Coffee Parisien

In my quest for a good burger in Paris, I was enthralled that many of you wrote with so many suggestions. I once took a course in food writing and the teacher told us not to use words like “enthralled” and “opt” because people don’t use them in everyday speech.

When I opt to look out my window, I’m enthralled at the view of Paris. So there.

coffee parisian burger

Anyhow, thanks to my vigilant readers, I’m now armed with a comprehensive list—and so are you, of places to find a decent burger here.

And to the person who wrote on an online bulletin board that they didn’t feel sorry for me, well, I ask you, where is the love, folks? This isn’t supposed to be the RNC.

Let’s just say I believe that it’s every American’s constitutional right to have access to a great burger no matter where they are in the world, and leave it at that.

So, there I was, facing the menu outside of Coffee Parisien, scanning through familiar items like Tuna Melts, Pastrami Sandwiches and at the bottom, a whole row of burgers on offer. Peering through the wood-framed windows, each table had a squat jar of Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard resting on it.


gulden's spicy brown

To further disprove internet conspiracy theories that I’m a douchebag, instead of barging in and pigging selfishly out by myself, I telephoned Romain and invited him to lunch. Then waited a full 35 minutes for him to arrive.
See? Aren’t I nice?

Of course, I ordered the Cheeseburger with vrai Cheddar, which was 13.50€ ($20). When asked if I wanted French fries or potato galette with it (potato galette?…with a burger?…pas du tout…) I opted for les frites. Romain ordered the Pastrami sandwich (12€, $17), hoping he’d be as enthralled with it as the ones he’d devoured in New York City.

pastrami sandwich

My burger wasn’t bad. Nice and juicy, plump, and there was a meager attempt to add the right condiments…although at these prices, red onions would have been more welcome than the stringy while ones. The Pastrami sandwich, was, well…it was a little stingy and flat, to say the least. It certainly wasn’t as copious st the one at Katz’s Deli. Being French, Romain wasn’t exactly enthralled and told the waitress they should put a lot more meat in their pastrami sandwiches, since that was “très correct“.

(Which is something you need to get used to living in France: people opt to be direct with others. To them, they’re doing you a favor when they tell you that the new shoes that you just dropped 265€ on are “very ugly”, or the haircut you just got is “not good at all”. See what I’m up against here, folks?)

l'additiongrom gelato

The meal was pas mal, though I’m not racing to go back. Especially since I’ve got plenty more places on my list to go to. The funny thing was, there were no Americans in here: it was all Parisians.

Like, completely. And Left Banks ones, at that.

Which I’ll leave up to you to decide how you feel about them.

Me? I’ll opt to stay out of that discussion. But afterward we headed over to Grom gelateria, just a few blocks away, for a cup of caramel gelato with wisps of pink Himalayan salt, creamy nougat studded with crackly almond Turrone, and dark chocolate, of course.

Which we were enthralled to share.

Coffee Parisien
4, rue Princesse (6th)
Tél: 01 43 54 18 18

Related Links:

Where to find a great burger in Paris

Paris Dining Guides

Hippopotamus Burger


  • Susan
    September 6, 2008 6:51am

    Okay..the wedge of potato (?) next to the pastrami that an attempted latke or what? No Kosher pickle spear?

    Your burger looked good enough..the fries looked great! Can you make a shake to go with from Gelato?

  • September 6, 2008 6:56am

    Susan: What was even stranger was the people next to us ordered a club sandwich (which looked great, btw…) and it was arranged in upturned quadrants on the plate…with a big slab of potato galette resting on top of the whole thing.

    There was one, single round slice of pickle alongside my burger and Romain got a tiny cup of cole slaw alongside, which was essentially one I didn’t get any : (


  • Linda
    September 6, 2008 6:57am

    That is one soggy lookin’ burger and fries…twenny bucks? Meh.

