crisp, delicate shell gave way to a moist, chewy interior and melt-in-your-mouth creamy filling. Some of the flavours we sampled included lychee, rose and raspberry and chocolate-cinnamon. While they were all excellent, if I had to pick a winner it would have to be the classic salted caramel.
Speaking of salted caramel, I spotted this at a Parisian sweet shop: jars of it, complete with spoons. I’m going to take that as a serving suggestion.