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The Elegant Eighth: Affordable Food and Superb Culture in Paris’ Chic Business District

Elegant Eighth, Paris courtyard

8th arrondissement, Rebecca Plotnick

For Parisians, many of whom don’t necessarily identify personally with their professional alter egos, the Eighth Arrondissement represents the office. True, it’s pretty, with row after row of Haussmannian edifices and wide, tree-lined boulevards. But isn’t so much of Paris just that?

Elegant Eighth, Paris street view

8th arrondissement, Rebecca Plotnick

Covering an area of 3.88 km² with a population a bit larger than 40K people, the Eighth is one of the wealthiest arrondissements in Paris. Second only to La Défense as home to multinational firms and banks, the Eighth also caters to tourism (Champs-Elysées), culture (Musée Jacquemart-André, Salle Gaveau/Pleyel, the Petit and Grand Palais), fashion (avenue Montaigne is home to the most prestigious Haute Couture houses), churches (La Madeleine, St Augustin, and my own favorite, the little-visited royalist Chapelle Expiatoire), and luxury (George V, Plaza Athenée, the Bristol, Hôtel de Crillon).

Elegant Eighth, Paris flowers

8th arrondissement, Rebecca Plotnick

Having worked in this stately ‘hood for seven years now, I’m only just starting to appreciate the #ElegantEighth (a hashtag I’ve Instagrammed up, down, and around – first out of sheer boredom and now, on the brink of a sabbatical, out of pre-nostalgia).

Elegant Eighth, Paris windows

8th arrondissement, Rebecca Plotnick

Of course there’s a concentration of suitably fancy-French, Michelin-starred restaurants and brasseries. My stomach has greatly benefitted – though I can’t say the same for my wallet – from the likes of Pierre Gagnaire, Bistrot du Sommelier, and Boeuf sur le Toit, a staple that impresses guests with 1920s flashy French fame.

Elegant Eighth, Paris trees

8th arrondissement, Rebecca Plotnick

But you can also eat well and reasonably, and you don’t have to traipse to the Trendy Tenth for ethnic cuisine either! Here are three faves within two blocks of the Metro “St. Philippe du Roule,” where you can lunch for under 20€ (not including wine):

Elegant Eighth, Paris sidewalk

Elegant Eighth, Taisho Ken Japanese

8th arrondissement, Rebecca Plotnick; Taisho Ken Restaurant, Emma Stencil

Taisho Ken  – Such a success was the original Taisho Ken, that they expanded past the 2nd arrondissement’s Little Japan to open this “Everyday Japanese” sequel. My favorite sign in their plant-filled small space is “No Reservations, No Sushi.” Kasia Dietz introduced me to this delicious Japanese dive years ago, where you can have a counter lunch while you watch them mixing the enormous cauldrons of soup that steam up the windows. Or if you’re not in the mood for ramen, their Tonkatsu (breaded pork) and grilled Mackerel are divine, and are accompanied by miso soup, rice, salad, and a special treat (which varies daily from shrimp to chicken).

Taisho Ken  – 27, rue du Colisée 75008. Tel: +33 (0)1 45 61 09 79

Elegant Eighth, Suvarnabhum Thai Restaurant

Suvarnabhum Restaurant, Emma Stencil

Suvarnabhum  – My all-time favorite Thai in the Eighth, the service at this joint always delivers jovial smiles and light-hearted jokes (perhaps making up for the occasional “gentle reminder” one sometimes has to issue). What first drew me to this boîte – apart from office mates who vied for tables before I made it there – was their adorably kitschy decoration. They’ve clearly put great effort into the wallpaper, a Thai version of a French Toile de Jouy upholstery that tells a story, and various gems arranged on the walls and across the silk banquette. Their sunniness alone makes Suvarnabhum worth a visit, but the 10€ three-course menu isn’t shabby either.

Suvarnabhum – 3, rue de Courcelles 75008. Tel: +33 (0)1 45 63 26 63


Il Caffè, Emma Stencil

Il Caffè  – With its soaring ceilings, this loft-like space reminds me of Amsterdam, or perhaps it’s the communal tables and window counter seats facing the ivy-covered apse of St Philippe du Roule. They keep it simple, as Italians do so well, with either four or five delicious plates of pasta rotated daily (think delish truffle sauce) and four or five salads to choose from their enormous blackboard. I’ve never been disappointed by their dessert of the day either (the panna cotta is worth crossing town for). It’s hard to get a table here due to the quality and cheap price tag, but there is another Il Caffe down near Madeleine.

Il Caffè – 5, avenue Myron Herrick 75008. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 25 02 70

Elegant Eighth, Il Caffe Italian Restaurant Sandwiches and Drinks

Elegant Eighth, Il Caffe Italian Restaurant Interior

Il Caffè, Emma Stencil

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Elegant Eighth, Paris buildings

8th arrondissement, Rebecca Plotnick

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

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Written by Daisy de Plume

Daisy de PlumeIn 2012 Daisy de Plume started THATMuse, a company running themed Treasure Hunts at the Museum (what it stands for), which now has 25 themes across the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Streets of Paris, British Museum and Victoria & Albert in London. A native New Yorker who moved to Paris in 2004, she & her Argentine husband have two culturally confused, trilingual sons, Storsh & Balthazar. You can find her on her blog or see Daisy’s snaps on Instagram & Twitter @THAT_Muse_

Website: Daisy de Plume

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