Where to eat in Paris: see how to avoid the pitfalls – 03/27/2024 – Tourism

Where to eat in Paris: see how to avoid the pitfalls – 03/27/2024 – Tourism


Traveling is getting lost in unknown streets and alleys. It’s even cooler when you go by intuition and stumble upon a fantastic restaurant that appears along the way. That said, a little bit of judgment goes a long way. Because tourist cities are full of, you see, tourist traps.

Valid for London, Rome, New York, Lisbon, Ouro Preto and Rio de Janeiro. This is especially true for Paris, which in Olympic year becomes the world capital of tourist traps. Paris is a perfect city for walking. The most “walkable” areas are almost all in the Seine floodplain and are therefore flat.

The tangle of narrow streets that flow into boulevards gives a unique drama to the amazement of the walk – when, out of nowhere, a Notre Dame appears in front of you. Then, when your foot is already swollen, your stomach complains. You need to eat immediately.

It is at this moment that the traveler becomes a helpless victim of the slot machine bistros and the man who sells crepes on the street. Two types that should be avoided at all costs in Paris.

The evil bistros are those with lots of tables on the sidewalk, a babel of languages ​​spoken by customers, a giant list of promotions on a sign outside and staff dedicated to hooking unsuspecting passersby.

You can’t identify a good bistro just by its appearance, but pay attention to the signs: they tend to be discreet and a little away, sometimes just a block away, from the main tourist flow. Bet on restaurants serving regional French cuisine.

Breton, Norman, Alsatian, Burgundian cuisine. They are almost always houses run by families from these regions, offering authentic and exquisite food.

I did very well at a restaurant called Les Fabricants, in the 11th arrondissement, more or less close to the Père-Lachaise cemetery. It’s a place specializing in south-western French cuisine, where duck meat reigns supreme.

Tables without tablecloths, house wine in a glass and the service is done only by two women who, despite the rush, manage to be friendly. A phenomenal cassoulet, with white beans and duck legs, garlic sausage and bacon, cost 19 euros – a fabulous price for food like this in Paris.

Then I discovered the bad part of going to a non-touristy place. When asking for the machine to pay the bill, one of the women told me that the house only accepted cash.

I explained that all I carried was a cell phone. Miraculously, a card machine appears from behind the bar. Everything resolved without conflict – in these cases, you realize that the French are also Latins.

At the other extreme of purchasing power, it is no surprise that Paris has a formidable selection of restaurants. If you have candy, it’s worth reserving a night – research and book before traveling – to eat well with all the salamaleques.

The gastronomic elite in Paris doesn’t just live by haute cuisine française. The city, which was once the capital of a colonial empire, encompasses influences ranging from Morocco to Vietnam.

I had dinner at Boubalé, an Eastern European cuisine restaurant inside the new 5-star hotel Le Grand Mazarin – I was invited, bien sûr, because poor, poor, poor from Marais, Marais, Marais.

It is in the old Jewish quarter that the modern kitchen of Israeli chef Assaf Granit is located, who in Paris also has Shabour, starred by the Michelin Guide.

The menu had tuna marinated in beetroot with fresh dates. Beef cheek goulash with gnocchi. A little dough called siske, filled with meat, in a beurre blanc sauce with Caucasian spices. Crazy and too delicious.

The next day, plebeian reality imposes itself relentlessly. The way to go is to eat on the street, but I’m not going to face the cheesy crepes. There are much better things. Starting with what you find in supermarkets.

Chains like Monoprix and Franprix offer great cheeses, pâtés and charcuterie in general, as well as reasonable bread. And wine, we can’t forget about it. Excellent French wine for a “sang du bois” price. It has a corkscrew and a disposable cup too.

If you go to a marché, a local market, the chances of finding wonderful food go up to 100% or a little more. During my wanderings, I came across the Saint-Quentin market, close to the Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est train stations.

It is a small market, opened in 1836, which puts any public market in São Paulo to shame. There are butchers, fishmongers, cheese shops, fine food stores and, last but not least, a Brazilian restaurant called La Bahianaise (which wasn’t open on my visit).

In Paris, it’s almost impossible to get confused when it comes to bread. It doesn’t have to be plain bread, which is already too good. The assortment of ready-made sandwiches for sale on Parisian streets is endless.

There is the Paul chain, present on every street corner and station, which sells snacks that are always acceptable, never memorable. There are kebabs of the most varied origins (Lebanese, Persian, Afghan, etc.), which spread neon lights of Greek barbecue and the smell of spices throughout the city.

And there are the little shops, the family delicatessens. I found one of these, luckily, on the outskirts of Gare de Lyon, when I was arriving to catch a train just at lunchtime.

In the window, the tiny Epicerie Yucos leaves a board with assembly suggestions. In practice, you can combine any type of cheese, cold cuts and preserves into an exceptional baguette.

I ordered a sandwich, they started making it, I realized it would be too big, I ended up only getting half a portion. Comté cheese, cooked ham and salad, 6 euros only. The best lunch of the trip was a cold joint at 300 km/h. Or half.

The journalist stayed at the invitation of the Le Grand Mazarin hotel


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