One of the curious things that’s happening right now in the Paris food scene is a spate of what I consider ‘anglo’-style cafés opening up in various smaller neighborhoods. There are a few that have been around for a while. But in the past year, casual restaurants that sell leafy salads, made with just-cooked fresh vegetables and greens, house made soups, hand-held desserts like individual carrot cakes and les muffins, fresh fruit juices, and coffee made with care and attention, have been giving the normal lunch of choice for harried Parisians, les sandwiches—including the good ones from the local bakeries, as well as those from the unfortunately popular Subway sandwich shops that are rapidly invading France—a run for their money.
Results tagged pizza from David Lebovitz
For quite some time, whenever I’d go out to eat in Paris with a visiting friend, their gaze would invariably land on something Italian on the menu. And they’d want to order something like risotto or salad Caprese, which I’d warn them away from. Or pizza, which might come to the table with some unexpected topping, like canned corn or pineapple. When I moved to Paris, I thought it odd that Italian food wasn’t as well- represented here as I assumed it would be. After all, France shares a border with Italy. But on the other hand, look at how Canadian food is represented in the United States. So I guess that explains that.
When I asked a friend who came last year what she wanted for dinner, she said, “I don’t care. As long as the food is good”, which sounded fine to me. The only problem was, that I’d had a long day and wanted to eat somewhere in my neighborhood and I couldn’t think of anywhere decent—except for the pizza place run by the Sardinians. When I suggested it, she said, “I didn’t come to Paris to eat pizza.”
But it made me realize that in the past five years, Italian food has really come into its own in Paris, and last week, a place that makes their own pasta was turning people (including us) away in droves when we tried to get a couple of seats. When I decided to hit Grom on Sunday, the line trailed out the door and onto the street.
There are some really great pizza places now across Paris serving the real-deal, including Al Taglio, which unlike the other places, serves pizza like they do in Rome, meaning they bake off large rectangles of pizza then cut off squares as you order them. The pizza pieces are weighed, priced, and then warmed up and brought to your table, living up to the name al taglio, or “by the slice.”
I immediately knew I would like Al Taglio as soon as I walked in because I like sitting at high counters. Although there are tables overlooking the small square outdoors, there’s something about sitting on a high stool at a communal table that’s always been my very favorite way to eat. It’s just so convivial. When friends came in to eat in restaurants where I worked, I just pulled up a stool next to where I was working so I could talk to them when they had dinner and I love cooking while talking to people, as long as they’re seated and at a distance. And pouring me wine.
The pizzas range from a simple Melanzane (eggplant and garlic) to more ambitious Zucca e pancette (bacon and pumpkin cream). I tried three: Patate tartufo (potato and truffle cream), Salami piccante (artichokes and spicy salami) and Amadriciana. (Even though I said the French are embracing authentic Italian cuisine, I guess these things are considered exotic by some, though, because the Le Fooding guide called their toppings ‘chic‘. Black truffles aside, I’m not sure what’s so chic about eggplant, bacon, salami, and potatoes.)
All the pizzas are sold by the kilo, and prices vary depending on the topping. All three I tried were great, with nice, crunchy crust, and flavorful topping. It made a perfect early afternoon lunch along with a very full glass of Anghelia (€3.8), which brought the total of my meal to just over €13. It also made me a wee-bit tipsy.
One thing that’s a bit curious is the counter service, which some might consider authentically Italian: one woman was busy taking the orders, cutting the pizza, and weighing the squares, while the fellow next to her watched, then brought out the pizza to the customers. The kitchen was a bit more active: just a few feet away, two guys were working on the next batch of pizzas, scattering them with cubes of mozzarella and bits of speck and other toppings, before sliding them into the oven.
But I’ve learned not to be in a hurry when it comes to food, both in France and Italy, and to relax. And I’ve let go of all that racing to get through a meal or expecting service with a snap. When you do, you have a much better time. Indeed, everyone here was smiling and friendly, including her.
And after working in restaurants for three decades, I always advise people to never mess with people who are making their food or serving it to them. (And that applies to nurses and flight attendants, too.)
I’d imagine Al Taglio gets packed at prime time. But since they’re open continuously throughout the afternoon, my advice is to go for a late lunch. So along with places to get good gelato in Paris, I can confidently add Italian pizza to that list.
2, bis rue Neuve Popincourt, 11th (off rue Oberkampf)
Tél: 01 43 38 12 00
Open daily, Noon-11pm, no reservations.
27, rue Saintonge (Upper Marais)
Tél: 09 50 48 84 06
France Declared Best Pizza Maker (Reuters Video)
Pizza al taglio (Wikipedia)
Al Taglio (BarbraAustin.com)
(Note: The blackboard sign in the post isn’t related Al Taglio, which does not offer a tavola calda.)
