Results tagged restaurant from David Lebovitz

15 Things I’d Miss About Paris If I Moved Away

At a recent book event, there was a little Q & A session after I chatted and read from my new book. The only guidelines were that I told people that two questions were off limits.

white asparagus

One was; “Why did you move to Paris?”, and the other “How long are you planning on living in Paris?” Because I get asked them at least six times a day, and I’ve been here seven years, (so do the math and you’ll understand why j’en ai marre ), I figured I should just answer them in the book and be done with them once and for all.

Except when I said that, for a moment, I kind of blindsighted the crowd as I could tell that everyone was about to raise their hand to ask one of those two questions. Multiply that by 150+ people, and I’m not going to ask you to do the math again, but you see what I’m up against.

But someone did ask me a very good question: “What about Paris would you miss if you moved away?” which rendered me uncharacteristically speechless. In the book, I wanted to be truthful about my life here and balance the good with the not-always-good, and sometimes people focus on the less-alluring aspects of my life in this city, mostly because they’re more fun than to hear what a spectacular city Paris really is.

So here are 15 things I would miss if I moved away from Paris…..

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A la Petite Chaise

foie gras

I have two strategies for finding good restaurants, which I use often—especially when traveling. I’ve never, ever been steered wrong using them, and I’m happy to share them with you.

One method I employ is to walk into a fish market and ask them where to eat. Fishmongers always know where to find food that’s impeccably fresh and those strapping young men never fail to steer me towards the best addresses.

The other method I rely on, if it’s lunchtime, is to walk around and see what restaurants are packed-full of older businessmen. Most often they’ve worked in the neighborhood for a long, long time and have their favorites—which is usually because of the good food.

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L’Assiette: The Little Restaurant That Could (or Should)

escargots

Proving that just because you have good ingredients, doesn’t necessarily mean you can make them good. True, it’s harder to go wrong with stellar vegetables, seafood, and meat, but a recent dinner at L’Assiette proved that a little finesse, and seasoning, can transform decent ingredients into something pretty good. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case on a recent visit.

For many years, L’Assiette was the “go to” restaurant in Paris. When I worked at Chez Panisse, every cook who came here simply had to eat the cuisine of Lulu Rousseau, the beret-wearing woman who cooked simple food, and did it very well. The food came with a slightly hefty price tag which was mitigated by the good food on the plate. She sold the restaurant and I recently went back for a visit. The prices remain high, but what’s on the plate doesn’t exactly justify them

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Paris Favorites: Eating, Drinking and Shopping

A number of folks consult the site for information about Paris, but it’s always best to get some second opinions. So I asked a few friends and in-the-know colleagues about their favorite places around the city, and I’m happy to share them with you.

paris

Included are links, when available, for complete addresses and additional contact information. Hours change and places close in Paris without notice so it’s best to call first before visiting. For restaurants and wine bars where food is served, reservations are strongly advised.

If there any Paris favorites that you’d like to share, please feel free to do so in the comments. I’d love to hear about them.

lucques olives


Favorite Outdoor Market

“Paris markets are one of my favorite subjects. I can go to the same market every day of the year and still always find something new. I regularly visit the boulevard Raspail market, a “regular” market Tuesday and Friday, organic (and expensive!) on Sunday. The fish merchants there are incredible on all days, and I adore the poultry people at the Tuesday and Friday market. I love testing one fish market or cheese stand against the other, grading them on each purchase. For 20 years I lived near the rue Poncelet market and still have a soft spot there, especially for Alléosse cheese and coffee beans from Brûlerie des Ternes.”

“When I have time, I also love the President Wilson market on Wednesday and Saturday, where of course one finds the famed produce from Joël Thiebault but also wonderful fish, fresh crêpes, and Lebanese specialties. The market is near my dentist’s office so I always schedule a Wednesday morning appointment.”

Patricia Wells, of Patricia Wells.com
(Author: Bistro Cooking and The Paris Cookbook)

Favorite Steak Tartare

“As an American in France, getting into the French staple of steak tartare means getting past it’s resemblance to an uncooked hamburger patty. At Les Fines Gueules (2, rue la Vrillière, 1st) near place des Victoires they have cap-and-gowned the French standard by hand chopping Limousin beef (the best in France) and tossing the raw meat with white truffle oil, parmesan and sun dried tomatoes. Certainly not a traditional preparation, but an unbelievably delicious part of this American’s weekly diet.”

Braden, of Hidden Kitchen

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Churrasqueira Galo: Roast Chicken in Paris

I’ve hesitated about sharing this place with you, but have finally succumbed. After all, everyone has a right to find a great roast chicken place. Especially one that’s incredibly affordable. And pretty delicious.

chicken

Churrasqueira Galo is a dive, a place where there’s a always a lively cross section of residents of this transitioning quartier, including families out with the kids, drag queens, Portuguese soccer players, and assorted dubious characters (like me) looking for a good, inexpensive meal.

And beware of going during the full-blast heat of the summer: last year we had to leave mid-meal because it was so stifling hot. When I asked the sweating owner, who was manning the fiery rôtisserie, why they didn’t get a fan, he told me: “They’re so expensive! A fan cost the same as a day’s earnings in Portugal.”

I didn’t want to point out that A) We’re not in Portugal, we’re in Paris, and B) A cheap fan costs about €20. No one asked me, but I think twenty euros is a pretty good investment if your customers are leaving.

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Bouillon Chartier

chartier menu

It’ll be a sad day in Paris if Chartier ever shuts its doors. True, the food isn’t exceptional. But it’s cheap and people seem to flock here in droves. And the interior? I don’t think you’ll find a more perfectly-preserved relic of an old Paris, with glass-globe fixtures, tables jammed together, coat racks high above the tables, and a menu that hasn’t made a single concession to any of the culinary advancements of at least the last three or four decades.

Chartier

Chartier takes no reservations and if there’s a big line when you turn off the busy boulevard and step into the courtyard, don’t worry. It’s here you’ll see living proof that refutes any notion that the French are inefficient. The host moves folks through the old revolving door and to their table at a shocking rate of speed.

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Restaurant Jadis

pesto gnocchi

I’m not much for standard restaurant “reviews”. I think dining is a personal experience and while one person might find a dish excellent, it might not be to another person’s liking. Some folks like loud, hip places, and I’m more inclined to hit the classics. Another thing is that when I go out, I don’t always tote my camera or want to have to remember and recount every single thing I ate, or recall every vintage I sipped during the evening.

What I like to do is to point you in the direction of places that I think you might like here in Paris.

Jadis

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Les Cocottes de Christian Constant

caesar salad

Les Cocottes often gets described as a local version of an American-style diner. I don’t know if that’s true. For one thing, everyone speaks French. And for another, there were no snappy apron-clad waitresses pouring bottomless cups of coffee, no trucks parked outside, and no plumber-cracks hanging over the backside of the stools. After all, this is Paris, ya’ know.

In fact, Les Cocottes sits on a pretty prestigious piece of land, in the seventh arrondissement, not known for good-value restaurants, or truckers. But Les Cocottes is a good value, and what makes it even better, the food is worth every centime.

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