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Gluten-Free in the City: Paris’ Best Restaurants and Bakeries Sans Gluten

Editor’s note: This week we continue with our theme of starting the new year with a focus on healthy living and wellbeing. We’re so happy to have this second contribution from Ann and Chloe, founders of Veggie Magnifique, who take us on a tour of the top gluten-free restaurants and bakeries in Paris. 

Yem’a

There’s a reason why our mental image of a Parisian features a striped-shirt-wearing specimen carrying a baguette, the French after all love nothing more than a loaf of crusty bread- but does this mean you should hit up London instead if you’re gluten free? Non.

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Posted in Food, Gluten-Free, Green, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 2 Comments »

The Big Mamma Group: Trendy, Fresh, Authentic Italian Dining in Paris

HiP Paris Blog examines the success of the Big Mamma GroupPink Mamma – Ali Postma

The Big Mamma Group was started by Tigrane and Victor, two Frenchmen with a love for Italian food. They opened their first restaurant – Mamma Gorda – in the south of France but quickly aspired to break into the Parisian dining scene. While Italian restaurants are a-plenty in Paris, the Big Mamma Group brought something different to the table: a 100% Italian trattoria, with fresh products brought in from Italy, and a 100% Italian staff’. They even rented 20 apartments to house their staff!

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Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 4 Comments »

LOULOU Restaurant: Artsy Eating at Le Musée des Arts Décoratifs

HiP Paris Blog reviews LOULOU

Editor’s Note: The Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain (FIAC) kicks of this month and consists of four days celebrating contemporary art from around the world. Galleries from Paris, New York, London, Beijing, and beyond come to the Grand Palais bringing with them new artists and movements from diverse regions. The event is the highlight of the art world’s calendar and is an exciting time for art lovers in Paris. Running from one exposition to another surely works up an appetite! Here is an appropriately arty spot for lunch or dinner.

Overlooking the vast gardens of the Palais du Louvre behind the walls of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs is the arty restaurant LOULOU. From the same group behind Monsieur Bleu at the Palais de Tokyo, as well as a myriad of Paris’ well-frequented nightlife destinations — Le Zig Zag, Le Yoyo Palais de Tokyo, and Le Castel to name a few — comes their latest number nestled like a gem among the museum’s priceless treasures.

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Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | No Comments »

Under the Table: Dining with a Dog in Paris

HiP Paris Blog explores dining with dogs in Paris

Among the many surprises awaiting Americans dining in France is the near-universal acceptability of dogs in restaurants.

A restaurant I used to frequent on rue de Trevise was staffed by a smiley black-and-white Labrador. He made the rounds amid the tables during service – never begging, merely enjoying the occasional caress from a regular. Having worked in numerous restaurants in the USA, where dogs were banned, I was mildly scandalized on my first visit. The Labrador wasn’t bothering anyone, of course. My sympathy was rather for the dog, who seemed forever at risk of getting tripped-over. I can’t help but feel that restaurant service is complicated enough without the addition of panting canine landmines.

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Posted in Parisian Living | 2 Comments »

Le Bon Georges: Fresh Food and Friendly Dining in Paris’ SoPi Neighborhood

HiP Paris Blog, Le Bon George, Palmyre Roigt

With a menu that embraces the best of France and an approach to customer service that rejects the worst, Le Bon Georges is swiftly becoming a new neighborhood favorite in the 9th arrondissement.

HiP Paris Blog, Le Bon George, Palmyre Roigt

Lunch service starts with a smile from a hostess and a seat in the sun-soaked, airy dining room where the attentive waitstaff takes over, buzzing between tables and sharing their excitement about the food they serve.

HiP Paris Blog, Le Bon George, Palmyre Roigt

The reasonably priced lunch formule is 15 euro for the plat du jour with your choice of starter or desert. The price is right to entice locals who come on their lunch break, giving the restaurant a nice, neighborhood feel.

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Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 5 Comments »

New Friends Table: A Secret Supperclub on Paris’ Hidden Dining Scene

Paris is teeming with cool dining experiences, for those prepared to seek them out. New Friends Table, a new addition to the Paris scene, aims to bring together an eclectic yet compatible group of like-minded foodies around a delicious meal in a real Parisian apartment.  Our very own Erica Berman also recently checked it out; during her dinner, she mingled with a former Moulin Rouge dancer, a Cartier wedding planner, an Argentinian working for the BBC and an organic spa owner! -Geneviève

The possibilities for private dining experiences in Paris continue to expand with yet another new addition: New Friends Table. This ‘secret eating and meeting club’ appeared on the scene last spring thanks to a multi-national group of friendly and fun, food-minded locals.  With my penchant for new and unusual eating experiences, I requested a booking as soon as it popped up on my radar.

Cozy ambiance at the New Friends Table

To secure an invitation, you introduce yourself by email with some basic background information such as food preferences, interests and what languages you speak.  While some might consider the necessity of introducing themselves a nuisance, it’s completely in line with the principles of this club.  New Friends Table is about more than just putting something tasty in your belly. It’s about conversation, interaction, getting to know your fellow diners, and hopefully even fostering new friendships. Continue Reading »

Posted in Events, Food | 10 Comments »

Underground Restaurants in Paris: Three Hidden Kitchens

Hip Paris first wrote about underground dining back in March 2009, when we experienced  Hidden Kitchen for the first time. Since then, we’ve gathered around private tables with the likes of David Lebovitz, interviewed chefs like Rachel Khoo, and searched high and low for these special, discreet, private experiences. Forest Collins has sorted through the (now abundant) options on the Paris scene to brings us today her top 3 Clandestine Paris dining experiences — Geneviève.

