From your Parisian

Sharing my newest discoveries as I float through the streets of Paris. Restaurants, bars, events, all reviewed for you with love, from your Parisian.


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Restaurant Review: Puce – Bar à Grignoter

There are lots of places to eat in SoPi (South Pigalle neighborhood of Paris), but not all of them have the charm that you will find at Puce – Bar à Grignoter. The word puce is often used as a pet name in French, which roughly translates as “sweetheart” or “honey” in English. It’s therefore a fairly appropriate name for this restaurant, which I can best describe as cute and classy. The benches are covered in pastel colored cushions with striped, floral and polka dot motifs, the food is served on vintage porcelain plates and the sleek bar is adorned with a mix of enchanting lampshades hanging from above.puce_paris_cute tablepuce_paris_interiorI went here with my friend K on a week night as we were looking for a place where we could get a drink and some share plates…neither of us was very hungry (I had eaten a huge chicken kebab for lunch)! We sat down in the cozy room, were greeted by the friendly owner and took a look at the menu. Drinks include a good variety of wines as well as non-alcoholic beverages and a random Japanese beer. As for the food, everything on the menu is incredibly tempting and prices range from 5.50-12 Euros. They are small portions, but they are meant to share, so depending on your appetite (and budget) you can choose as many or as few as you like to go along with a glass of wine, such as a Chardonnay « Patchwork » 2013, Tissot (my choice at 6,5 Euros). puce_food menu_parisWe settled on the chips and guacamole (served in a traditional molcajete), a cheese plate (that I admit was a little small), a lentil and feta salad and a creamy 4 cheese macaroni! The guacamole was amazing and full of fresh cilantro, just how I like it, and the macaroni was oozing with cheese and topped with a light sprinkling of breadcrumbs! While we only had 4 dishes between us, we ended up feeling full, as what we ate was rich and satisfying. At the table next to us I saw a plate of grilled pork ribs go by and later a slice of raspberry cheesecake, so I am convinced that everything they serve here must be really good!puce_paris-chips and guacamolepuce_paris_foodpuce_paris-macaroniNow that I have praised the food, I will mention a few drawbacks. Firstly, they played constant instrumental jazz music…which is not at all something I enjoy, but luckily it was only in the bathroom where I really heard it loudly. I guess it did go with the overall upscale feel of the place and there are many people that actually like this type of music…so I won’t judge. Close by, there was a table of bourgeois women enjoying their evening of discussing their partners and their new handbags, which got me thinking that Puce is mainly a really great place for a girl’s night out. Or a date night. I mean the decor is girly and the portions are small so it should appeal to people wanting to chat and drink while snacking on a light meal. I don’t, however, see a group of hungry guys (or hungry girls) ever choosing this restaurant…unless they’re loaded, in which case I’d be tempted to order the entire menu! Those slight criticisms aside, I have to admit that Puce is delightful, chic and a good choice for those of you who prefer quality over quantity. puce_paris_exterior

Restaurant Details:

1 Rue Chaptal
75009 Paris

3.5 pretty, floral plates out of 5

 

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Restaurant Review: L’Atelier Saint-Georges