During the next week, I’m going to do a series: Five Great Places in Paris That You Might Not Know About. In a city that hasn’t been overrun by chain stores and restaurants, it’s nice to be able to profile some of the smaller places around town that I frequent.
When I’ve had friends come to visit and suggested we go out for pizza, they balk.
“Pizza? I didn’t come to Paris for…for…pizza!”
To which I always want to reply, “Honey, well I didn’t come to Paris to listen to you diss my dining suggestions.”
But when you live somewhere, no matter how good the local cuisine might be, one cannot live on duck confit and galettes de sarrasin slathered in butter forever, you know.
Because of all the changes in the Paris coffee scene, I’ve updated this post in 2013 substantially since I originally published it. It’s been a wonderful revolution taking place, as many people – some French, others from Australia and the United States, have been conscientiously been upgrading the quality of the coffee available in Paris.
A number of coffee-lovers, myself included, are disappointed in the coffee served in Paris. In The Sweet Life in Paris, I noted a number of reasons why the coffee tastes the way it does, from using inferior coffee beans to laxadaiscal attitudes toward preparing it.
However a lot has changed and while the corner cafés are still stuck brewing and extracting that bitter brew they’ve been doing since time began, a number of places have opened up and expanded the coffee offerings in Paris. Here are some addresses, and farther down below is a list of places that have opened recently, that coffee-lovers will want to check out.
Below you’ll find a list of places where you can get well-prepared coffee in Paris:
13, rue Auber (9th)
Métro: Opéra, RER: Auber
A concept store and café for Illy coffee. Located next to the Opéra Garnier, a machine precisely tamps the coffee into the filter holder with the perfect amount of pressure, assuring you of a real Italian espresso.
50, rue Saint-André des Arts (6th)
RER: St. Michel
Café Malongo is one of the better brands of store-bought coffee available in France. In their café near place St. Michel, you can drink a decent cup of coffee, but specify exactly how you want it since they often extract coffee “French-style” (ie: watery) The have a kiosk in the Monoprix, near the gare Montparnasse, but the coffee is disappointing.
34, rue Montorgueil (1st)
Métro: Les Halles
A wonderful little panini place serves really good Italian espresso, which you can enjoying standing at the panini-length counter.
64, rue Charlot (3rd)
Métro: Filles du Calvaire
Pizza from Naples is the specialty here, and the excellent espresso they pour, using Kimbo coffee, is a fine way to finish a meal.
Place de la Bourse (2nd)
This mobile cart serves coffee Monday through Fridays and the coffee is prepared by a friendly barista from Scandinavia. If you want your café express serré (tight), be sure to mention it.
Comme à Lisbonne
37, rue du Roi de Sicile (4th)
Métro: Hôtel de Ville or St. Paul
Portuguese coffee made with care. Be sure to try one of the delicious pastéis de nata tartlets with your excellent cup. (More at Comme à Lisbon)
52, rue de l’Hôtel de Ville (4th)
Métro: St. Paul or Hôtel de Ville
This shop is dedicated to roasting their own coffee, and aside from their café, offers courses in coffee-tasting and appreciation. The coffee is adequate, but they get points for making the effort to extract a proper café express. (More at La Caféotheque de Paris.)
Sugarplum Cake Shop
68, rue du Cardinal Lemoine (5th)
Métro: Place Monge or Cardinal Lemoine
Organic and fair-trade coffee, served in a bottomless cup, American-style in this laid-back bakery and café.
39, rue de Roi de Sicile (4th)
Métro: St. Paul
Pozzetto is one of my favorite gelato shops in Paris, and one of the few serving the real thing. Ditto for the coffee, which is a true Italian espresso.
256, rue Saint-Honoré (1st)
One of the classic Paris coffeehouses with Parisian-style coffee, although connoisseurs from elsewhere might be disappointed, and it’s not at the top of my list. (But locals seem to like it.)
Gocce di Caffè
25, Passage des Panoramas (2nd)
Métro: Bourse or Grand Boulevards
The delicious coffee served here is shipped in from Rome and pulled by a genial Italian fellow. For a true espresso, specify a caffè ristretto (café serré.) However since I initially wrote about it, this shop has been folded into Coinstot Vino, an adjacent wine bar. Barista Antonio Costanza is still making the coffee.
62, rue des Martyrs (9th)
Métro: Saint-Georges or Anvers
This Australian import is one of the latest places to bring good coffee to Paris. There is outdoor seating. (More at Kooka Boora.)
Black Market Coffee
27, rue Ramey (18th)
Métro: Château Rouge or Marcadet-Poissonniers
Various locations (click on link for addresses)
Nespresso has its fans and while I’m not as enamored of it as others, the pre-determined machines and capsules ensure the coffee is extracted to their standardized specifications. There are shop and cafés at various places in Paris, including on the Champs-Elysées.
