There are thousands of restaurants in Paris and choosing where to go for dinner when you’re only in the city for a short while can be a challenge. Long term American expat in Paris, writer and foodie Barbara Paquet-James reveals where Parisians go when they want to indulge in a luxurious dinner in the city…
Frenchie’s laid-back location on a narrow backstreet in the Sentier garment district makes one wonder what all the international fuss is about. It’s about the food, the wine, and terrific service. Nantes native Gregory Marchand hit it right by offering gorgeous seasonal farm-to-table fare paired with just as gorgeous wines. An unpretentious cave à vins and Frenchie’s To Go followed, along with gourmet food shops, and now, just a visit to Frenchie, especially if combined with nearby street market rue Montorgueil, is a gourmet experience. Our multi-course tasting menu included perfect duck breast, pumpkin ravioli packages that exploded with flavor and crunchy Brussels sprouts topped with crumbled cheese. Frenchie’s signature maple-syrup-glazed scones with bacon from the chalkboard next door were mouthwatering. Fabulous.
Frenchie; 5 Rue du Nil 75002 Paris
Verjus is the happy outgrowth of The Hidden Kitchen, exquisite dinner parties once hosted by Laura Adrian and Braden Perkins in a private Paris apartment. The view is of a theater reminiscent of New Orleans’ old French Quarter. Below, in a small intimate room, is their wine bar with its ever-changing chalkboard. Dishes like pork belly with sesame seeds, indescribable Parmesan “churros,” duck terrine maison with pistachios. Oysters from Utah Beach with rhubarb, gougères dusted with seaweed and salt, perfectly roasted pork, foie gras with walnuts and a jaw-dropping beet tarte tatin, plus more, will keep you happy all the way to dessert. Caramelized Jerusalem artichoke ice cream with apple and cinnamon. Unforgettable.
Verjus (multi-course tasting menu); 52 Rue de Richelieu 75001 Paris. Book well in advance – it’s very popular with the locals.
Chef Yves Camdeborde has a loyal following since his La Régélade days. First-timers here are always astounded when they see the ceiling, a forest of banners with photos of dozens of small plates. An impressive selection of wines, sausages, and an enormous hunk of salt-studded butter dominates the zinc counter. Country loaves cut into chunks, still warm, mustard, cornichons, and fleur de sel are there for the taking. We joined the throng and ordered away. Crunchy calamari and crunchier fried chicken with house fries and sauce gribiche. Fried cheese, waffles topped with an artichoke cream and Bayonne ham. Foie gras with piquillo kebabs, caramelized pork belly, sautéed cèpe mushrooms with garlic. We did it. Bordeaux and dry rosé by the glass and endless toasts with total strangers, and it was over. Memorable.
L’Avant Comptoir; 3 Carrefour de l’Odéon 75006 Paris
Barbara Pasquet James is a U.S. lifestyle editor, speaker, and urban explorer who writes about food fashion and culture, from Paris. She is known for helping launch, write and edit USA Today’s City Guide To Paris and can be contacted via her photo blog FocusOnParis.com