Paris is the Mecca of gastronomy. All the same, it doesn’t always have to be fine dining by candle-light in the city of love and lights. Innumerable passionately enthusiastic craftsmen make a wide variety of delicious traditional products. There are masses of brasseries offering simple menus, a laid back atmosphere and attractive terraces, all serving tasty dishes. We dropped into a number of places many a foodie would be delighted with. We certainly were. 🙂
Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie
Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie history goes back to the 19th century. A “Club des Gastronomes” regularly assembled to discuss the best recipes and products of French gastronomy. Following the lead of those “foodies avant la lettre” Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie offers a selection of high quality produce to professionals, steady customers – and curious passers-by.
For years this establishment has been a safe bet in the neighbourhood of Les Halles in Paris. Its speciality is duck liver, which they do in a number of ways. Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie is also well known for its top class charcuterie and cheese, caviar, salmon, wine, and champagne. You can buy these things in the shop and take them home, or you can have them prepared for you, to enjoy them on the way. Or perhaps you’d rather tuck in on the spot? Great! The restaurant serves the same deliciousitems for a very reasonable price in a typically Paris cosy corner. We put it to the test with a board full of cheese and one of charcuterie. All readied with the utmost care and served with a smile. Reason enough to work in a stop-off at Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie.
L’éclair de Génie
The man behind the concept of L’éclair de Génie is the pastry-chef Christophe Adam. His is a creative brain, but with a feel for aesthetics and tastefulness.
There’s no doubt about that, because here you find unique éclairs of the most unusual types and in the funkiest colours. Unlike the classic variety, these éclairs aren’t just filled with buttercream, but have fillings in the same flavours as the icing. Although they look highly attractive we gave the fruity ones – with lemon-yuzu for example, or strawberry, or passion fruit a miss. Instead we chose the salted butter caramel one, and the dark chocolate one. Delicious…!
Canard & Champagne – The French Paradox
In spite of their fatty diet, the French suffer less from heart and vascular disease than, for example, their Anglo-Saxon neighbours. They call that “The French Paradox” here. They reckon the mystery must have something to do with their consumption of red meat and wine – for preference, duck and champagne. And that’s a good enough idea for starting a restaurant like this! We thought it was a great idea too so the obvious thing to do was go and try it. Menu: different varieties of duck, with appropriate champagnes. All in a nice interior in an unusual spot in Paris. It’s with a few other restaurants in a historic covered passage full of shops selling old postage stamps.
Le Tokyo Eat
Up for a dose of Culture, with a capital C? Get yourself to the Palais de Tokyo. After we’d had our brains fed on artworks, our cultural hunger was satisfied. But of course our stomachs were still rumbling. A bit of luck then that there’s Le Tokyo Eat, where you’ve got a lovely view of the Eifel Tower from the terrace while tucking in. Of course that comes with funky dishes and delicious drinks. Nothing super-fancy; in fact it’s more “arty”. The atmosphere’s relaxed, the food’s good; the concept works. We lighted on the “Girls Only” cocktail and tuna carpaccio with aubergine purée and sour cream.
Right in the middle of the tourist heart of Paris, near the Place de la Concorde and the Louvre you’ll find Angelina. It’s been going since 1903 and is still doing a booming business. It’s obligatory for everyone who loves tradition, aged splendour and exuberant luxurious cakes and sweetmeats. As well as traditional signature dishes, there’s a whole list of season’s specialities. The specials change every six months and something new appears. You enjoy the cakes on site in a traditional tea room, although you can take them away too. The boutique has tea, pastries, pralines and special concoctions based on chestnuts.
The two real specialities of the house are its hot cocoa and Mont-Blanc tart. We decided to try one classic and one special. The Mont-Blanc consists of meringue, whipped cream and chestnut paste. The Sisi-tartlet is made of a macaroon, light vanilla crème, raspberry heart, white chocolate petals and redcurrants. We had an espresso with that, pricy but very good; and Mont-Blanc tea. The tea was a blend of different varieties of black tea, with a biscuit-ey aroma with hints of marron glacé, caramel, orange blossom and apricot marmalade.
In the middle of the Marais area of Paris is Les Chouettes. It’s a cosy brasserie with a beautiful interior, funky cocktails and good tasty food. We’ve written a separate article about this restaurant which you can read here.