A spate of other coffee bars have recently opened in Paris. Here is a list of them:
9, rue de Saussure (17th)
5, rue Villedo (1st)
6, rue du Forez (3rd)
13, rue Lucien Sampaix (10th)
6, Impasse de La Defénse (18th)
47, rue Babylon (7th)
10, rue de la Grange aux Belles (10th)
13, bis rue Henri Monnier (9th)
24, rue des Vinaigriers (10th)
The Broken Arm
12, rue Perrée (3rd)
Related Entries and Links
Good Coffee in Paris (Paris Coffee Blog)
Aussie Coffee for Paris (Financial Times)
How not to drink black tar in Paris (ChezPim)
Espresso granita affogato (Recipe)
New wave hits Paris (The Age)
Chocolate Espresso Mousse Cake (Recipe)
Bad Coffee in Paris? (Lonely Planet)
Dianne Jacob is one of the most seasoned food writers and editors around and has become quite well-known because of the excellent advice and guidance she’s generously been giving out to other writers. A journalist since 1978, Dianne is also a writing instructor and coach that helps aspiring authors hone their craft. You can read more about her work and read her articles at her website.
Her latest book, Will Write For Food, is a comprehensive guidebook to the world of food writing. I can’t say enough good things about this book and it’s the first place I send anyone who asks me about the nitty-gritty on what it takes to write about food; from how to write your first proposal to how much you can expect to make from the finished book.
With helpful tips from well-known chefs and food writers like Harold McGee, Alice Medrich, Amanda Hesser plus powerful literary agents and top-notch cookbook editors—Will Write For Food is a must read.
David: Hi Dianne, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for me and my readers. As someone who’s a seasoned writing coach and editor, what are the three most important tips you would give to aspiring food writers?
1. Win the lottery to make up for your income.
2. Take writing classes if you are cook; take cooking classes if you are a writer.
3. Be persistent.
David: Will Write For Food has become a classic, especially among food bloggers. But also amongst others interested in learning more about food writing, including restaurant reviewing, writing a memoir, and of course, cookbook writing. In fact, just about everyone I know has a copy.
What made you write it in the first place?
Dianne: I had been teaching food writing classes for years, and wanted a resource for my students. I couldn’t find one.
David: And was it difficult to find a publisher for the book?
Dianne: Are you kidding? Four New York publishers wanted it.
On a recent radio interview that I did, the producer wrote immediately afterward that they were inundated with requests for my recipe for Cocoa Nib Sausage, which I use to top my Chocolate Pizza Dough from The Great Book of Chocolate.
I get a lot of quizzical looks from people when they hear the words ‘chocolate’ and ‘pizza’ in the same breath, but adding sugar to chocolate is a relatively new idea in the grand history of the bar. (Most of us remember how our grandmothers only kept unsweetened chocolate in the house.) And there’s many cultures that use chocolate in savory dishes whose origins go back hundreds and in some cases, thousands of years, including Mole. And here in France, it’s not uncommon for many cooks to sneak a bit of grated a chocolate into their Coq au Vin.
Many years ago, I became good friends with Joanne Weir, when we were young cooks starting out and before we knew any better. Now she’s famous with a television career and many terrific books to her name, and we try to see each other when we passes through each other’s town.
My favorite recollection of her is when she came to my house in San Francisco to make pizza. Mostly I remember that there were a lot of empty bottles of Barolo the next day, and a copy of this recipe on my counter that was splattered with garlic oil and a few flecks of parsley. (And my oven was a mess too.) So when I was looking for the perfect topping for my chocolate pizza dough, I adapted her sausage recipe, adding crunchy and unsweetened cocoa nibs which gave it a nice savory crunch, as well as a bit of chocolate flavor.
Cocoa Nib and Spiced Lamb Sausage Pizza
Enough for two 9-inch pizzas, or 1 rectangular baking sheet pizza (approximately 11″ by 17″)
You can use this sausage to top any recipe for your favorite pizza dough if you’d like.
1 recipe for Chocolate Pizza Dough, rolled out onto baking sheets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
- ½ pound ground lamb
- ½ cup peeled, seeded, and chopped canned plum tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste or harissa
- ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- large pinch (each) cinnamon, allspice and cloves
- 1/8 teaspoons red pepper or chili flakes
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup roasted cocoa nibs
- 4 ounces fontina cheese, grated
- 2 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
1. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons olive oil and the minced garlic. Set aside.
2. Heat remaining olive oil in a skillet and cook the onions until soft and translucent. Add the lamb, tomatoes, tomato paste (or harissa), parsley, pine nuts, spices, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook slowly for 10 minutes (uncovered).
3. Remove from heat and add a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice and let cool to room temperature.
4. Once cooled, stir in the cocoa nibs.
To make the pizzas: Brush top of pizza dough with garlic-infused olive oil. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the dough then spread the sausage over the cheeses. Finally top with the remaining cheese and bake the pizza in a very hot oven until the cheese is bubbling and deep-golden brown.