Amy Thomas, the fabulous blogger behind God I love Paris, dishes here on four must-try restaurants in Paris’ 1st arrondissement.
Josephine Docena, La Régalade
Now that it’s the end of summer, it’s time to welcome Spring—and I’m talking Daniel Rose’s forever-anticipated restaurant, not the season.
For over a year, Rose and his co-chef/girlfriend, Marie-Aude Mery, have been dealing with French red tape and staying busy with the Spring Boutique, while an insatiable dining community licked its chops in anticipation of the restaurant’s reopening. The 24-seater finally debuted late this summer with a five-course market-driven tasting menu. For my recent lunch (I’m too cheap to spend 64 Euros for dinner; the 38 Euros lunch is more my speed), that meant palate-pleasing dishes like a creamy, lemony caviar d’aubergine, a juicy and tender duck breast accompanied by crispy thigh bits and poached peach, and a deconstructed lemon tart topped with crème anglaise, praliné shavings and plump blueberries.
Josephine Docena, Spring
Though the kitchen is visible as it was in the petite ninth arrondissement spot (the massive stainless steel appliances and copper pans provoke beaucoup de jalousie) Spring’s new incarnation, with stark white walls, brushed concrete floors, and sharp angles, feels more “downtown chic” than “neighborhood gem”. (Spring Restaurant, 6 rue Ballieul, 1st. 01 45 96 05 72, Spring Boutique, 52 rue de l’Arbre Sec, 1eme, 01 58 62 44 30)
Gourmands might be familiar with this little nook of the city as it’s where Chez la Vieille has been sating local celebrities for 50 years. Whereas Spring brings a fresh sensibility to the plate, this two-story bistro is all tradition. Beatnik tiled floors and black and white framed photos envelop cozily packed tables, and an affordable lunch menu (29 Euros for three courses) is as irresistible as ever. The traditional fare includes a heaping lentil and chicken salad and pan-fried dorade with endives, along with seasonal items like cold pea soup thrown in for good measure. (Chez La Vielle, 37 rue de l’Arbre Sec, 1eme, 01 42 60 15 78)
Josephine Docena & Amy Thomas – La Régalade
Contemporary foodies are still flocking to two relatively new but highly celebrated restaurants just around the corner: La Régalade Saint-Honoré and Yam’Tcha. The former, Bruno Doucet’s offshoot to his acclaimed 14th arrondissement restaurant, made its debut in April and has been acquiring accolades ever since. And no wonder. It’s high-caliber cooking at affordable prices (a three-course 33 Euros menu is served for both lunch and dinner), buoyed by friendly, easy-going service. The meal starts with a complimentary snack of tart cornichons, chicken liver terrine and crunchy baguette. The trick, then, is to save room for the generosity that follows. My thick, buttery white asparagus entrée, topped with Parmesan, parsley and a poached egg was quite hearty, especially followed by risotto with peas, chicken and green asparagus. And, although I was trying to go a little lighter for dessert, I not only devoured my rhubarb compote with mascarpone, berries and crumbled shortbread, but I couldn’t resist dipping into my friend’s insanely rich praliné cake served alongside a scoop of chocolate ganache. Heaven. (La Régalade Saint-Honoré, 123 rue Saint-Honoré, 1eme, 01 42 21 92 40)
Josephine Docena, yam’Tcha
Speaking of the stars above, let’s not forget Paris’ culinary cherie, Adeline Grattard, to whose restaurant, yam’Tcha, you can leave a breadcrumb trail from La Régalade. While yam’Tcha fits neatly into Paris’ bistronomy trend, Gattard also earned a Michelin star a short year after opening her Franco-Chinese resto, giving her instant cred with young foodies and traditional critics alike. Owing to the hype and only 20 covers, you might have to wait a couple months for reservations. And it will be worth it. Both the Discovery and Degustation menus (45 and 60 Euros, respectively) draw from Asian and French ingredients, resulting in unexpected, elegant dishes like steamed mussels with sweet potato noodles in black rice vinegar and Dordogne-raised pig with sautéed Szechuan eggplant. Gattard’s husband, who is the restaurant’s tea master (how cool is that?), serves a unique brew to wash down—and enhance—each course. (yam’Tcha, 4 rue Sauval, 1eme, 01 40 26 08 07)
- Le Best of Paris’ experience at La Regalade
- Amy Thomas eats at Spring
- Hungry for Paris on yam’Tcha
- Girl’s Guide to Paris on Chez la Vieille
Written by Amy Thomas for the HiP Paris Blog. Photographs by Josephine Docena (Josephine Docena is from Manila. She recently moved to Paris and is still trying to find her way round the city through her camera lens – [email protected]). For our amazing rentals in Paris, Provence & Tuscany check out our website Haven in Paris.