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Le Conservatoire: An Indoor Parisian Picnic, Italian Style

The Paris weather has been decidedly grey and overcast this spring, with only brief displays of sunshine punctuating what seem like never-ending downpours. The usual sunny Paris picnic season has been mostly rained off—and this is where Le Conservatoire comes to the fore.

Le Conservatoire, the latest private dining experience from Cédric Casanova, is a Sicilian grocery store-cum-restaurant, much like its predecessor and sister establishment, La Tête dans les Olives. Continue Reading »

Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 10 Comments »

Le Clarisse: Sake Pairings Give Paris Dining A Fresh Twist

Paris is one of the best cities in the world for exceptional food and wine combinations. In a refreshing change of pace, restaurant le Clarisse offers their tasting menus paired with sake in addition to the standard wine route.  Although France’s gastronomic identity is undeniably tied to wine, who doesn’t like to opt for something original from time to time?

Tucked away in the 7th on a street busy with bar and restaurant options, le Clarisse is an elegant stop offering French-inspired fare prepared with precision and delicacy by a Japanese chef. While the restaurant itself isn’t new, the change in chefs a little over a year ago makes it well worth renewed consideration.  Recently I was invited to taste test the sake-pairing menu and see what kind of revamp resulted from their association with Chef Sadaki Kajiwara.

The regularly changing menu is just the right size for my taste: four starters and five mains to choose from, each of which comes with a recommended wine or sake pairing and can be ordered a la carte or as part of a prix fixe menu. Restaurant director, wine connoisseur and in house sake expert, Jean-Philippe Pluvinet, is on hand to personally walk guests through the beverage pairings. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 8 Comments »

Paris Dining With the Locals: Mon Oncle le Vigneron

I’ll admit: when I first heard of the cave à manger concept, I was skeptical. “The restaurant is a wine store? That looks like someone’s kitchen? And you still need a reservation?” In a city filled with countless decadent, exquisite options, this sounded rather pedestrian and misguided, like a basketball player deciding to transfer his skills over to the golf course.

Call me what you will—ignorant, pessimist, hater—but I promise to be none of those any longer: Mon Oncle Le Vigneron has me sold on the trend, with this small, family-owned place as the current apex.

Tucked away in the 19th, MOLV only recently expanded to its current food-serving capacity. The owners made their name selling wine, but seem to have shifted gracefully into this new phase, turning their home/wine store into a home/restaurant. Bottles of wine and jars of honey line the walls, flowers jut out of a severed plastic water jug, silverware is pulled out of the cupboards, and a glass-partitioned kitchen allows you to peruse the cooking process from your seat. The tables are simple, and few: only two were set during my visit, and when attempts were made by unsuspecting passersby to grab a seat, they were sadly turned away—if you don’t reserve ahead of time, they won’t have enough food for you. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 5 Comments »

Le Pantruche & Aux Deux Amis Are Paris’ Newest Scene-Stealers

When you’ve lived in Paris awhile, dining options can become a little, shall we say, lackluster. Don’t get me wrong—it doesn’t get much more delicious than French cuisine, bien sur. But one can only eat so many chevre chaud salads, salmon tartares and steak frites before ennui descends.

Thank goodness this past year has ushered in several exciting restaurant openings with creative cooking and cool scenes on equal display. Here are two to try right now.

The Scene: Le Pantruche, 3 rue Victor-Massé, 9eme Down the street from Le Lautrec; around the corner from Hotel Amour; not far from rue des Martyrs—in other words, the neighborhood of the moment. But instead of a feverish see-and-be-seen vibe, La Pantruche exudes smart and quiet elegance—c’est branché all the way.

The Set-Up: The compact 34-top dining room is dark but warm, thanks to dim lighting and natural wood banquettes. Support poles appliquéd with mirror chips glitter like disco balls, bringing a delicious taste of the neighborhood’s tawdriness inside. But the convivial-meets-cool vibe is best brought to life by the charming service, led by Edouard Bobin. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 8 Comments »

A Truly Parisian Drink & Dinner: Hotel Amour & Casa Olympe

When my friend Jack, co-founder of Trufflepig, and I went out for a night on the town, I should have known absolutely anything could happen! Everything from snooty hipster bartenders, gigantic mushrooms and famous people citings were on the menu. Jack described the night in perfect detail below, and I look forward to our next perfectly Parisian rendezvous. -Erica

Julien Hausherr – Hotel Amour

Paris is an ever-changing city of contrasts, and many people who come here on vacation looking for a fixed, romantic idea of Paris based on a book or a film or a dream end up being surprised that it’s a real place, not a movie set. Not all the buildings are beautiful, the sun doesn’t glint permanently off the slate roofs, and not everyone who lives here is a charming Gallic man with a bristling moustache and a well-trained aquiline nose.

