My Parisian holiday is rapidly approaching (just a week away!), and I can barely concentrate on anything other than planning my foodie and watering-hole route de Paris. We have some wonderful farm to table restaurants and artisanal cocktails in San Francisco, but nothing compares to the insanely delicious culinary delights offered on virtually every corner in Paris. With so many choices and a limited amount of time in Paris, you need a gastronomic plan! Here is my short guide to the "current musts" for Parisian dining+drinking (admittedly, it was no easy task to narrow down the ridiculous amount of gourmand choices and this is by no mean an exhaustive list).
Pain et Chocolate
- Boulangerie: Du Pain et Des Idees - recognized by French editorials as the "superstar" boulangerie, and I whole-heartedly agree. Du Pain et Des Idees is a block from Canal St. Martin in the 10th Arr., a bit off the main tourist trail, but it's worth every single step. I recommend the Pain Chocolate.
34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75001 Paris
- Patisserie: Gérard Mulot - centrally located in the 6th Arr., this patisserie and chocolate shop offers jewel-like creations. The house Mûre-Mûre ganache is the specialty. But really, you can't go wrong with any patisserie selection here.
76, rue de Seine, 75006 Paris
Métro: Mabillon or Odéon
- Macaroons: Ladurée - the original Parisian Macaroon dating back to 1862. Their Salted Caramel Macaroon just may be heaven in your mouth, and once you've had this Macaroon, you'll snub all others. A Parisian once explained to me that the original Ladurée is far superior to any other Ladurée outpost due to its "baking conditions" and their impact on the delicate Macaroon. Having tried Ladurée throughout Paris, NY and Tokyo, I must agree with him. Head straight to the original House and skip the others.
16 rue Royale, 75008 Paris
- Chocolate Chaud: Angelina - the indulgent, rich, thick cup of molten chocolate - known as Chocolate Chaud - keeps me coming back to this institutional tea house time and time again. The belle epoque interior of this 110 year old tea house have seen the likes of Coco Chanel and Parisian aristocracy.
Boissons - Cocktails
- Fashionable Bar: Ralph's Bar - exemplifies how to be an American in Paris. Ralph Lauren's gem of a bar on the Left Bank serves up swanky drinks and fashionable people watching. Tucked inside the Ralph Lauren flagship store, this is a great pit stop for a martini shopping break.
173 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris
Métro: Saint Germain des Prés
- Local Wine Bar: Le Quinze Vins - having stumbled upon this casual wine bar while wondering around the Seine (one of my favorite pastimes in Paris is to get lost - you never know what you'll find down a winding cobblestone passage), it has become a "go to". The wine selection regularly changes and the nibbles are limited to regional charcuterie + cheese (as they should be). Skip the expensive cheese at the restaurant and head to this local wine bar for an after dinner treat.
1 rue Dante, 75005 Paris
- Casual Gourmet: Frenchie Bar a Vins - don't be fooled by the wine bar title (or the seemingly tourist trap of a name, "Frenchie"), this is probably the best meal I've ever had in Paris. Served up in an intimate wine bar that is the little brother to the famed Frenchie Restaurant across the street, the inventive small bites melt in your mouth hitting every taste bud along the way. Ask for a table overlooking the petite kitchen for a theatrical show to accompany your meal. No reservations taken, so show up 15 minutes before opening time to ensure a seat.
5-6 rue Du Nil, 75002 Paris
- Modern Bistro: Le Comptoir du Relais St. Germain - classic by lunchtime and sophisticated by night. While a dinner reservation may be impossible (unless you are staying at the adjoining hotel), they generally have tables at lunch time - though you just may have to wait in line. This modern gourmet bistro serves seasonal classic fare and is a staple on my bistro circuit.
Next door, tucked into a narrow hallway of a space, is the outfit's affiliate L'Avant Comptoir Wine Bar. Great place for a quick glass of natural wine and delicious tapa snack to fuel your tourist body. Standing room only, so don't expect to kick-back and relax at this wine bar.
9 Carrefour de l'Odéon, 75006 Paris
- Trattoria: Restaurant Heimat - an Italian stand-out located within arched stone walls below the street. At lunchtime, this restaurant is filled to the brim with suits - a testament to its worthiness. Within walking distance to the Louvres and adjacent to the fashionable galleries of Le Petit Palace, this is a wonderful non-touristy option boasting delicate fish options and a phenomenal wine list.
37 rue de Montpensier, 75001 Paris
- Gastronomic Bistro: Les Papilles - a wine store by day and an enchanting restaurant at night serving one prix fixe meal (no menu required because the chef's offering is that good). In the heart of the Latin Quarter near Jardins du Luxembourg, this bistro is central and delicious. Make sure to book ahead because they have only a handful of tables.
30 rue Gay Lussac, 75005 Paris
- Michelin Excellence: Epicure - is THE spot for those in search of a worthy Michelin star meal (Epicure has 3 stars!). Epicure exemplifies everything that Michelin represents - seasonal, inventive, beautiful and delicious. If a costly dinner is outside of your budget, Epicure offers a budget friendly prix fixe option at lunch. Conveniently located on the courtier street of rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
112 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris
Epicure images by Becca Wahlquist. All other images by Brooklyn Boheme.