It sometimes seems like a new trendy burger joint opens in Paris every few weeks, and while they all try to put their spin on this popular fast-food favorite, there are few that have managed to turn their burgers into a fine dining experience quite like L’Atelier Saint-Georges.Atelier SG Paris_yam friesFirst off, this place is located in the very hot SoPi neighborhood of Paris; right by Métro Saint-Georges, hence their name. Secondly, when you walk through the door of what was once a neighborhood bakery, you feel like you are walking into a refined bistro. I still remember the scene from Sex and the City (yes, I was a big fan of the series!) when Carrie wore the most gorgeous Oscar de la Renta dress and ended her evening at McDonald’s, incredibly overdressed for the occasion. Well if she had come to L’Atelier Saint-Georges for a burger, she would have blended right in! Glass mirrors cover the walls and beautiful decorative moldings add a touch of French class to the modern room that is filled with polished pale wooden tables and unique light fixtures.Atelier SG Paris_interior 1The burgers themselves are all named after renowned chefs and are gourmet creations that you won’t find anywhere else. The tender French steak is stated to be “haché au couteau à la main”, which means that it is prepared by finely chopping it with a knife, not passed through a meat grinder like most burgers. Some of the creations include The Monsieur which features a hand-cut beef burger topped with Tomme cheese (one of my fave French cheeses), bacon, caramelized onions and romaine lettuce. At the other end of the spectrum is the fancy Monsieur Paul which comes with a slice of seared foie gras on top of the chopped beef patty! They also have 2 chicken burgers and one veggie burger, as well as a choice of salads, so that everyone is happy. Of course, like any other fine French restaurant, L’Atelier Saint-Georges has a list of beer, wine (red, white and rosé) and even Champagne to accompany their classy burgers. They also do take-out, FYI.Atelier SG Paris_menuWe sat down and I chose the Monsieur Gaston (which made me immediately think of Beauty and the Beast!) with sweet potato fries, while my friend tried the burger of the moment named Monsieur Alain with regular French fries. The burgers came out with a huge heap of fries on the side (that were very good in their own right) and that were perfectly presented and super tasty. I bit into the soft brioche-like bun and was met with the creamy taste of Camembert cheese, the crunch of sautéed Granny Smith apples, arugula leaves and pine nuts, and finally the juicy and perfectly cooked chopped beef. My friend really adored her burger too, that was topped with asparagus tips, Parmesan cream, arugula and black olives. The cute little signature stamp on their buns was a nice final touch, proving once again their attention to detail.Atelier SG Paris_burger du momentAtelier SG Paris_cute bunAtelier SG Paris_gastonThe only criticism I can make is that they are rather small burgers (unless you get an “XL” size) and at a price of 12-17 Euros each (12 Euros for a regular, 16 Euros for an “XL”), they are a little pricey…and that doesn’t even include the fries (3-6 Euros)! Then again, you are not here to eat junk food, you are here to enjoy a luxury burger that truly honors French cuisine and that uses high-quality French ingredients. Definitely not for everyone, but a MUST a for all burger lovers! Atelier SG Paris_exteriorRestaurant Details:

6 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009 Paris

+33 (0)1 77 16 18 96

Rating:

4 posh burgers out of 5!

 


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Fast Food, Fast Review: Gustave

In my opinion, long weekends in Paris (when the weather is nice) are for being outside! If, however, you can’t find a coveted spot on one of the sunny terrasses, then getting some food to go and eating in one of the closest parks is always a great option, especially if you’re in a hurry! This long weekend I discovered Gustave, a trendy new sandwich joint in the always trendy South Pigalle (SoPi) neighborhood. Gustave serves up their own creation called “claps”, which are whole wheat flour tortillas (or thin pitas) stuffed full of a variety of yummy ingredients, folded up tightly into a square, and then grilled until toasty.

gustave_paris_exteriorThe little shop is located on rue Henry Monnier, a total foodie street, just across from Buvette Gastrothèque and Luz Verde. It is tiny inside, with a few chairs and small bar table along the window, and decorated with only a deer’s head and some tattoo art on the wall… for that hipster touch. The menus is simple: claps are 7,80 Euros, a claps and drink are 10 Euros, and a claps, drink and dessert are 12 Euros. They also have a selection of baguette-style sandwiches (4.50-6.50 Euros), for people who like to stick to something a little more traditional, as well as soups and salads. When I arrived with my friend M, there were already a couple sitting on the two-person bench outside and to their left we saw the chalk board menu with the list of fillings to choose from.
gustave_paris_menu_carteThere were so many choices (including a daily special), but after reading them all carefully and consulting with two guys who were self-proclaimed “regulars” we decided on 1) marinated chicken, bacon, cheddar, honeyed confit onions, apples, arugula and tomatoes and 2) pastrami, coleslaw, Emmental cheese, tomatoes, confit onions and lettuce. I have been back since (yes I know…twice in a space of 72 hours! But I was in the area!) and have also tried the one with chorizo, feta, grilled veggies (big chunks of eggplant, red peppers and potatoes), tomato, lettuce and confit onions.

