Parisian Living

Paris Farm-to-Table Restaurants: Delicious, Local and Fait Maison

by Kristen Beddard

Farm to Table, Le Timbre 25

Le Timbre, Palmyre Roigt

Over the past few years there has been a lot of conversation around the startling statistic that around one-third of France’s cafes, brasseries and restaurants are actually using pre-frozen ingredients or entire meals that only need a microwave before reaching your plate. In typical French fashion, this was a drawn out discussion that needed a government vote and while restaurants now can mark on their menus “fait maison,” when items are truly made from scratch, you might not always be able to see the menu before sitting down.

Farm to Table, Verjus 4

Verjus, Diane Yoon

A few months ago, I attended a question and answer session about French food and the fait maison/frozen food question was raised. A few people said, “you just should know where to go.” But without any mandate and as a visitor to Paris, “knowing where to go,” is easier said than done. And for first-time tourists, it’s easy to end up somewhere that is beautifully authentic and appears to be using all fresh ingredients but well, isn’t. Here are five tips to keep you street smart when eating fresh, seasonal and farm-to-table in Paris.

Farm to Table, Verjus 5

Verjus, Diane Yoon

1. Check out the seasonal produce at outdoor markets

If you get a chance to explore any of Paris’ great outdoor markets, take a closer look at what is actually coming from France during the time of year of your visit and remember those vegetables for that evening. Is it also on the menu? If your restaurant is touting a buffalo mozzarella and tomato salad in December, you can bet the tomatoes are not from France. In winter expect more dishes made from root vegetables and in the warmer months, summer squashes, tomatoes, peppers and stone fruits are in abundance. And in spring, take advantage of the white and green asparagus, as they are the first sign of the new season. 

Farm to Table, Verjus 3

Verjus, Diane Yoon

L’Arpege

Chef Alain Passard takes it one step further and grows his own produce on his farms. L’Arpege is at a higher price range but the lunch service is a little less expensive and an unforgettable experience.

84 Rue de Varenne, 75007. Tel: +33 (0)1 47 05 09 06

Farm to Table, Le Timbre 48

Le Timbre, Palmyre Roigt

2. What’s the menu like?

While not new in Paris but picking up in popularity amongst chefs, is the fixed menu. A smaller menu normally means fresh ingredients. To eliminate waste and maximize efficiency, it is not practical to offer 8-10 entrees and main plates and still be able to buy fresh, farm-to-table ingredients. While this is not always 100% true, menus with a lot of options – and a lot of the options that you see everywhere – are not always the freshest and don’t take seasons into consideration.

Farm to Table, Le Timbre 12

Le Timbre, Palmyre Roigt

Le Timbre

Chef Charles Danet creates fantastic French cuisine in his tiny kitchen overlooking his tiny, stamp-size restaurant in the 6th. His menu offers very few options and varies throughout the seasons.

3 Rue Sainte-Beuve, 75006. Tel: +33 (0)1 45 49 10 40

Farm to Table, Montage Timbre Meal and Menu

Farm to Table, Le Timbre 2

Le Timbre, Palmyre Roigt

Pierre Sang

Top Chef winner Pierre Sang has wowed both Parisians and visitors alike with his unique dishes that change throughout the evening. Get there early to grab a seat at the bar and be a part of the action. A recent meal there included smoked herring, potatoes with herring eggs, pickled onion and ficoïde glaciale (also known as ice plant), an iced green found foraging along rivers.

55 Rue Oberkampf, 75011; no reservations

Farm to Table, Verjus 2

Verjus, Diane Yoon

3. Menu items will celebrate vegetables

As farm-to-table ingredients have become more common, so has the celebration of the vegetable, which can be at times hard to find on Paris menus. This doesn’t mean that chefs are going against French tradition and becoming vegetarians. Don’t worry, meat and seafood are still on the plate but vegetables are more and more the star.

