Le Grand Bain in Belleville

A straight métro trip away, Belleville is home to Paris’ Chinatown, a solid working class, and now some great, new restaurants. One of these is Le Grand Bain and it’s fantastic. The ambiance is Brooklyn-cool and friendly.

We were a group of six, so we were given the chef’s multi-course prix-fixe. Inventive small plates followed by our main course and dessert. Unfortunately, one in our group didn’t eat lamb, so no slow-cooked, spoon-tender gigot for us. Instead, the team graciously switched our main course to beef Wellington (the chef is a Brit). We got two different desserts, one of which as an amazing riff on s’mores. Mmm.

The crazy part of the whole night was the check. For such a delicious feast I was expecting a hefty bill. We were charged just 35 euros per person! Bargain in Belleville!

Le Grand Bain

14 rue Dénoyez

75020

Le Grand Bain.

Le Train Bleu

I don’t usually dine in fancy places in Paris, preferring, instead, more relaxed restaurants. But we made an exception recently with lunch at Le Train Bleu with our teenage daughter and her friends.

I picked Le Train Bleu for its sumptuous decor and because it’s in a train station (how cool is that?). Service was amazing (they sent us Champagne while we waited all of about ten minutes for our table) and the food was perfect.

I will note, though, that the menu is limited and there aren’t many simple options for picky eaters. I would’t take little kids there, but the teens loved it.

I’ll also say that, because it’s in the train station, there are lots of travelers dining here, making the restaurant feel somewhat casual and less stuffy than other places.

Le Train Bleu

Gare de Lyon

75012

L’Ami Louis

I think of this as more of a cold-weather sort of place, with its cozy ambiance and comforting food. Slabs of foie gras, roast chicken and fries, roasted meats. The first time I went was about 30 years ago. Nothing’s changed!

It’s a controversial place–it’s expensive, some say over-rated, some complain of snobby service–but I’ve only had the best experiences there. Go in with a good attitude and I think you’ll have a great time.

We celebrated New Year’s Day there once recently and had an absolute blast. The jovial waiters showed us around the kitchen and hammed it up for photos. We closed the place down with glasses of Poire William and cognac.

To me, this is the perfect Parisian bistro.

L’Ami Louis

32 Rue Vertbois

75003

011.33.1.48.87.77.48

Le Coq Rico

Up in Montmarte is this wonderful restaurant for all things poultry: scrambled eggs with truffles, frisée salad topped with chicken liver or a poached egg, duck magret, and of course, the famed roasted poulet de Bresse. Make sure to order a side of macaroni. It’s sublime!

After dinner take a short walk to Sacre Coeur and gaze over the most amazing view of Paris.

Le Coq Rico

98 Rue Lepic

75018

Benoit, a Classic Bistro, Just Around the Corner

One of the best restaurants in the city is just around the corner–and it’s been there for over 100 years! Run by Alain Ducasse, it’s a splurge but it’s perfection. We love the roast chicken and the cassoulet, though they aren’t always on the ever-changing menu. Oh, and I love the baba au rhum for dessert!

Benoit

20, Rue Stain Martin

75004

Just Down the Road

Les Philosophes is a long-standing favorite with locals and tourists, alike. It’s convivial and cozy and the perfect spot for a relaxed meal. Choose something from the handwritten menu or go in with a craving for onion soup, a specialty of the house.

Les Philosophes

28 Rue Veille du Temple

75004

Easy Dinner in the ‘hood at Le Grizzli

Drop in at Le Grizzli, a favorite spot for a simple and friendly meal. It’s open all day, so go early for a café-creme or at midnight. Great for kids, too. The menu is classic French: onion soup and escargots, roast chicken and steak-frites. The ambiance in great. You might just make some friends at the next table.

Le Grizzli

7, rue St. Martin

75004