    When I go out to eat I’m paying for not only the cuisine, but the ambience as well. It is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. I absolutely loved those pictures of your chocolate tour luncheon of those crazy salads with the meats and croutons that were so over the top. There was chocolate, too. That’s just fun to think about.

    Your blog is a daily requirement for me just so I know what is going on in David’s Paris. I may be envious, but I am just so happy you’re willing to share.

  • September 6, 2008 7:51am

    i agree. a good burger is a requirement. how else does one recover from a hangover!?

    but i must say, those are wedges, not fries!

  • September 6, 2008 9:07am

    I’m convinced part of the problem is the beef. Yeah, I’m a Midwesterner by birth, and there was nothing in France that met my high standards. But good luck with your search!

    But, since I did learn a bit from the French, you need to check some of your français, David. Très important, non? (I used to make that one a lot, too.) I’ll never forget that ‘carafe’ is feminine, after being chastised by a waiter…

  • George
    September 6, 2008 9:35am

    I’m enthralled by your tendency to opt for red onion on your burger ;) I prefer either a thick slice of raw white onion or heavily carmelized sweet yellows like vidalia. Or both, come to think of it. I love your search for the best burger. It’s interesting, and I think you’ve shown us that there is enough perfection in Parisian food and culture. It’s nice to see you sort through the mediocre.

  • September 6, 2008 10:19am

    as a former left bank-er who used to walk there on Sundays… I can say it is a nice hidden gem if you want the “american” version of brunch options for pas cher (at least compared to what the french brunch spreads are and cost)

  • September 6, 2008 10:22am

    For those commenters out there who gave you a hard time for wanting a hamburger every once in awhile, I ask, who’s the real douchebag?! THEM! It’s not like you’re one of “those Americans” who visit a foreign city and cannot BELIEVE that people aren’t speaking English and demand to eat only those things which are familiar. Come on! If I lived somewhere other than Pennsylvania, I think I would yearn for the occasional faschnacht or potato filling even if I was in a place of fabulous cuisine.

    So I’m saying I understand you.

    And, as for that pastrami sandwich, Romain is so right! More meat! And it sounds like Parisians are a LOT like New Yorkers. My husband (a “former NY-er”) LOVES to tell people when they’re wrong as do most NY-ers.

    Good luck in your search for the vrai burger.

  • September 6, 2008 11:14am

    Sorry to hear you weren’t enthralled by the burgers at CP. Hopefully when you opt to go to the other spots on your list, rapture will ensue. ; )

  • September 6, 2008 12:47pm

    I am disturbed by your writing coach. What kind of person doesn’t know anyone who says enthralled and opt? I say them all the time, because I opt to be a girl easily enthralled.

    Not the best deli/burger I have seen, but have given me hunger pangs and it is still 1:15 till dinner.

    It wasn’t a coach (obviously I don’t have one…) but it was at a seminar at a culinary conference. It sure was odd advice, though. As far as I’m concerned, the more esoteric, obscure, and far-reaching you can make your writing, the better. No wonder they never ask me to speak at those things! -dl

  • Susan
    September 6, 2008 12:59pm

    Potato galette was it? Well..okay, it looks good (maybe a little too moist) and I’d be game to try it though I’m not sure what that has to do with either sandwich as American food. But, hey..we corrupt foreign food all the time here too and have to take the critique on the chin. I guess you will always find something different with attempted American food anywhere you go in Europe. It’s at least comforting to see that it’s available..even though it’s mostly fast food. Do we even have a so called cuisine, beside our smokey BBQ, that Europeans even like?

  • Mary in Texas
    September 6, 2008 1:12pm

    How dare anyone criticize you for craving a great hamburger? First of all, you crave what you crave. Second, in its intended form, a hamburger is is nature’s perfect food! All the food groups and all the soul-fulfilling tastes and textures, except, perhaps, chocolate. That’s what the shake is for. I spent a summer at school in Tours, and it amazes me that, in a country where you can get steak frites that I still dream about forty years later, they can’t or won’t perfect the hamburger. I guess that craving is nature’s way of making you come back to the U. S. from time to time!

