Le Bon Georges is a classic French bistro, adored by locals and tourists alike. Located in the buzzy 9th arrondissement, by the historic Place Saint-Georges, the restaurant is the quintessential Parisian bistro. With slate menus, wooden tables, and rattan chairs to boot, there are more than a few nods to the classic French eateries we all know and love. Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll find that Le Bon Georges stands out from its counterparts. Forget run-of-the mill standards. Marvel instead at carefully sourced, delicately presented dishes that bridge classic flavors and modern cooking techniques brilliantly. Be pleasantly surprised when your go-to bistro classic is punctuated with a little… je ne sais quoi. Someone who knows a great deal about what makes this restaurant shine is Thibaut Nicolas, Le Bon George’s Restaurant Director. It was a pleasure to talk to him about all things Le Bon Georges, past and present.
Le Bon Georges has operated successfully for almost a decade. Making a name for yourself as a French bistro in Paris is no easy feat. What does it take to establish yourself as a neighborhood favorite in the City of Light?
A number of different things. What is particularly important for us is good produce. The French terroir has a lot to offer. We take great pleasure in helping our guests to discover it in all its glory, in a warm, friendly, and almost familial atmosphere. We strive for consistency and high quality — acrossO our food and service. We’re proud to have a long-standing team working for us, who know our regular guests well, and who make great effort to make new customers feel welcome. All of this had contributed to the Le Bon Georges’ success.
Le Bon Georges offers traditional French cooking, but the dining experience here never feels outdated or stuffy. How do you stay true to your classic roots while keeping up with the times?
Changing the menu almost daily is probably one of the reasons why our guests come back regularly. It’s eclectic and exciting, filled with different flavors, sharing dishes, and invites a sense of conviviality. We focus on quality ingredients (sourced from producers with whom we’ve developed great relationships with), and cook with the seasons. Though we focus on authentic French cookery, we also adopt more gastronomical approaches – elevating traditional dishes. Our recipes are technical, and tedious: the sort of recipes that are becoming increasingly rare on menus nowadays, but that continue to please guests. Another of our strengths is our wine list; wine is part of the DNA of the house. We have over 2000 bottles in our cellar, making it one of the most exceptional cellars in Paris. We don’t discriminate between renowned vineyards and small estates. Our owner, Benoit, works meticulously in search of the perfect “hidden nugget” bottles.
It was only a year ago that you became Restaurant Director of Le Bon Georges. What changes have you overseen since starting in this role?
I arrived at this position after Covid, and this period has been a real challenge. I had to be ready to welcome even more customers, all happy to be able to go out again, but I also had to get to know all of our regulars who were all eager to return to the restaurant. We also delivered to some of these customers during the lockdown/confinement, which turned out to be a great success. As such, we are developing a takeaway service that we are hoping to launch for the Christmas holidays.
On the management side, it was also necessary to focus on improving working conditions. The post-covid period has had a huge impact on the world of catering work. Catering is a very demanding environment, with long days and staggered hours, and it has become a real objective for myself to reduce working hours and organize them as well as possible for the well-being of our employees.
You’ve recently introduced a “Chef’s Table” menu. Can you tell us all about it?
Our chef’s table is the adjacent lounge where the chef cooks in front of the guests. If you’re looking for a calm meal, this isn’t it! Chef Loïc Lobet has as much energy as his stoves – and carries out his cooking with a jubilant eloquence and real joie de vivre that our many regulars are fond of. This passionate chef has a real knack for choosing fantastic products, and for cooking them. His dishes are unusual, but always delicious. From sea swallows, and wild quinces, to (depending on the season) truffles, game or hare – the chef’s table menu is all about sharing and embracing expertly-prepared food.
What impact has the pandemic had on the restaurant business? Is there any positive change that has come of it?
The effect on the restaurant industry has been particularly dramatic. With restaurants closed for sit-down service, many establishments are now struggling to keep their heads above water. We are lucky to be able to count on our regular customers who have been loyal to us and who returned as soon as we reopened. What is positive, is it seems that after the deprivations of the covid, people want to enjoy and have fun by going to eat out!
And finally, your background is in wine. Do you have a personal favorite food and drink pairing on the Le Bon Georges menu? What is your favorite bottle for a casual meal with friends?
In November, one of the amazing dishes on our menu was the Lièvre a la royale — an emblematic game dish of French gastronomy that I loved pairing with a bottle of Côte Rotie 2011“Grande place” Domaine du Monteillet, from Stéphane Montez. As a big fan of chenin blanc, I would definitely pick a bottle from Loire Valley, such as a Vouvray 2010 “Clos Naudin” from Philippe Foreau, to share with some of my best friends.
Le Bon Georges – 5 rue Saint-Georges, 75009 Paris, France
- Check out David Lebovitz’s review of Le Bon Georges!
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