A private dinner (Leo Farrell from Rachel Khoo)

Groucho Marx said it best: “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.” Sometimes the harder something is to get, the more we want it. This seems to hold especially true with eating out in Paris as the capital catches up with the extensive network of already established ‘private dining clubs’ in other major cities.

Not your usual restaurant, private dining clubs are a different kind of eating experience where food-minded folks gather in under-the-radar locations to share a meal.  They range from closely guarded secret rendezvous to more publicized, well-known gatherings. Because they exist outside of the usual commercial restaurant mold, they’re often hard to find and sometimes even harder to get into.

So are the added hindrances to underground dining worth it?  Last week, I checked out three clandestine Paris Kitchens to find out.

Cookies and Tatie, the house dog at Hidden Kitchen

Hidden Kitchen: where sophisticated palates converge with the gastro-curious to indulge in Paris’ finest of clandestine cuisines

This was not my first visit to the brainchild of American ex-pats Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian. I first ate there when they opened with a near immediate fan base in 2007.  Since then, they’ve accrued a substantial following and attracted enough media attention that they had to move to a larger location where they now serve a communal table of 16.

Elegant ten course dinners take place in their enviable Parisian apartment. Braden brings his special touch to fresh local ingredients, creating dishes that rival the best of restaurants for both flavor and presentation. He still finds time to step away from the stove to talk guests through each course while Laura selects and pours wine for the pairings and takes over in the kitchen when it’s time for the sweets.

Hidden Kitchen, which was originally intended as a yearlong project, is still in action after more than four years. Over this time, they have stayed consistently booked up while developing their culinary and wine expertise.  They also keep things fresh by inviting occasional guest chefs – on my latest visit, Nicholas Calcott created an impressive 9 course Szechuan dinner.

If the topnotch food, service and setting aren’t enough for you, the communal table adds a convivial element not found in your run of the mill eateries that I was truly able to enjoy during my latest solo visit.

Suggested donation: 70 to 80 Euros

Two vibrant green dishes at Hidden Kitchen

Soul Kitchen Supper Club: where the un-ironically hip rub elbows and bump knees over flavor-packed world dishes in art-infused surroundings

For a change of pace, American duo Christian Guerrero and Alexa Wisnoski casually cater to a global-minded eclectic community of wanderers, wonderers and food ponderers who appreciate a seriously good nosh. An evening at the relatively new Soul Kitchen Supper Club begins with a genial cocktail apéro in the couple’s cozy apartment with up to 32 guests.

After mingling, diners slide around the multiple low glass-top tables and await delights from the kitchen as pitchers of wine appear.  Christian and Alexa create origina and well thought-out 4-5 course menus focusing on fusion flavors that are hard to find in Paris like Non-Tex Mexican and New Jersey Style Italian American Cuisine. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 12 Comments »

Stranded in Paris: How to Take Advantage of Every Extra Moment

globe-500All photos by Maggie Battista, except where noted

The volcanic eruption in Iceland has changed my (and likely your) travel plans pretty dramatically. I was supposed to be back with the husband in cold and rainy New England but am instead stranded in bright and sunny Paris. Despite feeling pretty helpless, as you may imagine, I am not getting much sympathy from friends and family. Taking the bull by the horns, I have decided to make the most of every extra moment in this perfect city. I’m sharing my five-step plan with you, with the hopes that it may help those of you also stranded in Paris or anywhere in Europe.

laiterie-0276-500

1. Revisit your favorite restaurant and hope for a sweet homecoming. I’ve visited some fabulous restaurants during my stay in Paris, only to be warmly welcomed (most of the time) upon my second visit. The staff at Le Miroir, Glou and, especially, Le Pure Café have been attentive, sweet and delighted by my return visits. However, I only just discovered my favorite restaurant in Paris a few days ago. La Laiterie Sainte Clotilde (64 Rue de Bellechasse 75007 Paris, Tel: 01 45 51 74 61) is a little neighborhood joint, only four blocks from my flat, run by an unlikely duo – she’s an experienced grandmother-like host, he’s a young, cool bartender/server. Together, they run an efficient, candle-lit, warm diner that whips up nine seasonal comfort dishes (three entrees, three plats, three desserts) and easy, affordable wine. I felt so at home here, so much so that I’m hoping a return trip will ease my travel plan pain. If it doesn’t, I’m pretty certain a return trip to my favorite Paris wine bar, Le Baron Rouge, will do the trick. Wine cures all ills, right?

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Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Shopping, Travel | 6 Comments »

Jadis: Finally a Reason to Visit the 15th

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photo courtesy of express.fr

While there’s nothing secret about Jadis anymore, its location—buried deep within the 15th near Metro Convention—shelters it from the tourist crowds that will inevitably descend on Paris this spring and summer. Hailed as the  “Best Bistro of 2008” by Le Fooding and “Bistro of the Fall” by Le Figaro, Jadis has emerged as a well-loved star amidst a sea of up-and-coming (and already established) neo-bistros. Continue Reading »

Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 3 Comments »

La Caféothèque: Paris’ Best Blend

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Photograph: Alain Ollier

Considering how much coffee Parisians drink, it’s high time they started drinking it right. And now they can, thanks to La Caféothèque, a cozy coffee sanctuary located in the 4th arrondissement. Owned by Gloria Montenegro Chirouze, the former Guatemalan ambassador to France, La Caféothèque combines a mellow atmosphere with a sophisticated and principled approach to importing, roasting, and consuming coffee.

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Posted in Food | 7 Comments »