  • September 6, 2008 1:43pm

    Enthralling, indeed.

    There are actually food-writing classes?

  • September 6, 2008 3:00pm

    Sometimes being a douchebag (my favorite word when I was 12) is just what the situation requires.

    Great blog!

  • September 6, 2008 5:46pm

    Am I the only one who noticed that you drank red wine with your burger? I prefer an ice-cold IPA myself, but when in Rome (or, uh Paris)…

  • Tags
    September 6, 2008 7:35pm

    I am euphorically exhilarated that you would opt to enthrall us.

    And yes, Reuben must have been starving to have relinquished so little meat.

  • September 6, 2008 8:50pm

    It’s a good burger – the fries suck though

  • September 7, 2008 4:13am

    I tend to think that having really GOOD and satisfying french fries (with the same quality burger alongside), is one of the fundamental human rights they forgot on The List, no matter you’re american or whatever :)

    Mais quand même, mon dieu, je suis effarée par les prix !


  • September 7, 2008 6:16am

    An 8 year old friend recently told me ‘le bonheur est un hamburger’. I am inclined to think that caramel gelato with pink himalayan salt might trump that. I think I need to go to Grom immediately!

  • September 7, 2008 8:29am

    For me, a cheeseburger in Paris would be a real cheeseburger in paradise. I don’t crave American-style food while I am in France, but my husband does after about 1- days. Why protest? I am always curious to see how other people do things or interpret things.

    As for the word “opt,” when I was a reporter I used it once and a reader when ballistic about it, saying it was the wrong choice. Long story there, but apparently people who are not well read don’t use “exotic” words. To hell with them, let’s make our language colorful.

    I am enthralled with that.

  • September 7, 2008 8:59am

    Mimi: For some reason, we do tend to think that only people from a culture can properly make the food from their own country. I’ve had bad American food made by Americans (unfortunately!) and great Chinese food made by Americans. Oddly, the best Middle Eastern food I ever had in my life was in Merida, Mexico, at a Lebanese restaurant. Either it was truly good, or I was just craving Middle Eastern food and it hit the spot.

    Emily: Well, I’ve been three times in the last week. So you have some catching up to do.

    La Rêveuse: Well, if people want to see some real typos, and grammatical errors, they should see some of the e-mails I get. But I find them charming, especially from people who aren’t native English-speakers. I’m flattered they’re trying and do want to encourage them, since they’re making the effort.

    Susan: Yes, am not sure a potato galette has any business being on a plate with a burger or sandwich, but often (too-often) other cultures take liberties with foods that aren’t part of their culture, and it gets “interpreted”. But I always thought the dreaded ‘croissanwich’ was uniquely American, but I’ve seen them in supermarkets here in France. We Americans do get blamed for a lot of things, and I think this is one time we really deserve any and all of it.

    Books for Foodies: Busted! Actually, though, I was skeptical of the iced tea (and have learned never to order iced coffee in Paris, since it’s invariably too-sweet and has one measly ice cube languishing on the surface.)

    That was a carafe of Chinon which, unfortunately, wasn’t so great. I guess one should stick with the classic: Coke. Although personally, I prefer root beer!


  • Martha
    September 7, 2008 6:47pm

    Hi David,

    I just watched you on TV on the Gourmet show!!!
    You looked great, good things to say, you photograph very well, your are just a natural.
    Watching you made me want to just pack my bag and head to Paris, you lucky guy!!!
    Thank you for all you do.

  • CC
    September 8, 2008 7:57am

    “To further disprove internet conspiracy theories that I’m a douchbag…”

    I’m not kidding. I laughed so hard at that line that I just choked on my coffee! Thank you for brightening my Monday morning!

  • September 8, 2008 9:14am

    There’s an internet conspiracy theory that you’re a douchebag?? Nobody tells me anything anymore!!


    Although I’m enthralled, I opt not to subscribe to this particular conspiracy theory. Maybe you should get Snopes to debunk it, heh heh heh.

