The typical Parisian bistro offers traditional French home style meals with the warmth and eclectic nature only Paris can offer. Modest prices typically accompany the modest meals, though the flavor and quality of the meals are anything but. Some say that the origin of the word can be traced back to the Battle of Paris in 1815 where Russian soldiers would yell “bystro” when in need of quick food. Although some Parisians dispute this origin, the fact still remains that French Bistro’s offer some of the best best flavor money can buy while visiting Paris. Therefore, eParis has done the dirty work for you and have compiled a list of the top bistros in Paris.
La Table d’Eugène
18 rue Eugène Sue 18e
La Table d’Eugène is named for Parisian novelist Eugène Sue. The bistro prepares magnificent food using simple flavors, skillfully assembled and beautifully presented. The blue shrimp from Mozambique in a walnut crust, or ravioli of Bresse chicken with foie gras and morel mushrooms in a wine, cream and foie gras sauce are extravagant.
Desserts keep up the high standard offering rice pudding, lemon tart with meringue, sorbets and the peerless perle surprise au chocolat – a ball of milk chocolate which sheds its skin under the stream of hot chocolate with tonka beans, revealing a frozen, crunchy interior.
So the cooking is impeccable and the prices are affordable. Two set menus of €30 and €38, and two tasting menus of five courses (€58) and seven courses (€78) make this a steal.
92 rue du Faubourg Poissonnière 10e
Abri is a pocket sized restaurant next to the Poissonière metro, their multilayered, super stacked sandwiches are one reason to visit. One delightful concoction contains grilled bread, a deep and lovely sauce, a vegetable omelet, crusty breaded pork, sweet and sour cauliflower purée and soft cheese.
The tasting menus are a big draw with four dishes for €22 at lunchtimes, six at dinner for €38.50), including dessert. You’ll need to be patient and reserve far in advance to get one of the 20 tables, but once there, the service is charming and serene.
5 rue Mondétour 1er
Set in a secluded courtyard near Les Halles in the 1st arrondissement, the Pirouette offers a menu, which includes a formule for €36. Start with a coddled egg on a bed of greens, with subtle mushroom and chestnut dressing poured at the table, and the ‘alouette sans tête’ (headless lark), paupiette (stuffed piece of meat) of pigeon and foie gras enriched with lardo di Colonnata.
Try dessert with a delicate mango tart and a salty Ossau Iraty sheep’s cheese presented as a cheesecake and topped with a black cherry compôte. An excellent wine list tops off the experience.
31 rue Guillaume Tell 17e
The menu is fairly short (four each of starters, mains and desserts) but varies its ingredients and flavors enough to hold the diners attention. Start with a ceviche of pollack with beetroot, black sesame mousse and orange caramel (€12) and a burratta with marinated vegetables and olive puree (€8). Add a topside of veal with salsify, ginger, spinach and a sauce spiced with Vadouvan curry mixture (€19) and the €14 plat du jour of whiting with crispy rice, cream of mushroom and soya, parsley and shiitake mushrooms.
The dishes are surprising and full of flavor, while the cooking is simple, creative and elegant, and executed with charm. Finish with a pumpkin cake with cream cheese, whisky embellished caramel and lemon confit (€7), a delicate sweet final note to a memorable and affordable meal.
104 quai de Jemmapes 10e
The menu is along more traditional Parisian lines, with a daily lunch menu set at €17 for two courses or €23 for three. In the evenings, à la carte is around €10 for a starter, €20 for a main and €8 for a dessert. For lunch try a juicy beef cheek buried in a bowl of greens, and calves liver baked au gratin with cheddar then served with red onions and a delicious scattering of puréed yuzu citrus fruit.
Everything looks as good as it tastes. Explore things like beef with oysters and winter radishes, Norwegian smoked salmon, candied eggs and beetroot, arctic char with purple vitelotte potatoes and bone marrow, or pear, almond and lime soup.
Featured photo by RubyGoes // flickr