Farm to Table, Verjus 1

Verjus, Diane Yoon

Le Galopin

Another Top Chef winner, chef Romain Tischenko, changes his menu frequently with a recent spring dish of beef but with young carrots, green asparagus and purple, sprouting broccoli clearly standing out.

34 Rue Sainte-Marthe, 75010. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 06 05 03

Farm to Table, Galopin, Didier Gauducheau

Le Galopin, Didier Gauducheau

4. Do they list their suppliers?

Listing suppliers, while more and more common in certain places in America, is not as prevalent here. There are some really great vendors growing and selling (or catching, butchering and such) great products. Terroirs d’avenir, advocates for slow food and local sourcing, started out supplying in-season produce from farmers in the Ile-de-France area. Now they’ve expanded their offerings to fish, cheese and meat and even have shops where you can go and buy from directly. A lot of chefs have direct relationships with farmers like Annie Bertin and Joël Thiébault and are proud to communicate to customers that they support them.

Farm to Table, Galopin, Didier Gauducheau 1

Le Galopin, Didier Gauducheau

Semilla

With an array of small plates and mains, the fresh dishes are too good not to share. Semilla proudly lists their suppliers on the bottom of the menu, ranging from their olive oil, peaches, nuts, olives and more.

54 Rue de Seine, 75006. Tel: +33 (0)1 43 54 34 50

Farm to Table, Galopin, Didier Gauducheau 2

Le Galopin, Didier Gauducheau

5. Social Media

One of my favorite things to do is follow restaurants in Paris to see what they’re buying and from where and what they’re creating and cooking for later that evening. There is not better way to see how fresh your dinner will be when the fish on the menu was in your Instagram feed earlier that day.

Farm to Table, Le Timbre 53

Le Timbre, Palmyre Roigt

These are just a few restaurants that use social media to share their farm-to-table dishes.

Bones – 43 Rue Godefroy Cavaignac, 75011; +33 9 80 75 32 08

Vivant – 43 Rue des Petites Écuries, 75010; +33 1 42 46 43 55

Le Bal Café – 6 Impasse de la Défense, 75018; +33 1 44 70 75 51

Yard – 6 Rue de Mont-Louis, 75011; +33 1 40 09 70 30

Verjus – 52 Rue de Richelieu, 75001; +33 1 42 97 54 40

This list of restaurants is not conclusive. Please share your favorites that use fresh ingredients in the comments.

Farm to Table, Diane A broad, Bones

Bones, Diane Yoon

Related links:

  • Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian from Verjus Restaurant give us the scoop on their farm-to-table dining practices.
  • Pop in for lunch at Le Bon Georges, a welcoming restaurant in SoPi with a bevy of all-star local suppliers.
  • Food blogger and cooking show celebrity Rachel Khoo of “The Little Paris Kitchen” visits Terroirs d’Avenir.

Farm to Table, Le Timbre 6

Le Timbre, Palmyre Roigt

Written by Kristen Beddard for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Written By

Kristen Beddard

Kristen Beddard founded The Kale Project in 2012 to re-introduce the légume oublié, kale to France. When she's not talking, writing, cooking with or thinking about kale, you can find her running in Parc Monceau or marketing on Saturdays at the Marché Batignolles. She is the author of Bonjour Kale: A memoir of Paris, love and recipes and you can follow her leafy-green stories at TheKaleProject.com. View Kristen Beddard's Website

2 comments on “Paris Farm-to-Table Restaurants: Delicious, Local and Fait Maison

Very good restaurant, l’affriolé rue Malard in the 7 th arrondissement
Fabulous ! Fresh, good portions and chamalows ” fait maison ” to die !

Thank you for this! I have never been to Paris and am going on business for a few days. I don’t care so much about the destinations and sights so much as the slow food scene. Had no idea about the fait maison issue (though not surprising in our industrialized agricultural paradigm). I’ll be sure to check out some of these places. Thank you!

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