    And WTF is up with the slimline pastami sandwich and no proper pickle?

    Oh, the whole post had me in stitches, the writing course especially. Clearly they hadn’t counted on me, who managed to slip the phrase “cognitive dissonance” into a 5 minute radio interview on food blogging.

  • September 8, 2008 9:21am

    Jeanne: A-ha! So I was right about that conspiracy theory. If you, a South African, heard about it, it’s more far-reaching than I thought.

    Incidentally, I did propose leading a seminar at that same conference last year, and they turned me down!

    So that settles that: I am doomed…


  • Amy
    September 8, 2008 10:02am

    Quite honestly I think I’d just be satisfied with the Gelato.

    As for douchebaggery…What douchebaggery? : p

  • Dawn in CA
    September 8, 2008 11:51am

    Looks like it’s as hard to come by a decent Reuben in Paris as it is here on the west coast. I also thought all Reubens came with sauerkraut, which seems to be missing from poor Romain’s? Or is it only me that likes them that way? In any event, good luck with the quest, and keep on blogging. I am utterly enthralled by your ebullient writing style (another great word of which that writing teacher would likely not approve…).

  • RandR in So Cal
    September 8, 2008 7:48pm

    I just found your blog thanks to a link to your summer pudding recipe that was in an article about currants on, and I have really been enjoying it (both the recipe and the blog).

    Whenever I travel and crave food that is foreign to whatever place I’m at, I always breath a sigh of relief if I walk in to find the place full of local expats. That Coffee Parisien was completely full of Parisians should have told you what you would experience well before your plates were served.

  • Narelle
    September 9, 2008 5:29am

    David…heres my mobile! 06 33 82 25 80!

    PLEASE ring me next time you’re lunchin’ ! You go to all the BEST places!

    I just have to try Grom on Sunday…meet you there??


  • September 9, 2008 6:45am

    Spell check David, Douchbag= Douche bag!
    When are some expats gonna show these guys how to do real Americana? I noticed too the flimsy excuse for bread with poor Romains Pastrami, should be rye bread!
    I didn’t crave any American food in Istanbul this last vacation, though I did see Micky’D’s, that’ll be another story! Do you think the portions are sort of skimpy, I even notice that trend in some places here, American portions are usually way too big, try some Colombian places when your here in October, now that is humungus servings!

    See you in NY!

  • September 9, 2008 8:06pm

    I enjoy your site and I agree…you deserve to have a great burger wherever you are!!!

  • David
    September 10, 2008 1:25pm

    Hey David,

    I’m also European, and although I love your blog, you should take a few more writing classes! Just kidding of course, but there is this one little tiny thingy that gets under my nails every time I read it: The Euro-Sign ™. It’s supposed to be in front of the number, not behind it! Yes, in the old days, it was all the rage to put fr behind the number, but the Euro-sign really was designed to be put in front of it. It’s the official spelling, and if you put it behind the number, it’s actually as much a mistake as any other spelling error.

    So there. I said it. I hope you still like me, David!

  • September 11, 2008 3:36am

    Hi David: Well, you Europeans better make up your minds! Because most places I go, I see the euro sign placed after the numbers, like here and here.

    Although technically it is correct to put it in front. I’m going to start pointing that out to people around here. I’m certain they’d love to be corrected by an American! ; )


  • Piroska
    September 11, 2008 10:57pm

    I wanted to send you this link when you started your quest to find a good burger in Paris. These are your Budapest-based compatriots doing the same!!! Well, the city is different……
    Enjoy! I hope you can digest all this ,,,,,,,
    Piroska, your NewJersey-based Hungarian reader/baker/icecream eater

  • September 13, 2008 3:07am

    Piroska: Thanks for those links! Nice to see I’m not alone : )

  • November 8, 2008 10:28am

    Although I have not yet tasted their burgers, I so far like everything else that has come from their kitchen! Link


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