Julien Hausherr – Hotel Amour

But every now and then an evening unfolds in such a way that comes straight off the Paris song sheet. I had just such an evening on a recent night on the town with Erica Berman of Haven in Paris. If the evening followed a script, it would have been one written by a combination of the tourist board and the comedy council, rather than Disney. For a start, we were up in the 9th arrondissement rather than strolling on the boulevards in the more obvious parts of town, but by the end of the evening we were in stitches at quite how perfectly Paris the night turned out to be.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 9 Comments »

Bistrot Paul Bert: A Meeting of Minds

Hoostamagazine.comBistrot Paul Bert, Courtesy of: Hoostamagazine.com

Text by Simone Blaser

Sometimes, the planets align. Sometimes old friends come back to Paris (hi Tory!) and sometimes new friends come back to Paris (hi Sarah!) and sometimes you go to dinner at a restaurant about which you’ve all heard loud and exuberant whispers.  It’s never ideal when two people order the same dish – there is so much to try! – but the heart wants what the heart wants (or in this case, the stomach) and so I generally let it slide.  But once in a while the planets actually do align and you find yourself at dinner with old friends and new friends and everyone independently decides to order something different and everyone chooses the very dishes you yourself were trying to decide between and you all agree on the wine, too, and then you just know.  You just know.

The other night was one of those magic nights. The players: Tory, Sarah, and myself.  The setting: le Bistrot Paul Bert, a cozy restaurant tucked in the 11th off a metro stop – Faidherbe-Chaligny –  where I somehow never have reason to go.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 13 Comments »

Rose Bakery – Lunch in the Marais

rose_carrot_cake1Carrot Cake at Rose Bakery: rachelwoodmassey.files.wordpress.com

After all the great things I have heard about Rose Bakery on rue des Martyrs, and the number of times I have tried to go there but never made it for some reason or another, I finally made it for lunch yesterday at their new (well not so new anymore) location on rue Debelleyme in the Marais. I was fairly certain, being somewhat of a pessimist at times, that after all the fab reviews I had heard, I might be disappointed. Wrong. Rose Bakery was all it’s touted to be, and more. Continue Reading »

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

Le Miroir – Authentic French Bistro Food in Montmartre

miroirfish

Finally a neigborhood bistro in Montmartre!  I can now stumble down my 5 flights of stairs and walk around the corner and experience Paris bistro dining at its best. Le Miroir serving crusty bread, fresh fish, meat and produce is a wonderful spot for a long lunch or a charming dinner. I enjoy their authentic French dishes with a twist, homemade desserts, friendly service and daily specials. Tucked into a small side street in Montmartre, the restaurant’s simple decor and cozy ambiance make for an ideal stop for a a meal in the heart of one of the best neighborhoods in Paris. Le Miroir aims to please and pleased I most certainly was.

moresdessertmiroir

Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 10 Comments »

Le Verre Volé: My Favorite Boozy Wine Bar in Paris

verrePhoto: linternaute.com

What is it about France that makes me feel like it’s OK to drink an entire bottle of wine at midday? I guess it’s the fact that there are so many places that make it easy—almost impossible not—to do just that.

My hands-down favorite spot in Paris for a boozy Sunday lunch is Le Verre Volé, the quintessential Parisian wine bar and living proof that simplicity is the secret to happiness—and deliciousness. There’s nothing better than a leisurely lunch of shared small plates and an interesting bottle of wine, followed by a drunken amble along the Canal St. Martin (I have yet to fall in!), most likely followed by a nap. Afternoons like this make me wonder, “Does life get any better than this?” and I always come to the same conclusion: nope. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 18 Comments »

“Was There Life Before the Counter?” Meg Zimbeck Reviews Paris’ New Wine Bar L’Avant Comptoir

Paris-based freelance food and travel writer Meg Zimbeck (who contributes to the wonderful new blog Girls Guide to Paris) hits up l’Avant Comptoir, a great new wine bar in the 6th…

avantcomptoir4 

by Meg Zimbeck

Last night marked my fourth visit to l’Avant Comptoir in just over a week. This new wine bar is nowhere near my apartment, so why am I returning again and again? It’s the ham. To be precise, it’s the deep-fried ham croquettes. Made with jambon Ibaïona d’Eric Ospital (a Pays Basque ham from a legendary producer), these little nuggets are like eating, as the Frenchman next to me observed, “une caresse.” Priced at only 3 euros for a stack of three, they represent the cheapest love for sale in the French capital.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 4 Comments »