gustave_paris_interior

gustave_paris_pastrami claps

gustave_paris_chicken claps

gustave_paris_chorizo clapsWe took our carefully bundled sandwiches, walked up to Abbesses, and sat on a bench in a little park just behind the Métro with the “I love you” wall in front of us. We unwrapped them like presents and were instantly drooling over the colorful display in our hands. At this point I am going to have to say: Warning: They are VERY hard to eat without “food juices” from the dressing and marinades dripping all over you! So, if you are about to go to a job interview in your best suit and you need a quick lunch, I wouldn’t tempt fate with one of these. Similarly, if you’re not totally comfortable with the person you’re with, then choose something else. But, if you want something full of flavor and don’t give a s#*@ about how messy things might get, then you are sure to enjoy these sandwiches! My fave was the chicken and bacon (total perfection) followed by the chorizo (which was the messiest to eat, if you’re wondering, thanks to all the yummy veggies). The pastrami was also good, but I have to admit that I’m used to having some sauerkraut or pickles with the salty meat, and the coleslaw just didn’t cut it for me. All of them were really filling, and as crumbs and sauce dropped to the ground, the little birds of the park agreed with us that these sandwiches were the real deal!

gustave_paris_picnic

gustave_paris_birdsA great place for a low-carb lunch or dinner (as they are open until 10 pm), Gustave is definitely worth a try!

Restaurant Details:
21 rue Henri Monnier, 75009 Paris
+33 (0)1 48 78 96 52

My Rating :

3.5 tasty and low-carb sandwiches out of 5


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Paris Restaurant Review: Luz Verde

Luz Verde has only been open for about a month but this place has already got quite a following and is the talk of the town amongst the trendy Parisian crowd…so obviously I had to check it out! As these places get packed around 8pm I called up a friend and suggested we meet after work at 7:30pm, to be sure to get a seat. As expected, the place was fairly empty and we managed to pick a spot next to the window, decorated with Mexican skulls and some peppers and avocados from the kitchen.

luz verde_window_paris

luz verde_exterior window

My first impression was very positive: the stone walls blended well with the wooden tables and the long bar, lit with hanging lights that were sheltered with basket-like shades. It was dimly lit inside, but warm at the same time. I also noted that they were playing Raphael Saadiq’s “The way I see it” album, which made me instantly appreciate the place even more (it’s a great CD, FYI). We took a look at the drink menu and saw a list of various French wines and beers (5-6 Euros). I asked the friendly guy at the bar if they had other drinks available (because I had heard they have cocktails), and he informed me that on Saturday they have guest barmen come in and prepare various cocktails but in the week they only offer a frozen margarita (10 Euros). Wanting to do the whole Mexican thing, we chose the margarita, which was fine but came out of a slushy machine and was nothing special, if I’m being completely honest.

luz verde_bar_paris

luz verde_menu_carte

On to the menu: we decided to share 4 dishes between us (as we are both on a budget), thinking it would be enough and forgetting that in these hip places the portions are always itty bitty! We ordered quesadillas, filled with refried beans and cheese (and that I could have eaten in one bite; 5 Euros for 2), chicken tacos (2 corn flour tortillas filled with spicy chicken, red peppers, corn and onions; 6 Euros),  vegetarian tacos (which were super original, with shredded carrot and cabbage in lime juice and topped with ricotta cheese and peanuts; 5 euros) and finally the ceviche (11 Euros), presented as a colorful and artistic display of thickly sliced bonito fish (a mackerel-like fish apparently, I had to Google it!) with radish, grapefruit, cucumber balls, pomegranate seeds and shredded beetroot. Super delicious!!!! We suddenly wished that we didn’t have to share, but I guess it made us savor each bite even more!

luz verde_chicken_tacos

 

luz verde_vegetarian_tacos

My friend saved the day by noticing a small brown sack on the table that was hidden from my view and that was full of bread. We hungrily ate each slice, wiping up the last bit of vinaigrette from the ceviche and wishing that some sort of fairy grub-mother could come in, wave her magic wand and make more of their tasty dishes appear on our plates. Long story short, we were left wanting more.

luz verde_ceviche

By this time the place was packed with well-dressed people (and others curiously peering in from the outside) and we had managed to rake up a bill of 47 Euros. So we paid the waiter, who happened to be the Australian cousin of one of the owners and was super nice, and left the buzzing restaurant to step outside into the cold Parisian streets.

luz_verde_interior

What I learned was this: if I come here again, which I’d like to (as I would love to try all of their dishes), I would not get the margarita, and instead go for a glass of wine and another order of tacos…maybe the lamb or pork ones…*drools*! I noticed they had a 1.3 kg prime rib on the menu, to share, with potatoes and salad, so I’m sure that this dish would be good too. I’ll know for next time! Overall I enjoyed my evening at Luz Verde and think it’s a great place to meet up with friends for relaxed drinks and some light eats.

