The trouble with dating someone who always thinks he’s right is that, sometimes, he actually is. On my most recent visit to Paris, my BF and I got into a lot of food-related debates, and I have to admit, he knows his stuff. While I tend to keep my ear to the ground for news about new restaurants, emerging chefs, and more concept-driven eateries, he has quietly and discerningly been working his way through old-school establishments that offer exquisite traditional cuisine in pretension-free (and mostly tourist-free) settings. He pays very little attention to reviews or buzz, so when he labels a place “legit,” I’ve learned to take note.

He recently introduced me to the Bistrot du Peintre, a two-story Art Nouveau eatery that’s been around since 1902. It’s located in the 11th, a short walk from the Bastille and the Marais, but slightly out of the fray. Upon entering, I noticed the place was busy but calm, the tables full of relaxed French people who work in the quartier or who have probably been coming here for years, because they know what we now know: this place is legit.

Bistrot du Peintre (Julien Hausherr)

We settled into a cozy banquette on the upper level and—like most of the other diners—ordered the day’s featured dishes: a silky mushroom soup with a secret ball of mozzarella at the bottom (sneaky! delicious!), braised pork on a mountain of velvety French lentils, and a not-too-creamy brandade de Cabillaud.
The servers were friendly, even jocular, and the place bustled with a pleasant energy—not always the norm in Paris. To our right, two professorial-men were discussing sociology; to our left, busy waiters were darting to and fro, efficient but unrushed, attentive but not “lurking.” I left feeling like I could eat every meal at this place for the rest of my life and be perfectly content.

Tables set at Bistrot du Peintre (Julien Hausherr)

So on this day, tradition trumped trendiness. And while some of Paris’ more buzzed-about restaurants continue to pique my interest, it seems that many of them are still “finding themselves,” and they often miss the mark (or hit it, and charge exorbitant prices as a result). So, buzz be damned. Bistrot du Peintre is reasonably-priced, conveniently located, ultra-authentic and totally delicious. In other words, this place is legit.

Bistrot du Peintre (Julien Hausherr)

Bistrot du Peintre
116 Ave Ledru-Rollin, 75011
+33 (0)
Métro: Ledru-Rollin
Open: Daily 7am-2am

Related Links:

  • Lost in Cheeseland has a list of the best burgers in Paris
  • Parisien Salon reviews Mère et Filles restaurant in the Marais

Written by Tory Hoen for the HiP Paris Blog. Julien Hausherr is a photographer based in Paris, specializing in architecture, still-life and reporting. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.


Tory Hoen

Tory Henwood Hoen has been published by New York Magazine, Vogue, Condé Nast Traveler, Bon Appétit, Fortune, and others. She was Creative Director of Brand at M.M.LaFleur, where she founded the brand’s digital magazine, The M Dash. Her debut novel, The Arc, is available in bookshops near you and online.


  1. Read your wonderful review… Having lived in Paris for years, I’m still always looking for a great place to eat and love hearing about good French cooking and bistros are a favourite… Loved how it was not too touristy and overrun with American tourists.

    HOWEVER, I went there tonight (24 May 2011) with a friend visiting from out of town and the food was HORRIBLE! I usually like ordering off of the “ardoise” where you can get fresh in season options and it looked promising. My friend and I both took the gazpacho to start and the cabillaud with spring vegetables. The cold soup was lukewarm and on the sweet side, but the worst was our main course. Hers came out lukewarm and mine was fresh out of the refrigerator…LITERALLY. The plate was composed of parcooked food that was kept in the fridge waiting to be heated in the microwave before serving. The overcooked peas, carrots and fish were ice cold. The waiter came back grabbed my dish without responding although I speak French. By the time she finished most of her meal the waiter came back with mine having zapped it in the microwave…at that point even the lemon was boiling hot. Needless to say the peas were bland and overcooked and fish tasteless. We probably should have looked around to see what everyone else seemed to be eating which was either steak or hamburgers… If only I had known. Sadly it is not a place that I will bother to try again. Don’t know if they changed chefs or not…

    1. Oh no! Thank you for letting us know. I don;t know if they changed chefs or not, but this is terrible news. Erica

  2. Very nice restaurant in fact, and a lovely post. Maybe one day I’ll try to make a paint of it 🙂

    You can look at few paints I’ve made of Paris places. I’m currently uploading all my paints (around 200) but it take a bit of time !

  3. Can’t wait to try this one out! I’ve just been asked where to dine for a 25th wedding anniversary? Where do you start??!! Anyone got a favourite romantic restaurant?

  4. I stumbled upon your website today, and am glad I did. Foodie “buzz” about new restaurants in general doesn’t usually impress me. Give me the classics any day! The place looks stunning. I’ve lived in Paris for five years, and I’m still discovering new things.

  5. Thanks for your comment Jason. Julien does take fabulous photos! I can’t wait to try the restaurant when I am back in Paris! – Erica

  6. Thanks for the comments, everyone! It’s definitely worth a try. And for the budget-conscious, lunch is a great deal. – Tory

  7. I’ve been there. Your BF is right and so are you. It’s old school, non-touristy, and traditional rather than trendy. Also, the food was good, the service was friendly, the ambiance was just right, and we really enjoyed our evening there. 🙂

  8. Oh it was my favorite restaurant when i was living in the quartier 🙂 Thank you for the good memories…
    By the way, i just discover your blog, and i love it ! Bravo !

    1. Hi Audrey. We’re so happy you’ve found us, thank you for the kind words. We just love your blog as well, your photos are fantastic! Merci – Ariel

  9. Your pictures are stunning. I am sure you both have your points although this restaurant certainly states his case well. Bravo!

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