Restaurant Details:

24 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009 Paris (yes, it’s right next to Buvette!)

+33 (0)1 74 64 29 04

https://www.facebook.com/luzverdeparis

My Rating:

4 tiny but delicious tacos out of 5!


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Paris Restaurant Review: Buvette Gastrothèque Paris

I know! I haven’t written at all this month, not a great way to start out a new blog! In my defense however, my apartment was broken into (and yes, they took my only item of any monetary value: my computer) and then my sister came to Paris for a visit so I was literally unable to write a new blog post until now. Anyways, after that semi apologetic introduction here’s a little review about one of the places I took my sister to while she was here: Buvette Gastrothèque Paris, one of my current fave restaurants in the city of light.

La Buvette, still in the afternoon, before the dinner crowds arrive.

La Buvette, still in the afternoon, before the dinner crowds arrive.

I usually go here in the evening when there is ALWAYS a line-up to get in and you have to wait for an hour or so to be seated, but as I had taken the week off work we decided to drop by for lunch at around 1 pm. It was a beautifully hot September day and I automatically asked the server if it was possible to eat outside. There were two little metal stools outside so we grabbed those, as well as a small wooden table, and the waiter balanced our water carafe on an empty silver ashtray stand, happy to help us out. Feeling very comfortable, surrounded by baskets of lemons and oranges, we began to look at the menu while enjoying the afternoon sun on our faces.

Space for a table for two

Space for a table for two

 

Interior of Buvette Gastrothèque Paris

Interior of Buvette Gastrothèque Paris

I should mention quickly that Buvette Gastrothèque Paris is owned by Jody Williams, an American who first opened Buvette Gastrothèque in New York and then decided to do the same thing in Paris. So if you can’t make it to Paris but are closer to New York, then you should check it out, apparently the dishes are similar to the ones in Paris. Her venture worked out as she now has fashionable Parisians lining up every night to try some of her mouth watering dishes, sip on one of her creative (but pricey) cocktails, or pick a bottle of wine from the extensive wine list.

Lunch menu

Lunch menu

Back to lunch! So, we each ordered a slightly sparkling lemonade and chose three dishes to share: white asparagus with homemade aioli and an egg mimosa-like mixture (7 Euros), black olive tapenade and a generous helping of ratatouille piled onto chunks of bread (5 Euros), and thinly sliced roast lamb mixed with white beans, a tasty vinaigrette and garnished with several Kalamata olives (10 euros). Everything arrived on a large silver tray and was a feast for the eyes. A light but delicious lunch! I should mention that the dinner menu is larger than the lunch menu and I have previously tried such wonders as the mini hachis parmentier and a grated carrot, cilantro and pistachio salad mixed with a light vinaigrette. Obviously you’ll probably want to order more than we did, but remember that here they favor quality over quantity! All the dishes I have tried are bursting with flavor in every bite. As we weren’t completely full, we ordered a tarte tatin (7 Euros), the caramelized apple upside down tart that was displayed on the long marble counter inside. The apples had that lovely rich caramel taste which was nicely toned down with a scoop of sour cream. Another great culinary experience at Buvette!

Lemonade and lemons!

Lemonade and lemons!

Our delicious and light lunch

Our delicious and light lunch

Dreamy tarte tatin

Dreamy tarte tatin

Afterwards, we wandered through the trendy SoPi (South of Pigalle) neighborhood, and thought how nice it would be if we could do this more often. I’ll have to patiently await my sister’s next visit but luckily I can find this amazing food whenever I want, as Buvette Gastrothèque is open 7 days a week from 8:30 am until midnight!

Restaurant Details:

28 rue Henri Monnier, 75009, Paris, France

+331 44 63 41 71

http://www.paris.ilovebuvette.com

My Rating:

5 little plates of deliciousness out of 5!